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Tacx Neo smart trainer owner left with “very expensive paperweight” as owners complain Garmin won’t provide support once warranty has expired

Garmin says it is “exploring ways to resolve similar inquiries going forward”

A number of owners of the original Tacx Neo smart trainer have complained that new parent company Garmin will not provide support once the unit is out of warranty. One has told road.cc of his frustration at being left with “a very expensive paperweight” after downloading the latest firmware into an otherwise mint condition unit.

Mark Jones bought a Tacx Neo from a small independent retailer in October 2015.

“It’s not had a lot of use since then, as I bought an Atom two years ago and use that,” he told us. “Having something already set up was easier on my motivation than setting it up each time in a flat.

“So the unit has been in its original box in the bedroom most of the last two to three years, so it’s in mint condition.

“As I wasn't using it, I was thinking of selling it and plugged it in to test it was all okay and to download the latest firmware.

“That loaded correctly and it connected to the app, but it wasn’t registering any power, and I had two flashing lights.”

Tacx was taken over by Garmin in February of last year. Jones phoned product support about the issue and they explained the unit had failed and would need to be replaced, asking for proof of purchase and contact details.

Jones provided this information and after a couple of emails was told that the item was out of warranty and as it was a Tacx Neo 1, “they were not willing to provide any support, repair, replacement or any dialogue as to what was wrong with the unit.

“I was also notified that if I didn’t like the decision to take it up with the retailer under the consumer rights act 2015, as it wasn’t Garmin's problem any more.”

Jones said all he was offered was a 20 per cent discount off a new trainer.

Posts on a Tacx Neo owners’ forum on Facebook outline a number of similar stories from other users.

While also stating that Garmin had offered to review how specific cases were handled, the owners’ forum administrator summed up the firm’s position as: “Once your unit is out of warranty – too bad. They will offer you a discount for an upgrade, but no support.”

A post from Tacx responding to the thread states: “Just for your info that this topic is being followed and that from a support perspective Tacx/Garmin will share some more information on out of warranty items in the near future to be more transparent of how this is handled.”

A Garmin spokesperson told road.cc: “We are aware of the comments on social media and are investigating the claims. We value all of our customers and are exploring ways to resolve similar inquiries going forward.”

Jones says the fault on his trainer is not wear and tear. “The unit has failed. It appears to be a fault they know about as they have an immediate replacement policy for Tacx 2 customers with this software fault. I’ll have to bin it or give it to someone for spares as it’s of no use as a trainer.”

Jones says he is, “well and truly hacked off with Garmin and won’t be buying another Garmin device ever.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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20 comments

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Rick_Rude | 4 years ago
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LOL at buying a Tacx anything. I learnt the hard way years ago with the early smart trainers. The support forum was always full of  various complaints, mine dropped connection all the time. 

Not had a problem with my Elite Direto so far......no firmware updates for me though.  

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srchar | 4 years ago
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Didn't know Tacx were owned by Garmin. That's their products crossed off my smart trainer shortlist.

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Sniffer replied to srchar | 4 years ago
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Adrien de la touche | 4 years ago
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Planned obsolescence at its worst. Nothing wrong with the unit, but it's deliberately designed to be obsolete. I suspect Garmin will be forced to do something about it if there is enough negativity on social media.

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Municipal Waste | 4 years ago
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Yet more product consigned to land-fill because of irresponsible corporations. Absolute pr**ks!

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check12 | 4 years ago
2 likes

Don't update firmware/software/etc unless you need to, tends to brick stuff, like in this case! 

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Stratman replied to check12 | 4 years ago
1 like

+1 for this - only upgrade if you need to.  I had a slightly similar experience with a Verve Infocrank.  I bought it from Probikekit just before Christmas - the price was very good - but it didn't come with the Ant+ stick needed for the firmware update.  PBK offered to help, but didn't get in touch with Verve, so I did.  Bryan, the CEO called me and explained that PBK had bought old stock from a failed distributor. Having raised a support ticket, the folks advising basically said 'if you're happy with the cadence magnets, don't upgrade the firmware as it is possible to brick the meter'.  So even a manufacturer is offering this advice.

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Losd replied to check12 | 4 years ago
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ALWAYS update your firmware and software ASAP. Especially these days, where connected devices means security flaws are much more dangerous.

This is less important for ANT+ and BLE devices, as it's the other end's responsibility to avoid being taken over, but that mindset is dangerous.

