Magellan Sucks at Customer Service

Back in May, I purchased a Magellan Maestro 4370 to use as my primary GPS in the car.  The 4370 has a nice high resolution display, does a good job planning and optimizing multi-stop trips, supports Navteq’s real time TMC traffic, and has a nice quick processor to keep recalculations fast and usable.  When it is working, it is the best GPS that I have yet used… When it is working.

In June, the traffic stopped working and I ended up having to call Magellan for a warranty repair.  This went pretty uneventfully, I called into the tech support number, was connected to some overseas outsourced technician, went over and over the problem for an hour and finally they set up an RMA and shipped out a refurbished unit to me.  Once I got the refurb device, I reactivated my traffic subscription, imported my address book and other settings, and was back on the road.

All went well until this Tuesday.  While driving around using the GPS as I normally do, the refurb 4370 popped itself out of the windshield mount and dropped onto my passenger seat.  I figured that I had just not snapped it in properly, so I picked it up to remount it.  At that point, I noticed the device was amazingly hot, and that a huge lump had grown out of the back of the unit!  The GPS had popped out of the mount because the giant lump no longer allowed it to fit.  I unplugged the GPS from the charger for a while and it cooled down, but would no longer turn on.  Plugging the charger back in would allow it to turn on, but it would quickly become very hot again.  Seems to me that the battery shorted out.

Once fully cooled, the lump shrunk somewhat, but it is still quite noticable and prevents the GPS from being snapped into its mount.  This marker should be laying perfectly flat on the back of the unit, but as you can see, it is not.

Badly Swollen Magellan Maestro 4370

Badly Swollen Magellan Maestro 4370

Anyway, so now the fun has begun.  Last night I called their technical support department and spent an hour describing the problem.

It really shouldn’t have taken an hour but the technician I spoke with, “Justin”, did not have a native grasp of English.  I understand that companies try to save money by sending support calls overseas.  A company could also save money using outdated documents as toilet paper, but that does not mean it is a good idea.  When sent overseas, what would be a twenty minute dialog with a support agent possessing a native grasp of English turns into an hour long ordeal filled by constant repetition.  It is a negative experience for the user both in the difficulty expressing the problem to the agent, having to ask “Do you understand?” after every sentence, as well as the amount of time required.  I digress…

I was told that they were issuing an RMA and that I would receive an email in about 15 minutes.  Magellan has my account information on file and had previously emailed me, so I figured there would be no problems, but I was wrong.  The email never showed up, so this morning I tried to contact Magellan again to see what was up, but apparently Magellan has other plans today:

  • No Phone Support – Magellan’s contact page lists their US phone technical support hours as 6:00 am to 5:00 pm Pacific Time Monday – Friday.  However, all calls are currently being played the message “No one is available to take your call at this time.  Please try again later.  Goodbye” and being hung up on.  It is currently 8:00 am Pacific on a Thursday.  Nice.
  • No Email Support – Magellan’s contact page also provides a link to this form for emailing a technical support request.  Sounds good, right?  No, not really.  The form does not work in any browser I have tried (Firefox 3, IE7 and IE8, Opera and Safari).  You fill out your problem, dutifully describing the issue, click submit… and are just dropped back at the beginning page of the form again.  No “Thank you for your request” confirmation displayed on screen, no confirmation sent to the email address you provided.  I have never received a response from the info entered on this form (even back with my problem in June) so it seems to not work at all.

With the two primary contact methods out of service, customers including myself are simply screwed.  There is no other way on Magellan’s website to get help, so who knows how long it will take to get this unit fixed.  Magellan will certainly be the last brand I consider the next time I purcahse a GPS unit.

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