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Warranty procedure with Garmin, here's how it works

How to process a Garmin warranty

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One of the questions that has always been asked before I buy a device is how the warranty works with a certain manufacturer, or what my opinion of the manufacturers' (in this case Garmin) warranty is. Unfortunately this is something I don't have a good grasp on, because even though I'm also a consumer exactly like you, my usage is somewhat different.

I buy the devices that I use for my training or for testing. I always indicate this in all the tests, but it is not superfluous to remember it. And I do it in normal stores, so normal guarantees apply. However, I combine the use of those devices with all the ones that are sent for testing, so at the moment of truth a watch that I bought 2 years ago does not mean that it has 2 years of use.

What do I mean by that? Well, that in my case, it would take longer than any of you for a device to fail "due to wear and tear", simply because my use is not as intensive with that one device as yours may be.

It's like asking a motor journalist about the reliability of all the cars he's used. With each car he tests he accumulates a few thousand kilometres and quickly moves on to the next, so there's no time to see any breakdowns except in very specific cases.

There is also the fact that the percentage of products with problems is low - not that there are no defective devices (anyone working in the world will know that everything fails, regardless of the brand), but it is very unusual.

Proper warranty management is very important for a brand. Or it should be. Failures may not be common, but they exist now and will always exist. Easy and correct management wins the trust of users, who are likely to trust that brand again even if they have had a product fail. However, poor management will cause that person to leave the brand forever: not only does he or she have a failing device, but the brand is not responsible.

As for the failures of the products about what I write here, normally I can comment by comments from readers or what is seen on the Internet, but in this case I can talk about a case in first person, because a few months ago I had a problem with the clock I used as my main one until that moment, the Garmin Forerunner 935.

It had already become a "test" clock, having been replaced by the Garmin Forerunner 945I was going to keep using it, but not as a newspaper watch. In fact, I think the problem I had was precisely because I abandoned my wrist and became part of the desk.

The failure of the Garmin FR935

I bought my Garmin Forerunner 935 on 5 May 2017, a few days after it officially arrived in the shops. It was the triathlon pack, including the sensors HRM-TRI, HRM-Swim and the Quick ReleaseSince then more than two years of intermittent but frequent use.

He has gone through months of intensive use when the pace of analysis of other products stopped and he had to train for some races, along with other months when he only used it at opportune moments to make GPS or sensor comparisons. He has even survived a bike accident that left him somewhat battered and scratched.

Garmin Forerunner 935 warranty

But as I said before, the problem didn't come until it stopped being my usual clock and started staying on top of the desk.

What happened to it? The resin covering the optical pulse sensor fractured.

Garmin Forerunner 935 warranty

Garmin Forerunner 935 warranty

This has been a more or less common bug. Not only with the FR935, but also with many other models such as the Fenix. Taking a look at the Garmin support forums you can see similar problems from other users (for example here, here or here).

Buscador de chollos

In my particular case I think my problem came after having left the clock for so long on the glass desk. With every notification received on the phone the clock vibrated, running over the table. Again and again and again... And it constantly chimed on the glass surface precisely with that part of the sensor that was in contact with the table.

Although the problem may have been caused by that reason, it shouldn't have been. And the fact that it happened in so many other models is proof that mine wasn't an isolated failure. That's when I decided it was time to "pull the plug".

Warranty procedure with Garmin

I processed the warranty as a private user, at no time did I contact through the website's email account or identify myself as the person behind this page. For Garmin's technical service I was just another buyer, nothing more... and nothing less.

Once I saw the problem in the clock and knew that it would affect any tests I might want to do on the optical sensors I proceeded to look for the purchase invoice, exactly as any other user would do in this case.

After getting the invoice, the surprise came... the two-year warranty had expired less than two months ago. Chascazo, I couldn't do the paperwork... Even so, and reviewing the different cases in the Garmin forums, I decided to send an email to support on July 29, 2019 (I remember that the purchase date was May 5, 2017). The "no" was already there.

Processing Garmin Warranty

Garmin Support contacted me on July 30th asking for all the details. About my indication that it was a recurrent bug they answered that they don't have it registered as such but... it seems that they are going to process it.

Processing Garmin Warranty

The fact that the guarantee had run out "I dropped it" in the first mail, but now I had to provide the purchase invoice. Could it be that they hadn't read it properly? Well, I proceed to fill out the whole form and attach the invoice and let the sun rise over Antequera.

