Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
Typical prices range from $550 to $700 for a Garmin Zumo 550 motorcycle GPS. When you see a price that is $450 it is pretty enticing, but there are dealers out there who list the price low because they piece out the parts that go with the unit or try and up sell protective cases, automobile chargers, extended warranties or other related items at inflated prices.
A GPS is a hefty investment, but when it comes to motorcycles, it will make even the pickiest riderís eyes light up. One of the first steps to take is to read my article on GPS systems that compare and explain the major differences in the brands. I have included some great GPS review and equipment sites to help you do some further research. Once you know what type you want, then you need to do some internet research on pricing and consumer reviews.
There are forums for some of the big brand GPS systems. For example, for the Garmin Zumo 550 GPS, there is a Zumo forum specifically designed to allow Zumo users to voice their opinions and issues. While reading this forum, I stumbled upon a camera shop, 86th Street Photo & Video, selling GPS systems for $150 less than any other dealer. In the instances in the Zumo forum that I found, the feedback was negative, saying that if you ordered from this company, you would get an email or phone call telling you to contact them to confirm your order. When you contacted them, the order taker would be aggressive and try to sell you additional items. If you didnít want additional items then mysteriously after a day or two, your item would be out of stock for 6 to 8 weeks or you would have to contact them again and again to get your item.
I decided to personally order from this company and report my experience back to you. Three days after I placed my online order I received a phone call asking me to contact the company to verify my order. I have never had a company call and ask me to verify when I have placed online. I called and was told they had to verify my address. The order taker asked me if I was interested in other items to go along with the Zumo 550 and I said no, I had everything I needed. The order taker started to be aggressive in selling when I mentioned that I am an editor for a motorcycles website and was reviewing GPS systems and companies that sell them.
He checked my website out while on the line and then said okay, we will process your order. He was very nice after that and completed the call quickly. I noticed after three days that my credit card still had not been charged. I sent an email to the company asking them about my order. They informed me, that the item was out of stock and would be out of stock for at least six to eight weeks. I wonder if I had bought additional items such as the extended warranty and auto charger they offered, if the GPS would have suddenly been in stock. Their extended warranty was at least two times the dollar amount that Amazon charges for a warranty for the same length of time. Anyway, I do not get a warm and fuzzy feeling about this company and cancelled my order. I donít know if after six to eight weeks, if I would have received the unit or not, or if I would have had to call and ask where the unit was.
These companies are out there and if you want to play their game and wait it out, it may be a good deal, but when I order something I want it quickly.
Amazon, on the other hand, sent my order out immediately and I received within five days. The cost was about $150 more but well worth the investment. By the way, Amazon didnít call and ask to confirm my address and try to sell me additional items.
Another posting in the Zumo forum mentioned another dealer with a lower than average price and when the buyer received their order, they only received the unit. They had to invest money in purchasing software and cables. They spent much more this way than if they would have originally purchased the more expensive unit with all the parts and pieces.
If you go to Google and type in the name of the GPS you are interested in, you can usually find some feedback from consumers on the model. There are also some sites strictly for opinions, like www.epinions.com. I use this method on every major purchase I make, just to feel confident about what may be any issues with an item I am purchasing and if I can live with the issues.
I would definitely purchase a GPS from a site that is reputable and that you have either done business with or have researched extensively. I would make sure you ask when ordering by phone or print a copy of the itemís specifications and components to make sure you are getting what you asked for. I would also ask if the item is in stock and when you can expect to receive. Remember the saying, "Buyer Beware", and in the above instance it really does apply.
Until next week, ride safe.