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Choosing The Right Marine Electronics Brand

by Dave Alston

Most companies who sell merchandise of any kind will insist that their brands are the best.  If you really want to know the “inside scoop” on a particular product or manufacturer, talk to the service people whose job it is to repair and maintain those products.  Serviceability, reliability and manufacturer support is at the core of the decision making process for selecting the products sold at Navshack.com.  The perspective of the service technician influences every decision made.  That’s the primary reason you see so many Furuno products here.
Other manufacturers make some nice equipment, and in order to compete with Furuno they often establish a pricing structure that positions them just below Furuno.  The huge difference is how long the equipment will continue to perform in the harsh marine environment and the availability of parts and service when a problem does occur.
Very recently, a customer had a problem with his North Star GPS/Plotter unit that could not be repaired in the field. The unit was returned to the manufacturer for repairs.  After about six weeks had gone by the customer inquired as to the status of his unit. After much delay and multiple attempts he finally received an answer from a customer service representative.  “They were waiting on parts.”  What?  I thought the manufacturer was the primary source of parts.
A couple of more weeks passed and still no part.  Now the customer service rep is “waiting for the technical department to answer their email inquiry”.  When pressed on the issue, they finally admitted that the customer’s unit and the “technical department” were actually in Mexico.  That explains a lot.  Many of the popular brand names in the marine industry have been bought out and systematically dismantled.  They still maintain a great “marketing face” but the companies are nothing close to what they once were.
Most of the time you can save money by shopping on the Internet, but be very careful about following your buddies advice on which is the best product to buy.  Seldom ever does anyone like to admit they made a mistake by buying the cheapest thing available.  It makes them look foolish, and we all know that “misery loves company”.