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Unread 01-17-2012, 11:48 PM   #1
Teotwaki
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Thumbs down Spot Satellite Messenger: embarassing encounter

Spot has this way of automatically renewing your service fees if you have valid information on file. It turns out my info was not up to date. I got the impersonal robot email and they were now asking me to pay up on the bill they had already generated prior to my expiration date.

Looking at the increased fees, I went and called their toll-free number and got a rather disinterested "service" advisor (SA). I explained that I had been a customer for quite a while and all of the amazing places the device had gone with me. I also explained that I felt that it was nice that they offered dazzling discounts to new customers but my higher fees were subsidizing those enticements. The SA practically yawned and basically said the prices were the prices and please give me your credit card number. I said well no, I'd really like a discount because otherwise I could wait and renew when I was going to head out somewhere that really required the safety net of a SPOT device. It made no sense to pay right now and then have it sit until my next adventure.

The SA was basically mumbling "have a nice day and call back when you change your mind", indicating that I was now dismissed.

So I went okidoki, I'll send in a written request for a discount and if they still don't want to, I'll renew the account whenever it was time to go on an adventure.

Here is my note to them:

I am a long*time customer and my SPOT devices have been in slot canyons, kayaking on Lake Powell, extremely long backpacking trips, on winter mountaineering adventures and offroad in extremely remote locations.

However, SPOT offers numerous discounts and promotions to NEW customers but they offer nothing for loyal customers. Therefore I shall not renew with SPOT today unless I really need the device at some future date. If the need is not there I will just sell the SPOT 2 and end the relationship with SPOT.


Well, they had a jolly time responding to me! Now I know that they really don't want to be bothered with people asking for discounts let alone having the nerve to say that selling the device was an option. Here is the reply:


"As per YOUR request, we have deactivated your SPOT"

True to their word, they deactivated my SPOT. But for for good measure that made sure they blew out my contacts, emails, billing information, custom messages and saved tracks.

LOL, that door defintely didn't hit me on the way out! The righteous Customer Service account nuke ensured that I was facedown outside in the dirt.

Thanks SPOT!! I guess it is time to shop for a EPIRB....
Note to self: Don't be so naive. Big companies only care about profits.
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Last edited by Teotwaki; 01-17-2012 at 11:54 PM.
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Unread 01-17-2012, 11:58 PM   #2
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Wow that's a interesting situation. I was actually debating getting a spot for sometime and now they have that new device that syncs with your phone via Bluetooth and you can make calls and such. But I'm sure I'll hold off until I hear more feedback, but this is definately food for thought
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Unread 01-18-2012, 12:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_josh View Post
Wow that's a interesting situation. I was actually debating getting a spot for sometime and now they have that new device that syncs with your phone via Bluetooth and you can make calls and such. But I'm sure I'll hold off until I hear more feedback, but this is definately food for thought

Well, if the guy who nuked my account will buy me service for life I might not buy an EPIRB.....
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Unread 01-18-2012, 12:06 AM   #4
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i always thought the service fee a year was spend for how many times you'd actually use it
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Unread 01-18-2012, 12:15 AM   #5
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Wow, guess they told you

SPOT was always in the back of my mind to get when I really think of going on trips where it would be needed. I was more hoping to do a pay as you go thing, where you rent the device and use it for trips when needed, as let's face it 99% of us wont need it for 99% of trips. So why have a subscription for maybe one trip a year (if that for most)??

