The accident occurred a little before 5 pm on 12/2/2007 at the intersection of Ohio Dr and Park Dr in Washington DC. My car skidded when going around a turn and hit the curb, spun around and hit the curb again. At this time, I thought the car was fine and tried to drive off. After going about 20 feet, I decided this was not the best idea and called Road America Motorclub for a tow.
At 4:57 pm, I made my first attempt to call Road America Motorclub. After waiting on hold for 5 minutes, I hung up and called my parents so that they could call instead, as my battery was beginning to die. It seemed they were able to get through nearly immediately.
5:08 pm, I received a call from a representative. This representative never asked me if I was calling from a safe location as most of the representatives do. Had she done so, I would have immediately said no, I was not at a safe location. In any case, she took my main information as to location, main points of the accident, etc. At this time, I told her my cell was close to dying and that there was freezing rain coming down so could she please hurry. She then asked me if I had called the cops yet, and I told her no since my phone was about to die. She told me she would do that as well.
At 5:32 pm, the representative called me back to tell me she hadn't been able to reach the police yet, but she was still trying. I asked if she was able to get a tow truck and she told me she hadnÃ¢??t called them yet because she had been attempting to get a hold of the police. I told her I needed a tow truck immediately because I was freezing and scared being alone, on a dark street, in the middle of DC. Plus, once again, I reminded her that my phone was about to die.
At 5:39 pm, the representative called to tell me she had gotten hold of the police and they should be there any minute. She also said she had gotten hold of a tow truck and they would be there in 1 Ã�Â½ hours. I asked if there was anyway she could get one to me sooner as it had already been nearly 45 minutes and I was freezing. She said that wasn't possible because Ameriprise only dealt with select tow truck companies. I thanked her and hung up.
At 6:15 pm, after waiting another 25 minutes for the police to show up, I decided to leave my vehicle and walk to the Kennedy Center where I knew it would be warm and I could ask for assistance. I volunteer at the KC, and was actually headed there that night for the KC Honors, so I knew I would have plenty of friends there.
I arrived at the KC at approximately 6:30 pm, right in the middle of the parade of stars entering for the Honors. I stood behind the Information desk and called Ameriprise to let them know where I was and asked them to tell the tow truck driver to call me 15 minutes before he arrived so I could walk back to my car. They said that was fine, and I should be hearing from them shortly.
At 7:10 pm, I called Road America Motorclub to find out the status of my car. As it had been the allotted time, and I still had not heard anything. He put me on hold while he checked the status of my car, and when he came back, he told me that my car hadn't been towed yet because the tow truck driver had said he wasn't allowed to tow cars from that street because it was parkland and only park police can tow from there (Which I found to be untrue when I talked to the park police myself. I was told the tow truck company simply needed to call them to let them know in advance). He then said there was nothing he could do and that I needed to call the park police. I asked him why I would be doing that instead of him. He then said he would call me back. I gave him the number to the KC since I told him my cell was almost dead.
At 7:34 pm, he called me back on my cell. As I picked up, my phone went dead, so I had to call him back from the regular phone. At this time, he told me that the roads were closed around the KC by the Secret Service since the President was coming through and that no tow trucks were able to get in or out. I asked him when the roads were going to be reopened and he said he did not know, but since I was out the KC that I should try and find out and let him know. And, once I called him back, then he would get a tow truck out. Until I called him back, he was going to do nothing. I told him that was ridiculous and how he expected me to find out that information and he said I should be able to ask the Secret Service guys at the KC. I told him it wasnÃ¢??t as easy as that, but decided it was a waste of time to talk to this guy and hung up on him.
I then talked to one of the KC Security guys and he pointed me to one of the Secret Service men at the KC. This man was very nice and made a few phone calls for me, but wasn't able to get an answer as to when the roads would be reopened. He did give me, however, the number for the DC Special Operations and said they should know.
I then called the DC Special Operations number and they referred me to the park police. When I talked to the Park police, they told me that my car had already been towed, approximately 10 minutes prior, and was on its way to an impound lot in Southwest DC. The gentleman on the phone gave me the number for the towing company and said if I hurried, I may be able to get it rerouted.
I called the towing company and was told that the number was for dispatch only, and that I needed to call the actual Southwest DC number. I then tried to call that number, but had no luck until close to 8:20 pm. At that time, they told me my car was there and that I could pick it up the next day. Towing costs would be $150 and there was a storage fee of $35/day and since it was being picked up on 12/2 and I would be picking it up on 12/3, the charge would be for 2 days. Additionally, I was told that I would have to use their tow trucks as no other tow trucks were allowed on their property, so it would be another $150.
I then called back to Road America Motorclub and told the representative that I had been talking to what had transpired and he said that it was good that I knew where my car was, and he would close the ticket. At no time did he offer to provide any further assistance, even after I asked him what he was going to do about the fact that it was his fault that my car was at the impound lot. At that time I asked to talk to the manager, and he said to me that the manager would say the same thing to me, as he had already told him everything. I told him I still wanted to speak to him.
I then spoke to the manager, who apologized, but said that he also could not do anything as it was not his fault that the roads had been closed by the Secret Service. I told him that I agreed that he had no control over that, but he did have control over the timing of the events. I told him that had they called for a tow truck after my first call at 5:08 pm, this could have been resolved before the roads were closed. If they had called for a second tow truck after the first one had said they couldn't do it, this could have been resolved, instead of waiting for me to call back. If they had called the park police themselves instead of making me do it, this could have been resolved. If they had tracked down DC special operations before the car had been towed, this could have been resolved. For those things, I blame the Ameriprise representative. Additionally, I didnÃ¢??t appreciate being told by the representative repeatedly that I needed to do this or call that person, as he should be the one doing the work, since thatÃ¢??s what I pay my premiums for.
At this time, the manager really started apologizing and asked me what he could do to help. I told him there was nothing as I had already done all of the legwork. All I wanted from him was the address to where to send my paperwork in to get reimbursed. He was very helpful in providing this information.
After hanging, due to the frustrations of the entire night, I broke out into tears and was only able to calm down only with the assistance of some of the lovely people I work with at the KC. I should point out that these lovely women stayed with me this entire time, since they were worried about me. Only when I got into a cab did they go home.
The next day, I took a cab to the metro station and then the metro into work, as I had no vehicle at that time. I had planned on leaving during daylight hours to make it to the impound lot to retrieve my vehicle, however due to an unforeseen project at the last minute, I was unable to do so. Thus, I did not make it out of the office until nearly 7 pm, requiring me to take another cab to the impound lot as that was to close at 8 pm, and wasnÃ¢??t in a safe enough neighborhood to be walking at night.
When I arrived, I was told that they only accept cash, which I didn't have with me at the time. Luckily the gentleman that was managing the place was nice enough to drive me to an ATM where I retrieved the money, with considerable service fees. I was also told by this person that I would be unable to get a tow until the following morning, as the tow truck was no longer available. He provided me with the name and number, and then was nice enough to drop me off at the metro so I could head over to my parentsÃ¢?? place to borrow my mother's car, as no cab companies were answering their phones at that time.
The next morning, I called to arrange a tow first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, they were unable to make it out until close to 2 pm, which meant I was stuck in traffic for a bit, and missed nearly 2 hours of work so I could arrange for the car to be dropped off.
During all of this, I was left to my own devices when, if the motorclub had been doing their job and in a timely manner, my car would have been towed to a garage in my neighborhood, in a safe location. To top it all off, all of my expensive Christmas presents were stolen from the back of my vehicle.
I expected the motorclub to at least reimburse me for the cost of the 2 tow trucks and the impound costs, but they said it was not their responsibility.