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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Lowrance Warranty Service Experiences
|Author||Topic: Lowrance Warranty Service Experiences|
posted 12-02-2013 02:31 PM ET (US)
Back in the Spring I bought a Lowrance Link 5 DSC VHF and while it powered up it never seemed to receive or transmit any signals. After uninstalling the it and reinstalling it twice and after replacing the VHF antenna I gave up and put in a used Raymarine unit I bought from Tom Clark. That unit works great.
Now I have sent in two warranty service request to Lowrance through their site with no response. Has anyone else had these problems with Lowrance service? Also if you have had warranty work done, what path worked the best for you?
posted 12-02-2013 07:06 PM ET (US)
My experience with Lowrance Customer Service has always been by telephone. The results were always excellent.
posted 12-02-2013 08:12 PM ET (US)
I have used the Lowrance web interface to submit some questions to them about their products, and I have always received an acknowledgement within an hour or two. Later, in a day or two, I also have gotten a reply to my inquiry.
For problems related to replacement of defect product under warranty, I would call them on the telephone. They usually have a rather short wait queue, and you will be speaking with a representative in a few minutes.
posted 12-02-2013 09:38 PM ET (US)
Although I do concur with the recommendations of Butch & jimh to call the customer service center number to seek assistance, my level of satisfaction with repair resolutions of my Lowrance products seemed somewhat dependent on which customer service representative I dealt with.
I have had good experiences, and some that were not as good. However; Lowrance has always done what was necessary to make me a satisfied customer. That is why I have been using their products since 1988.
If you opt to call the customer service center and are not pleased with the resolution of your problem, the link below includes contact information for Navico. Greg Hunter is a manager in the customer service center and is very good. He can be contacted through regular customer service center number, 1-800-628-4487.
I dealt with Eric Turnquist during the escalation of my last repair issue with my HDS-7 Gen1 unit, and he was excellent. His email address is email@example.com
posted 12-02-2013 10:52 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the info JLH.
I guess I will end up calling them directly. I just find that to be such an antiquated process...call during business hours, sit on hold for ever waiting for someone to answer and hope they have the knowledge to help you.
Though it sounds like Lowrance has their call center set up to actually help people and in a timely fashion. So that is encouraging.
posted 12-03-2013 10:27 AM ET (US)
They could take a lesson from the California DMV: there's an
option to be called back when someone is available. You get
the same place in line that you would have if you held. It
saved me about an hour and a half on hold just yesterday.
posted 12-05-2013 09:06 AM ET (US)
Call them. I have had excellent results resolving warranty problems with them on the phone. You can actually negotiate a solution with the rep, you can't do that by email. I had two defective LVR-880 radios and got them to let me upgrade to the Link 8 for a $100, the price difference between the radios.
posted 03-10-2014 08:19 PM ET (US)
After a phone call I had all of my return paperwork emailed to me. After sending in the unit they tested it and decided to send me a brand new Link-5 instead of fixing the other one. Great service, I just hope this one works like it is supposed to.
posted 03-11-2014 06:41 AM ET (US)
I have definitely had different outcomes from talking to different representatives. example:
My LMS-330C needed new software, and my LGC-2000 antenna needed new software, too. Lowrance's site specifically warns you to update the antenna first. Okay. I put both files on an SD card and plugged it into the machine. I power it on and it automatically updates the LMS330C first. Wait WHAT? Now I can't communicate with the LGC2000. I can't un-do the update either. I call Lowrance and the first person tells my it is IMPOSSIBLE to revert the software, I need a new antena which they will sell me at half price. I think about it and call back later and the next rep tells me the first guy was completely wrong and emails me an older software file which does the trick.
Not all the reps are on the same level apparently. The second guy I spoke to sounded offended when I told him it was stupid for it to update on its own without user input. It almost seemed like he had designed that feature or something.
posted 03-11-2014 08:34 AM ET (US)
Regarding a device updating its own software: the outcome you described is normal and the problem was created by having two updaters on the same media. I will try to explain the process to you, and in a way that I hope will not cause you to become offended.
It is typical that updates to the operating system software that run some modern device cannot be invoked while the operating system they are going to modify is executing. That is why the device must be rebooted and then run under control of the software on a different data source, like a data storage card. Complex devices that can update themselves contain more or less permanent instructions to always check to see if a different source of data, like a data storage card, has been inserted that contains an update. If it finds such a source, it branches the start-up process to run the software on the new source, not the software stored in its normal memory.
