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Garmin - The Most Evil Company on Earth?

philipbarrett

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OK, they're probably not but they're working hard on getting there!

Bought an inReach SE+ reduced at Costco to (hopefully) replace my SPOT but did not realize that unlike the Explorer it's a very crippled device (no maps). I canceled my subscription within 24 hours and they're now billing me a $165 "early termination fee."

I'm going to let American Express sort that one out but I wish we had other options in the world of serious GPS units than these money grabbing swine!

Rant over...

:headbang:
 
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Since I have no need for other people to know where I’m at I bought a plb , I figure at my age and the fact that I like riding alone at least if I’m alive I can let somebody know where to come clean up the mess , If I’m thru kicking at least I know I’ll be in a happy place since I tend to spend my riding days Where other people don’t these days . The plb lives in the front pocket of my riding vest . I’m not much of a fan of garmin either , in my opnion they are in the same gutter with at&t and neither are anybody I need to to business with ever again .
 

Monica

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Texas
Since I have no need for other people to know where I’m at I bought a plb , I figure at my age and the fact that I like riding alone at least if I’m alive I can let somebody know where to come clean up the mess , If I’m thru kicking at least I know I’ll be in a happy place since I tend to spend my riding days Where other people don’t these days . The plb lives in the front pocket of my riding vest . I’m not much of a fan of garmin either , in my opnion they are in the same gutter with at&t and neither are anybody I need to to business with ever again .
Hah!, we think the same. I have not purchased a rescue/tracking device yet (not necessary at this point while riding) but I should get going on one for my hike trips. I'm a pretty solitary person so when I go do my fun time it's just me and no one needs to know where I am, unless I don't show up for work. Then call in.
 

Texas T

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I'm a belt and suspenders kind of rider. The tracker (resides on the bike) is there so my wife knows where I am, and if the tracker stops moving and I haven't checked in, they at least know where to start looking for me. The PLB is in case I get separated from the bike and need to call for help if I'm physically able to do so.
 

Crew Chief

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I kinda think Google is, but Garmin could be in the running. I haven't dealt with a billing problem with them, but their software and map updates seem to be designed to cause maximum frustration.
 

Tourmeister

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I kinda think Google is, but Garmin could be in the running. I haven't dealt with a billing problem with them, but their software and map updates seem to be designed to cause maximum frustration.
AMEN!!!

Their unlock codes have been a MAJOR pain even for people trying hard to be legit!! Trying to tie the map to the unit was stupid. They should have provided the base detailed map with every unity and then let you buy all that extra stuff about hotels, food, gas, etc,... extra. I know a lot of folks just quit buying Garmins because of this hassle. Now, with the phones having GPS and free maps, that has to be putting the hurt on Garmin. I can't say they don't deserve it either... :roll:
 

Liteitup

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Waco TX
After my recent experience trying to stop the billing for a new phone that they agreed I never got, I vote for AT&T. Took 5 months and finally quitting them to make them pay attention.
 
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Jan 22, 2011
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At the back of the pack and out of the dust
Coming to land based GPS from sailing, I was sorely disappointed by everything Garmin. The list could go on for pages and most everyone has run into the same problems so there is no reason to belabor them here. Tom Tom was about the same so I gave that unit away to a buddy here on TWT. Now I keep a 64ST as my general land based GPS and don't bother with any of the other features.

As far as the SAR feature goes, I'm on the fence about what to take with me, if anything. Something like 8 in 10 PLB calls for help are false and while most of those are intentional user error, some are problems with the PLB. I'd hate to be sitting at my camp after a long wet ride and have a SAR team show up because the PLB went off. I'd hate the bill for the SAR even more. Finally I refused to put a short wave radio on the boat preferring to use a sat phone instead. I want to be able to call (or text) specific people with specific details about where I am and what the trouble is.

With all that said, I think it was BeemerBob who ended up in a ditch in New Mexico and a couple of other riders used his spot to find him.

Oh, and the key to solving a problem with AT&T is always the third person you speak to. I just avoid Garmin.

m
 

Tourmeister

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AT&Ts menu system is straight from the deepest pit of hades...

