Another SPOT device issue.

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Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Buddy » Wed 18 Apr, 2018 6:56 pm

Have a mate who uses one of these, in fact he retails them. Most recent monthly payment failed to go through and he was cut off-no warning or notification! His partner was panicking due to the failure of the device to transmit. He had no idea the messages were not getting through. She notified the Police who luckily found him OK. How fortunate this was not a life-threatening situation. Shabby set up for something purporting to be a lifesaver.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Thu 19 Apr, 2018 9:44 am

yeah , i have one, get no notification about charges, it automatically charges a loaded credit card, they dont tell you when they take the money or that they are about to....
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Orion » Thu 19 Apr, 2018 9:59 am

That sucks.

When I was looking into getting one I read that it's also difficult to cancel the auto-payment. The advice I was given for canceling was to pretend my credit card had been stolen and ask for a new one from my bank. Seriously!

It was one of the reasons I chose not to go the Spot route.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Nuts » Thu 19 Apr, 2018 11:15 am

Does inreach have a better system I wonder? (currently looking for reliable alternatives).
How hard would it be to generate a string of reminders if an active service is stopped by something like this.. :roll:

Iv'e cancelled our spot rego.. or expect so, they wouldn't do it without a call and it wont happen until the annual payment comes due again. Iv'e heard even that is no guarantee?. So it's obviously a fault if cancellation can happen on auto... They should really make as much effort to inform users of pending cancellations as they (otherwise) do to keep your perpetual $. Automatic payments are held up to avoid service difficulties not add to them.

Just to warn again that similar happened with iridium (or telstra), not a payment issue but in disabling their user access, in the form of a much reduced service, for an old plan. Again, with no notification.

Disasters waiting to happen.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby GBW » Thu 19 Apr, 2018 8:39 pm

Do Spot offer a monthly payment plan? I'd suggest checking your Spot account before you leave to ensure it's active and do a test run with contacts/messages organised. Don't press the SOS button though.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Orion » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 1:37 am

GBW wrote:Do Spot offer a monthly payment plan? I'd suggest checking your Spot account before you leave to ensure it's active and do a test run with contacts/messages organised. Don't press the SOS button though.


Clearly. But that's just a half-baked workaround. What if the monthly payment failed while you were on a trip? Spot should send an email and provide a grace period. People carry these for emergencies.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 4:02 am

spot are annual only
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Lamont » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 5:22 am

G'day I only mention this as you asked is Inreach better? From the admin side I get an email each time a payment is taken and I know when it will be for what its worth. From the tech side after 4 months use no SOS calls tho', it has worked flawlessly. I have the safety plan and the customised messages ( unlimited free with plan) are gold. I have 3 times used the basic weather forecast when I had some free texts leftover got home and checked BOM for accuracy and it was. I have the new SE which doesn't have the SOS flaw. Big initial lay out tho' as you know. Bargained 10 per cent off though with some research.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 5:35 am

i checked my details on spots website and somehow my address got truncated , that might be why i never get anything from them, but they dont record an email address as an option to enter but they must have it somewhere i got an email being told they were going to start charging gst
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Orion » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 6:52 am

wayno wrote:spot are annual only


An annual term, yes, but with an option for monthly payments.


wayno wrote:i checked my details on spots website and somehow my address got truncated , that might be why i never get anything from them, but they dont record an email address as an option to enter but they must have it somewhere i got an email being told they were going to start charging gst


They come across as kind of a two-bit operation.

The Spot is a nice light device with good battery life. And you can replace the batteries. The InReach devices are heavier, the battery is a built-in rechargeable which doesn't last as long, and the devices are more expensive up front. But ignoring those issues InReach with two-way communication is clearly superior to the "who-knows-if-my-message-made-it" Spot.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby GBW » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 7:01 am

Can you point out the page on the Spot site that shows the option for monthly payments. I wouldn't call a check of the device half-baked. Sounds logical to me.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 7:09 am

SPOT are part of globalstar, they dont have a freephone support no, so its a toll call to the states, or fill out an email form and wait...
pretty minimal support infrastructure,
they havent updated the models for years. i bought it based on reviews that the connectivity had improved a lot over previous models... i'd hate to have a previous model given how bad i've found the latest model
i had no intention of relying on them as an emergency service, i just wanted it to tracking and sending default messages .... i have a PLB i take with me as well.
i've found their connectivity very patchy under tree canopy. usually non existant,
i'll be transfering to an inreach device. i had no idea they'd keep auto billing me. the ongoing yearly costs mean an inreach can work out a lot cheaper in the long run because you only have to pay for the months you use...
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Orion » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 11:13 am

GBW wrote:Can you point out the page on the Spot site that shows the option for monthly payments. I wouldn't call a check of the device half-baked. Sounds logical to me.


Normally I'd tell you to just look on their website or use google. But the Spot website is a mess. They have two different pages for the payment plan, one with the old prices and one with the newer prices. Why they leave dated, incorrect information live on the site is a symptom of their problem.

https://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=130

I probably shouldn't have said "half-baked". What I meant was that your idea is a good one but it's incomplete because your service could be canceled while you're in the bush. And it shouldn't be necessary. If you're like Wayno and just use it as a messenger then it's not a big deal. But if it's your locator beacon -- and plenty of people carry a Spot for that reason -- then immediately canceling your service without any notification borders on criminal.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 11:20 am

i cant see anywhre in my account details to change plans
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 11:59 am

it reads to me like the monthly sub for spot is only for additional devices and you have to have a 12 month sub anyway

$19.99/MO
(12 month term applies)
Required for each
SPOT Gen3 Device
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Orion » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 12:07 pm

wayno wrote:it reads to me like the monthly sub for spot is only for additional devices and you have to have a 12 month sub anyway


Yes, exactly. That's what I said. It costs more to pay monthly but I guess if you're a Spot user who is on a budget, I don't know.

