Friday, May 10, 2013

My love-hate relationship with my Garmin

I bought my first Garmin Forerunner (a 305) in 2007 in the US. I have really liked using it.
Over the years mostly due to use, my 305 has approached the end of its life. It reboots on its own and the buttons have peeled off. It also refuses to interact with any of my computers.

In 2011, my brother gifted me a 610 on my birthday and I loved that too. However that device began causing me problems in less than a year of use. As some of you who use it may know (this has also been covered on Garmin forums), the early version of the 610 came only in black and had a metal back cover. This was coated copper which after a while began to react with your skin especially if you sweated a lot and cause skin bruises. I complained about this to Garmin and they replaced it (I'd have added "very graciously" if only they had picked up the freight charges to Taiwan). They sent me a new one then. I used Fedex when I mailed the old device to them and they mailed back by Fedex. While I complained to Garmin in Apr 2012, my issue got resolved by July 2012. I was happy till about Apr 2013 with this. The same issue cropped up since the replacement they had sent was nearly identical to the old one. So I began having the skin issue again. I complained again. Garmin this time picked up the freight charges and collected by Fedex. This is where the misery began.

They sent it back by DHL using something called cargo mode, which is what you typically use for trade shipment. The Indian customs promptly seized my Garmin. Now I am stuck with paperwork issues and will in all likelihood pay duties on my own Garmin (old one!) to even get my hands on it.

If only Garmin had stuck to the old process and sent me a new one like last time, none of this misery would have resulted.

FYI, the later 610s have plastic backs or black coated metal unlike the aluminium colored coating that my old 610 had. So the issue of skin abrasions should not arise with them.

Lesson: Don't use Garmin in India if you are daunted by this issue of service or pray that your Garmin is flawless or at least, lasts for 5 years w/o issues. If your Garmin conks off, just hope that it has survived a year, so that your misery/mourning is less.

I will update this as the story unfolds.

As a side-story, I won a Garmin 610 from Schneider which sponsored the Paris Marathon in a contest. I just ended up paying Rs. 4827 as duties since Schneider sent it as a gift but indicated a high value in stead of a nominal value (usually gifts/prizes are exempt if they are explicitly identified as such, although I think the Indian govt. is selective in what it treats as new/subject to duties). The upside is that I can now sell it since duties are paid!

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