Sunday, March 18, 2012

Magellan’s support reputation

Magellan_logo
I’ve seen reports for a long time now about poor customer service and support from Magellan, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned it but have never done a specific post on it. But this week, I just kept coming across complaints from angry consumers. Since the holiday shopping season is nearly upon us, I decided to post this as a way of saying caveat emptor (buyer beware). Here are some examples I’ve come across:

How about you? What kind of customer service or support experience have you had with Magellan?

ADDENDUM:

Tim, from GPSReview.net, sent me some links fro his forums, with additional consumer complaints about Magellan:

 

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Knowing dozens (hundreds?) of local geocachers using primarily Garmin or Magellan GPSs, I can confirm that people I know personally tell very different stories about their support experiences with these brands.
    I know one Magellan user that never received replies (other than automatic courtesy email) to multiple emails and web support requests. Others have had similar complaints, while some seemed to have had better luck.
    Garmin’s support is generally considered first rate, especially if you contact them by phone and talk to a live person.
    The one area I hear Garmin get dinged is that their phone support people aren’t always technically savvy about their products. I don’t consider this a huge issue as long as they understand my issue and help to get it resolved anyway, but we have at least one local who gets irked if the random person he gets on the phone doesn’t have an in-depth understanding of his particular pet peeve.
    Knowing the individuals involved also helps me appreciate how some (but not all) people are much more challenging for these companies to keep happy. 🙂

  2. I’ve posted a follow up at our branding blog.

  3. David, I agree — people bring their own issues into this too.
    BB, thanks for the update. Folks can read it at http://www.brandidentityguru.com/wordpress/?p=388

  4. I had two experiences with Magellan, and it was a mixed bag. Basically, the Indian reps didn’t understand my eXplorist’s charging problem, and wanted to replace the cable and battery one at a time (2 different calls, 2 different shipments). I knew those wouldn’t fix the problem, but they wouldn’t listen or couldn’t understand the technical nature of the problem I had diagnosed with equipment. Then when the screen had to be replaced, the Indian rep was very helpful but the repair job from Fort Worth was shoddy, messing up the rubber seal and making my unit no longer waterproof.
    I hear that Magellan’s Canadian repair center, Bill’s Electronics, is much more helpful.
    This all took place before Magellan’s purchase by Shah Capital, and it sounds like service is actually getting worse instead of better. A lot of Magellan users were hopeful this ownership change would make things better. They really need to get their house in order. Nobody except gadget fans and Magellan fanbois (is there such a thing?) will buy the new Triton if these customer service horror stories continue. Surely there will be bugs in these long-delayed devices, and judging from past experience, we cannot trust Magellan to fix them.
    If these tales of customer service woes continue, it won’t matter how good their product is if nobody can get any help when something breaks or goes wrong.

  5. Right on dude. I agree completely. I’m trying to decide whether to buy a Triton or not if I can’t wrestle a review unit from them right away, and all the horror stories make me nervous.

  6. Just to comment on what Marty posted, the Canadian repair center is fantastic. From what I can tell, he doesn’t actually repair the units, just does a quick verification that what you’ve said is wrong is actually wrong, then replaces the unit (in my case, the unit needed to be flashed, and they sent me a new one).
    However, the phone support is horrible. Took over an hour on the phone while waiting for a “supervisor” to authorize the person I was dealing with to fix my problem (and they didn’t -really- fix it, just used a workaround to get me by).
    Basically, mapsend wouldn’t authorize, so I couldn’t use it. I called, explained the situation, and was told that a supervisor would have to call me back within 24 hours. A day and a half later, I called them back, and they told me it could take up to another 48 hours, as they were extremely busy. At that point, I asked for a supervisor, and told them that I would hold. Almost an hour later, the supervisor finally took my call (thank goodness for speaker-phone). All they ended up doing in the end was had me create a new profile on the magellan site, and sold me a “new” copy of the software linked to that profile. Why it took that long to do that is beyond me.

  7. Ray LaBelle says:

    I had a problem with my Magellan 700 and called the “service center” for information on how to return it and advised them that it was out of warranty. It took three telephone calls for them to give me an RMA, address and shipping instructions. After I mailed it I called on at least six occasions to find out the status and I keep getting the same round around. They keep insisting I provide them a tracking number from the US Postal Service which I do not have and I am currently in my 45th minute trying to get to talk to a supervisor. Definitely no service. Am filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in Santa Clara, CA, their headquarters.