But it makes a difference with regard to the OP issue since it could possibly fail to renew each month. All it takes is your credit card company freezing your account because of real or suspected fraud. Then suddenly your Spot doesn't work anymore.

Edit: Where did you read it's only for additional devices?
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby NathanaelB » Sat 21 Apr, 2018 6:26 pm

Yes, inReach is MUCH better. I know exactly what my bill is, I get email reminders, I have auto-debit set up but I also regularly top-up my account with credit just in case so I am 100% confident I have an active subscription when I go out.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sat 28 Apr, 2018 6:13 pm

They certainly have a few problems. But its not entirely their fault. Getting electronics certified for use in every country takes time, and I'm guessing that the australian end of the operation doesn't get as much attention as some of the other segments. There is certainly weirdness in the billing, but that's not unusual when dealing with companies that have offices in different countries. We've tried to get better service given that we were running 6 devices at one time, but no dice. Only so much to be done when there is not a huge market and competition. And yes, we've been nearly left high and dry a time or two, when cards were switched over.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Sat 28 Apr, 2018 6:18 pm

disagree, SPOT could do a lot to improve their support, online and providing more information through emails. it can be automated by a company of that size but it looks like a company that just puts the bare minimum into customer support, i'll be shifting over to inreach once my current sub runs out
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby tastrax » Sat 28 Apr, 2018 9:22 pm

If you want to get really serious then Tracertrack can define business rules etc that must be followed - ie check in by defined times, two way messages (depends on device), logins and logout etc but it does come at a price. If you are working remote all the time then its not a big cost for your own safety.

http://www.tracertrak.com.au/products/inreach/
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby photohiker » Mon 30 Apr, 2018 8:51 am

We have had the original InReach for years. Bought it from the US before it was available in Australia.

Monthly billing info via email before the payment is done via auto credit card. Recreation plan $40 per month. That Tracertrack system is looking way expensive.

More expensive than the Spot, but way better than the Spot in message capability and the satellite system used between the Spot and InReach.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby oldpiscator » Mon 30 Apr, 2018 9:20 am

RescueME PLB from Hurleys in Bentleigh is on special at $350. Very compact and looks good. Anyone got one ?
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Nuts » Mon 30 Apr, 2018 9:35 am

We have some of these, can't say a lot. 1 was used a couple of years back (near Kia Ora on the Overland Track).. and worked.

Until recently a iridium sat-phone appeared to be a better option than Spot or Garmin Inreach. Probably still is, at a similar price to a 12mth sub and for full use (?)

Time may be coming to give inreach a go (as a second device).
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Gadgetgeek » Mon 30 Apr, 2018 8:40 pm

with Irridium getting a new set of sats, it might be an option. wouldn't be shocked if a company came out with new devices for the network now that its got some new life.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby Orion » Tue 01 May, 2018 3:53 am

oldpiscator wrote:RescueME PLB from Hurleys in Bentleigh is on special at $350. Very compact and looks good. Anyone got one ?


That's what I ended up buying after test driving a Spot. But of course a PLB has no messaging capability.

One thing about the Spot that I didn't expect was that having the ability to send messages, even the fixed, one-way type that Spot is limited to, had an odd intrusive effect on me. I was on a solo trip when I tried a Spot and sending those OK messages and using the tracking kind of gave me a weird "someone is watching me" feeling. I decided I didn't really want that, much less the two-way communication that an InReach or a satellite phone would offer.

But being able to communicate in an emergency could be very useful.
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Tue 01 May, 2018 7:46 am

hit the button on a beacon and rescue services treat it like its urgent..... having two way comms you can let a trusted contact know if you're going to be late out... my default message on one of my pot buttons says i'm ok but i will be delayed getting out by up to 24 hours, its often used for peace of mind when people gt the ok signal, it means everything going as planned , usually sent when you've stopped for the day...
problem is though if it doesnt work, cant get connectivity or you loose it, and someone doesnt get any positive messages from you then they may call a rescue prematurely.... and the SPOT is the least likely of the sat comms devices to be able to connect consistently... you may have to go looking for a place where you can specifically get a connection to send the update message....
i read about someone who wasnt able to send from the spot, and had agreed with their trusted contact to call for a rescue if he missed a day..... so he had to make a fast exit from the mountains to get in touch with authorities to call off any search...
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby RonK » Tue 01 May, 2018 8:39 am

A new device has emerged on Kickstarter which offers pretty much the same features as the original Inreach. I don't think I would jump in and commit to one just yet but it looks promising.

Somewear: limitless communication built for adventure

A global, satellite hotspot that brings your friends on every adventure - beautifully designed to fit in your pocket
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 01 May, 2018 9:25 am

So many of those Kickstarter projects have been half baked with lovely presentation but failed execution and unsustainable. For the tiny size of this particular market, I don't see much of a future for them. Some lucky ones make 6-7 figure return on their Kickstarter project with no loss of equity, dodgy!
Just move it!
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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby RonK » Fri 04 May, 2018 7:22 am

Well, if you don't like Kickstarter projects this should float your boat. And probably sink Spot's.

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Re: Another SPOT device issue.

Postby wayno » Fri 04 May, 2018 8:01 am

more details
i'm interested. not available yet
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/592606
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