You had a unreasonable expectation that when you inserted a memory card with an update for the LMS-330C the outcome would be to ignore that file. That might have been the action you expected, but, if you think about it, the LMS-330C was going to start from the updater file, as soon as it found it, because that is what it always does. It would not ignore the LMS-330C updater, start normally, and then let you pick another updater to run (the one for the LGC2000). As a result of your mistake in running the updater in the wrong sequence, you created an unusual problem.
When you call for support for modern electronic devices, your call is handled in tiers. The first tier of support is probably trained to know the answer to the usual problems. They may not know the answer to unusual problems. However, they should be trained to recognize that the caller has an unusual problem that they are not trained to answer, and pass the inquiry on to the next tier of support. I suppose it is human nature for a person to think they are a source of authority, so perhaps the first person you spoke to, unaware that there was an alternative remedy, assumed the authority to tell you the only remedy for your problem was the one he knew: buy a new LGC-3000.
In your case, the problem was eventually resolved. Lowrance provided a remedy to cure the problem you created. You just had to get to a higher tier in support where someone could handle the unusual problem.
posted 03-11-2014 01:33 PM ET (US)
I suppose that is reasonable. In my experience with electronics it has usually been either like a PC, you download updates, or install them partially then reboot. Or you hold down a function key to go to the BIOS and select a different boot source. Or with simpler electronics i have had, I updated them via USB.
I know there are similar ways to hold different key combos on my lowrance to get different things to happen during a boot or shutdown; I guess i mistakenly expected something of that nature or the install and reboot nature.
posted 03-11-2014 01:47 PM ET (US)
I forgot to mention that the 2nd operator was not due to escalation of the issue, he was the first to pick up when I called back.
I also had a separate issue with my LMS not saving fuel tank configuration. tech support gave me a bunch of things to try (like make sure the unit is seeing over 13V DC) and updating it then. Nothing worked though and it still does not save my fuel tank size/level.
they also forgot to send my the LGC4000 I bought at a discount over the phone and I had to call them again a month later to redo the transaction.
But back on topic, I also bought an LVR-250 (fixed mount Lowrance VHF) which I had similar issues as the original poster. I happened to have radio and antenna test equipment at work that showed the output was low by about 5 watts and the receive sensitivity was about 4dB less than it should have been. I sent them the unit and a note explaining my findings and i was sent a new unit that has been working without issue for 2-3 years now.
I would say all in all, I have had less than perfect tech support help from Lowrance. But I like the products and I will still buy more from them when I need electronics.
posted 03-11-2014 08:08 PM ET (US)
I think there is some confusion about what a software update for a single-purpose, closed-operating-system device like a chart plotter does compared to software updates for a personal computer. Devices like a chart plotter don't really provide a user interface for manipulation of the files they are using to run their own operating system. You cannot really browse around the file system of a chart plotter and move certain resources in the storage system around. That sort of control is reserved for the manufacturer (or the hacker). When you hit the power button on a chart plotter, you want it to immediately become a chart plotter. You don't want it to boot into some general purpose operating system and wait for the operator to use a mouse to click on the CHART.exe file to turn it into a chart plotter. Also, resources are at a premium, and once the chart plotter starts executing its chart plotter code, it does not want to waste processor resources. And, of course, the maker does not really want the end user fiddling around with his software or being able to get to it. That is why single-purpose computer devices generally do not behave the same way as a Windows PC when it comes to updates.
Usually, if a user makes a mistake in the update process, the chart plotter turns into a hunk of plastic that has to sent back to the factory to have the software re-loaded. It was great that Lowrance could help you undo the mistake by providing the older firmware for you to reload.
The notion that devices out in the field can be updated by the user must be a topic of some debate at manufacturers like Lowrance. My observation: every time there is a new software update provided there is a week or two of postings to boating websites from users who cannot accomplish the update process for some reason or another, and thread after thread discusses the failed updates.
I wonder how the volume of calls for support correlates with release of new software updates. I bet there is surge in calls for support every time a new software patch is released.
posted 03-11-2014 08:14 PM ET (US)
Here is an anecdotal report of a case of my interaction with Lowrance support:
I goofed up and dropped an important part of a mounting bracket while trying to install a Lowrance product. I called the support line. I told them what happened. They mailed me a replacement part that came a few days later. The lost part was entirely my fault. Lowrance mailed me the replacement part for free. They actually sent me a complete new assembly, apparently because they didn't have just the little part I lost. I could not have been more pleased.
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