The Garmin Response

I mentioned that I would post Garmin’s email response to my complaints about the Garmin Fenix. If you would like to read the previous post to get the whole story, you can do so here. Last Sunday, I returned the Fenix to REI after trying to get it to work for about 6-7 months. Here is the email thread in the order in which they were sent.

Me:

Hello I have emailed Garmin multiple times about issues I have had with my Fenix. It has reboot in the middle of runs and bike rides so many times I can’t count. I simply don’t trust the device. I have gone through any troubleshooting that you have suggested but the problem is that the crashes are intermittent. So I might try your fix only to have it crash on me again two weeks later. I even stopped using the Fenix altogether for the last 2-3 months because I was so frustrated. This week I tried it again only to lose another run yesterday. Everything appeared to be fine. The device did not reboot but when I attempted to load to Garmin Connect there was no run to be found. On the device there is a blank activity sitting there. That’s a new one. Two days later, the device crashed again 2.5 hours into my trail run.

So before my warranty runs out I am making a final request of Garmin to make this right. I can send my device back to you but the Fenix is flawed. I have seen and read other reports all over the internet about people with the exact same problems. If you can switch this device out for something equivalent you might retain a customer. I bought one of your most expensive products because I wanted the best. That is not what I received. Please help make this right. Please DO NOT ask me to troubleshoot any more. I am simply not willing to try any more. I have the most up to date firmware. I’ve tried the full resets. I’ve done everything you have asked me to do. Not working.

Garmin:

Dear Mr. Madaus,

Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I am happy to continue the support.

I am not sure why you are still experiencing the shut down issue with your fenix. The unit should archive the track, once it reaches close to 10,000 trackpoints, and then start a new one. These tracks would then show up as one track, once saved. I would recommend exchanging the unit a this point.

Your unit is still under warranty, so we would just need some information from you to set up a Return Material Authorization. Please provide the following:

Name:
Daytime Phone Number:
E-Mail Address:
Shipping Address:
Brief Description of Issues:
Serial Number:

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Me:

Hello,

Thank you for the reply, and thank you for offering to exchange the unit. However, I was able to return the device to the store where I bought it. I was not aware I could return it after 10 months. I asked you to exchange the unit months ago, but you would not do so without going through a series of time consuming tests. I was very patient throughout that process (while continuing to lose run and ride data), but you continuously asked me to keep testing instead of exchanging the unit. Now that I finally give up, you offer to exchange the unit. It’s too late now. I will not be using Garmin in the future.

Thank you for your help.

Garmin:

Dear Kris Madaus,

Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I am happy to assist further.

I am glad you were able to return the defective unit. However, I am sorry you feel that our devices do not meet your needs, and hope you will find that we have high quality products that will meet your needs in the future. I understand that your experience with the fenix was not as desired. I do think that this unit is one that has an issue. In any manufacturing process it is possible that a unit makes it through quality control with a defect that could not be detected easily. This seems to have been the case here.

Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience and frustration this may have caused, and let us know if we may be of assistance in the future.

Final Notes

I did appreciate the tone and responsiveness from Garmin in the above emails. I asked for a device exchange, and they agreed to do that. However, since I found another way out, I had to take it. It sounded like Garmin would have shipped me another Fenix. Problems on the Fenix didn’t show up for a few months. It worked great for the first 2-3 months. And then, once problems did crop up, they were intermittent. But as time passed, the problems got worse and worse such that it was failing on every single run. If I accepted an exchange from Garmin, I might be going through that whole process again. That was the whole problem with my Garmin support conversations over the last few months. It would look like the problem was resolved, but later it would appear again. No way to know when. No way to ever get the data from that run or ride back.

As I think I stated previously, this isn’t just a problem with the Fenix crashing. The battery life also was not anywhere close to what is advertised. I have had problems with other Garmin devices. The Forerunner 305 would constantly have problems uploading to websites. The worst of those websites was the Garmin Connect site. Not only that, but Garmin lost all of my activity data back when they made the transition to Garmin Connect. They were unable to resolve the problem, so I lost about two years worth of data. Garmin Connect still has intermittent problems today. Also, I am not the only person having problems with Garmin. I often hear stories, complaints, and frustrations about their devices. I might have had a defective device. Or maybe the Fenix itself is defective. It’s still a new product. Might be flawed. The bottom line, I can’t trust Garmin devices any longer. I have been slapped int he face too many times to go back to them. The analogy I gave previously is that it’s like being in a bad relationship, but you never break up. I’m not like that. We’re breaking up.

There are plenty of great devices on the market now. Suunto, Magellan, and Polar devices are getting better and better. Some of these companies have not had comparable GPS products in the past. They were not an option. But their products seem to be getting better and better. It’s time to give them a try.

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