Their "My ATT" app is not much better. I login, click support, and it immediately tells me I need to login for personal support. So I login again, and again, and again... round and round until I want to throw the phone through a brick wall... :argh:
 

Jarrett

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Apr 12, 2018
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I'm that one weird guy that says Garmin is ok.

I've been buying GPS devices from them since about 2001 or so and they typically work well for me. They seem fairly intuitive to me for whatever reason.

One time I had a heart monitor of theirs crap out on me and I called support. They said sorry, we'll ship you a new one for free right now.

Oddly, the one I've had the most issues with was my Zumo, but it works fine once I got my head around it.
 

Tourmeister

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My issue with Garmin has never been the actual GPS unit. The ones I have had work well. The few times I have had to deal with their customer support, they took good care of me. My issue is how they handle the maps and tying them to particular units.

If I spend $100+ to buy the maps, I should be able to use that on any unit I buy. But their unlock codes make it so that I have to buy more maps, even if all I am doing is upgrading to a newer GPS unit. Worse, I had to replace a hard drive in my computer and do a reinstall of Basecamp. I could not find my old CD for the map I had, a legit copy, so I could not reinstall. Even though I had an unlock code on file with them, they would not let me download the maps even though they WERE available. Now I have to use those OSM Generic maps.

Let's face it, the map data is out there. Trying to protect that like it is some proprietary info is crazy. They should provide the full maps for free. Then they should let you buy all the special info stuff as an extra and maybe tie that to particular units. But even that seems kind of crazy because ALL of that info is on Google maps for free. ALL of the stuff you might look up on your GPS: food, gas, lodging, and more, you can do on your phone. So Garmin is really just shooting themselves in the feet here. Why pay all that money to Garmin when you already have a phone that basically does everything the GPS unit does? More and more of the rides I have done with groups, I am seeing phones mounted on the handle bars instead of GPS units. If Garmin doesn't get this, they are doomed...
 

Crew Chief

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Their file naming conventions are another thing that gets to me. GPSsup can be a map of anything.
 

copb8

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Working with Basecamp and getting just the right route mapped is difficult enough, but what really makes me want to stomp all over the thing is when you get it downloaded and on the bike and it completely reroutes everything. You have to be so careful with the ride type and routing preferences for both environments or it'll bite you.

Also, I don't know if they fixed the issue where you design an epic beautiful day-ride just to find out when you press 'Go' to start it basically tells you you're already home and skips the 3 dozen waypoints you mapped? Oooooooooo.........something is going to DIE! Now I always map at least 2 independent routes, one outbound and one inbound.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
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At the back of the pack and out of the dust
AT&Ts menu system is straight from the deepest pit of hades...

Their "My ATT" app is not much better. I login, click support, and it immediately tells me I need to login for personal support. So I login again, and again, and again... round and round until I want to throw the phone through a brick wall... :argh:
Appreciate the frustration. I've dealt with them from a consumer and a business perspective. In business you generally get a rep. As a consumer I'll start with the app, go to chat then get a direct number from the agent on chat. This takes some social engineering, but it can happen fast. The first layer of representation will be following a script. The second layer is generally not in the right department. The third rep has always solved my problem. I even call them when the local cell tower is slow at the farm. It is annoying, but all of the cable and wireless companies I've dealt with were just as bad.
 

Tourmeister

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Working with Basecamp and getting just the right route mapped is difficult enough, but what really makes me want to stomp all over the thing is when you get it downloaded and on the bike and it completely reroutes everything. You have to be so careful with the ride type and routing preferences for both environments or it'll bite you.

Also, I don't know if they fixed the issue where you design an epic beautiful day-ride just to find out when you press 'Go' to start it basically tells you you're already home and skips the 3 dozen waypoints you mapped? Oooooooooo.........something is going to DIE! Now I always map at least 2 independent routes, one outbound and one inbound.
There is an easy solution to that.

Make your perfect route in Basecamp. Once you have it just right, convert it to a track and save. ONLY transfer the track files to the unit. When you are ready to ride, you can just have the track display on the map if you want a line to follow that doesn't change if you go off on a rabbit trail. However, you don't get any navigation prompts and such. If you want all that, you can tell the unit to route using the track, which will generally work very well.

I never load routes on my GPS. They are worthless. If you try to share them with another person, there is no telling what the end result will be on their unit. But, if you share a track, it will always be the same.