Not sure why they reacted the way they did, as your subscription (even at lower rate) should still bring $$$ their way for doing nothing but renew the account. Or do they pay a service provider on a subscription basis??
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Unread 01-18-2012, 12:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_josh View Post
i always thought the service fee a year was spend for how many times you'd actually use it
The main fee is flat no matter how many times you press "OK". They have other add-on fees for enhanced rescue, creating multiple tracks on your SPOT page and so on. If you use it often to keep folks aware of your status it essentially lowers the cost per message.
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'05 SR5 4WD V6
HQ sliders, OW Suspension, LT265/75/R16C Duratracs, rear diff. breather, ScanGauge II, Garmin 276C, Engel 45 fridge, All-Pro LCAs, TC A-Arm Skids, dual batteries, Downey skid plate, Cyclone pre-filter, ARB Compressor & Rear Locker!! Offroad Trailer
Photos http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1237
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Unread 01-18-2012, 12:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
Wow, guess they told you

SPOT was always in the back of my mind to get when I really think of going on trips where it would be needed. I was more hoping to do a pay as you go thing, where you rent the device and use it for trips when needed, as let's face it 99% of us wont need it for 99% of trips. So why have a subscription for maybe one trip a year (if that for most)??

Not sure why they reacted the way they did, as your subscription (even at lower rate) should still bring $$$ their way for doing nothing but renew the account. Or do they pay a service provider on a subscription basis??
I do have to laugh when I imagine the Customer "service" rep gleefully pressing a big red button on their keyboard while saying "Vengence is mine!!!"

In many busninesses they really hate to have customer turnover, or churn. Sometime it takes 2 or more years to break even after you give the customer discounts and goodies to sign up. If they quickly lose a customer and then have to replace them with a new customer it costs them a bundle. Makes sense to keep customers, run a good a great business attract lots more customers without having to lure them in with short-lived incentives.

SPOT and Globalstar are hand-in-hand so there is no middleman for the fee collection that I know of.
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'05 SR5 4WD V6
HQ sliders, OW Suspension, LT265/75/R16C Duratracs, rear diff. breather, ScanGauge II, Garmin 276C, Engel 45 fridge, All-Pro LCAs, TC A-Arm Skids, dual batteries, Downey skid plate, Cyclone pre-filter, ARB Compressor & Rear Locker!! Offroad Trailer
Photos http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1237
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Unread 01-18-2012, 07:42 AM   #8
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There is a subscription free EPIRB that is small and light called FastFind


http://www.mcmurdo.co.uk/en/products...stfind-210-211
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'05 SR5 4WD V6
HQ sliders, OW Suspension, LT265/75/R16C Duratracs, rear diff. breather, ScanGauge II, Garmin 276C, Engel 45 fridge, All-Pro LCAs, TC A-Arm Skids, dual batteries, Downey skid plate, Cyclone pre-filter, ARB Compressor & Rear Locker!! Offroad Trailer
Photos http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1237
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Unread 01-18-2012, 08:03 AM   #9
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Wow. That is some crappy customer service
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Unread 01-18-2012, 09:32 AM   #10
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I'm sure they will reap the rewards of their "customer service", as all company's do in the long run. Still, that is pretty poor. If they are apathetic about that aspect of their business it generally means that is not the only part of their business being neglected.
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Unread 01-18-2012, 12:40 PM   #11
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ACR Products at http://www.acrelectronics.com/produc...ns-comparison/

The SAR-Link appears to have a basic messaging service that is NOT tied to SPOT. It goes through the 406 MHz satellite transponder and the subscription package is called 406.Link for $60 a year
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'05 SR5 4WD V6
HQ sliders, OW Suspension, LT265/75/R16C Duratracs, rear diff. breather, ScanGauge II, Garmin 276C, Engel 45 fridge, All-Pro LCAs, TC A-Arm Skids, dual batteries, Downey skid plate, Cyclone pre-filter, ARB Compressor & Rear Locker!! Offroad Trailer
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Unread 01-18-2012, 02:43 PM   #12
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That's terrible, Jim. I refuse to support companies that behave like this. I almost got one of these with a REI gift card I got for xmas. I'm glad I decided to get my bike tuned up instead.
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Unread 01-18-2012, 07:54 PM   #13
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I have my eye on a ResQLink PLB. http://www.acrelectronics.com/produc...ocator-beacons

If I need rescuing I figure I need it RFN and nothing but an actual PLB will do the trick. All that texting, tracking, google maps stuff is just fluff.

