We have a Garmin
GPSMAP 740S chartplotter
. Before we left the US in August 2015, we purchased a Garmin
BlueChart g2Vision SD card for California-Mexico from Amazon.com.
Because of licensing restrictions (I think?), I was not able to update the SD card (which is free by using Garmin Express) while in Mexico
for the last two years. So, while we are back in the US visiting the family
, I took the opportunity to get our card updated.
After two phone
calls and several emails to Garmin, we learned that we purchased a FRAUDULENT copy from vendor "WorldShop" on Amazon. Apparently, not all sellers on Amazon are legit and ethical. (Imagine that.)
The fake 2015 SD card appeared to work
in our chart plotter just fine. The electronic charts
were spot on in most areas - matching shorelines, depth
, and warnings. There were two anchorages
(Bahia San Evaristo and Punta Chivato) that the google
maps overlay didn't match the chart. But, there is no way to update it and get the latest changes, effectively making the charts
Looking at the packaging, there was no way to tell it wasn't an authentic product. But the price
was obviously too good to be true. (See attached photo
.) Garmin said that if the price
is lower than the MSRP (in this case about $320 USD) that it's fake. But that also doesn't stop someone from selling a fake at that price.
You can tell an authentic SD card from a fake SD card by viewing the files on the SD card with your computer. See "Comparison" attached. Some file(s) are missing on the fake cards.
Garmin recommended buy from authorized Garmin dealers (a list of brick and mortar retailers is on Garmin.com) or directly through Garmin's website. They do NOT have a list of authorized ONLINE retailers at this point.
We don't have any recourse through Amazon because the SD card was purchased two years ago.
And, according to Garmin, we still won't be able to update the new, real SD card while in Mexico
unless we sent it back to the US. So there's that...
Other than this hiccup, we really like our Garmin products. They have been really reliable and are very user friendly. And the accuracy of the charts is truly amazing. We can't imagine cruising in unknown (to us) waters without it.
Hope this helps someone else.