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Old 03-03-2008
birds_first's Avatar
birds_first birds_first is offline
RV Appraiser
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 5,239
Default Good Sam vs. Bad Sam

Being a member of Good Sam I was dissapointed in the timeliness of the Good Sam Road Side Assistance Program (third party contractor service). Six hours waiting for a tow is silly, 2 service providers agreed to come but both were a no show, one called 2.5 hours later to cancel but no word on the other. Six hours into the ordeal I found the service provider by calling AAA and asking for recommendations. The tow truck was there in 45 minutes. The driver elected not to tow but put on a Landall and that driver was there within 40 minutes. My bus was hauled 60 miles to Louisville Peterbilt. My bus was aired up winched on the landall, air dumped, secured within 30 minutes and hauled 60 miles, released-aired up and off loaded 1.5 hours later at the Peterbilt Dealer's front gate. The good side to this nightmare was Good Sam kept reasonable contact with us assuring us they were searching for a tow service & they paid the $1587.20 bill on the service provider I found myself through AAA. Problem: 2 redlined Racor filters, air locked & burnt out fuel pump. Thank goodness my kids understand that their inheritance will be slightly a little less then what they expected.
John McGinnis,
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88FC35 (SOLD)
Louisville, KY/Jeffersonville, IN
2000 Jeep Cherokee
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Old 03-04-2008
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Crit Bliss Crit Bliss is online now
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,108

I let my service with Road-Net laps because they were less than impressive when we lost an air bag coming back from RATS. They couldn't find a garage that was open on a Sunday, I figure I could save $90 bucks on that deal. However, reading that tow bill, I may rethink my position.
Crit Bliss '80FC33 Chatham,ma
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Old 03-04-2008
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
Former Bird Owner
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ridgefield
Posts: 2,010

Emergency road service as provided by the two major vendors is always mixed. There seems to be many who curse one or the other -- although my very unscientific sample gives a slight edge to CoachNet (either direct or through FMCA) over GoodSam. The structure of the ERS agreement is that Good Sam or CoachNet pays for the service call travel charge and the RV owner pays for the time on scene it takes for the service. (If a tow is involved, then it's fully paid.)

The primary problem is that ERS companies (including AAA) depend on subcontractors to perform the service -- and everything depends on the quality of the subcontractors. Service can be excellent in one spot and lousy in another just down the road (as you move from one subcontractor's area to the next).

As it happened, I had two ERS calls with 24 hours to Good Sam (long story for some other time). The first response was with a young woman mechanic who was only slightly familiar with diesel issues. Working with her, together we discovered a ground strap that had worked loose and I was back on the road. Although I'd been told by GS that the service provider would accept a credit card, I was told "cash only." (Fortunately, I had the cash.) I'd rate that encounter a C+.

200 miles later, a mobil RV service company responded -- with a very experienced mechanic. The problem was self evident (no diagnosis problem) and he was able to perform the fix in 5 minutes. While In this second case, the service provider could have charged me for the repair time, his comment was, "Well, I'm getting enough from Good Sam, so that's enough." I'd rate that encounter an A.

So, you might go years without a service call (then you're money behind) but a single tow or even a moderately non-obvious repair by the side of the road can cost quite a lot. Even a service call by a truck-tire service at roadside can be pretty pricey.

ERS is insurance -- and I note that many RV policies cover ERS calls (although you have to get service then be reimbursed). It ultimately only offers peace of mind. Even though service quality may be 'iffy' due to the variation in quality of service providers, simply having a company (CoachNet or Good Sam) that has a good rolodex is usually better than trying to figure out who to call when you're stranded by the side of the road.

So, it's mostly a choice of what's best for your peace of mind and what you think you can handle without help. But if you need a two, having some sort of ERS insurance coverage is an important financial protection.

Pete Masterson
(former) 95 WBDA 42'
(now) 2011 Roadtrek RS-Adventerous
Ridgefield, WA
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