Progressive Apologizes, Sort Of, For Leaving Customer Stranded Last Weekend

We’ve received a follow-up email from Chuck, who has spent the better part of the week trying to determine why Progressive’s Roadside Assistance service—for which he pays an additional monthly fee on top of his normal insurance premium—sucks so badly that they’d leave a motorist stranded for 45 minutes on a busy Interstate on a weekend morning.

Here’s part of Chuck’s email:

After dealing with Progressive executive customer service for most of this week I have finally gotten a resolution. Rachel at Progressive is issuing a formal apology from Cross Country (the outsourced roadside assistance people) and an AMEX gift card.

They of course say that this is an unusual circumstance and call volumes were extremely high at 11:30am on a Sunday…

…I asked for a credit in the amount of my October premium and was turned down by Brian Passell, Divisional President.

We’re happy the matter has been resolved to Chuck’s satisfaction, but also a little surprised that Progressive is still insisting on passing the buck to their hired help. After all, it’s their service, their brand, and they collect the money for it, so trying to scapegoat a poorly-run outsourced company is a bit of a cop-out. We think outsourcing should be an internal issue that remains invisible to the customer, or else it’s not successful outsourcing—and the company that sold you the service or product is the one to blame. (We’re looking at you, too, Mattel.)

But the issue has been resolved to Chuck’s satisfaction, so we’re happy for him and hope his step-daughter has a better weekend coming up.

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. cashmerewhore says:

    Chuck doesn’t sound 100% satisfied. Unless that AmEx card is the amount of his October premium….

  2. vladthepaler says:

    Pardon the off-topic post, but..

    Can someone tell me what happened to the “Next” button that used to be at the bottom of the main page? I can’t find any way to get to the next (older) page of Consumerist articles.

  3. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Since when is the 3rd party’s shortcoming an issue to the consumer? If it is under the umbrella of Progressive, then it is Progressive’s obligation to stand by the service and not to blame the 3rd party. The 3rd party should in turn kiss the company’s ass that hired them to do the service.

    Or, do like USAA insurance does with motorcycle and boat insurance. They farm it out to Progressive and make it abundantly clear that you are a customer of Progressive for issues with that piece of insurance. Progressive customer service, billing, and claims.

  4. Kezzerxir says:

    I had a experience where the call center for my local area for my AAA service was out of power. They just said they couldn’t help me and hanged up the phone. I had to call the back to the main AAA service and tell a supervisor and he couldn’t believe it and got them to call me back.

  5. rmz says:

    @vladthepaler: I’m still seeing it, but it’s a different color now — white instead of red — so it doesn’t stand out as much.

  6. @vladthepaler: It doesn’t seem to be showing up on Safari browsers, at least on a Mac. I’ve alerted Ben. Thanks for mentioning it and sorry for the trouble.

    We now return you to the topic of Progressive Roadside Assistance!

  7. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Forty-five minutes? I would dance with joy if once, JUST once, my AAA Plus calls for help resulted in help arriving within 45 minutes.

  8. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @Cogito Ergo Bibo: In the original article it said “45 minutes this past weekend to put a live person in contact with a woman…”

    I would guess that from there it would be at least 45-60 minutes before the tow truck showed up so close to 2 hours actually.

  9. kc2idf says:

    The news of a formal apology from Cross Country could potentially be coupled with the news that Progressive is no longer outsourcing to them. That would demonstrate that Progressive are actually doing something about the problem.

  10. Anonymous says:

    well that makes me glad i turned down the service now. i’m a perfectly capable man. if i get stranded (and has happend before and did just fine) i know what to do.

  11. GearheadGeek says:

    @INconsumer: At least as far as the insurance-company add-ons, I agree. Cell-phone roadside is an equally iffy proposition from a value point of view. My partner wears glasses, and the discount on those alone through AAA is more than enough to pay our family membership for a year. He gets new glasses every couple of years, plus discounts on hotels and the occasional rental, and AAA’s detailed travel guides make it worth it. We’ve only once had to use the roadside assistance part in the last 7 or 8 years, but it was useful then and very helpful when you’re in an unfamiliar area and don’t happen to be in sight of a tow company’s billboard…

  12. lusnia says:

    45 minutes on the freeway, I wish. I have progressive roadside assistance and I waited 3 HOURS in the rain in the middle of an intersection with a broken axle waiting on a tow truck.