A little over a year ago, in advance of the “Drive Hands Free” Cell Phone Law being enacted in British Columbia, my wife bought me a TomTom Go630 GPS.
It was something I had always thought about, but had never even looked at for myself, and I was excited.
It was difficult to sync up to my Blackberry initially… even the guy at the Future Shop, when we went back, had some difficulty, but he eventually got it working.
The Golden Ears Bridge opened a few months later, and I was disappointed that for many months after that, TomTom had no update for their maps, but otherwise it was great, and we were pleased with it. I did post a comment on their website, and on Twitter, about the lack of updated Maps, but received no reply to either comment.
A few months later, my TomTom GPS lost its ability to connect to my Blackberry, at all. It would “see” it, but it wouldn’t connect, to allow usage.
I wasted several hours, over a number of days, loading and re-loading software, and trying to get it to work… and then my wife reminded me that she had purchased the extended warranty, and that I should take it to Future Shop, to ask them for help or suggestions.
So, the next day I went off to the store, and, as one gets in this type of situation, was a bit… unsure… how this situation would get settled.
Well, I needn’t have been concerned, because no sooner had I walked up to the Customer Service counter, than the fellow there asked me, “Did it stop working with your Bluetooth ?”
I nodded, and he called to the appropriate department over the phone, and said to the person on the other end, “Yeah, got a customer with a TomTom… yeah… yeah… GO 630… can you bring it up front ?”
And, so it was, that I realized that I was just one of a number of customers who had had a similar problem.
Fortunately, I had used a removable SD Memory Card to store all the options, voices and custom maps, so when they handed me a new GPS, I popped out my Memory Card, and I was on my way.
Back at home, I logged into my TomTom account, connected the new machine, registered it as mine, got map updates, connected it to my Blackberry, and I was good to go…
Until a few months later, when, again, it lost its ability to communicate with my phone.
So, I went back to a different Future Shop… but again, had a similar experience, except this time the lady didn’t even ASK what the specific trouble was, she just called the Manager, and asked him to get me a replacement.
I came home, and logged into my Tom Tom account, hooked up the replacement machine, and tried to connect it, and was informed by a Pop Up Window that I wasn’t allowed to change GPS’s, because it hadn’t been six months since the last change. It also went on to say that if there were any issues, I should contact TomTom Customer Service.
I send a message to TomTom, both by e-mail and Twitter, and a few days later, get a reply with instructions on how to connect a replacement phone to my TomTom GPS.
By now, I am getting frustrated, so I let a few days pass, to cool down.
But, I hadn’t read that if I didn’t reply within 72 hours, they would consider the issue resolved.
So, I started again, with a new letter.
Three days later, I get an acknowledgement of my request, and the following statement:
In order to resolve this issue, please provide us with the Proof of Purchase for the device. Attach the Proof of Purchase (invoice copy) in .pdf, .bmp, or .jpeg to this incident by following the steps provided in the link following. An original copy of the receipt or the invoice showing the date of the purchase, the model and the dollar amount.
I’m not sure WHAT difference it makes, that I have a cash register receipt that shows that I exchanged it… but, shaking my head, I sent it off to the good folks at TomTom this morning.
In the meantime, I have a TomTom GPS that is a Bluetooth phone connection, and little else.
I find it stunning that TomTom has no Customer Service Reps who reply to customers on Twitter.
I find it appalling that I am being made to jump through hoops, to prove that I AM a TomTom customer.
In a time where technology is becoming less about brand name, and more about options, features and price… as a commodity, when something goes wrong, you HAVE to have good customer care, otherwise your Brand will develop a stigma. And stigma in the marketplace is very hard to remove.
My experience has been bad, and yet I am still forced to use their product, until my warranty is up… so TomTom have me trapped as a customer.
I know that the next time I buy a GPS, it will not be another TomTom, nor would I ever recommend TomTom to anyone.
This type of customer relationship is NOT GOOD for either side.
I hold out faint hope that someone at TomTom may care, and may yet be able to pull something out of their hat… but I fear that TomTom may have locked the castle gates, and are huddled inside, listening to one angry villager pounding on the doors, but unwilling or unable to help or talk.
As I re-read this post, it is a tad ranty, and I apologize for that.
When we get new technology, it is bright and exciting… and we want it to work, and to have a good experience with it.
Sometimes the experience is not what we expect, such as my NetBook purchase… where I realized belatedly that my needs require a larger screen than the NetBook affords me. However, I still use my NetBook, and enjoy it for what it is.
When we purchase technology and there are continuing issues… the experience is not enjoyable or beneficial.
I don’t think I have EVER had a similar situation to the one I’m experiencing with TomTom… where the product has repeated “issues” on multiple devices, and the Customer Service seems to be delayed, and inconsistently attentive.
Subsequent to writing this Post, I received another e-mail, asking for the Device Code of the new device, and saying in part:
Thank you for updating the incident. We appreciate your time and efforts in contacting us.
I apprehend that you are upset with TomTom Customer Service that you have experienced. Please be assured that we always have the best of intentions of providing outstanding customer service to our customers, and we will do our best to address any issues you may have.
Kindly note that I have escalated this issue to the concerned team for further assistance. We will contact you when more information is available.
In the meanwhile, I sincerely request you to please provide us with the device code of your device. You can find the device code with the instructions in the following link: (No longer working, as of a Tom Tom site do-over)
Once we have the device code we will ensure that we will resolve this issue instantly.
I know how exasperating this experience has been for you, but we know the importance of our business with our valued customers. Let me assure you that what happened in your case is not typical of our level of customer service. We continue to be committed to providing you and all of our customers with the highest standards of service in the industry.
Maybe they will pull this one out, and I won’t have any further problems… Time will tell.
Something… somewhere… has obviously clicked, because after 8 days, I have had 2 e-mails within the span of an hour, both most apologetic about the delays in getting me a resolution to my problem, and now my TomTom GPS is a functioning GPS again.
I just hope it doesn’t break again….
And, in a further update, TomTom just contacted me to ask me to give an assessment of the Customer Service Care that I have received. It will be interesting to see if I receive any further response, as I called into question their willingness to stand behind their products which are sold, but have an apparent defect.