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.