On Your Side: Refurbished GPS Device's Outdated Maps

I bought a refurbished TomTom One 130 S GPS device from Amazon. Unfortunately, its maps were outdated. Upgrading to current maps would be costly since TomTom charges by the age of the map data. TomTom support told me that its current map guarantee--which says that if the map loaded on your device isn't the latest version, you can get it for free--does not apply to refurbished devices. But Amazon's product description says TomTom "brings the Navigator back to like-new conditions," which I thought meant that it included current map data. Am I stuck with either using an out-of-date GPS unit or paying a high upgrade fee?

Charles Pollman, Dawsonville, Georgia

OYS responds: After we contacted TomTom about Pollman's issue, a representative stated that, though Pollman's GPS unit doesn't qualify for its map guarantee, the company would offer him a free map upgrade. Shortly thereafter, TomTom updated Pollman's account, en­­abling him to download the current map.

We recommend reading customer reviews of products you're thinking of purchasing; other people may alert you to potential pitfalls. If you're considering a refurbished GPS device, ask the manufacturer and the vendor about their map-update and warranty policies.

Rankling Repair Delay

Ken Bromberg of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, bought an Alienware M15 laptop for his son. When the case began to come apart, Alienware repaired it, but soon the laptop began showing the Blue Screen of Death, which reported an "uncorrectable hardware error." The Brombergs sent the PC to Alienware again. The company agreed that it had caused the issue, and said that it would make repairs even though the laptop was past its one-year warranty. The Brombergs got the laptop back, but the BSOD recurred, so they sent the computer a third time. After not receiving it for over seven weeks, Ken Bromberg contacted us for help.

An Alienware rep told us the company was experiencing delays in repair parts, which caused the long turnaround time. He also said the company has several ways to help compensate for delays. Alienware repaired the Brombergs' laptop within a week of our involvement and gave them a three-month warranty ex­­tension and $100 in Amazon gift cards.

If you experience a long delay after sending a product in for repair, ask the company to compensate you.

Belkin Surge Protector Recall

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Belkin is re­­calling about 68,700 SurgeMaster surge protectors (models F9G930-10, F9G930-v10, F9G930-10-W, F9G930G-CL, and F9G930-10-SN made in 2003; the model number and the date of manufacture are located on the back of the units).

The reason for the recall: The molding of the plastic 360-degree rotating plug can crack or detach from the plug, posing a shock hazard. At this writing, Belkin has re­­ceived seven reports of the plug molding cracking, but no injuries have been re­­ported. Consumers who own any of these surge protectors should stop using them and telephone Belkin at 800/952-1465 to order a free replacement. For more information, visit the company's Website.

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