Thursday, October 16, 2008

Program I love: AT&T Wireless's Roadside Assistance

About four or five years ago when I first signed up for a Cingular wireless account, I was offered the option of their #HELP program. It was a roadside assistance option that was associated with me and my phone, not my car. So wherever I was, if I was having car trouble, even if it was not my car, I could dial #-H-E-L-P and someone would be on their way to help me. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The problem could range from a dead battery, flat tire, running out of gas, being locked out of the car, or even needing tow service. It was only a couple of bucks a month.

I had just moved to the Orlando area, and I did not know anyone here. The program sounded great to me, and I signed up. In the few years that I have had it, I have only used it three times, but I was very grateful each time.

The surprising thing is that I have never used it for my own car. The first time it was for my niece when we were stranded due to a dead battery in her Toyota, the second time it was because my flatmate locked herself out of her truck, and the third time happened just recently. A friend of mine and I were on a road trip to a little town on the Gulf Coast when her car started smoking. Uh oh. After trying to figure out the problem on our own and calling a few more knowledgeable people, we determined we were not going to be able to drive very far, so we used my #HELP service to get a tow truck.

The tow truck came within a half hour, and the guy was really friendly. He even tinkered around with the car a bit and helped us figure out a way to jerry-rig it so we could drive it back to our hotel rather than getting a tow right then. This was great because it gave us some time to research local auto shops rather than leaving the car at a random shop that was already closed by that time of evening.

So all in all, #HELP has been a great service for me. At $2.99 a month, I was very grateful that AT&T kept the program when it absorbed Cingular. I heartily recommend it!

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