I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 305 about two months ago, and while I
really liked the idea of having the GPS and HRM and tracking data, my
experience with Garmin and this particular product has not been good.
When I first got it, I followed the instructions, got it plugged in
and went out for my first run with it. When I got home and plugged it
in to my computer USB bus, the computer froze and required a reset to
reboot. Once the computer came up again, the USB bus didn't work. I
realized that the likely problem was too much current draw on the USB
bus, and was going to need to get a new motherboard :( Darned
disappointing, but being a computer and electronics person, I went and
purchased the new motherboard and a powered external USB hub and about
12 hours later I was up and running again.
So, this time I plugged the Garmin Forerunner 305 into the powered USB
hub instead of the computer. As soon as I did this, my computer blue
screened (crashed) and it did so nearly every time I plugged the
Garmin in. At this point I decided it must have been a problem with
the Garmin Forerunner and got on their support system. Here is where
the real problems happened.
Their support person told me:
1. Check for chipset names that are INTEL, NEC, etc. These are
compatible chipsets with our devices.
2. If you have a chipset name that contains SiS, Via, OpenHCD, Ali, or
these chipsets are not compatible with our devices and may not allow
the USB Card Programmer to function.
That wasn't on the package, or in the instructions, but regardless I
learned that I had a compatible chipset from the manufacturer. So
after letting them know that and that I now expected some compensation
for my loss and that something definitely caused my motherboard's USB
bus to go bad they asked that I send the unit, cable, charger, etc
back to them so they could determine what might have caused the
problem, which I did. After a week or so I asked if anything had been
determined about what had happened but they didn't have any answers. I
told them at this point that I expected some compensation for my
damaged motherboard - another unit maybe? Something. They offered to
send me a new unit and a cadence unit (for my bike) but I indicated
that I already purchased the $60.00 cadence unit and that it didn't
work on my bicycle due to the frame/pedal design and that a new unit
would help since I really wanted to start using the new toy I bought.
After getting the replacement unit which didn't cause any blue screens
(after a couple weeks) and seems to be functioning as well as the rest
of the ones I've read about (not good), Garmin refused to compensate
me in any way for my motherboard - I offered to accept the unit that I
sent in back as payment - Garmin's response:
"Unfortunately, it appears as if we are unable to determine why the
failure occurred given the information you provided. Thus we question
whether the Forerunner 305 had anything to do with the failure on your
PC. The device you provided does meet all specification standards. I
apologize we could not provide a more conclusive answer. I will no
longer respond to questions regarding the previous unit.".
Unfortunately, I had already sent the bad Forerunner 305 back to
Garmin along with the crash dump files from my PC and offered to send
them the motherboard several times as well - they were never
interested in what brand/make/model of motherboard I had - so I was no
longer able to determine if a component had failed in the charging
circuit of the Garmin and was out of luck.
And that has been my experience with Garmin. Great idea, but a bad
company. There are a lot of problems with Garmin's products, unlike
many better manufacturers like Canon and Apple computer, they don't
deal with the problems in an equitable manner.
UPDATE: 2 October 2006 - After I filed the complaint with the Better
Business Bureau, I was emailed by Garmin's senior staff attorney
telling me he wanted me to contact him regarding this issue. I sent
him my "final response" from Garmin's technical support, to which he
responded that they wanted to offer me another 305 as payment for my
troubles. Unbelieveable arrogance and stupidity (in my opinion). I
requested they pay me for my motherboard and my time since I was now
VERY DISAPPOINTED about how I had been dealt with, and basically the
attorney told me in about 3 paragraphs that I needed to read their
warranty which clearly states ... "blah blah blah". If there wasn't a
problem with their products why on earth would they have their Senior
attorney contact me and try to get me to accept payment? They care?
Yes, they care that I am making this public. And I hope you learn
something about them from me.