back to article TomTom bill bomb: Why am I being charged for infotainment? I sold my car last year, rages Reg reader

A UK man who woke up one morning to discover his bank account being charged for satnav services linked to a car he'd sold months previously has expressed his frustration at Mazda and TomTom over the strange affair. Ben Rose owned a Mazda CX-5 until late last year. His vehicle included a dashboard-mounted in-car entertainment ( …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    As I read that

    The problem was with TomTom and not with Mazda?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As I read that

      Yup. Sounds like he signed up for regular updates with TomTom and forgot about it, and he's trying to blame Mazda for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As I read that

        I have a TomTom Rider device for my Bike and I also use it in my car. I bought the device with [cough][cough] lifetime updates. I don't know what constitutes a lifetime in TomTom's eyes but so far I've not paid anything on top of my initial outlay.

        The TomTom is heaps better than the built-in SatNav which is supplied by Here.com.

        I reallu don't know why I need to download 33Gb of maps every months for the Here device. Why do I need road maps of Russia? It really is time that we were allowed to choose which maps we wanted to update instead of 'All of Europe' or nothing.

        1. Andy Non Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: As I read that

          The TomTom purchasing options are confusing. I'm wanting to replace my old one (battery almost shot it and takes ages to start up and link to satelites), but on Amazon it was cheaper to buy one with free lifetime subscription to European maps as opposed to the UK. Is the UK not geographically part of Europe any more (EU aside)? So do the European maps include the UK or not? I put off buying a new TomTom as a result. They seem to offer so many different options they left me floundering and not buying any.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. mistersaxon

            Re: As I read that

            EU versions include the UK but need more storage for the whole of EU maps, camera updates, traffic and so on. Also the ones with a SIM inside need more agreements to roam which pushes up the cost (I assume).

          3. VulcanV5

            Re: As I read that

            Wouldn't touch TomTom with the proverbial barge pole. It's a rip-off company that nopotential satnav user needs to go anywhere near when there's so much choice out there in the marketplace. We switched from TomTom to Garmin six years ago and every year we have 2 free map updates (UK and Europe). Gawd knows how much TomTom would've wanted for that dozen or so number of updates?

            1. Jakester

              Re: As I read that

              Years ago, I purchased a Tom Tom with lifetime map updates included. I used it for years, until I switched over to using a smart phone several years ago. The Tom Tom still worked, but it liked to take a 12 mile route to get to a destination I could see 1/2 mile away on a strait path. The smart phone is better at picking routes and faster than the aged Tom Tom. I also had to watch how many maps I put on the Tom Tom as it had far less memory than newer GPS devices. Another thing I didn't like on the Tom Tom was the login to an account to update firmware and maps on the device, which usually resulted in requiring a download of an updated app to update the Tom Tom. I recently had to replace my smart phone, but kept the old one to used just as a GPS device. I can't rate the various mapping apps for smart phones, but I have been pleased with the Here app (my smart phones are Android based).

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: As I read that

                Certainly built-in sat navs that we've used over the years have this tendency. I long gave up expecting them to take me the quickest way over short to mid-distance journeys or certain sections of some longer journeys even when that's set. There seems to be some kind of logic in the algorithms that makes them choose distant entrances to arterial roads rather than using local routes that are significantly shorter even when there's no traffic delay on the local roads ( and even when the route to the arterial road is busy). To the point that I've had times when it'd take longer to use the satnav and get to an A road which then leads to my destination than it would to drive directly to my destination. (Sometimes we use satnav for shorter local journeys because we're not sure of the precise turning, or one-way system. But we know to ignore it until we're almost there).

                My favourite example. We had to visit a flat in Regents' Park. We drove there ourselves, no need for satnav at that stage. As we entered the park I was sure we were quite close. I vaguely thought it was somewhere to our left, but didn't know properly. So we used the satnav, which told us to turn right, which was a surprise, but we neither of us have any sense of direction and didn't know any better. So we did, and it the took us anti-clockwise round the park to an exit on the Finchley Rd, brought us out of the park, all the way down to the Euston Rd, back into the park and continued anti-clockwise until we were around 100m to the left of where we entered. (For non-London aware people, think doing about 350° of a 5km circle).

        2. GlenP Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          I don't know what constitutes a lifetime in TomTom's eyes

          In my past experience it constitutes whatever they decide it does. Typically it's the lifetime of the base technology, not your device.

          I've twice had so-called lifetime updates from them end because, "We no longer support the technology".

          At least in the latest case (iPhone app) they credited the original outright app purchase price against the subscriptions for the new version.

          1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            A common wheeze is for vendors to parse the "free lifetime updates" as meaning that every update they produce for the device will be free to you (but maybe not everyone) for eternity. However, they'll stop producing regular updates in a year or so, but should they (in their sole discretion) decide to produce a special update ten years later, that too would be free to you (but maybe not free to everyone). They won't produce it, of course, but if they did...

            Basically, "lifetime" applies to "free", not updates.

            1. VulcanV5

              Re: As I read that

              Dorry to have to correct you, but . . .

              We purchased our Garmin Nuvi satnav with "free lifetime map updates" SIX years ago. Garmin has been true to its word ever since.

              By comparison, we paid more than £23,000 for a Nissan Qashqai in mid-2015, only later discovering that Nissan UK's 'Connect' satnav was using a map dating from 2013. (There'd been no map updates in 2014).

              At the time of its first annual service, we asked the supplying dealer if it would update the satnav for us as by then it was three years out of date.

              The dealer said sorry, but no. The manufacturer doesn't support updating of the installed satnav each year. You have to buy a new SD card yourself. (The rate from Nissan UK is now £109 per updated card.)

              Garmin hasn't charged us a cent over and above the original £60 purchase price paid 6 years ago.

              Thankfully, we found plenty of suppliers on eBay, from one of whom we've just bought a 2019/2020 Nissan satanav SD card complete with speed camera alerts: £18.00. (In a fortnight's time, Nissan UK is going to launch its all-new Qashqai and will be hoping its existing customer base responds to hyped-up "invitations" to the "unveiling" of the new model at their local dealership. The dumbos running the company clearly haven't worked out that if you stiff your customers once, you've lost 'em for all time. Goodbye, Nissan .)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As I read that

          Lifetime means until they decide not to support that device any more.

          Free updates sometimes means free software updates, but you have to pay for the map updates. You have to check carefully what you are buying as it's easy to get caught out..

          That said, the device itself is brilliant.

        4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: I don't know what constitutes a lifetime in TomTom's eyes

          I can answer that : for TomTom lifetime is until they drop support.

          So basically ten years at best.

          I had one of their older models, with 1GB of SDram. I got a mail a year ago saying that, because the hardware could not follow (ie not enough storage), they were dropping support and would no longer be updating the maps.

          So I bought a Garmin.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I don't know what constitutes a lifetime in TomTom's eyes

            "So I bought a Garmin."

            And from past experience, if the base unit doesn't have enough space to store the latest maps, you just add an SD card and it splits the data across the internal and external storage. I wonder why TomTom don't do that? My current Garmin SatNav is about 10 years old and still gets updates. The only issue is that thanks to the GPS rollover it no longer knows which part of the year it's in so the automatic switch between day and night modes doesn't work at the right times and the clock needs to be set manually because it no longer knows when to switch from BST to GMT.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I don't know what constitutes a lifetime in TomTom's eyes

            "I had one of their older models, with 1GB of SDram. I got a mail a year ago saying that, because the hardware could not follow (ie not enough storage), they were dropping support and would no longer be updating the maps."

            From someone who has used Tomtom satnavs since their inception: that answer is less than truthful. Tomtom just wants you to buy a new device.

            Even if you had a model with just 1GB of internal storage without an SD card slot, Tomtom still provides 1GB maps of N/S/W/E Europe, Americas and elsewhere. Obviously US&Mexico in 1GB is not going to be as detailed as the 2GB+ version.

            For example, the latest UK&Ireland map with all bells and whistles (IQ routes, house numbers etc) takes about 300MB and works with some very old Navcore versions (Tomtom OS), and even many legacy Tomtoms can have the OS upgraded to a much later version than what Tomtom Home software offered.

            The legacy models have been hacked for a decade - finding the maps shouldn't be too hard...

          3. dajames Silver badge

            Re: I don't know what constitutes a lifetime in TomTom's eyes

            I had one of their older models, with 1GB of SDram. I got a mail a year ago saying that, because the hardware could not follow (ie not enough storage), they were dropping support and would no longer be updating the maps.

            I found myself in a similar position -- 2GB TomTom came with maps for the whole of Western Europe, but the maps are now more detailed/comprehensive and require more storage.

            As I've been running the thing with the maps on an 8GB SD card for some years, I found their excuse for dropping support a little thin.

            So I bought a Garmin.

            I will NOT be buying a Garmin. SWMBO has one, and I hate the interface.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: I don't know what constitutes a lifetime in TomTom's eyes

              "I will NOT be buying a Garmin. SWMBO has one, and I hate the interface."

              Maybe it's what you are used to. I had a hire with a built-in TomTom. I hated the interface. But then I've been using Garmin for years.

        5. KBeee Bronze badge

          Re: As I read that

          I'm guessing a Range Rover or Jaguar? Mine is the same. Over 32Gb to "update" each month. I can't believe that EVERY file out of the thousands on there has changed each month.

        6. dajames Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          I reallu don't know why I need to download 33Gb of maps every months for the Here device.

          You don't -- the roads don't change that much ... but you're lucky updates are available at all, for a built-in SatNav. A friend with an Audi tells me that he only gets offered updates every couple of years, and Audi want the cost of several new TomTom or Garmin devices for the privilege.

          Why do I need road maps of Russia?

          You don't -- they're there so that when Russian organized crime gangs steal your bike and send it home in a container the new owner will already have the local maps installed.

        7. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          Lifetime updates from TomTom means an email telling you your device is no-longer compatible and to buy a new one!

        8. mistersaxon

          Re: As I read that

          TomTom say the following: Your TomTom device includes regular software updates, fixed speed camera updates, and seasonal (4x per year) map updates, as well as traffic and mobile speed camera services. These updates and services will remain available for the lifetime of this device. Device lifetime, or the useful life of a device, is the time during which a device is compatible with TomTom service and software updates, content, and accessories. A device will have reached the end of its useful life when that device or app is incompatible with TomTom service and software updates, content, and accessories

          There is a list of obsolete devices: https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/obsolete-products/#rider (or #car)

          There is also a link to a page where you can delete your account and data. As an EU company they can't afford to ignore GPRS...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As I read that

        If Mazda bundled a 2nd party device on their product, they could have included a note about it in the manual, as an addendum 'partner services' (or whatever).

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          I thought that too. If it comes built into the car, then Mazda have some reasonability for it too. It was their decision to install it. They don't send you off to a subcontractor when a non-Mazda built part such an exhaust or manifold fails, let alone an ECU. Who know just what is in a car that the manufacturer didn't actually build.

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: As I read that

        Then that's a UI failure. The reset screen really should list the accounts on the car and a) remind him the accounts will still exist afterwards and he may want to go to each website to tell them to stop billing him or, even better, b) send an instruction to each account to tell it to stop billing him (if it's technically possible to start billing via the in-car screen then it's technically possible to stop billing via the in-car screen).

        1. DBH

          Re: As I read that

          I wish I could upvote this more than once. Nail on head.

          Always assume the end user doesn't know what you know, if in any doubt, TELL THEM CLEARLY

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            Always assume the end user doesn't know what you know, if in any doubt, TELL THEM CLEARLY

            They obviously didn't WANT the customer to know.

            1. Stork Silver badge

              Re: As I read that

              No they don't. I have had several (ok,two) subscriptions where I signed up on the website, but had to email or in one case call to stop automatic renewal.

        2. Ben Rose
          Megaphone

          Re: As I read that

          @Dan 55 - there was no repeating billing in place that needed to be cancelled. I hadn't bought a product from them since April 2019.

          This was a new subscription to a product I had never purchased in all the time I had the car.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            I imagine it was repeated billing set up because you say you bought a map update. If you had ever bought a second map update, I guess they wouldn't have needed to ask again for your card details, they would have just billed you for it using the details they had on-hand from the purchase of first map update.

            Likewise for the subscription set up by the new owner of the car.

            1. Ben Rose
              Megaphone

              Re: As I read that

              @Dan 55 - you're imaginging and guessing a lot, you're a bit wrong.

              I bought "one off" non-subscription map products from them since 2016, I've always had to use card details to pay - no "repeat billing" was set-up. But the card I used for those more recent purchases had expired, so it would appear when the new subscription was added, they dug out a valid card from 2016 and used that.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: As I read that

                If the original map update purchase was set up as a continuous payment with TomTom it could have been carried forward onto your new card when your old one expired.

                All the seller needs is a your payment details, as normal, to set up a CPA instead of a one-off payment. They then have the right to charge when and how much they like. Link

                The UK Card Association says if your card expires during the course of your CPA, you should check with the retailer whether your new card details have been automatically updated with them, as this will not always be the case. [i.e. it will usually be the case] Link

                But if you want an explanation, a CPA being set up with the original purchase and being carried forward onto new cards, and being used for new purchases bought through the in-car screen is it. It requires no extra information from you and the fact that you're setting up a CPA could be buried in a EULA. Yes, it's a guess and might not be what happened, but based on what we know I think it's the most credible explanation.

                1. Ben Rose
                  Megaphone

                  Re: As I read that

                  Dan 55 - You have a lot of knowledge about things, but none about this case - I suggest you quit while you're behind and stop defending a retailer on the basis of something that never happened.

                  TomTom started charging me for something I NEVER ordered. I wasn't subscribed to this product now, or in the past. The card they used didn't purchase this product from them in 2019 or indeed in 2016, when it was used for something else.

                  To address your point directly, the card that expired was an AMEX. They charged a Visa debit they had on file from another time. Neither of them ever bought this product. It wasn't a renewal.

