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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Lowrance 337c repair
|Author||Topic: Lowrance 337c repair|
posted 09-13-2009 10:09 PM ET (US)
As a rule I don't bring my troubles to to CW but I'd like to post a heads up about repairing a Lowrance GPS receiver, plotter, and SONAR unit. The display on my Lowrance 337c started to malfunction so the unit was sent to Lowrance for repair. When I called for an RMA the folks at Lowrance advised me that they no longer repaired these units, instead they would replace the unit for a charge of $212. The 337c was returned for replacement on the 21st of August. The replacement unit still has not arrived. I called Lowrance and they informed me that "those units are on back order". After waiting a week I again called and was told the same thing with no confirmed date for units to be shipped. I'm not happy with that answer. This is the only post I'll make but thought others would like to be aware of this situation. The check has been cashed.
posted 09-16-2009 10:33 PM ET (US)
I heard that Lowrance customer service can be a problem from many boaters service techs and reps during my hunt for my combo unit. Good luck
posted 09-17-2009 08:45 PM ET (US)
Nauti: Thanks for the heads up. My 337c has developed a very annoying habit of turning itself off/on/off/on at random times regardless of whether the boat is powered up. Lowrance gave me a return authorization, and told me to send it in for a replacement. That was a month ago, and I still have not gotten around to sending it in. Looks now like I should not even bother. Fortunately I did not give them my credit card info; hence there have been no costs as yet.
posted 09-18-2009 07:00 AM ET (US)
I am also experiencing the same problem. My brand new HDS 7 unit has water intrusion. The representative from Lowrance said "send it in, we'll get a new one out within a day." Yea, right. It's been three weeks. When I called Lowrance to check the status, I got the same "back order" story. Now, in the peek of the salmon season here in Northern Mich, I'm flying blind.
posted 09-18-2009 06:20 PM ET (US)
Just a follow up on my situation. I called Lowrance on Wednesday, "our computers are down,we can't find/verify your repair order please call in a day or so." Called again yesterday,Thursday. Spoke with a fellow in tech support who after a short wait returned to the phone with current status of the backorderd units. A large shippment of units will arrive on the 21st of this month. A new unit should be in my hands by the 25th of this month.....he assured me. We'll see.
posted 09-18-2009 08:19 PM ET (US)
I do not have any recent experience with Lowrance customer support, the wait times necessary to reach them via telephone, or the delay in fulfillment of promised remedies, however I have read many accounts of these problems.
The principal complaint has been the time required to establish communication via telephone with an agent of Lowrance. There appears to be a paradigm in which the person calling for the free support equates his own time spent as being valuable, and the free support provided by Lowrance (and the free telephone call) as having no value, so the sum of these components in the value equation is always presented as a loss in value to the person calling for free support.
As for the delay in providing a promised remedy, in most cases the promised remedy contains something of value for the recipient, usually a remedy out of warranty at a substantially reduced cost. Again there is a presumption that the person to whom the remedy is being provided is losing some value by this delay, and the lost value is greater than the value of the remedy being supplied. So, again, the value equation sums to a loss for the customer.
In the current market for recreational marine electronics I do not know if all manufacturers operate with a paradigm that any customer who calls and is forced to wait on the telephone is losing value, or if any customer who is offered a remedy for a problem occurring out of warranty is losing value by not having an immediate replacement. I don't think that companies operate like that in the current economic times.
What I see has happened in marine electronics is that the value of the product and the sophistication of the product has increased enormously while the cost has not risen much in comparison. Let me give you an example. Today, I can buy a GPS receiver, a chart plotter with color display, an enormous catalogue of electronic charts, a SONAR, and a transducer, for about the same price that I could buy a GPS receiver with a very small black and white display just a few years ago. For the same price as I paid six or seven years ago, I now get:
Because the device is much more complex, and its operation more sophisticated, and its interconnection with other devices in the boat much more likely, the burden on customer support has increased, the failure rate of the products has increased, and the internet has sprung up to offer anyone who is not happy a global platform to announce his displeasure.