  8. Mindy Green says:

    I am having a problem with Magellan. I sent my unit off to get repaired August 28, 2007. They took my credit card information to charge me for repairing the unit and said it would be a couple of weeks. A month went by and I had not received my unit back. I called Magellan and to get someone who did not speak English on the phone. They promised me it would be a week, a week later I had not received my GPS. I called back to speak to someone else that did not speak English, I ended up just upgrading the unit for almost $300 and they took my credit card information again.
    I have talked to the customer service department in India over a dozen times and every time they give me a new date in which I will receive my new unit. Here it is December 12 and still to unit. I can not get anyone on the phone to HELP ME.
    I have called corporate to get the same message as the over seas number. I have tried to get a real person at corporate on the phone by trying different departments, only to get voicemails that are full. I finally got a voicemail that was not full and left a message for the Quality Department and never received a call back.

  9. Mindy Green says:

    I am having a problem with Magellan. I sent my unit off to get repaired August 28, 2007. They took my credit card information to charge me for repairing the unit and said it would be a couple of weeks. A month went by and I had not received my unit back. I called Magellan and to get someone who did not speak English on the phone. They promised me it would be a week, a week later I had not received my GPS. I called back to speak to someone else that did not speak English, I ended up just upgrading the unit for almost $300 and they took my credit card information again.
    I have talked to the customer service department in India over a dozen times and every time they give me a new date in which I will receive my new unit. Here it is December 12 and still to unit. I can not get anyone on the phone to HELP ME.
    I have called corporate to get the same message as the over seas number. I have tried to get a real person at corporate on the phone by trying different departments, only to get voicemails that are full. I finally got a voicemail that was not full and left a message for the Quality Department and never received a call back.

  10. Mindy Green says:

    I am having a problem with Magellan. I sent my unit off to get repaired August 28, 2007. They took my credit card information to charge me for repairing the unit and said it would be a couple of weeks. A month went by and I had not received my unit back. I called Magellan and to get someone who did not speak English on the phone. They promised me it would be a week, a week later I had not received my GPS. I called back to speak to someone else that did not speak English, I ended up just upgrading the unit for almost $300 and they took my credit card information again.
    I have talked to the customer service department in India over a dozen times and every time they give me a new date in which I will receive my new unit. Here it is December 12 and still to unit. I can not get anyone on the phone to HELP ME.
    I have called corporate to get the same message as the over seas number. I have tried to get a real person at corporate on the phone by trying different departments, only to get voicemails that are full. I finally got a voicemail that was not full and left a message for the Quality Department and never received a call back.

  11. Mindy,
    Thanks for sharing that. If nothing else, it may keep others away from Magellan. Surely they are going to change their customer service setup at some point. I just don’t see how they can stay in business with a reputation like this.

  12. I purchased a 6000T from Walmart about a year ago. On October 29th, I purchased a map upgrade which required a firmware upgrade from version 1.15 to 1.16.
    I followed the upgrade instructions when I selected the SD card to receive the update on rather than the USB which should have been selected. The unit was waiting for an SD card. At this point I thought rather than have a problem with my unit, I would telephone your support. This I did and I had the misfortune to speak to someone called “Peter Wilson” who rather then trying to understand what my screen was displaying, just instructed me to press the reset button. I expressed my concern and he assured me that it was the correct thing to do. I did as instructed and the unit just came back with a blank screen no matter how many times I powered it up and down. I mentioned to “Peter” that all I got was a blank screen and he casually said “your unit is broken. It must be a power problem. See if it works in the car”. I mentioned that I was using the AC adaptor that was supplied with the upgrade and also that the batteries were charged and in addition the green power light was illuminated and so this can’t be the problem. “Peter” insisted that it was and that I should try it in the car. He just wanted to get rid of me.
    I called back and spoke to numerous people trying to get them to understand that my device was broken because of negligence within Magellan’s support. These people were devoid of any emotion whatsoever and just came to the conclusion that the unit was broken and that I should send it back to be repaired. I eventually spoke to a supervisor who said that they would raise an RA and gave me a number. I mentioned that this was not my fault and I should not have to pay for shipping as I would already lose the unit for 2 weeks plus. The supervisor said that I would receive a label within 24 hours. This was in excess of a month ago now. I call back support, speak to what seems to be a robot, spell my name letter by letter, explain the same thing again, getting the usual “sorry” and that I should wait another 24 hours. I then tell them that I go through this every day and that I know I’m not going to get the label. They say “yes you will”, I wait again and the cycle begins the next day again. I have noted a few of the people involved in my daily ritual:-
    Peter Wilson
    Nichole
    Julie
    Max Davids
    Sam Richard
    Jenny
    Walter Shy X 2
    Nester
    Justin Richardson
    Jack Taylor
    Jerry Craig
    Ashley
    Kevin
    The last 2 people on this list hung up on me.
    During my conversations, I gave a Hotmail account as they thought that maybe a spam filter could be the problem. I know that it would not be a problem as I have never had an issue before. I did get excited when I opened an email from Vishaal Isaac from Magellan in my hotmail account on December 6th. Unfortunately this was a survey to see how well support was performing. I went to complete the survey as I wanted to let them know how bad the “service” was but I just got “Page not Found” when I clicked on the link. You really couldn’t make this up if you tried!
    I really can’t believe that a company could outsource to a company such as Slash Support to save a few dollars. I would sooner pay an extra $10 and not have this terrible experience. This seems to me to be corporate suicide. What is Magellan thinking? In my 25+ years in IT, I have never seen anything like this and it is shameful. Any number you try at Magellan will result in a voicemail being taken or me being transferred to a robot in India. Nobody at Magellan seems to care.
    After reading everyone elses experiences, I am scared to send it back although the unit’s dead anyway. Maybe I’ll go to Walmart although the unit’s out of warranty and shout load about them dealing with this dreadful company.
    Needless to say, I will tell everyone I know about this and put my story on as many forums I can. In addition, I’m tempted to buy a http://www.magellan-sucks.com website and put everyones stories on it so that when people search for Magellan, they will see the real face of this shameful company.
    How can Best Buy, Walmart and Target etc. deal with this company???? It is totally beyond me…Maybe we all need to let them know how much this company stinks.

