All entries for Friday 17 November 2006

November 17, 2006

What TomTom eventually had to say – why writing a letter and taking them to court is easiest

Follow-up to TomTom Mobile 5 Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone from Gibo's Reviews

So TomTom eventually issued me with a key for the product I paid for, though I did have to write them a letter threatening legal action.

Here’s what they said:

Dear Mr. Gibson,

Thank you for your recent letter. Thank you also for including proof of purchase for both your mobile phone and your copy of TomTom MOBILE 5.

We regret to hear that you are disappointed with the service you have received from TomTom Customer Support. We strive always to provide customer satisfaction and to resolve any problems which may arise in an efficient and timely fashion.

We are glad to see that you have been issued with a new Activation Code and we trust that you can now use TomTom MOBILE 5 on your mobile device.

The mobile phone you have purchased, the Vodafone branded Qtek V1240, is, as you are already aware, not currently listed as being compatible for use with TomTom MOBILE 5. It may be that this device will feature on a future, updated compatibility list. Until such time as your mobile device appears on a TomTom compatibilty list, please be aware that you activate TomTom MOBILE 5 software on this device at your own risk. We can offer no further support in the event that it fails to perform as well as you would hope.

Under normal circumstances it is not possible for us to issue more than one Activation Code to customers attempting to use our software on a device not specifically listed as compatible. A special exception has been made in your case and so we have issued you with the latest Activation Code. We regret the length of time that has passed before reaching this decision. Please appreciate that the Customer Support representatives handling your incident thus far were simply performing their job in accordance with the policies of TomTom.

We trust that we have informed you sufficiently.

Kind regards,

Rory Carr,
bq. TomTom Customer Relations Dept.

I replied to this narky response to point out that they aren’t doing me some kind of favour, plus that claiming the software isn’t tested on my phone does not permit them to with-hold the key I have legally purchased. Here’s what I wrote:

You mention you have made a special exception; may I point out that not doing so would be illegal as you have no grounds on which to refuse an Activation Code based on ‘compatibility’, regardless of whatever internal TomTom policy may or may not be.

I have had to incur recorded postage costs to the Netherlands, which I expect you to emend as I consider this expense to purely be derived from TomTom’s inability to deal with my reasonable request; had your Customer Support team acted correctly in the first instance I would not have incurred these costs – thus these can be directly attributed to TomTom.

May I remind you that this is a matter of principal based upon the good reputation of both myself and TomTom; I have had use legal argument to enforce my consumer rights and my time has been diverted towards this issue otherwise unnecessarily. I expect you to offer me a token gesture of goodwill that reflects this time and effort as well as my slight financial loss, as my additional expense does not currently balance with the information I should have had in the first instance.

I await your response and hope to be pleasantly suprised by your chosen recompense.

What did I get for that? No admission that anything was done wrong at all. Outstanding:

Since the Device Code should never change unless the phone is replaced, with each request for a new Activation Code we require you to send a copy proof of purchase or replacement for the device on which you wish to activate our software. Phones not listed as compatible may have unstable Device Codes which can change, as in your case for example, following ROM updates. We cannot repeatedly accept the same proof of purchase document when a customer reports regular Device Code changes.

The correct procedure for issuing new Activation Codes has been followed by the TomTom representatives handling your case. We have made a special exception to provide you with a second activation code for a non-compatible device. Given these circumstances we cannot offer you any further compensation in this case.

So in the end it cost me a good few hours typing replies, a month without my software, and recorded delivery to the Netherlands. TomTom Customer Support will cost you money to deal with – don’t waste time writing on their portal, write them a letter instead threatening to sue.

My advice to people looking to buy TomTom products is this: if you need to deal with their customer support, you will regret buying from them. Given that the TomTom devices seem to have reliability issues, ask yourself whether it’s really worth the hassle. Are there cheaper, better alternatives? Would they value your custom more? It’s your money, you decide.

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