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  #1  
Old 03-13-2009
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Why I won't buy Uniden again

I don't know if other radio manufacturers are this way, but I was seriously disappointed at my experience with Uniden support this morning.

We have a Uniden 625c. It's interfaced with our Chartplotter NMEA0183 output so that we can send and receive DSC signals. We can see our position on the unit, and we can receive DSC calls without an issue, but when we go to send a DSC call we get to the point where we can select a channel, but then the screen quick flips back to standard operation before we can actually select the channel. From what I understand from the vessel we tested with, they actually receive the DSC call, but then it "goes away".

Here's my call with Uniden this morning.

I called them and described the problem, including the fact that we were receiving the GPS signal on the unit.

Uniden: "Do you have a GPS device hooked up? DSC will not work without a GPS device hooked up."

Me: "Again, yes, we do, and we're seeing the GPS location on the screen."

Uniden: "Are you sure it's an NMEA0183 connection?"

Me: "Yes, I have other devices that use the same output, and they only read NMEA0183. Plus, you only support NMEA0183, and I can see the GPS coordinates."

Uniden: "Is it NMEA0183 3.01? DSC only works with 3.01."

Me: "I'm not sure. It's coming from my Raymarine chartplotter which has the latest software, and your system is showing the GPS coordinates. How do I tell?"

Uniden: "You just have to know. We will only work with 3.01."

Me: "There's no function on your system to tell if you are receiving 3.01 or a compatible signal?"

Uniden: "No. You just have to know."

This banter went on for 30 seconds. I can't see that their unit would display the GPS coordinates, but not work otherwise if it wasn't receiving this specific version of NMEA0183.

Me: "OK. Then it's 3.01."

Uniden: "Then there's a problem with the unit. You'll have to send it in."

Me: "OK, I can do that. Can you cross ship me a new one so I have a fixed VHF?"

Uniden: "No. We don't do that."

Me: "Well, I'm leaving for the Bahamas next week. There's no way I can get a functional unit by then?"

Uniden: "You have to send it in."

Me: "How long does it take to turn around?"

Uniden: "One to two weeks."

Me: "One to two weeks? Is there any way to shorten that?"

Uniden: "No. We intake the unit and then bench test it. We may then need to order parts to fix it, and then we'll send it back to you."

Me: "Are there any other options?"

Uniden: "If you've bought the unit within the past few days you could probably swap it out at the place you bought it."

Me: "Well, I bought the unit two years ago, so that won't work. OK... thanks."

Uniden: "Thank you for calling Uniden."

By the way, I was sickingly nice on the call. This was my second bad experience with them. I also owned a Mystic handheld combo GPS/VHF a few years ago, and it had a problem with the charger unit overheating, melting and possibly causing a fire. My unit melted down and burned the counter under it. I called them up to swap it out then, and they tried to make me send it in to "check it out" before they would send me a new unit. I finally got to a high level person, and when I asked them what the press would think about the fact that their units may cause fires on boats, I was able to get a cross-ship. I had already bought this fixed unit at the time, otherwise I definitely would have gone a different direction.

Do other VHF vendors have the same policies?

Chris
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2009
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I will say that possibly bad electric parts are a problem with most any vendor and they want to see the unit unless its DOA and you can do the store exchange

There are just so many things that can be done wrong that would not be a defect
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Old 03-13-2009
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I have a Uniden dash mount VHF and also a Voyager hand-held. The Voyager was a tad over three years old. It had seen some rough service in the cockpit, often doused in salt spray. It had started to corrode around the edges and the anodising was starting to peel.

I called Uniden in Australia to ask them if they new of a decent cure because althought the radio still worked perfectly, it was starting to look a little tacky. The guy asked me to explain the problem again. I did that. He said "This was not possible, Uniden radios don't do that". I said "Yes they do, I have one"

He asked me to send the radio in to Uniden in Auckland for them to have a look. I couriered it to them and three days later, I recieved a brand new radio as a replacement with no further discussion. It's now two years down the track and the second unit is still perfect.

So I reckon Uniden rocks. I suppose it's where you are that counts.
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Old 04-01-2009
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Uniden does suck

I have been fighting with Uniden over a bug in their SAME weather alerts for over a year now. I have returned two radios 3 times each! They confirmed the bug then started ignoring me. Their S.A.M.E. weather alert is totally useless on at least three Marine VHF models probably more. Yet they continue to advertise this feature. Few enough people use SAME that they continue to get away with it. Very sad statement to their ethics.
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Old 04-01-2009
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I would expect that Uniden-Oz and Uniden-US are entirely separate companies that each have exclusive geographical territories, and most likely different policies as well. That's the norm in many businesses including electronics.