  13. I’ve been very disappointed with Magellan, to the point I gave up and bought a Garman.
    My husband gave me a Roadmate 760 for christmas 2005. Right away I had trouble with it taking 15-20 minutes to find me every time. I called support and never got through. I emailed and was told it was normal.
    About 3 months later, I realized my maps were terribly out of date and in some cases flat out wrong. It couldn’t even get me to my own address which had existed for 30+ years. I called sales/support and was told the maps weren’t their responsibility and I should contact Thales Navigation and file a correction. I attempted, but Thales didn’t even list Magellan as a client.
    About 3 months later, my Roadmate started saying “turn left” when the map showed a right turn and visa versa. It also blacked out. I called again and waiting until I finally spoke with someone. I was given the option to mail it in for warranty evaluation, but had to agree to give it up for 2-3 months! Lot a good that would do me since I was heavily traveling for soccer.
    Now, two years later I decide to take advantage of the map update and $20 discount, only none were actually available. I called sales/support, waited a half hour for a person with a strong accent who referred me to another location on the webpage. It was the same info as the other site. I emailed support and was told to call sales/support. I emailed back and said I had already done that. Never got a response. I called sales/support and waited another half hour on hold, to speak to another strong-accented person who told me to try back in another week. Ugh! Glad I bought a Garman!

  14. I bought a Roadmate 1200 less than 20 days ago, and my car charger’s already burned out. The tech support call took a total of 40 minutes. The result was that I was given a new case number and asked to wait for a few days as they were out of stock with the car charger.
    They also asked me to call back “mid next week”.
    As a company I expected more from Magellan. Although their product is decent for the money, they can do well by asking their support to be more swift.

  15. Todd S. Priest says:

    Feburary 4, 2008
    I bought my first GPS – a Magellan Triton 300 for my son at Christmas. I was realy excited about this new GPS after reading reviews about it. Paid $149.= $49. with NG Topo maps.
    Only to find out that the units had a mass recall right before christmas, most websites all pulled the units except radio shack who didn’t seem to care. They sold them anyway.
    So the new fixed unit arrived the day before christmas, who the people at swiftmaps said were working great!
    My unit (a 200 instead of a 300 like a ordered) would turn on but after calling the Support people in India 6 times.
    They said there was no diferant between the 300 model and the 200 model except a wire, and I should keep it anyway!
    They said there was nothing wrong with the GPS, but the engineers were working on the software promblms! And they were all on vacation!
    “We will get back to you soon……..”
    No return calls……
    Called the Offices in CA, “no answer…”
    The unit would turn on with only a white blank screen and a menu that didn’t work.
    The Vateage point software would not connect to the GPS and the unit would not turn off, had to take the batteries out
    for the unit to turn off.
    So after 15 days of waiting for Magellan Triton Engineers from Indian to figue out how to call me back from Indian I gave up…
    I returned the unit to Swiftmaps.com in FL
    who thankfuly refunded my money back $199.
    They said would you like to try another most $$$$ unit they seem to work just fine!
    After this expierce I think I willl never buy a product again from Magellan. I’d rather fine someone who will charge me more $ and have an American Support Person who knows English and doesn’t lie! Maybe bye next christmas they will call me back!
    That is if they can figue out how!
    Todd Priest in NC

