Garmin GPS units

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Garmin GPS units

Postby eamarquardt » Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:51 am

We (my two sons and I) bought Suzy (my significant other half) a Garmin GPS for Christmas. I did “due diligence” before the purchase but received bum scoop from Garmin and the unit we bought wouldn’t automatically take a bunch of waypoints (punched into a PC and downloaded into the GPS) and route you from one to the next to the next in the shortest manner (useful for garage saleing). So, I was willing to buy a new GPS attachment (I have a DeLorme now but the streets and lat/long don't match and it gets confused and a little lost in Simi Valley) for my laptop but there is a new one coming out in a couple of months (Garmin mobile PC for about $100) that is more cost effective (read cheaper) than the current model (GPS 18). In addition, I learned that the current model won’t do the point to point that I want for garage saleing. So I called to find out about the new version and after several wrong answers finally got a hold of a fellow who upon hearing my tale of woe offered to upgrade our 660 for a 760 that will do the point to point (a $100 value for free). I graciously accepted his offer, but I would have been happy to get a straight answer on the capabilities of the new “laptop” version. When the unit arrived, it didn’t have an owner’s manual because, they claim, it is soooooooo user friendly that one is not required. Yeah! Sure! Right! So I downloaded the manual from their website and buried in the fine print in the middle of the manual is this statement: “this unit incorporates a non-replaceable lithium ion battery”. I called to find out what that meant and learned that the battery has a long life (according to them) but only has a 1 year warranty. They say, of course, they will “treat you right” if you have a problem in the first three to five years (but being the skeptic that I am, I prefer to believe only what they put in print in the warranty). They then assured me that they could replace the battery for a “nominal” charge. The “nominal” charge I was quoted was $275. Being that I have problems with the concept of disposable flashlights, lighters, cameras and the like, a “disposable” $750 GPS unit was beyond my ability to cope with. I then started calling, expressing in no uncertain terms my outrage, that I was not angry (yet), but was certainly not happy. I then suggested that I could get angry if required. Given that I can’t return the unit to the store I bought it from (as it is not the model I purchased from them) and Garmin’s "oh well" attitude, I graciously offered up for their consideration that I would be willing to pay the price difference between the 760 I now have and the 850 (due out in a month or so) that has a user replaceable battery. During the first several calls to their tech support line (including the gentleman who upgraded me in the first place, and I told him it was a verrrry generous concession to my earlier issue of not getting the straight dope in the first place) I offered to pay the difference between the 760 I now have and the new 850. The first several times (phone calls to them) they were able to resist my generous offer. Suffice it to say, persistence pays off. They now have offered to upgrade me to the 880 which is the same as the 850 that I want (automatic routing and replaceable battery) except the 880 also has Bluetooth hands free telephone interface (for $200 additional it does the same thing as a $30 headset-not in my humble opinion (MHO) such a great, cost effective, deal). So, I don’t know if they just got confused, or are trying to make me spend $300 more versus the $100 I want. Rather than fight that battle now, I’ll wait till the new units come out then push the issue. Either way, I will end up with a GPS with the features I was told I'd get with the first one and one with a replaceable battery. If enough consumers pushed back on the manufactures on their impractical designs (as in MHO non replaceable batteries), maybe they'd clean up their acts. Was I unreasonable?

By the way, I prefer to be thought of as extremely cost effective, not pathetically cheap.

Cheers,

Gus
The opinions in this post are my own. My comments are directed to those that might like an alternative approach to those already espoused.There is the right way,the wrong way,the USMC way, your way, my way, and the highway.
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Postby pete.wilson » Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:14 pm

Gus,

What phone number did you use when you called Garmin to get help? I can assure you that Garmin takes Customer service very seriously and I have seen on many occasions when complaints have been resolved to the benefit of the consumer versus the corporate bottom line. I would like for you to send me an email with the units purchased, dates, who you talked to and the best way to resolve the issue and then let me do what I can to help you resolve your problem by getting it to the people that have the authority to make certain decisions. I make no excuses for your service experience except to say that sometimes the person on the Garmin end maybe didn't understand exactly what your wanting. I look forward to getting your information and trying to resolve your problem.

Pete Wilson, Product Quality Coordinator - Garmin
Eamil= pete.wilson@garmin.com
Ottawa, KS.
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Postby sid » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:26 pm

Pete,

I had a problem with my keyboard on my nuvi250w, and they were excellent in getting it taken care of. They sent me the USB cable at no charge and told me how to update the software to the latest version. That took care of my problem.

Excellent customer service..... and nobody put me on hold!

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Postby Sonetpro » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:42 pm

pete.wilson wrote:Gus,

What phone number did you use when you called Garmin to get help? I can assure you that Garmin takes Customer service very seriously and I have seen on many occasions when complaints have been resolved to the benefit of the consumer versus the corporate bottom line. I would like for you to send me an email with the units purchased, dates, who you talked to and the best way to resolve the issue and then let me do what I can to help you resolve your problem by getting it to the people that have the authority to make certain decisions. I make no excuses for your service experience except to say that sometimes the person on the Garmin end maybe didn't understand exactly what your wanting. I look forward to getting your information and trying to resolve your problem.

Pete Wilson, Product Quality Coordinator - Garmin
Eamil= pete.wilson@garmin.com
Ottawa, KS.