Chris, it sounds like whoever you were working with was a "****** reader" who was reading from a book (that's what passes for tech support from too many companies these days) and they have a legitimate issue--not knowing what's wrong with a 2 year old radio or how to charge for repairing it, IF there's anything wrong with it.

A better tech would have told you that you need to check the manual for your chartplotter to see if it is using NMEA 0183 v.3.01 or a different version. The differences can be quite small--and totally toxic to other equipment.

Bluntly: Without knowing what version you have, it would be a total waste of time and money for you to ship anything anywhere, or expect it to work. And, GOOD TECH SUPPORT should have been smart enough to tell you that up front.

The first time I got baffled by a ray-something-or-other ST40 set, I realized I love cell phones because they make it so much easier to call the toll-free number WHILE ON THE BOAT and get answers to things like that. Ray-whoever solved my problem in minutes. And, when I said I was somewhat disappointed that some of the covers said "Raymarine" while others said "Raytheon" and I didn't really care what they said, I'd just like to know if I could make them all match? The same nice man said no problem, they'd just mail me a new cover, gratis. (They like matching sets too.(G) )

So...call Raymarine, or check the online manual for your chartplotter. See if it can do the NMEA that the radio wants. If not--don't waste your time trying to force it or repair it, put a new radio on your "whenever" list.

Personally I like Standard Horizon. Built like what they are--a commercial division of a larger radio company, not a consumer division. I called some time ago to ask about a new battery pack for an old faithful handheld, and the tech (real tech) agreed with me that the replacement packs were damned expensive and yes it was a shame they were only 1/3 the capacity of newer batteries. So he sent me a 12V power cord GRATIS (I like that price, especially when someone offers it to me on their own!) and I went out for a battery rebuild instead. And told him, if anyone asked him to justify sending out that cord--he'd just made a customer for life.

Contrary to popular opinion, I'm easy. (G)
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: Why I won't buy Uniden again

I will never buy from Uniden again.

I purchased two Mystic radios.

I attempted to order 2 replacement batteries for the radios as one had gone bad. Uniden placed the order on 'backorder'.

8 months later after the legal period to maintain replacement parts had passed, they just cancelled the order.

When I called them there response was that it wasn't their fault that the 'manufacturer' had discontinued the battery. Excuse me Uniden you are the manufacturer.

So now I have $1000 worth of paperweights.
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: Why I won't buy Uniden again

TT-
Can't you send out the paperweights to an independent shop to have the battery packs rebuilt? That's often better and cheaper than OEM.

But if the packs were due to be replaced as a matter of warranty, you don't have paperweights. Uniden's warranty obligations would remain, regardless of availability. If you put in a claim in a timely manner, it is their obligation to repair or replace or buy them back from you.
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: Why I won't buy Uniden again

My attitude is that cross-shipping is going above and beyond normal service. If someone does that for you, kudos to them. But I don't think you can complain that a company's service is lousy just because they won't cross-ship.
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: Why I won't buy Uniden again

Agreed there. Cross-shipping is NOT a norm, although companies that have any business brains will always do it, to accommodate the customer and win their loyalty. They'll usually ask for a credit card to secure the price of the new shipment, which only seems rationale to me. And the folks who up and OFFER advance replacement, without being asked, because they hear you have a problem...they've got my business for life.

I once had a problem with a DOA product. Paid for "48 hour" express replacement and it still took "a week to process" each time with THREE of them being DOA. When I called the fourth time and said you know, it has been 3 weeks and ytou're telling me it will be FOUR WEEKS and I paid for 48-hour service, can't anyone expedite this? They said no, no one there had the authority to do that. That's the last Seagate product I ever bought, and probably the last one I ever will buy. File under "callous disregard for customer", just like Dell.
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: Why I won't buy Uniden again

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
TT-
Can't you send out the paperweights to an independent shop to have the battery packs rebuilt? That's often better and cheaper than OEM.

But if the packs were due to be replaced as a matter of warranty, you don't have paperweights. Uniden's warranty obligations would remain, regardless of availability. If you put in a claim in a timely manner, it is their obligation to repair or replace or buy them back from you.
It wasn't within the 'warranty' period. I attempted to purchase the replacement batteries through Uniden. Companies selling an item like the Mystic radio in the US are by law required to carry replacement parts for a certain number of years. Uniden was obviously aware of the law as initially they back ordered the batteries, and then cancelled the order on the day they were no longer legally required to supply them.

If you can recommend a company here in the US that can rebuild the batteries, I would appreciate it.
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