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DaveL75 replied to Losd | 4 years ago
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Software yes, firmware rarely. Tacx stuff - hell no.
What security flaws will a neo expose?
Blanket mindsets of any variety are bad.

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squidgy | 4 years ago
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Garmin seem to have dropped the ball on this one. My recent experience with one of their own products was very differnt. Bought used, they replaced it only asking for proof of purchase. Hopefully they will reconsider their position

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Oliver Scheffer | 4 years ago
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From a legal standpoint Garmin is correct, although their refusal to offer repairs in return for payment is hardly understandable.

In most cases the "real" hardware will be completely fine, the replacement of a processor or capacitor might be sufficient.

If that's how it's gonna be, in case of failure my next trainer won't be from Garmin.

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Sniffer replied to Oliver Scheffer | 4 years ago
2 likes
Oliver Scheffer wrote:

From a legal standpoint Garmin is correct, although their refusal to offer repairs in return for payment is hardly understandable.

The EU might fix that in 2021 for at least some goods.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49884827

Unfortunately, I doubt Boris's Government will do anything to protect the consumer in the same way.

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daflj | 4 years ago
3 likes

It's a cracking bit of kit - and I've had the original for about three years now with no issues. BUT this has made me think that when I need to replace the unit (and hopefuly it will do a few years yet) I won't be buying a high end Garmin trainer. Bit of an own-goal in customer service terms I reckon.

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tallentino rossi | 4 years ago
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I only have good things to say about the tacx support. I had a firmware problem with my mk1 flux last week,  i clicked update and afterwards i couldn't get the device to connect via either the desktop app utility app or mobile app. I spent about 2hrs trying to sort it but no luck so sent tacx a support request email. I received a patch the next day to reset the firmware, worked a treat, so i was able to get in some turbo time this weekend whilst the weather did its worst.  My unit was from late 2017...  so im out of warranty as well.... and yes its a working mk1 flux!...

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FiftyOne | 4 years ago
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Thus is probably one of the worst right to repair violations I've seen.   They won't even provide diagnostic tools or spares to people with units!

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Huw Watkins replied to FiftyOne | 4 years ago
3 likes

That's Garmin for you.  

Their hardware looks good but their User Experience and Customer Experience are both rubbish.

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TeaBuoy replied to Huw Watkins | 4 years ago
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Totally agree! Their hardware is pretty good, but their tech support and their support software are hopeless.

They don't seem to be on the same planet as other IT companies.  I update my Dell laptop firmware, Microsoft OS, iPad and iPhone firmware and apps, HP and Canon printers, Samsung TVs etc etc.  These days it's all easy, and crucially there are plenty of on screen prompts and pop ups advising the user of what to expect. For example "your screen will go blank for several minutes", whirly symbols, countdowns, progress bars, all manner of communication to keep the user informed.

But not Garmin!  I'm just back from a ride and was browsing road.cc to pass the time after connecting my Garmin car sat nav to update its maps.  During the procedure there were long pauses with no on-screen activity.  Had it crashed?  Should I click somewhere?  Restart?  No activity on the satnav either. Is it getting on with things?.. or frozen?
Eventually I'm presented with a screen telling me I've 54 more minutes to wait while the update completes... 17.7% complete and downloading at 2.1MB/s. This is on a fibre connection - I mean glass fibre, not a piece of wet string! 
My partner and I both use Garmin touring bike satnavs.  They crash ... the support software uses a bizzare filing system... the hardware on screen configuration system uses ambiguous language, and their Base Camp software has been designed by someone who has never used a grown up I.T. system.

When we next upgrade our phones, our old ones will be repurposed for on-bike navigation and our Garmins will go on eBay!

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jacknorell replied to FiftyOne | 3 years ago
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Neither will Apple or in fact almost all consumer electronics makers.

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bigbiker101 | 4 years ago
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Same can be said for Wahoo... the ROAD mount failed the KICKR 2018 didn't work, I always found Tacx support to be awesome, my Neo started naking a noise, they told me it was a rubber spacer, within 3 days had a new spacer and tool to help replace it (delivered from Holland), it is a shame that Garmin have hold of them and are already screwing up customer service, I've always found Wahoo support to be the absolute best in the buisness, which is good, as every Wahoo product I've had has failed, but they have always replaced it with absolute no issues.

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rix | 4 years ago
1 like

I have been using NEO since 2017... not the same one though. I had to send back defective units twice for replacement paying shipping myself.

It is a nice product... when it works.

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