Pete,
That is awesome. Seeing a manufacturer stand behind thier product is hard to find in todays disposable world. I have owned Garmins for a long time and was always impressed with the quality. I have given them to my kids as presents and used them for years. I still have a old eMap that I use today in my kayak when I go offshore.
And best of all ya'll haven't shipped the factory to China.
I am proud to buy products made in the USA. :applause:
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Postby pete.wilson » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:03 am

Sonetpro,

I hate to burst your bubble but all of the consumer electronics are built in Taiwan in 5 Garmin owned and operated factories. Only the Aviation products are made in Olathe, KS. But we stand behind our products just the same. One nice thing I hope continues, is that our call centers are located in the US.

Pete Wilson
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Postby elmo » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:29 am

I am looking to upgrade to a Garmin 60CSX from my Garmin V (waiting for the price to drop a little more because of the newer models coming out), but I bought the Garmin because of all the kudos I got from my other website I frequent.

Here is just a quick example....found this after a quick search.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthre ... er+service

This one is just one of hundreds of happy customers on that website.
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Postby dreadcptflint » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:46 am

I have always been curious if anyone has worked with GPS devices in a mountainous region. I do my adventuring in some serious back country and it would be cool if a Rino would work.
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Postby elmo » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:09 pm

dreadcptflint wrote:I have always been curious if anyone has worked with GPS devices in a mountainous region. I do my adventuring in some serious back country and it would be cool if a Rino would work.


My dad lives in Helena/York, MT on top of a mountain and I can say my Garmin V worked great and everyone else I was with was using the 60cx or 60 csx with no problems. We had them mounted on our motorcycles.
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Im not entirely unhappy with Garmin

Postby eamarquardt » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:20 pm

I may have left the wrong impression with my account of my experience with Garmin

To be clear:

1)Aside from a mild reluctance on one rep's part to escalate this issue to his supervisor, everyone at Garmin that I have spoken to has behaved “beyond reproach” in terms of politeness and cooperative spirit.

2)These products are verrrrrrrrry complicated and one doesn’t always get the right/or same answer to questions depending on who, at Garmin, you speak with. This is, however, a universal problem with complicated rapidly advancing technology.

3)Products are apparently announced on Garmin’s web site, but no one knows the first thing about them. I dont think they should announce products if they can’t answer questions about them.

4) In the end (except that I don’t want the 880) Garmin’s actions are “beyond reproach”, have exceeded my wildest expectations, and I am convinced that Garmin is a first rate company.

5) Buying such an expensive (to me at least) unit with a known “death date” doesn’t work for me or anyone else that I’ve shared this information with. Garmin needs to “rethink” this philosophy, in my humble opinion. An older unit may not have the “latest and greatest” features/bells and whistles, but with map updates, it will continue to provide reasonable service that will more than meet my expectations/needs. There are more than enough people out there that will destroy their units or will retire their units just to get the “latest and greatest” to keep Garmin afloat.

I'm glad everyone else has had a positive experience with Garmin. Companies with thier kind of attitude will keep America afloat.

Cheers,

Gus
The opinions in this post are my own. My comments are directed to those that might like an alternative approach to those already espoused.There is the right way,the wrong way,the USMC way, your way, my way, and the highway.
"I'm impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it." Klaatu-"The Day the Earth Stood Still"
"You can't handle the truth!"-Jack Nicholson "A Few Good Men"
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Postby Arne » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:23 pm

I've called garmin on several occasions and have been very impressed with their attention to customer service. I've never ended a call to them unhappy.

I wish all were that good.....
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Blame

Postby eamarquardt » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:47 pm

Arne,

No one is completely innocent. What can we blame you for?

Cheers,

Gus
The opinions in this post are my own. My comments are directed to those that might like an alternative approach to those already espoused.There is the right way,the wrong way,the USMC way, your way, my way, and the highway.
"I'm impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it." Klaatu-"The Day the Earth Stood Still"
"You can't handle the truth!"-Jack Nicholson "A Few Good Men"
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The Marines don't have that problem"-Ronald Reagan
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Postby dreadcptflint » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:25 pm

Thanks Elmo, hopefully I will be able to give it a try this summer.

:thumbsup:
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Postby xccelagator » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:31 pm

I offroad with my Xterra in areas the public roads have no signs at all. I have a nearly 10 year old Garmin Etrex. Its a simple unit, but I can take it on hikes, detached from my main setup. It has served me and others well and has become part of our family. Last year I mated to my Toughbook via serial port. I use Delorme US topos maps. I would never go back to just a small screen. Yes the Etrex is only 30 foot accurate, But if I can't find something within 30 feet. I should just stay home on the couch and try to find the frig!!! :lol:

Here is my set-up with a custom built laptop stand. Click on the pic

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Postby xccelagator » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:38 pm

dreadcptflint wrote:I have always been curious if anyone has worked with GPS devices in a mountainous region. I do my adventuring in some serious back country and it would be cool if a Rino would work.


The question is the sats position in the sky in relation to you. If your in a canyon it can be hit and miss depending on where the sat is in the sky. The biggest problem is (I have seen) canopy or foliage that above you.

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Postby Nitetimes » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:38 pm

I need to make one of those stands for my laptop. I got one of those Holux receivers that plug into your USB port. Works really well with Streets & Trips but it's not exactly portable. The only draw back I have found is keeping the laptop situated where you can look at it and drive.
Someday I'll pick up one of those hand held jobbies for when I'm not driving. :)
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