I bought a Garmin 2620 GPS unit while I was on holiday in Canada (over from the UK). It cost over 700 (C$1400 / US$1100).

I bought a Garmin product as they were a "world leader" in GPS systems - only to find out upon returning home to the UK that they restrict trade of map software* to try to prevent you buying the hardware from the US where it is frequently very much cheaper, and will only sell european maps with hardware in europe.

* You can buy it seperately from abroad but you have to import it from a dealer - Garmin International will not let you buy it from their website, and Garmin (Europe) won't sell it to "protect their market" (see the email).

City Select Europe will autoroute on my hardware, but they didn't want to tell me that - they wanted to sell me City Navigator Europe for about 400 - almost double the cost !

Just to add a sting in the tail, buying the City Select software on its own costs more than buying it with hardware - a GPS18 or cfQue are cheaper and come with City Select Europe bundled.

As a "compromise" Garmin Europe offered to sell me the software alone for 186 - but I can get it "free" with a GPS18 receiver for around 138 and still save almost 50 !

In my opinion, they're fleecing customers. I can see no other sensible explanation.


More details, including an emailed reply, a complaint to the co-founders and their marketing director, and the marketing directors reply follow:

An emailed reply from Garmin Europe
My complaint to the co-founders and marketing director
...The pathetic reply from the marketing director

Comments from other customers

On a completely unrelated note, the Garmin Navtalk apparently has some problems...
Click here for info on them

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Feel free to send me your comments on this site !



Footnotes

To Garmin:
Congratulations - you've managed to piss off a customer so much they feel compelled to tell as many potential buyers as possible about the customer care policy (it sounds a little like "we have your money now fuck off").

To Gary Kelley (Director of Marketing):
Your excuse about product availability being dependant on licence agreements is bollocks - see Navteqs' response (which I sent to you), and distribution agreements are entirely under Garmins' control. No outside factors are involved.

To potential purchasers:
A PocketPC solution like an Ipaq with GPS receiver is more versatile and will probably work out cheaper than being tied to a Garmin equivalent - especially if you want to buy more than just the maps included with your hardware.