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Electronics

    Lowrance Customer Service!
from Jeff Hahn  
9/14/2003 11:01:00 AM

Rated:

 I prefer a flasher on the bow of my boat. I have had an old Lowrance 2160 Flasher for many years and last year I even bought a used one from someone here to use as a back-up. Anyway, this past spring, I decided increase the available floor space in the front of my Ranger R91 by installing a 1240A In-Dash flaher in the front dash. I bought the 1240 from Three Rivers Marine...best price and great Board Sponsors! At the June BFL Tournament on Lake Erie, the new flasher worked fine in practice, then crapped out on me the night before the tournament. I had to reverse the mount of my Garmin 160 on my dash so that I could half see it from the front deck. After the tournament, I called Lowrance and talked to a Tech, he couldn't imagine what the problem could be. Well, two days later, as I tried to figure out what the problem was, the unit worked fine. And, it has been working fine ever since...until Thursday. Again, I was on Lake Erie practicing for yesterday's BFL. The unit would not work and, like before, the on/off knob was "mushy," not having the customary "CLICKS" as it is switched from the OFF position to the 40 foot and 100 foot scale settings. As I was trying to figure out what happened, I remembered. On the way in to the ramp on Wednesday, I stuffed a BIG wave...I was setting in water up past my ankles. (For you non-Lake Erie types, this is pretty customary at least once during a rough day!) I remembered that I had done the same thing back in June before the 1240 quit working that time. Thinking that the BIG wave might have gotten the 1240 flasher or the control knob wet, I pulled out the front bow panel and let it lay on the front deck while I fished. I was hoping that if the sun beat on it and the wind blew on it for a while it might dry it out. Sure enough, about 12:30, the unit started working fine again.

So, on Thursday afternoon, I called Lowrance Customer Service and talked to a Tech. I explained the problem just as I did above. His response (and I quote), "Well, that's the solution, then. Just pull out your front bow panel and let the control switch dry out!" I quickly replied that as a tournament fisherman, I rely on the unit working 100% of the time. I can not afford the time during a tournament to allow the unit to dry out! I was absolutely stunned that he thought that this was an acceptable solution! He told me that the control knob is a mechancial switch, not an electronic switch. So, mosture could make it malfunction. I proposed putting some silicone where the shaft from the control knob enters the black pod, where the actual switching device is located. His response, "Well, it couldn't hurt and might keep the water from running into the black pod." I also told him that the black pod was loose on the control shaft. He said "Even though it has vibrated loose, it can still work OK for years." I told him that since the unit was still under warranty, I wanted to solve the problem now, before the warranty expired. He did offer to replace the control switch, if I returned it, which I fully intend to do. But, just in case, for tournament day yesterday, I also re-installed the old 2160 box unit on the front deck.

1) I can't imagine why these switches are not water-proof.

2) I can't imagine why the Tech thought that taking the time to let it dry out was an acceptable solution to the problem.

3) I can't imagine why I bought another Lowrance product! A couple of years back, I went around and around with Lowrance regarding their inability to repair one of my units which was out of warranty, despite the CLEAR statement in their warranty that the product could always be repaired with genuine Lowrance parts. And, when they could no longer repair the unit, why they would not provide me a new, comparable unit for their flat repair fee. After that fiasco, I SWORE that I would never buy another Lowrance product. Why didn't I listen?

NEVER AGAIN!!!

Jeff Hahn


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   a little different experience from Chris Smith (65.67.60.184)  9/15/2003 12:33:00 AM
 on your #3 comment, they let me purchase an X85 for $99 bucks when my Sea View 1600 died. I think it is standard for them to offer a flat rate replacment with a current product. Maybe there are limitations I'm not aware of.

They replaced my LMS240 with an LMS320 after 2 replacement units, and it was determined that the problem was their software, which they didn't plan to update on the 240, but already had on the 320. No extra charge for the better unit.

They're customer service is no better than anyone else with high call volume, but they will stand behind the product. It just may take some polite insistence on your part. Unfortunately, that's common with most companies these days. Doesn't keep me from buying their product unless there's someone else with an outstanding reputation. There's no such animal in marine sonar (at least not in my price range)


    I tried that from Jeff Hahn  9/15/2003 1:41:00 AM
 Chris: I tried being insistant. I spent the better part of a month making phone calls and e-mailing the Head of Customer Service with Lowrance about my old unit...the one they no longer had repair parts for...which was only 6 years old. 6 years old may be a lifetime in the electronics business. But, their warrenty explicitly stated that the unit would be repaired with genuine Lowrance parts, IF and WHEN such a repair was needed. Since they could not repair my unit, all I asked was that they replace it with the comparable unit for the flat repair fee. They refused and we went around and around for over a month. They wanted to sell me a comparable unit for about twice the flat repair fee, which was about half the retail price of the unit. Their policy may have changed since then, but that was my experience at the time. I made a post about it here, on the Other Topics Board, I think, as the Electronics Board didn't even exist at that time.

Jeff Hahn


   I understand from Chris Smith (143.166.255.17)  9/15/2003 10:56:00 AM
 I guess coming from the computer industry, I just have lower expectations from tech support. Lowrance probably wasted more money in extra phone calls than they would have to just give you a new unit for the standard repair cost. I just wish the story from Garmin or Humminbird was better. The switch on my H-bird flasher is bad, and they want $100 to fix it. They have no way to replace just the switch...so it's another ornament in my pile of 'may fix some day' junk.


   I just sent it back...we'll see from Jeff Hahn  9/15/2003 4:42:00 PM
 I called Lowrance again this morning and I sent the unit back to have the switch replaced. They were very nice and promised to get it back to me before I leave for the BFL Regional at Chautauqua. That's all I can ask of them. I hope this repair goes smoothly!

Jeff Hahn


   Turn Around from Chris Smith (65.67.60.184)  9/15/2003 6:51:00 PM
 That's one nice thing they will do, put a rush on turnaround if you tell them you need it for a tourney.


   lowrance repairs from Wayne M (66.137.171.221)  9/15/2003 9:15:00 PM
 Lowrance has always treated me well. Had a X-85 that I sent in 2 months ago and within a week I had a replacement unit. It wouldn't even power up, got another replacement that was intermittent. Called and they said they were sending me a new, rather than refurbished unit to make up forv the hassle. In all cases they were very prompt. Worked great. Fortunately, I have three X-85's on two boats so it wasn't a big deal. Think they have cut back on phone support as a 30 minute hold seems normal now.

I've got a Pinpoint piece of junk still in warranty that needs to go back. I dread talking to those bs'ing idiots.


   Lowrance from Nimrod (12.100.41.234)  9/16/2003 1:50:00 PM
 Personally, I have never been disappointed with their techs or service or replacement policies since my first flasher back in the early '70s.

I can't imagine that any electronics units are actually built to withstand wave spearing at untold mph, even if they do claim to be waterproof. They could not sell units otherwise.

How does the warranty on your watch, cell phone and hearing aid fare after a spearing?


   Good one Nimrod! from fishmagnet (12.154.32.1)  9/16/2003 4:38:00 PM
 Lowrance has always treated me very well on both repairs and general b.s. techy-type questions.

They replaced my old LMS 350 several years ago after the keypad went kaput.

For $150, they sent me a NEW LMS 350 unit.

From time to time over the past several years I've had several questions about the operation of my 2001 model X-15MT.

When I get the techs on the phone, most of them are very helpful.

Fish on!


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