One day later, July 31st, I receive a new mail with an RMA number and instructions to proceed with the procedure. It seems that everything is going well, even though I am sending a watch with more than two years of invoice. So I proceed to contact Seur to request the collection at due time (for my part the only thing I had to put was the packaging).

Processing Garmin Warranty

The next day Seur comes to pick up the package, taking my "old" FR935 with its cracked sensor and scratched edge from the bike fall. It's already August 1st, Thursday, so the clock would arrive on Friday 2nd at its destination.

August 9, 8 days after Seur's collection, and I have the carrier back at the door. He brings me a package with Garmin as sender. Inside is a watch in a bubble bag.

Garmin Forerunner 935 warranty

Here it was, a brand new watch in appearance.

Garmin Forerunner 935 warranty

And with an immaculate optical sensor, without the cracks of the one I had sent.

Garmin Forerunner 935 warranty

In short

The bottom line is that "my customer self" (not "my blogger self") purchased a Garmin watch that has suffered damage that disables one of its functions. After contacting Garmin and requesting a warranty more than two years after purchase, you have received a satisfactory response and traded in for a "refurbished" unit (what we in my world call "a Furby").

What would be my opinion as a customer of the Garmin warranty? That it answers. And in that situation Garmin would be building customer loyalty.

We may think that a guarantee procedure is an expense for a manufacturer. Repairing - or replacing as in this case - a product always has a cost, there is no doubt about that. However, I believe that a guarantee procedure is an opportunity for that manufacturer. An opportunity to build customer loyalty, to ensure that the next purchase that customer will make does not consider another brand.

And this is not something new, there are many other examples like Apple, Google, Amazon... All of them apply a "customer-centric" strategy. However there are other manufacturers in which processing a warranty can be hell, cases like Samsung or Canyon...

How much does it cost to have this kind of support? I don't know how much it costs Garmin, I'm sure it's not cheap, but it's another form of promotion, just like Garmin is promoted at races or in TV and print ads. But what I'm sure of is that the return on investment is higher for well-managed support than for TV ads.

And at this point and since my experience is limited... What was your experience with the warranty process? What brand did you buy that you needed warranty on and it answered correctly? I'm sure it's of interest to the rest of the users to know this information first hand. So if you don't mind, use the comments below and tell us. Thanks for reading!

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23 Comments

  1. I bought more than two years ago the Garmin Fénix chronos titanium watch with the Titanium strap, it has broken several times, the links were coming out of the pins, I changed the chain, then the closure of the other chain opened constantly, I also changed it and now after the two years of warranty the Titanium chain that has the inside of the silicone links break. I go to Garmin Spain and they tell me that there are no spare parts for those links and the answer they give me is that I would have to buy a new one that is worth about 300 euros, and talking about the rear sensor seems like the rear glass of my Garmin Fénix chronos titanium watch would have cracked without having hit any blow with this I say goodbye.

    1. I would recommend you to go to a watch shop. The armis is quite standard and I'm sure they can fix it for you safely and for a good price.

  2. I just sent a vivoactive 3 to Garmin a week before the two-year purchase date, because the battery only lasted one day. The process is the same as the article.

    In one week I have a seemingly new watch. I had read that the garmin guarantee worked beautifully.

    A 10 to Garmin Service

  3. My experience, with Garmin as well, is just the opposite. I got stuck with a Garmin Fénix 3 just after the warranty ended. The buttons didn't respond to any touch, and I didn't care about the resets and resets that were indicated on the service page and that were indicated to me from support. The watch was impeccably maintained, and the failure was due to a problem in the device software, nothing to be blamed on the user. And it's very easy to find quite a few cases on the Internet of people who have had the same thing happen. However, the response from the technical service was that I had to send it in and pay a sort of "one-time fee" of over 120 euros to have a reconditioned watch sent to me.

    I'm glad your experience has been good, but for me to have a sudden software failure (Garmin's full responsibility), repeated to quite a few users, and shortly after the end of the warranty period means that the only alternative is to pay more than $120 seems to be teasing customers.

    1. When I say that certain actions are not an expense, but an investment... messages like yours reinforce me in the idea.

