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Username: Sharcnetusa

Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 04:58 pm:   

Ok, so your trusty GPS has developed a problem. What do you do? Do you have it repaired or do you toss it in the trash and buy a new one? It's a tough question but it basically depends upon the severity of the problem.

The majority of problems with GPS's these days can be easily repaired at a reasonable cost if you find the right repair shop.

But beware, there's a lot of vultures out there. When I used to own a store front Electronics repair shop, we heard many horror stories about shops charging ridiculous prices for repairs.

Many people become rather attached to their GPS and would rather pay to have it repaired than replaced. They cringe at the idea of losing all of their favorite POI's and addresses and that makes a lot of sense. No one wants to have to go through the entire process of re-programming a GPS from scratch.

So, when does replacement become a better option than having a repair made?

Well, if you dropped the GPS into the water or if it was run over by a vehicle, then you're better off getting a new GPS. Water can damage many components and even if the unit appears to work, there's no guarantee it won't fail tomorrow.

However, if you just have a simple problem like a dead battery, bad speaker, bad touchscreen or bad LCD display, it will most likely be cheaper to have your GPS repaired than buying a new one.

Again, a lot has to do with the shop and what they charge. After all, they are out to make a profit.

So, how do you find a reliable & trustworthy repair shop? Google their name. See if you can find any references to their work on various GPS forums. Do they have any testimonials on their webpage? Are they willing to let you contact any of the people who gave a testimonial?

Do they offer reduced prices on multiple repairs? If a unit is already open, they should be able to offer a discount to fix multiple problems.

Do they offer a warranty? Do they stand behind their work?

What about return shipping? How well do they pack your unit when it comes back to you? Will the package be insured? They can be the best repair shop in the world but if they don't pack your unit well and offer to insure it, what good is it if your GPS is damaged in transit or is lost?

What about Customer Service? Can you actually talk to someone "live" that actually worked on your unit or do you just get an automated voice menu or representative who is reading a script? There is nothing worse than being put on hold for 15 minutes and then when you finally explain your problem, they tell you you have the wrong department and they transfer you to someone else.

When you take your car in for servicing, do you discuss the problems with the mechanic or a secretary? Wouldn't you rather talk to the person who is actually performing the work on your car? Why should it be any different for your GPS?

Won't a New GPS give me more features than my old GPS?

Maybe.... maybe not. I've found that some of the older GPS units are actually better than some of the newer models. Wait.... How can that be? Well, it's all about profit.

I'll give you an example. A few years back, one of the leading GPS manufacturer's came out with a GPS line that literally saturated the market. The units had a detachable/powered (cradle) window mount and came with not only a car charger but a AC wall charger as well and USB data cable (allows firmware and map upgrades).

A few years later, the manufacturer came out with a new line, I call it the "GPS for Dummies" line, that no longer had the detachable/powered mount OR USB cable and only provided the car charger.

Well, by dropping the cradle mount, this forced the GPS owner to have to plug in and and unplug the power cable from the USB port every time the unit needed to be removed from the vehicle. The stress of plugging and unplugging the unit eventually would break the USB connector and the unit will no longer power on or charge the battery.

So as you can see, "newer" isn't always "better". It's all about profit. It's cheaper to manufacturer a GPS with only a USB port rather than one with a USB port and cradle port. Also, by not providing the data cable, you force the GPS owner to have to "buy" the cable if they want to upgrade their unit. If you ever have a problem with your GPS and call the manufacturer, the first thing they will ask is "Have you upgraded the firmware?" Well, if they don't give you the cable, you can't upgrade the firmware or map unless you purchase the cable.

(Message edited by admin on April 28, 2010)

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