  16. Todd S. Priest says:

    Feburary 4, 2008
    I bought my first GPS – a Magellan Triton 300 for my son at Christmas. I was realy excited about this new GPS after reading reviews about it. Paid $149.= $49. with NG Topo maps.
    Only to find out that the units had a mass recall right before christmas, most websites all pulled the units except radio shack who didn’t seem to care. They sold them anyway.
    So the new fixed unit arrived the day before christmas, who the people at swiftmaps said were working great!
    My unit (a 200 instead of a 300 like a ordered) would turn on but after calling the Support people in India 6 times.
    They said there was no diferant between the 300 model and the 200 model except a wire, and I should keep it anyway!
    They said there was nothing wrong with the GPS, but the engineers were working on the software promblms! And they were all on vacation!
    “We will get back to you soon……..”
    No return calls……
    Called the Offices in CA, “no answer…”
    The unit would turn on with only a white blank screen and a menu that didn’t work.
    The Vateage point software would not connect to the GPS and the unit would not turn off, had to take the batteries out
    for the unit to turn off.
    So after 15 days of waiting for Magellan Triton Engineers from Indian to figue out how to call me back from Indian I gave up…
    I returned the unit to Swiftmaps.com in FL
    who thankfuly refunded my money back $199.
    They said would you like to try another most $$$$ unit they seem to work just fine!
    After this expierce I think I willl never buy a product again from Magellan. I’d rather fine someone who will charge me more $ and have an American Support Person who knows English and doesn’t lie! Maybe bye next christmas they will call me back!
    That is if they can figue out how!
    Todd Priest in NC

  17. Todd S. Priest says:

    Feburary 4, 2008
    I bought my first GPS – a Magellan Triton 300 for my son at Christmas. I was realy excited about this new GPS after reading reviews about it. Paid $149.= $49. with NG Topo maps.
    Only to find out that the units had a mass recall right before christmas, most websites all pulled the units except radio shack who didn’t seem to care. They sold them anyway.
    So the new fixed unit arrived the day before christmas, who the people at swiftmaps said were working great!
    My unit (a 200 instead of a 300 like a ordered) would turn on but after calling the Support people in India 6 times.
    They said there was no diferant between the 300 model and the 200 model except a wire, and I should keep it anyway!
    They said there was nothing wrong with the GPS, but the engineers were working on the software promblms! And they were all on vacation!
    “We will get back to you soon……..”
    No return calls……
    Called the Offices in CA, “no answer…”
    The unit would turn on with only a white blank screen and a menu that didn’t work.
    The Vateage point software would not connect to the GPS and the unit would not turn off, had to take the batteries out
    for the unit to turn off.
    So after 15 days of waiting for Magellan Triton Engineers from Indian to figue out how to call me back from Indian I gave up…
    I returned the unit to Swiftmaps.com in FL
    who thankfuly refunded my money back $199.
    They said would you like to try another most $$$$ unit they seem to work just fine!
    After this expierce I think I willl never buy a product again from Magellan. I’d rather fine someone who will charge me more $ and have an American Support Person who knows English and doesn’t lie! Maybe bye next christmas they will call me back!
    That is if they can figue out how!
    Todd Priest in NC

  18. Just an update for Canadian Magellan users. I just went to the Bill’s Electronics website (http://billsgps.tripod.com/) and they have a large banner:
    “Due to irreconcilable differences we are no longer able to supply warranty service for Magellan products in Canada
    Please call 1-800-669-4477 to obtain warranty instructions
    Thank you to all my Canadian customers for your support over the years
    Bill Reuber”

  19. Grace Biggs says:

    My husband and I purchased a Magellan 3100 it worked great for about a year. At times it started freezing up. I called they sent me out a 3200 then a roadmate. Crazy thing but the same problem with the others. After making call after call to try and fix the problem nothing worked. So I had to ship both units back. It’s been going on 3 weeks no calls, no e-mails NOTHING!!!! Today 8/27/08 I having been call since 6:45pm with a total of 15 calls all hang ups, run arounds, lies and many others things. This has been the WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE I HAVE EVER HAD in my life. I’m so upset at this point I honestly happy that they don’t have a company located close to me. It’s hard to live in a place when it’s hard to get around for work when you need to find a place when your short on time. If this company could be shut down due to the customer sevice they give, I for one would be happy!

  20. I got one as a Christmas present and it didn’t even last until Valentine’s Day. Talk about a short fuse!

  21. The Magellan map updates are so out of date that their units are virtually unusable. The extension to interstate I-355 (near Chicago) was completed in November of 2007, but the August 2008 map update I purchased still shows farm fields where the road should be. I talked to Magellan and they had me call Navteq. Navteq redirected me back to Magellan. I did get through to a “supervisor”, but she was quite clear that I would not receive a refund nor would they send me an update when it became available.

  22. I wish I had known about your website before I purchased my Magellan Maestro 4040 last year. The device was the most expensive one at the time. However, it conveniently stopped working just after the warranty expired. The GPS is not holding the charge either from the AC (house) or the DC(car) unit. Even after I reset it, it’s not holding the charge.
    I called the company’s customer service number several times. Other than resetting the GPS, which doesn’t work, the only solution I’ve been offered is to buy a new or refurbished device.
    I also wrote to every email I could find for Magellan, including the company’s Media Relations person, as well as their investment company, Shah Capital Partners, which purchased Magellan, with no luck. Here are the email addresses: info@shahcap.com, jonathan@shahcap.com, rfinelli@magellangps.com, “Magellan GPS” , mtamaru@magellangps.com, lata@shahcap.com, gerald@shahcap.com, pmercadante@shahcap.com
    They are not telling you that the battery dies after the warranty period? Their sales representatives, who are positioned at large retailers like Best Buy, are not telling customers that there is no replacement battery. They didn’t not tell me this prior to my purchase, and when I asked about Magellan customer service, they also boasted about the post-sale technical support assistance. This is false advertisement since, apparently, there is no post-sale customer service available to fix, repair or replace your products and that the customer has to buy a new one instead?
    This is a conflict of interest on the company’s part to sell another device every year. What I don’t understand is why Costco or Best Buy etc. still are selling Magellan products despite these complaints and the company’s Better Business Bureau rating of “F”. Here is the link, which I also forwarded to Magellan corporate offices, as well as the Shah Capital Partners.
    http://sanjose.bbb.org/BusinessReport.aspx?CompanyID=214758

  23. I purchased a Maestro 4250 and then the map update for $75. I did a firmware update which went ok but the map update caused many problems. The tech support people made it worse. The unit was ruined. After two months of calls I was sent to customer resolution. They admitted the software was a problem but said I could not get my money back because I opened it. Is that my problem? After another month of calls and two more units busted by the software They still refused to credit me. I wanted the update since the POI’s were old. They sent me a new software package and another unit but the rep did not recommend installing it. I then got one rep willing to update the software first and send me another new unit. I agreed, waited three weeks and when I called they said he didn’t work there anymore. I guess he was too sane and helpful. The next rep. refused to continue this oral contract. I wanted to send back the unopened new software but the rep said I can’t because I held it too long. Yeah because they told me to wait for the new unit. I asked for a manager. He said the management do not talk to customers. WHAT! After four units (one refurbished) I gave up. NEVER NEVER NEVER buy Magellan products. Four months total of stress and I never got to use it for my trips.

  24. Iris Israel says:

    I had read all the complaints about the Magellan GPS service — but that was after we had purchased the Maestro and had a problem with it — not taking a charge — after about a year. I contacted Customer Support via their website and they were responsive. We shipped the unit back — they replaced it within 2 weeks — and no charges, even for shipping. Seems like they’ve really gotten their act together. It’s a good thing, because their GPS unit is the best we’ve ever used.

  25. Brian R. Greene says:

    Bought Magellan 4370 at the end of April 2009. Around the the end of May I noticed when I unplugged the unit from the auto adapter the unit shut off. The battery was no longer working. I hooked the unit up to the A/C adapter and the unit was fine. Unplug and unit shutoff. Contacted Magellan on June 8, 2009 and was issued a RMA number and was told they would send a label. Waited until June 20, 2009 and no label. So I sent it UPS. Called today July 17 and they advise they just received the unit on July 16, 2009. Checked UPS label and shows delivered and signed for on June 30, 2009. Unit was bought for a vacation to Florida on July 22, 2009. I was guaranteed by the lady that gave me the RMA number I would have the unit back in time for the vacation. Now they are telling 2 weeks from July 16, 2009. I have bought my first and last Magellan product.

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