  4. WELL, I HAVE A FORERUNER 235 WHICH 6 MONTHS AFTER ITS PURCHASE FAILED ME A LOT IN THE REGISTRATION OF THE PULSATIONS IN THE WRIST, IT STAYED FLAT IN 73, NEITHER WENT UP NOR DOWN FROM THAT. I WENT TO THE ENGLISH COURT (PLACE OF PURCHASE) AND THEY MANAGED EVERYTHING FOR ME, THEY SENT THE WATCH TO GARMIN. AFTER 10 DAYS +- THEY SENT ME A COMPLETELY NEW ONE, NOT RECONDITIONED. IN SHORT, GOOD EXPERIENCE WITH THE WARRANTY. NOT LONG AGO I BOUGHT ANOTHER GARMIN FENIX 5, THEY WON A CUSTOMER!

  5. Hi, I have a 1 year old Fenix 5 but I have already used the Garmin SAT twice: the first time because of the connector contacts and the second because of GPS failure. In both cases the response has been very good: they have replaced the unit sent to me with a "Furby".

  6. My experience is similar to yours, but I wasn't as lucky. Garmin 820, the screen part is almost invisible, and I find out that it is a garmin failure in some models, I spent almost two months on the warranty, I went 11 months without using it because of a broken hip. I start to process the warranty by mail, explaining my story from the beginning. And when it seems that they have taken over at no cost to me, they tell me that I have to pay for a screen change of 120 ?. Well nothing... I said goodbye with a lot of politeness, it fucked me up, but they have lost a garmin customer

    1. The halo of some screens is another clear example of a repeated and known failure... In these cases Garmin should offer extended warranty because they are perfectly aware of the failure in question.

  7. To my Forerunner 935 that I bought new in cashconvertes the same thing happened with nine months of use, I didn't have it abandoned and I was wearing it daily, cashconvertes refused to repair it alleging that it was an improper use, finally I processed it directly with garmin and the experience has been great, they took care of the warranty and replaced it with a totally new one. A 10 for garmin.

  8. Unfortunately, not all prestigious brands work the same way. My recent history is quite different, to the point that I have to go to the consumer's office to file a complaint, which they say will not solve much for me.
    Six years ago I bought a Specialized road bike frame, a top-of-the-line frame with a PvP value of £3000 where the price includes a lifetime warranty, provided no external factors such as falls, bumps or accidents are involved.
    The case is that the frame has been broken by pedaling on it and after processing the warranty according to the conditions set by the house, (registered invoice and sending the frame through an official distributor where I bought it) the answer has been, the denial of the warranty and the return of the broken frame.
    As you say in the article, they have lost a customer, a customer who, by the way, has not been the only one who has bought a bike of this brand and, unfortunately, will not buy it again.
    Conclusion before buying a valuable item, take a good look at how the after-sales warranty works and if you read bad reviews, better buy another brand.
    As a plus in this issue, I also have to say that I had a Suunto scope 2s that I had to manage the warranty because the buttons were attacking and I didn't have any problem. They resent it to me fixed in record time and without any cost.
    Salu2

  9. My first experience was 10: I had a Vivoactive HR that had worked without problems until after a year and a half, the screen suddenly "died" in the pool. Contact with after sales, I attach photos and invoice from Amazon; first they indicate me reset procedure to factory, I insist that it is the same to reset and reload that not, the screen is dead. They process RMA procedure, I send the device, and they indicate me that since my model is already discontinued they send me instead a new Vivoactive3. Chapeau! Registration cum laude, customer won.
    Second experience: simultaneously I acquired a Fénix 5, initial operation... like a cannon, in smart clock mode 10-12 days of battery life, in outdoor sport mode 9 hours of mountain trekking with everything activated (BT, FC, GPS, Wikiloc track navigation) leave the battery at 87%=> more than satisfactory.
    A los 6-8 la duración de la batería empieza a volverse errática, tan pronto dura 8 días como 3 en condiciones de uso normal (reloj inteligente, 1/2 sesiones de spinning semanales, 1 carrera 8-10k…), uno de los 4 pines muestra síntomas de oxidación pese a haber protegido el conector del dispositivo contra polvo/sudor con tapón de silicona desde el primer momento, limpieza con alcohol de acuerdo con la página de soporte; solo alguna actualización de software (12.30) solventa parcial y temporalmente el problema. Llegados a 1 año y 3 meses de vida, literalmente se “bebé” la batería (1% por hora en uso smartwatch, en modo deporte ya ni hablamos… Sábado a las 16:00 100%, carrera 10k (GPS) a las 19:00, 45 min spinning (no GPS) el lunes=> nivel batería el lunes 21:30 36%. Harto del tema, contacto con el SAT, expongo los datos y reclamo reparación o reemplazo en garantía, respuesta: desintalar apps tienda IQ (solo llevo Wikiloc y un watchface), reseteo a fabrica, sincronizar para actualizar versión (ya lleva la última) y testear duración dejando actividad GPS niciada sin autopausa junto a una ventana con BT y sensores apagados…. Me parece una simple maniobra para ganar tiempo, y/o tomarme por tonto… el dispositivo está diseñado para durar lo prometido con todo activado, para que alcance la duración máxima sin poder usar sus prestaciones me compro un Casio del 84 en el bazar del chino.
    I will test so that they do not claim that I have not followed their instructions, but since it will remain the same in the normal use for which it is designed, I will insist on replacement with threat of claim at Amazon and Consumer. I will update with your response

