Garmin Puts Good Customer Service On The Map

The battery on Bryan’s Garmin Streetpilot lost the will to hold a steady charge. Figuring that the unit’s warranty had expired, Brian asked for a replacement through MasterCard’s extended warranty protection. MasterCard required documentation from Garmin, which Bryan requested. Instead of providing the documents, Garmin responded with something else.

Bryan writes:

I have a Garmin Streetpilot c320 GPS unit. In November the internal battery stopped holding a charge, but the unit would work with direct power. This was only an issue when I started the car as it took much longer to acquire reception or if the power cord would get bumped which would occasionally happen with my stick shift transmission.

I knew that my GPS was out of the 1 year Garmin warranty, but I remembered that I bought it with my World Mastercard which has extended warranty protection. The claim process was much more involved than with American Express. After filling out all the paperwork and sending it to Mastercard, I got this response back:

As the claims examiner for MasterCard I have received and reviewed the documents submitted. The repair estimate submitted is for flat rate repairs. According to the Original Warranty you received with this item it was covered for defects in materials and workmanship for 1 year. I will need to see there was a defect in a part or in the workmanship of the item to extend your coverage.

The original warranty also shows there was no coverage for failures due to abuse,accidents,misuse or unauthorized repairs.

We need to confirm the failure of this item was caused by a defect.

Please secure an itemized repair estimate that will show what caused the failure, parts needed to repair and the final costs.

As shown in the Guide to Benefits this is required information for coverage under this benefit. I have listed the guide to Benefit information below.

Please forward the itemized repair estimate to my attention and I will promptly review this claim for coverage”

I contacted Garmin tech support to see how I can get a detailed repair estimate to complete my MasterCard claim. To my surprise I get this response:

“Dear Bryan,

Thank you for contacting Garmin International, I will be happy to help
you with this. The RMA number given you is for warranty repair. You
will not be charged for this. Just send your unit in with the shipping
address as indicated in the email.

With Best Regards,

Damon M
Product Support Specialist
Automotive Team
Garmin International
913-397-8282 (fax) Att: Damon M

I shipped the GPS and less than two weeks later a I received a replacement unit with a working battery. So I learned two things from this:

  • 1. Garmin has some great customer service even through email.
  • 2. I’m going to use my AMEX for all my purchases since their claim process is much easier and actually works to help their customers.

There is a third lesson: always, always, always ask for what you want. Bryan could have saved a few steps by calling Garmin directly, instead of assuming the worst. If they said no, he could still have relied on MasterCard’s extended warranty protection. Either way, excellent response from Garmin!