Garmin Nuvi 760 gps got me lost in New York state – Part 1

I bought the Garmin 760 gps from my local Costco last summer. I used it on many trips across Ontario and it had always been very reliable. The GPS had been so accurate that I decided to throw away my big CAA map of North America that had been growing moldy in the back of my SUV. Throwing the map was a big mistake, my used to be trustworthy Garmin 760 gps then decided to mislead me on a wild ride deep into New York state. It got me completely lost in the snow covered country side for hours.

On this misadventure during the Christmas break I had been vacationing in Niagara Falls, Ontario with my young family. On the last day of our vacation we decided to cross the Rainbow bridge to the US and do some shopping. I programmed the GPS with the destination address for the Fashion Outlet Mall in Niagara Falls, NY, USA. This mall was located at 1900 Military Rd. I followed the directions in the GPS and got to the mall smoothly. After a day of shopping at the outlet mall, we then decided to head over to Target at 7414 Niagara Falls Boulevard
Niagara Falls, NY, because my 3 years old child wanted a stuff toy dog which we could not find at the mall. The GPS lead us to Target without a glitch.

The misadventure started when we decided to return home. I selected my home address from the favorite’s folder in the GPS. Home was in Markham, Ontario, Canada. Since the GPS had a history of being very accurate and reliable I followed the directions on the screen. Strangely the voice prompted directions was not audible anymore on the return trip. I continued to follow the directions on the Garmin screen.

We got off I90 and proceeded to drive into the country roads. After over an hour of driving and not seeing any town in the horizon, I sensed that we were lost, because the trip back to the bridge to Canada should have not taken over 30 minutes. I stopped the vehicle on the side of the road and reprogrammed the GPS with the address of the hotel we stayed at in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I was hoping that the GPS may have better luck finding a destination closer to where we were, after all that is where we had started from in the morning.

It was dark and I continued to follow the directions from the GPS, we must have driven for more that an hour on country roads. My heart sank when we passed Darien Lake State Park, I knew Darien lake was nowhere close to the Canadian border. Soon as I saw a gas station I stopped and asked for directions. The attendant was very helpful, he informed me that I was headed in the direction opposite from Canada. He also told me that he frequently gets Canadian travelers stopping to ask for directions because their GPS lead them his way.

Well, we make a U turn and followed the directions given to me by the gas station attendant. It was late at night and my kids were hungry and cranky. I was speeding in the dark trying to get to the Interstate, next thing I know I was stopped on the side of the road being handed over a speeding ticket. Before the officer left I asked him for direction back to the border.

Well we made it back to Niagara Falls, NY but the bridge to Canada was jammed with traffic. After sitting at the same intersection for over 40 minutes we decided to pull over and spend the night at the Days Inn on Main St. This was one old and dirty hotel, but that is a story for another time.

What is strange is that there was no indication that there was anything wrong with the GPS. I wonder where we would have ended up if I had continued to follow the directions from the Garmin GPS, perhaps on the news.

Since arriving safely back home using my own biological gps, I have been testing the Gramin. It seems to work like just fine. But the misadventure in New York state has left a big doubt in my mind.

I tried to call Garmin technical support after the holidays but I did not want to wait in the queue for over 30 minutes. I then decided to submit the issue online. I completed the online form as detailed as possible then clicked on submit, but got an error message right away. I thought that perhaps it may be something the firewall was blocking at work. I decided to submit the issue from my home Windows XP computer but received the same error. I then moved over to my Fedora Linux server and tried to submit the case, no such luck again.

I sent an email to the Webmaster at Garmin.com explaining that there was a problem with their website. When I did not receive any response back the next day and confirming that the online submission was still not working. I then forwarded the email Media Relation at Garmin. After I did that I received a response from technical support.

The case is currently still open, so far I have been given the run around. Tech support insists that I update the software from version 4.60 to 4.80, then maybe it will rectify the problem. I have refused to do that and insisted that my case be escalated to engineering.

I will post the exchange of emails between me and Garmin technical support in a later article.

About Andrew Lin

Hi, I have always wanted to creat a blog site but never had the time. I have been working in Information Technology for over 15 years. I specialize mainly in networks and server technologies and dabble a little with the programming aspects. Andrew Lin

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6 Comments on “Garmin Nuvi 760 gps got me lost in New York state – Part 1”

  1. Hi,
    It happened to us last night, we came from military Road, niagara NY and for some reason, when we programmed our GPS to go home, it indicated that we will be home after 10 hrs of driving (3 hourts should be our latest in every normal driving circumstances). Since our GPS has been reliable to us, we’ve been using it to go to florida for 3 yrs now – we decided to follow it, Last night was really bad because of the pouring rain and we could hardly see the road , so after almost an hour of driving we decided to pull out to a gas station, and same story we heard, that people were being rereouted by their GPS in that area and got lost, so we followed the direction that the gas attendant gave us, and while driving we keep putting our address in Canada, and GPS would always ask us to make a u turn and keep insisting on go back were we at, obviously, we don’t listen to it anymore, as soon as we crossed the border, we tried to put our home address again, and as expected it worked as how it should be, at this point, I’m not really sure if it is a GPS malfunction but I’m just assuming that being closed in the border/airport, there must be something installed??? that intercept the GPS radar –maybe a security issue for US? Strange and mysterious as it is, we just thank GOD that we got home safe, Moral of story for us : Always have a back up plan, Keep a map handy all the time.

    1. So the gas attendant was speaking the truth, was this gas station close to Darien Lake? You’ve got a point there, perhaps there is something the US government has in that area that drives the GPS banannas. Apprently it only happeds to Canadian GPS units, not the US ones as I was told by the attendant. Is your unit a Garmin? Now I am really intrigued by this as you are the second person who responed to my article about being lost aroung Noagra Falls / Buffalo, New York.

  2. It happened to us last night! We were lost in the NY state in ROchester for 3 hours when we were trying to get to Peace Bridge to come back to Toronto! Getting lost with the GPS was horrible. We were scared and felt like we would never get off the highway as we went in circles!

    Please let us know what happened when you contacted technical support. We are trying to do the same thing.

    THanks,

    EMily

    1. Hi Emily,

      I did not get anywhere with Garmin’s technical support. Their disclaimer at the end of their emails prevents me from posting it on my site. The support representative insisted that I upgrade the firmware on my GPS. I kept telling her that the problem only manifested around Buffalo, NY and I could not recreate it in Ontario. I aked that she escalate to engineering so they can examine my unit for programatic flaw. But she insisted that I upgrade the firmware to see if the issue goes away (not very bright). I kept telling her that there is no way I was driving two hours to Buffalo to see if the problem still existed.

      She refused to escalate until I upgrade the firmware. I asked if there were other similar reported issue and she claims there were none.

      To sum it all, Garmin support sucks, their website sucks as you cannot easily find the phone number to contact support. I had to submit the issue online. I do not have the time or patience to finds ways to go up the chain of command. I now use Google map to print all my travel routes, this way I know if the GPS is lying to me.

      Please let me know how you made out with Garmin.

  3. Hi. Very interesting site. I found it on Google. I will definately recommend it to my friends. Please keep up the great work.

  4. I find it amazing that you always find the time to write about things like this. I like your blog, so I hope that my post will inspire you to post some more good things!

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