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Unread 01-19-2012, 06:14 PM   #14
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So the only update that I have is that rather than have Cusomer "service" contact me, someone passed the buck to a very nice VP in Spot sales named Jake. All that he could do was say that he could give me a free $50 tracking package but I'd still be paying the regular subscription and insurance prices.

If they had offered that when I asked for a discount I would have gone for it. Now that customer "service" has treated me like a bum they should apologize if they want my business. I liked my new Spot 2 but I may have to sell it and go for a EPIRB instead.
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'05 SR5 4WD V6
HQ sliders, OW Suspension, LT265/75/R16C Duratracs, rear diff. breather, ScanGauge II, Garmin 276C, Engel 45 fridge, All-Pro LCAs, TC A-Arm Skids, dual batteries, Downey skid plate, Cyclone pre-filter, ARB Compressor & Rear Locker!! Offroad Trailer
Photos http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1237
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Unread 01-19-2012, 07:52 PM   #15
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I almost bought a Spot when my brother-in-law did, glad I didn't. I was thinking about getting one of these from Garmin. Think it could be useful allowing members to track you.






https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=209&pID=67686

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Unread 01-19-2012, 08:12 PM   #16
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For most companies, Customer Service is a thing of the past.
Thanks for the heads up as I was thinking about SPOT later this summer, they will NOT get my cash.
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Unread 01-19-2012, 10:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teampez View Post
For most companies, Customer Service is a thing of the past.
In this economy that is the only way a company will survive. It's the "thing" of the future.

SPOT are not getting my business.
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Unread 01-20-2012, 10:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajaRnnr View Post
I almost bought a Spot when my brother-in-law did, glad I didn't. I was thinking about getting one of these from Garmin. Think it could be useful allowing members to track you.
It uses cellular: "•Operates on a GSM wireless connection with U.S. national coverage."
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'05 SR5 4WD V6
HQ sliders, OW Suspension, LT265/75/R16C Duratracs, rear diff. breather, ScanGauge II, Garmin 276C, Engel 45 fridge, All-Pro LCAs, TC A-Arm Skids, dual batteries, Downey skid plate, Cyclone pre-filter, ARB Compressor & Rear Locker!! Offroad Trailer
Photos http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1237
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Unread 01-20-2012, 10:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuly View Post
Anyone tried the InReach from Delorme. I have been thinking about going this route and it will work with my PN60. http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELi...&section=10820

The only downside is probably the cost. But I guess it isn't bad given the cost of cell service contracts...I'm more curious if anyone has had any direct experience dealing with them. It if is truly handled by Delorme (GEOS handles the SOS) then I'm very tempted.
The InReach device uses the Iridium Satellite network which is a direct competitor of Spot/Globalstar. InReach has 2-way messaging, a huge selling point over Spot.
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My Adventure Blog: "Sun To The North"
'05 SR5 4WD V6
HQ sliders, OW Suspension, LT265/75/R16C Duratracs, rear diff. breather, ScanGauge II, Garmin 276C, Engel 45 fridge, All-Pro LCAs, TC A-Arm Skids, dual batteries, Downey skid plate, Cyclone pre-filter, ARB Compressor & Rear Locker!! Offroad Trailer
Photos http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1237
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Unread 01-20-2012, 12:58 PM   #20
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The InReach that pairs with a smartphone looks cool, I would hate to type a message on a GPS. For truck use it is great as there is enough power for the SMartphone, but hiking it may not be ideal due to power constraints for phones.

This may be an interesting enough topic to start a separate thread in the COmms section. I find APRS with the Ham works pretty well as it leaves enough breadcrumbs to allow people to find you easily, but no SOS in a dead spot though. SO you have to notify people before and then wait till they decide you are in trouble, if no APRS or Ham signal.
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