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E-Comm’s 2018 top 10 list of 9-1-1 head-scratcher calls

E-Comm said when someone calls 9-1-1 just to complain about customer service at a business, time is taken away from helping people with real life safety issues. — Submitted photo

This is just one of the examples of consumer complaint calls received by E-Comm, B.C.’s largest 9-1-1 centre, in 2018.

A few others include a retailer not accepting a return of shoes without the original box or a gas station attendant putting the wrong type of fuel in a vehicle as E-Comm released its annual top 10 list of calls that don’t belong on 9-1-1 and is again imploring people not to tie up lifelines.

“This type of call ties up our ability to help people with real emergencies,” said call taker Heather Andrews, who handled the number one call on this year’s list.

Andrews added when someone calls 9-1-1 just to complain about customer service at a business, time is taken away from helping people with real life safety issues.  

“Dealing with a complaint about the opening hours of a restaurant is a call that doesn’t belong on 9-1-1.”

In addition to consumer complaints, questions about vehicle malfunctions made their way to 9-1-1 lines this year including someone calling to find out how to turn off their vehicle headlights and another caller reporting that their wiper blades were broken.

Call taker Kayla Ryan handled a question about a retailer not accepting a return of shoes without the original box.

“We are here to help people in emergency situations,” said Ryan. “When someone calls 9-1-1 for general information, we still have to confirm the person is safe before completing the call. Calling the police to complain about a store’s return policy isn’t a reason to call 9-1-1.”

E-Comm’s top 10 reasons not to call 9-1-1 in 2018

  1. To complain a local fast food restaurant wasn’t open 24-hours-a-day, as advertised
  2. To complain a store won’t take shoes back without the original box
  3. To complain that a gas station attendant put the wrong type of gas in their car
  4. To report a rental company provided the wrong-sized vehicle for a customer’s reservation
  5. To report a restaurant wouldn’t redeem a customer’s coupon
  6. To ask for help turning off their car lights
  7. To report their vehicle’s windshield wipers had stopped working
  8. To find out where their car had been towed
  9. To report a lost jacket
  10. To ask if the clocks move forward or backward during the spring time change

E-Comm reminds the public that 9-1-1 is for police, fire or medical emergencies when immediate response is needed.

“Most people use 9-1-1 responsibly,” said Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm Corporate Communications manager.

 “But calls such as those on this year’s headscratcher list waste valuable emergency resources that would otherwise be available to someone who’s health, safety or property was in jeopardy or a crime was in progress.”