I live in Hong Kong
. I bought the Garmin
App Blue Garmin
for my iPhone
and a Garmin 527xs for my boat in 2014. About two months ago I received an in-app notice from Garmin that an update was available for for the chart set in Blue Garmin for my area. I promptly bought and downloaded it and, to my surprise, found that all data within Hong Kong
waters was gone. I thought I must have done something wrong so I fussed with the app on both my iPhone
eventually deciding it must have been a faulty download so I deleted the chart set and downloaded it again, paying for it again I might add. Still no data for Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, the Garmin 527xs coincidentally died. It was about 4-5 months beyond warrant coverage so I bought a new one from a local chandlery
and installed it on the boat. After turning it on, I found the same problem - no data for Hong Kong waters. All of my electronic navigation
tools were essentially inoperative. I called Garmin customer service
for help. The person with whom I spoke professed ignorance of the problem and said that he would, "push this up to the technical team."
Only then did I turn to Mr. Google
and find out that this has been a well known problem for at least a year. Garmin, and an unwitting Apple, had been selling vaporware to their customers for at least a year online and in shops in Hong Kong.
Once again I contacted Garmin support, this time by email
in which I explained as best I could that the problem wasn't technical, and got this reply:
Thank you for contacting Garmin International. The Software
engineering team actually responded back and was wondering if they could get screen
shots of the issue; however, if you are experiencing the issue on a 527xs, I can get the screen
shots by downloading the same mapping. Which map do you have for the device?
Again I wrote to tell him that he was barking up the wrong tree. It is not a problem with my software
, but with Garmin not reaching an agreement with the Hong Kong Government
to load the data they provided in the past. I stressed to him that the is NO data around Hong Kong and I sent him a screen shot demonstrating this. I requested a refund on the Garmin products I had purchased for my iPhone and iPad.
Now here is the great part. The moment when I realized that the person or persons on the other end of the line is either seriously impaired or that Garmin takes no responsibility for its products. After sending them the screen shot showing a void in all data within Hong Kong waters, and a rather lengthy explanation of the problem as explained to me by a knowledgeable chandlery
owner who has been on various HK Marine
Department committees and task forces, I received this response:
"Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I am sorry that the charts
do not meet your expectations for the waters around Hong Kong."
Did not meet my expectations? Hey, pay attention! There are no charts
He went on to explain that any refunds for the Blue Garmin products, even the in-app chart purchases, would need to come from Apple. He didn't mention the problem with the GPS
unit at all. Fortunately, for the 527xs I have swapped the chip from the old unit into the new unit so I still can use it with caution.
Bottom line - Garmin's business practices in this regard appear to me to be deceptive and their customer service
representatives either are ignorant or feign ignorance of a well-known problem with one of their products.
I won't be purchasing
anything from Garmin again.