Good Sam. Bad Actor?

This is the reimbursement check I received from Good Sam in its original envelope showing a postmark date more than 2 weeks after I was told it was mailed. My address has been redacted.

This is a short saga (the oxymoron is intentional) of my recent experience with Good Sam Roadside Assistance.

I have Good Sam Roadside Assistance for my 5th wheel. Recently while backing my RV into my parking spot where I store the rig I got myself into a jam and couldn’t move forward or backward without a high probability of damaging my RV or the one next to mine. Don’t ask…

I called Good Sam for some suggestions or help. The agent I spoke with asked me some questions, one of which may have been key to deciding whether or not they would help me. He asked if there was any risk of damaging my vehicle or another and I said yes. After all, that is why I called them. When I answered that question I was thinking about towing it forward or backward with my pickup truck, not having it dragged sideways by a tow truck with a winch. I’m not used to thinking in those terms. Why would I be? I didn’t know that could be done.

I was told there was nothing they could do if there was risk to my vehicle or another. The conversation ended. Flustered and frustrated, dead in the water so to speak, blocking traffic at the storage facility, in desperation I called an independent tow company. A tow truck was dispatched and about 10 minutes after it arrived my RV had been dragged sideways, without risk of damage to neighboring vehicles and I was able to move again. I was handed a bill for $281.

After thinking about it over the next few days it seemed to me Good Sam should have dispatched a tow truck and handled this on their dime. After all, wasn’t that what I was paying them for? I called them and asked if the kind of tow operation used to rescue my rig (something called a “winch out” I learned by reading the invoice) was covered under my policy. I was told yes, it was and that the agent I spoke with on the night of the problem didn’t ask enough questions to properly determine the correct course of action.

I was informed I could file a request for reimbursement online and I did. After doing so an email arrived  on Nov. 28 saying I would hear from Good Sam in 5 days. I didn’t.

On Dec. 23 I called Good Sam to follow up on the situation. I was told that a reimbursement check had been mailed on Dec. 4 and that it could take 3 weeks to arrive. 3 weeks? I asked. Why would it take 3 weeks. I was told it was sent 4th class mail. What? How much money could they save sending a letter to me with something less than 1st class postage? How much is a stamp nowadays? 50¢?

I’d never heard of 4th class mail so I decided to do a little checking. What I found is that there is such a thing for items over 8 ounces, but not for a letter. Was the agent with whom I spoke misinformed? Lying to me?

The check arrived a couple days after I spoke with the agent and it was postmarked Dec. 22, not Dec. 4, although it was dated Dec. 4. It was sent first class mail not 4th class as I had been told.

I was originally denied service to which I was entitled. Had I not had the wherewithal to look further into the situation I would have been stuck with a bill for $281. How many people I wonder are told by Good Sam they aren’t covered for something when they should be and wind up paying out of their own pockets for something they shouldn’t have to?

Next, I was promised a response in 5 days which I didn’t get. After that I was misinformed about when my check had been sent and the mail service used.

In my estimation, nothing about my experience with Good Sam in this instance except for the eventual reimbursement went right–Good Sam fumbled the ball at every possible opportunity. That’s my opinion anyway. What do you think? Is Good Sam a bad actor?


Coming soon, a report of my DIY installation of an AIMS 1000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter.


This blog takes an enormous amount of time and energy to build and maintain . If you have found something useful or entertaining please use this Amazon.com link when you shop at Amazon. Doing so will cost you no more and in some cases I may receive a small commission. Your support in the form of using my Amazon.com link or making a PayPal Donation will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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The Adventure Continues

Japanese Garden, Lithia Park, Ashland, OR.
Japanese Garden, Lithia Park, Ashland, OR.

After a brief pause of something a little less less than 2 years–well, that’s brief in geological terms, anyway–my 18 month adventure of traveling the USA in a motorhome that concluded in October 2015 has resumed. It will be different this time: rather than traveling by motorhome I’ll be towing a 5th wheel RV with my new pickup truck. (Those of you who follow my blog may have caught my four part series How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car or Truck Without Ever Talking to a Salesman.) I also hope to take more time traveling the USA this time around, more than the 18 months I spent the first time. However, the biggest, most important difference of my trip this time will be that it won’t be my trip, it will be our trip, as I will be traveling with my lovely companion Diane whom I met back east on my earlier excursion. (Previously, in A Single RVer’s Guide to Finding Romance on the Road I wrote about my methods for pursuing love while RVing the country. I was extremely fortunate in my pursuit.)

Bowling Ball Beach, CA.

A few days more than a month ago Diane and I loaded up our pickup truck with things we wanted to have in our new 5th wheel and we set off from Berkeley toward Portland to pick up the new trailer. We traveled mostly along the California and Oregon coastal route because Diane is a coast lover and hadn’t yet seen much of the CA coast and none of Oregon’s.

Mt St. Helens. When she last blew in 1980 she took out something like 232 square miles of terrain. Holy cow!

On Oct. 10 after loading the RV with things from the truck we hitched the two together “officially” launching this new chapter in both of our lives. From the Portland area where we camped in beautiful Milo McIver State Park we headed north toward Seattle to visit Diane’s family. We stayed one night at a Walmart along the way in Yelm, WA, so Diane could see what “Walmarting” is like. The next day we found ourselves at the Washington State Fairgrounds RV Park in Puyallup where we parked while visiting Diane’s family. After that it was down toward the Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mt. St Helens which is highly worth a visit. There we stayed in Silver Lake at the new and sparkly Silver Cove RV Resort. This was followed by a couple days in Ashland and a couple nights in CA before arriving back in the bay area where we are now tasked with readying the rig and our lives for full-timing beginning sometime in the spring. Before then we plan to head south for a month or so to enjoy some desert warmth and sunsets at the Imperial Dam LTVA about which I penned a five post series and separate boondocking report when I stayed there back in 2014-15.

A view along the Oregon coast.

Our new fifth wheel, BTW, is an Arctic Fox 29-5T. We settled on it after many months during which we compared more than a few. Things that influenced our decision included: warranted even for full-time use; floor plan; lots of windows; large enough to live in and as small as we could get to feel that way; custom made frame; large net carrying capacity, nearly 4,000#; reputation for being well insulated; we can navigate the entire rig when the slides are closed and access most cabinets, the fridge and bathroom. The trailer is about 34′ long.

Windows abound in the 29-5T which lets in lots of light and provides ample opportunity to see the sights outside while camped.

How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car or Truck Without Ever Talking to a Salesman, Part IV

Mr. BigAss B. Blizzard (don’t ask me what the B. stands for–I forgot), my 2017 Ford F350, 6.7 liter Powerstroke diesel, dual rear wheel, 4×4, pickup truck.
Part Four

In the first three parts of this article my energies were focused on providing readers with information about finding the best deal possible on a new vehicle, in particular when ordering one from the factory. Part One was on the basic principles. In Part Two I wrote about helpful web sites, collecting price information and going or not going to dealerships. Part Three addresses the right and wrong people to talk to–who to deal with and who will waste your time–and how to request a price bid. There are better and worse ways of doing these things and I gave voice to my thoughts about them.

Here in Part Four, the final installment of this article, I expand on my previous remarks about titles given to dealership personnel, I’ll have some things to say about the dealers with whom I interacted along the way, relating my experiences with each (negative and positive alike, mostly negative–surprise, surprise). I will also write about my final moments at the dealership where I made my purchase and how things almost fell apart, hoping that by doing so it will help equip you toward avoiding similar scenarios. For good measure I’ll toss in something counterintuitive about how financing may in some cases actually save you money, if handled properly. READ MORE…

 

Photo Post – Fireworks

The fireworks this year had some rockets with streamers that zig-zagged in unpredictable ways. I caught one of them here along the the purple trails possibly remaining from a previous shell.

Click to Enlarge Images

It’s that time of year: barbecues, burgers and beer, hotdogs and a trip out to see the local fireworks display. I always look forward to photographing fireworks because “it’s like a box of chocolates… you never know what you are going to get.”

I cropped this image from a larger one placing the white spot of an exploding rocket near one of the “power points” of the frame. Have you heard of the rule of thirds?

In this post I’m including four shots I like best out of about 100 I shot during one of the area’s smaller shows. I think three of them are a little less typical than most fireworks photos I’ve seen. I think that’s why I like them so much.

Here, I kept the shutter open only momentarily capturing a small part of the rocket’s stars.

Getting cool fireworks photos is surprisingly easy. I could tell you how, but then I’d have to kill you… hahah. Kidding!

For this shot I opened the shutter after a single rocket was launched and just before it exploded. Then I closed the shutter a few moments after the white streamers appeared.

For how-to tips on photographing fireworks see my how-to post titled… drum roll… How to Photograph Fireworks. Well, what did you expect? LOL.


This blog takes an enormous amount of time and energy to build and maintain . If you have found something useful or entertaining please Favorite (bookmark) this Amazon.com link and use it when you shop at Amazon. Doing so will cost you no more and in some cases I may receive a small commission. Your support in the form of using my Amazon.com link or making a PayPal Donation will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

If you would like to be notified by email when I make new posts to the blog look for the email text entry field and the FOLLOW RUSS button on the left, or with some mobile devices at the page bottom.

How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car or Truck Without Ever Talking to a Salesman, Part III

Ford Fusion
Ford Fusion

Part Three

The Right & Wrong Way to Find the Right & Wrong People

When it came time to chase down the dealer at which I would get the best price for the truck I was going to buy I soon learned how not to go about contacting dealers. Most if not all dealerships have some sort of Contact Us page on their web sites where you fill out an email form, field by field, entering your name, email address, sometimes phone number and finally your message. Do not do this! If you do you will find yourself bombarded by absolutely idiotic, automated replies that completely ignore what you’ve written, mindless salespeople trying to sell you whatever they have on the lot, or somebody that will say anything they think you want to hear in order to get you to come to their dealership. If you give them your phone number you will get phone calls from dealers who will press you and press you again and again to come down to their dealership because they know people they can get through their doors represent their best chance at making a sale with the largest profits. If you fill out those forms you will also find yourself subscribed to promotional mailing lists where dealers send you advertisement after advertisement about things in which you have absolutely no interest–you are going to get SPAMMED. [READ MORE…]

How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car or Truck Without Ever Talking to a Salesman, Part II

Part Two

In Part One I wrote about retail (MSRP) and wholesale (invoice) pricing of automobiles. I pointed to hidden profit areas such as holdback that allow dealers to sell vehicles “below cost” and still make money. I also said that knowing the MSRP and invoice pricing really doesn’t matter because in the end the only thing that does matter is getting the lowest price for which a dealer is willing to sell the vehicle. Even so, if you are like me then it will be a matter of some comfort to know invoice prices for the base vehicle, options and packages. [READ MORE…]

How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car or Truck Without Ever Talking to a Salesman

2017 Ford F350 Super Duty, Dual Rear Wheel
2017 Ford F350 Super Duty, Dual Rear Wheel

Part One

If you’re like me, when it comes time to purchase a new vehicle you become filled with dread at the thought of being worked-over by a team of sophisticated, sleaze-ball sales reps in the offices of a car dealership. If you don’t experience that sense of panic, you should, because those guys can sell ice to an Eskimo while making him feel like they just saved his life.

In my recent quest for a new vehicle I have learned that, thanks to the Internet, if you handle things wisely you can get great price without leaving the comfort of your home, indeed without ever talking to a sales rep. Here is how I did it… (READ MORE)

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