  10. My experience with Garmin has also been good. Last year my 735XT started behaving crazy with the activity start/stop button, it was impossible to use it because it started and stopped activities as many times as it felt like during a workout. It was still under warranty, it was a little over a year and a half old. In a few days, Garmin told me that the watch could not be repaired and they were going to replace it but they did not have it in stock and I had to wait a few more days for more units to arrive from the UK. The total time from when I sent the first email until I received a new 735XT (in a sealed box and everything) was 18 days.

  11. In my opinion GARMIN's guarantee is 10. I sent them an edge 820 on a Monday and on Friday I had another one. Also with the pulse tape it started to fail and they sent me another one. I'm a regular at garmin because of all this, my devices are a forerunern, edge 510 and 820, vector 3 and fenix. I think at the moment there is no mark that surpasses it.

  12. Well, I'm outraged. I woke up one day and my Garmin Fenix 5 sapphire stopped working after 2 years and 5 days and they didn't accept my warranty. For FIVE days. I know that even if it's 1 day late, they can already deny me the warranty, but I don't understand why with some people they make exceptions and with others not.

  13. Well, I have a bad experience with Polar.. and it was such an outrage that after many years using Polar I switched to Garmin.. now I'm happy to read your post.

  14. My experience with Garmin is very good, although bittersweet. It took 4 weeks but they sent me a new one. I had it for 18 months and with a guarantee. In their defense they didn't have any stock.

  15. Pues yo adquirí un garmin forerunner 735xt completamente nuevo y resultó defectuoso. Tras un breve periodo de prueba lo comunico al Servicio Técnico de Garmin, me dicen que se lo tengo que enviar y ¡¡¡me devuelven un reacondicionado!!! El negocio del siglo!!! Me encuentro peleando con ellos y parece que no entran en razón. Tengo que informarme de cómo seguir, si con denuncia a consumo o de qué otra manera.

  16. Got a Fénix 5Xand after 5 months the barometer sensor failed… Called garmin support and told me to send it back to warranty (I had to pay shipping costs)… After one week I got a furby 5S woman watch with metal band… I was not happy with this… I called and they said it was a mistake and had to ship it back (pay again) and because of the mistake they will send me a 5X Plus and 2 extra watch bands… Now I was happy… Got my furby 5X Plus and extra bands… And in one week baro sensor fails again… I am calling them on Monday and ask for a refund and will get a Suunto… I don’t want another Fénix 5 I guess they had a bad batch of baro sensors…

  17. En mi caso el problema fue con un forerunner 245 el cual presento un problema en uno de sus botones, la recepción del cambio fue rápida, pero la entrega fue muy lenta y sin mucha información (a veces la falta de ese correo extra que te de información del proceso, frustra, sobre todo después de 2 semanas). A la tercera semana llegó y aparentemente todo ok.
    Pregunta: ¿Cómo saben si es reacondicionado? o nuevo?

  18. Mi experiencia trata con garantia de garmin trata de 2 dispositivos:+

    Un forerunner 610 que me cambiaron 6 o 7 veces en 2 años… (tras ekl ultimo cambio lo vendí antes que terminara la garantía)

    Y ahora ya voy por el segundo fenix5s con el mismo problema y ya casi sin garantía me planteo que hacer con el cuando me llegue…

    He tenidp un 920xt, u un fenix 3 que nunca dieron problemas, así como un montana un edge 500 y 520.

    El que sale malo….. y los refurbised según mi experiencia rompen antes o después…

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