I generally make my tracks BRIGHT red so they are easy to see.

The other nice thing is that I can still use the routing features of the unit to find stuff that might be off my track, or to see how far it might be from my current location to a particular point on the track, etc,... but my track is always visible on the screen and doesn't go away because I started doing something else.
 
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Whether it is Garmin or Google Maps or Open Street Maps, they all have enough errors that the user has to interpret the information anyway. How many times has Garmin routed you down a rancher's private road? Google has the Houston Holocaust museum pinpointed at the site of their offices, not the actual museum. Same problem with Tollwood in Munich, so it's world wide. My biggest gripe with all of this stuff is that it is "feature bound" - too many features that I don't use prevent me from using the features I would like to use.
 

Tourmeister

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As I tell new users - never buy a Garmin map on anything but the SD card which you can slot into the unit & remove when used elsewhere.
When I was first buying them, that wasn't an option. Only when I got the Montana 600 did that become an option, but I was able to use the maps I had with it because I still had one "unlock" left on the map I had. If I were to buy another one, I'd be out of luck.

So are you saying you can purchase the maps loaded on an SD card and that this will then work in ANY unity that has an SD slot? There is nothing that ties it to a particular unit like the unlock codes?
 

Crew Chief

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Yes. The SD card can be moved from unit to unit pretty much without trouble. You can't copy it to the units internal memory though or to your computer. When I first bought a Garmin it was really frustrating to find out how you could use the information that came in the various formats. All of them are different. Thee way they describe it in their literature is clear once you have some knowledge of them, but not necessarily to someone new to the format. I finally went the other way and did the lifetime update thing with my Zumo 550 (that I've just sold). I only have two units and it was cheaper to buy that than have to buy updated maps every couple of years. That also let me have a copy of the map on my computer so I didn't have to have the media or the unit at my desk if I wanted to plan a route using the same map. They aren't available for my Montana for some reason and I've wound up using OSM for that. I could do a separate thread on the trouble I had getting a new map onto the Zumo.

I just bought a Ford truck with navigation and people all over the web complain about it. I don't understand that. It just seems to work for me. The search dunction is much easier to use than the Garmins and it finds stuff the Garmins won't. I wish I could send address to it from my phone or computer. If I could it would be nearly perfect. I've done just a little reading on four wheeling and "overlanding" lately and I don't see Garmin mentioned hardly at all in that community. They do have the advantage of being able to use tablets and that would be difficult for us, but it gives them some nice software options.

I'm curious as to how you route with a track.
 

copb8

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Someone needs to host a GPS Technical Day where everyone comes together with the resident expert who shows everyone the ropes. And just so we're clear, I'm definitely am NOT the expert.
 

philipbarrett

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Someone needs to host a GPS Technical Day where everyone comes together with the resident expert who shows everyone the ropes. And just so we're clear, I'm definitely am NOT the expert.
I'd be happy to do that. It's really understanding the difference between Tracks & Routes and getting your head around the pretty awful Basecamp. I can also show you were to get some great free maps online (Topos particularly) & how to load them.
 

philipbarrett

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So are you saying you can purchase the maps loaded on an SD card and that this will then work in ANY unity that has an SD slot? There is nothing that ties it to a particular unit like the unlock codes?
Yes; & using basic computer tools (Carbon Copy Cloner or similar) you can duplicate it to another card too :trust:
 
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PLB is a ACR Rescue link , I bought it at a bass pro store , I can’t believe I found the box in less than a minute of searching . bumping it and sending a false signal would be fairly difficult , also that my make it a little awkward to activate if you were banged up real bad . Not expecting to ever need it but it’s there just in case . I had one garmin I kinda liked many years ago when it got trashed that was the end of garmin for me , I buy elcheapo gps that need nothing more than turned on , I don’t route with a gps , I can read a paper map just fine and the poi data is absolutely garbage on every gps I ever looked at . Its out of date when you open the box . And usally wrong anyway .
 

Tourmeister

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Yes; & using basic computer tools (Carbon Copy Cloner or similar) you can duplicate it to another card too :trust:
Can you transfer the maps from the card to your computer? Or at least have it plugged into an SD slot on the computer so you can use it in Basecamp?
 
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