Poor Customer Service from an Interlock Service Provider
Picture this – you have a 3:00pm appointment to have your interlock device calibrated. You take off work early and drive to the facility, arriving 15 minutes early…only to find the doors locked. You start to panic. The service light is already blinking on your device, and you know you have four or five days until the device locks you out of your car, which triggers a violation report. But the next five days, you have to work, or maybe you’re out-of-town. What do you do?
This scenario almost happened to me this week at my LifeSafer location. However, as I was about to call the customer service number, a man opened the garage and told me I “just made the cut.”
Excuse me? I had a 3:00 appointment!
He said he was a replacement technician, because the site-technician was out that day. He had to get back to his other shop. But he said he would do me a favor by getting my calibration done.
The next two clients who pulled up weren’t so lucky. He actually turned them away and told them to call customer service to reschedule. Needless to say, there were some infuriated clients. And they had every right to be. There was no notification, no phone call to those who had appointments. Anyone who had an appointment after this guy left? Totally in the dark. These clients were following the rules, showing up to their set appointments and probably faced personal expense to do so. LifeSafer showed them no courtesy.
Can you File a Complaint Against an Interlock Service Provider? YES.
The punishment for a DUI is severe and deserved. However, any punishment is a two-way street between the offender and the authorities. The offender still has certain rights and recourse against abuse, misconduct and poor customer service by authorities and their proxies. Failing to reach out to clients to reschedule when the shop is unexpectedly closed? That’s poor customer service defined!
As an offender, you have the right to be treated with dignity, especially if you are following all of the rules. In request for proposal [PDF link] and contract agreements between VASAP and interlock service providers, it clearly states that providers can face scrutiny, sanctions and even suspension or termination of referrals if there is a pattern of poor customer service:
The Commission on VASAP reserves the right to immediately suspend ASAP referrals to interlock service providers, including but not limited to, the following reasons:
1. there is a pattern or repetition of verified substandard customer service that results in a high frequency of complaints or severity of a complaint(s).
In addition, VASAP’s regulations [PDF link] state that any verbal or written complaint against interlock service providers must be reported to the Richmond office:
In situations where the client files a complaint, whether verbal or in writing, with the ASAP regarding any customer service or interlock device issues with the interlock vendor, the ASAP shall report the issue to the Commission on VASAP via phone or e-mail at (firstname.lastname@example.org) for resolution.
Filing a Written Complaint Against an Interlock Service Provider – Where to Start?
In Virginia, start with your local VASAP office. They all have email addresses listed on the VASAP website. Write an email in which you clearly state that it is a formal written complaint against a specific interlock service provider. Then detail what happened.
Interlock service providers may have you locked in as a customer for the duration of your interlock period, but they do not own you. They have no right to treat you poorly. They are contractually required to provide quality customer service, and a pattern of poor customer service can result in sanctions or termination. However, the only way to hold a poor service provider accountable is to document and report the instances with VASAP.