Why I Hate My TomTom GPS
I've had nothing but trouble with my TomTom GO 720 GPS. And the TomTom customer service rep basically told me to go buy a Garmin. Read on!
My TomTom GPS Doesn't Work...
I bought a TomTom GO 720 GPS almost a year ago. It wasn't my first GPS. But it will be my last TomTom. At the time, it cost about $400, and was supposed to be a top-of-the-line GPS, with a 4.3-inch screen, nice user interface, and text-to-speech pronunciation of street names. Yes, it has a nice touchscreen, many advanced features, and can connect to my cell phone via Bluetooth. Sexy but stupid.
I'm no stranger to electronic devices, and I've owned a few other GPS units. They all could tell me how to get to Philadelphia, or where the nearest coffee shop was located. But not this one. On a recent trip from NYC to Phildelphia, it unexpectedly directed me off the highway. A shortcut, I assumed. Wrong -- it took me through 30 miles of cow town back roads, and ultimately into the very WORST section of Camden, NJ. If you've never been to Camden, suffice it to say that it's ranked as one of the most dangerous US cities, based on crime statistics for murder, rape, robbery, assault, and auto theft. You don't want to go there, and you should be able to count on your GPS to keep you on major highways that run between two large cities.
If that was the only glitch in my travels with the TomTom GO 720, I might have chalked it up to a software error, or an outdated map. But on many occasions, it has picked bizarre detours when I can see on an old-fashioned paper map that better routes are available. I don't subscribe to the real-time traffic feature, so I know it wasn't trying to route me around a jam, and I always double checked the settings to make sure that it wasn't a problem of avoiding toll roads or highways, or a "shortest versus fastest" problem.
In addition to picking what often seem like the longest, most complicated routes, the thing can't get a signal on a cloudy day, and it just can't find the POIs (points of interest) my wife and I are looking for. I'm next to a Sunoco station that's been there for years, but the GO 720 knows nothing about it. Starbucks in my neighborhood? Nope, never heard of 'em. National parks in Maine... what are those? Sure, it has the Podunk Pizza joint in its database, but there's no excuse for not having a listing for every large established business in towns with population over 50,000.
I've updated the software. I've downloaded POI updates from the TomTom website. I even paid close to $100 for an "updated" North American map with 4 million POIs that the TomTom rep said would solve all our problems. A week later, we started getting "map out of date" errors on the GPS.
...and TomTom Doesn't Care
So today we finally decided we'd had enough, and called TomTom customer service again. Maybe there was something they could do to help us. We explained to KelliAnn (name changed to protect the guilty) that a couple years ago, we had a TomTom that we loved. It seemed to have every imaginable POI in its database, and it faithfully took us from Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, we gave that unit to a friend, and upgraded to the newer GO 720.
Remember that scene from the movie Airplane, where all the passengers on the plane are lining up to slap the hysterical woman? That came to mind during my conversation with KelliAnn, because she kept repeating a mantra until I wanted to reach out and touch someone. "Your unit does not have unlimited points of interest in the database." Okay, I figured that out -- it's LIMITED -- and that's the problem. So what can be done to fix the problem and make me a happy TomTom customer?
"Well," KelliAnne said, "You can go to Google Maps and download the address of any POI that's missing from your GPS." Epic Fail, I informed her. If I was stuck in Camden, I'm not very likely to ask some scary looking dude if I could pop into his condemned rowhouse and borrow his computer for a quick visit to Google.
KelliAnn then shared something surprising. "You know, I have problems with my TomTom also. There's a bank and a grocery store in my town that have been there since forever, but they don't show up in my GPS either." Encouraged by that admission, I asked if I could get a refund on that $100 map update that went out of date faster than heavy cream in Brooklyn. "Nope, no refunds on maps," she chirped. "So is there ANYTHING you can suggest to make this thing work better?," I asked. "I'm sorry, but your unit does not have unlimited points of interest in the database." Sigh.
I finally reached a point of frustration and said "It sounds like you're telling me I need to buy a Garmin or Magellan to solve my problem." KelliAnn's reply: "If that's what you think you need to do, then go ahead." I was rather surprised that the TomTom rep was unwilling to offer anything to keep me as a customer. Maybe a discount on a new TomTom? A partial refund on the worthless map? A set of free steak knives? Nope... Nothing... Bzzzzzzt.
Have you had similar problems with a TomTom GPS? Post your rant below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Jul 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Why I Hate My TomTom GPS (Posted: 6 Jul 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved