I bought an expensive $399, 6” premium TomTom GO 6100 in-car GPS in late-2015 with the promise of free lifetime maps. One expects this perfectly serviceable device to last many years. Well, TomTom reneged on its promise, and it needs to be taken to task.

When I reviewed the unit in May 2015, I wrote

The free [lifetime] updates only apply to the GO 510/610 and the premium GO 5100 (5”) and GO 6100 (6”) – they also include TomTom world maps (157 countries – Africa, Europe, Middle East, South America/Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and USA/Canada/Mexico) so you can use it overseas for no extra cost.

What does lifetime mean? According to TomTom support site, “Lifetime is the useful life of the device, which means the period that TomTom continues to support your device with software updates, services, content or accessories. A device will have reached the end of its life when none of these are available any more. The useful life of the smartphone app means the period that TomTom continues to support the app with updates.”

Lifetime TomTom Traffic, World Maps and Speed Cameras: Receive TomTom Traffic, Speed Cameras and download 4 or more full updates of any installed map every year, for the life of your product. You need a PC with an Internet Connection and a MyTomTom account to download new maps and updates.

I gave the TomTom GO 6100 to my daughter who lives in Canberra, and she has been using it since.

TomTom

But it has not all been smooth sailing.

Problem 1 – Won’t update over USB- 3.0

Initially, I used an HP EliteBook circa 2012 with USB 2.0 ports to run TomTom’s MyDrive Connect to update maps and software. But I graduated to a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and with it, USB 3.0. TomTom stopped communicating with the PC. The user forums were awash with the issue, and TomTom’s support advice did not work.  The cure was to buy a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 dongle – at that time $89 just to update the TomTom. I found that a very much later firmware update fixed this issue providing you could update it via a USB 2.0 PC first!

Problem 2 – Corrupted maps

Early this year during my daughters’ not regular enough pilgrimage to visit Dad, I went to update the maps only to find the MyDrive Connect (on the same Surface Pro 4) was showing ‘corrupted maps’. The onscreen message was that the only way to fix that was to buy a new map for A$84.95.

What happened to free lifetime maps and traffic?

Well, it seems that my 3-year old device was deemed by TomTom to be too old and they reneged on the promise of lifetime maps.

I went online to find that Australia or NZ costs $84.95 per map  (no updates) and the whole world (that I also had) now costs from $159.95 (no updates). That did not cover live traffic, and speed camera updates let alone lifetime maps.

To say this got my goat would be an understatement. I lodged an incident with TomTom and Prachi responded the next day.

Soft Reset:- Press and hold the On/Off button until you hear the drum sounds and the device restarts. This can take 30 seconds or more. 

Please keep the device connected and install the map using below link:- http://au.support.tomtom.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/13855

Now being a technical type, I followed the instructions to the letter, and they did not work. A web search found hundreds of complaints about having to buy new maps for older devices to cure corrupt maps.

The real cure for map corruption was convoluted involving a factory hard reset of the TomTom to wipe everything; resurrecting the HP EliteBook (that fortunately I had kept) that had a two year old backup version of the map and software; placing this on microSD; and then resurrecting the device from that microSD card.

Out of curiosity I then attached it to the Surface Pro 4. The USB 3.0 issue had disappeared (no dongle needed) and it found the device and updated the software and the maps. Sorry, TomTom – no money for you!

That is cold comfort to those who were told as early as December 2017 that their devices were useless and they must buy a new model.

TomTom’s website did display a warning at that time – we can’t find it on the current Australian website.