It’s time Market forces made TomTom earn its keep.

I’ve just bought a TomTom satnav with lifetime maps and speed camera locations.

The last two items are important, because otherwise I could just carry on with my old Navigo.

A little apprehension, when I read that “lifetime” meant “for as long as TomTom is prepared to provide them”.
But TomTom isn’t Microsoft, trying to force you to buy a new package every few years, writing the next one, before you’ve even upgraded to the one presently being promoted.

So, on with the purchase.

Time to update it. Usual palaver of name and password etc. But total frustration, because the download doesn’t work.
I notice that the SatNav is moaning about “no valid GPS signal”.

Of course there isn’t; I’m inside my house, where my computer lives.

So I take the Satnav outdoors, to the middle of the street, to get a signal.

Of course, it switches off; so into the car, connect it up and drive down the road —- valid signal.

OK , it’s been primed and it now connects to the download service. It’s a pity there was no message to warn me that such priming was necessary, either with the Satnav, or on the website. (plenty of stuff about how wise I was and how lucky I was in handing my money over.)

OK. A silly whinge about wasting a half hour sussing this “minor” issue.

The download, via BT broadband takes thirty minutes. Then another thirty minutes to download from the computer to the Satnav. (Glad I’m not on dial-up).

I now leave it to fully charge.

On turning on my computer, again, I find that I have other updates to download. The download to the computer is quicker, as is the download to the satnav, except it stalls at 77%.

After 15 mins. Of “give it a chance, don’t be impatient”, it occurs to me that the “no valid GPS signal” message may be the cause.

I can’t just prime it in the car again, because it already knows where it is and it’s in the middle of a download from the computer.

Luckily it’s a laptop (how would I resolve the problem if I only had a desktop?), so I take the conjoined items down the garden.

Still not working.

Perhaps the laptop still has to talk to the website and I’m now out of Wi-Fi range.
No, that’s not it. Perhaps the Software is crap and has gone into an error loop.

OK, kickstart by removing and replacing the USB.

Yay! It works, the screen immediately changes to a message informing me that my “free” speed camera access has expired and I can buy another year’s worth for a mere 20% of the price I’ve just paid.

Stupid of me to think it had been free , or included in the lifetime maps deal.

I’m not happy.

The actual hardware probably cost a few quid from the Chinese. The Software obviously hasn’t been upgraded that much, or with that much concern. The new map information is being provided by customers and by Government agencies.

TomTom is overcharging for what it provides and it’s time that the much vaunted market forces saw competition slit TomTom’s throat.

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