There are so many reports of delays on the telephone in reaching Lowrance, and so many reports of problems with their units, and so many reports of customers unhappy with the remedies offered, that one might conclude that Lowrance is a dead duck and will soon be out of business. However, if you compare the cost of Lowrance devices and their features with alternative brands, you generally see that Lowrance offers very high value in their products at very low prices.
It is impossible to know the rate of failure for these devices, as no one has any idea at all how many are being sold, how many are out there, and how many are being used. It is hard to judge if the appearance of ten threads about long times spent on the telephone are indicative of all calls or only a few dissatisfied customers.
Another element to consider is the increasing complexity of the devices. This has probably resulted in more calls to customer service for support. It seems hardly anyone reads the documentation that comes with a device these days.
For those customers who are announcing they are through with Lowrance, I caution you that you will probably have to pay more to get the same level of product with other brands. If you find that you can reach customer support on the telephone faster, it should not be a surprise and you have already paid extra for that service.
posted 09-19-2009 06:10 PM ET (US)
I had a hunch I'd regret my post....
posted 09-19-2009 07:58 PM ET (US)
Nauti Tauk--I don't understand your comment. Your article has been given global exposure on a very widely read website where small boat electrical and electronic products are discussed. Please contact me via email to discuss what more could possibly have been provided for you here.
posted 09-20-2009 12:03 PM ET (US)
Is this now discontinued unit out of warranty ?
If so, the full new replacement for $212 vs what it would of cost for a repair, probably is not so bad and presumably under consumer law you get another years warranty.
So is your gripe it's taking a few weeks to get a new replacement or you have been treated unfairly or you are dissapointed with the unit life span or it is in warranty and this is the only solution offered ?
At least you seem to have got through to customer support :)
posted 09-22-2009 03:09 PM ET (US)
I purchased an Eagle SeaCharter 642i over a year ago because of the value that the GPS/Sonar offered in comparison to other brands on the market at that time. The feature on the unit that helped make my decision is the display resolution which at that time was significantly superior to the other products on the market for essentially the same price.
The unit worked flawlessly until approximately two months ago when the unit's display darkened to the point I could not see any data when initially activated and would slowly brighten to the point I could barely make out the sonar image, the GPS image was completely unreadable. I tried the fixes suggested on the Eagle Electronics website with no luck. I also tested the voltage to make and the ground to make sure it isn't a problem with the wiring and I didn't find any problems there.
I tried to get the required RMA code to send the unit for service over the internet but was unsuccesful. I kept receiving a message that the serial number does not exist. Yesterday I called the Eagle/Lowrance customer support team reluctantly because of the postings of other members on this site stating they had long wait times. My call was answered within two minutes, I spoke with a friendly customer service representative and recieved the necessary code along with instructions on sending the unit back. I too was charged $212 but the unit will have a six month warranty when I get it back, hopefully within the four to six weeks time frame I was told. I'm disappointed that I have to have the unit repaired but so far, I don't have any complaints about their service.
posted 10-01-2009 05:03 PM ET (US)
Okay guys and gals here's the deal. After working my way up the food chain on Monday till I got to managment, I have a replacement unit. It arrived this morning. Not only a replacement but they upgraded the unit to the 527c. instead of the older 337c.
The delays that are being experienced are related to several issues which the company is trying to remedy. First as we all know many boat manufacturers have not been able to weather the storm and have gone out of business. The supply line of new units to builders to be installed on their new boats has been reduced dramatically. Therefore less inventory is being carried/shipped. Secondly the replacement instead of repair program allowing folks to get a new unit for $212.00 depleted the in house stock of older units in a very short amount of time. Some folks took advantage of the program and "invented" reasons to have their units replaced. The inventory that Lowrance is concentrating on keeping on top of is a stock of the newer units that are still under warrantee, the older units are being ordered on an as needed basis pretty much. Lastly, Lowrance is just not selling as many new units because of the economy in general and the boating business in particular. So there you have it. I just got back from testing the new unit and it works just fine so I'm back in bidness. Sorry if I was long winded but I thought ya'll would like to know. Lowrance seems to be very solid and still selling top shelf products.
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