The number appears correct on other online listings such as SaskTel and DirectWest.
The owners said the false number has tarnished its reputation as a locally owned business.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Amy Bodnarchuk. “I’ve been doing everything in my power to fix it and it’s just an uphill battle. It’s ridiculous.
“Bottom line is people in our community are getting screwed, and [this] has caused damage and loss. [It’s] fraud to hijack and steal our business, terrible customer service, gouging the customer, and ruining our reputation.”
Currently, the Google listing for Dr. John’s Towing shows the number 306-500-4181 which is still the incorrect number. The correct one should be 306-961-1188.
paNOW phoned the number on the Google business listing to ask for a quote on a jumpstart, which Bodnarchuk told us should only cost between $50 and $60.
The number brought us to a call centre identifying themselves as “Towing and Roadside.”
The quote we were given for the battery boost after tax in Prince Albert was $248.00, which had to be paid upfront before the tow truck could be dispatched.
When we inquired about why the cost was so high compared to the $50 we were quoted, the person at the other end said the price included the taxes based on the province we were in.
We were told we had to pay upfront because it was company policy.
The person taking the call also couldn’t confirm where their business was located, saying they have a downtown office but work from home because of the pandemic.
At one point the company tried to phone back to confirm if the jumpstart was still needed. The number however was different than the one on the Google listing and came up on the call display as Canada SRR. Bodnarchuk believes the SRR stands for Safer Road Rescue, a supposed network of tow truck companies in Canada and the U.S.
The SRR website shows two different locations for its main office, one in Dallas and the other in Wichita. The phone number associated with the site is from Cincinnati.
Unfortunately, incidents of false phone numbers on Google are common according to the Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan (BBB).
“We know people rely a lot on Google, and they make assumptions that it’s correct information,” said President Karen Smith. “Unless the company itself has claimed their Google listing and updated it for themselves and actually maintaining it, that they are very easily taken over.”
She said unless a business is verified on Google, anyone can make changes to information including phone numbers.
Bodnarchuk said she’s doing everything she can to verify the business but there are many bridges to cross.
“I’ve filled out all the forms, I’ve gotten the app they requested me to get and now it’s a matter of me following all these steps, step by step and I have multiple times,” she said. “The latest one they sent me was to send screenshots step by step of what’s going on.”
She said the wrong number and the call centre has already hit Doctor John’s Towing with negative reviews, including one from just a month ago.
“The booking company was awful,” the review states. “At 11 at night, they charged me $299.99 to my credit card before they would even call the tow truck. A tire change is only 68.00. So, turns out a booking company charges $117.00 to answer the phone and the tow truck company gets paid 68.00. all told… I am out $185.00.”
“Incredibly frustrated to have such difficulty in correcting such an egregious error that is destroying our company,” said Bodnarchuk. “Especially when these scammers had no problem infiltrating without any vetting or authorization.”
Smith said consumers need to be extra careful when researching any company and not just rely on the easy option Google presents.
“You have to make sure that when you’re checking you are also looking at some of the other options that showed up in your search,” she said. “If that business has verified with us as well, we can make sure our listing has the correct contact information.”
paNOW reached out to Google about the complaint and whether Doctor John’s will be verified on the Google Business listing. They have yet to respond to our request for comment.
If you feel you are the victim of fraud, you’re asked to report your case to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre