Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin tech support

A couple of months ago, I took my wife and Garmin 60CS snowboarding. My wife fared better than the GPS. Upon return, when I attempted to download the tracks, I was not able to establish communication with my computer. I tried it on multiple computers, reloaded the USB driver, did a hard reset, etc.

I believe that I had damaged the seals (I could see visual evidence of this), probably due to my misuse of a RAM mount on my bike. BTW, this post is by no means a criticism of my GPSMAP 60CS or the RAM mount. I test GPS receivers and report on them here, and I am brutal with those I own. I just eat the cost of repair every year or so.

I should have just replaced it, but couldn’t convince myself to pony up the money for a 60CSx, even though I’ll probably get one before long. Guess my wife will inherit the 60CS.

So onto the tale of my journey into the world of Garmin customer service. Is their tech support really as good as people say?

I was disappointed right away when I went to Garmin’s support page and saw that their hours are M-F, 8-5, Central time. Strike one.

So I called the next morning and got a message saying to expect a 30-35 minute wait. Strike two. By this point I was thinking, man, these guys are expanding too fast. Why don’t they just hire and train more tech support people? And they’re big enough now to go 24/7.

Next step…email support, figuring I might get a faster answer that way. Nope. Over the next four days, I corresponded with a tech support person five times. I tried to reply as soon as I could. They seemed to be on a once a day schedule.

I finally managed to convince Garmin that I wasn’t the problem, and they told me to call for an RMA number. Why they couldn’t do that by email, I don’t know. This time they said I would have to wait 15 minutes. I guess that’s progress.

True to their word, a refurbished unit came back 7 to 10 days after they received the dead one. Of course when I tried to load City Select, it didn’t recognize the unit. One more email exchange and I got new unlock codes.

Overall, I wasn’t super impressed with Garmin’s customer service, but they did come through in the end. All’s well that ends well I guess. And despite my travails, it appears that Garmin still has a better reputation  for support than 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.


  1. Robert J LaRue says:

    I called garmin (18008001020) and they said they registered my gps. I want to unlock maps and the software does not accept the 25 digit unlock code. I tried going to your web site and it said my code was already inuse. plese let me know how to resolve this so a can update the maps on your web site.

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