                  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
                    Meh

                    Re: As I read that

                    You know those helpdesk tickets from irate users who feed you information in dribs and drabs and get more and more irate with you your answers based on just the information you had available at the time because they couldn't file a coherent bug report in the first place?

                    The end result is nobody cares about you, your old Merc, or your TomTom account which you may or may not have.

                    Good day to you, sir.

                    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                      Re: As I read that

                      WRONG.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          "(if it's technically possible to start billing via the in-car screen then it's technically possible to stop billing via the in-car screen)."

          Try telling that to almost every business that operated any form of subscription service. It's ALWAYS easy to sign up or even to upgrade, but try to downgrade or cancel and 99% of them will make you phone them.

          1. NorthIowan

            Re: It's ALWAYS easy to sign up

            I've learned that with Sirius Radio. So far we've gotten two used cars with Sirius Radios in them. The dealer sets you up with a free 1 year subscription then Sirius starts hounding you to continue subscribing when your free time is about up.

            Note we never signed up but still started getting a ton of junk mail (I hate junk mail) to resubscribe anyway. Have to call to get them to stop because you can only unsubscribe online if you have an account and we didn't have an account because we never signed up. But they know who you are so there is an account...

            Next car we get will have the requirement of the dealer cannot sign us up for Sirius Radio or we'll sue.

            1. Ethangar

              Re: It's ALWAYS easy to sign up

              We signed up for the 3 month free trial (Sirius) when we were traveling cross country and back. After 6 days of listening to the same 20 songs on 15 different radio stations, I decided to pull the plug on it after a month of the 3 free. I called them up and told the nice man on the phone that when it ran out I would NOT be continuing with the service. It just wasn't worth it to me. Start 15 min of arguing on how life changing it is and how I should continue. Nah. When it runs out just turn it off. I wouldn't budge and he got more and more pissy. Finally he just went "Fine, It's noted on your file." and hung up. An hour or so later I was out at the car and was curious. Turned on the radio and .. just the Sirius ad running. Not that I missed it but I was still a little miffed at having it turned off when I still had 2 months free.

        4. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          I agree, it's a UI failure. The user should have been reminded that the accounts will still be active, and offered the option to cancel them (the user could have other devices outside the car that use the accounts, so immediate deletion wouldn't be a good idea).

          There is another thing Tom Tom could have done. Assuming that the car was taken through a factory reset, the Sat Nav should have been programmed to stop accessing the account If the account is not accessed after a predetermined time, Tom Tom should mark the account as inactive, deleting it after a while.

          That is ideally what should happen, and I'd argue what is required to happen under the various Data Protection acts and regulations world wide.

        5. Snowy
          Flame

          Re: As I read that

          Sadly it is like many things easy to sign up for online but canceling is not so easy.

          1. KBeee Bronze badge

            Re: As I read that

            Yes, there should be a regulation or code of practice that it should be as easy to cancel as it is to subscribe.

      4. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: As I read that

        "he's trying to blame Mazda for it"

        It is Mazda's fault. The factory reset procedure implies that everything on the car will be wiped. As the satnav is an integral part of the vehicle, it isn't unexpected that the reset would also apply to that.

        It clearly doesn't, and this should either be rectified (some sort of "purge" command on the internal bus) or a big note on the screen stating what isn't covered by the factory reset.

        1. paulf Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          "or a big note on the screen stating what isn't covered by the factory reset"

          which includes how to [erase/purge/contact those who can purge] anything not covered by the factory reset.

        2. David Nash

          Re: As I read that

          It wiped the car. It just didn't wipe Tom Tom's customer database, which is not in the car.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            "It wiped the car. It just didn't wipe Tom Tom's customer database, which is not in the car."

            I get this distinction. When I first read it, I was inclined to agree with it. Having read information in other comments however, I don't think the user is at fault here. It wiped the internal parts of the car. The car was sold with the TomTom device included, meaning that device was in the car at time of purchase. The device interacted with the main car display, meaning that a user could infer, incorrectly in this case, that it was connected to the car's systems and would also be reset on the activation of the wipe. That device didn't get reset or, if it did, didn't update the account it was connected to to inform the account of the reset. And the user didn't have any repeated billing set up on that account. When the charge, wholly unexpected as it was TomTom's error, came through, it presumably indicated in some way that it was linked to that particular Mazda vehicle.

            You could see why the original misconception was that Mazda could do something about this. They sold the equipment in the car, their screen controlled the equipment and was used to perform the reset, and the bill mentioned them. Now we know that that wasn't correct, and it wouldn't be fair to them to continue to blame them for much other than failing to warn of this possibility in the reset process. Still, given the limited information available at earlier points in the process, I think the concern was understandable.

            1. Ben Rose
              Megaphone

              Re: As I read that

              "You could see why the original misconception was that Mazda could do something about this. "

              They could, and still can. I bought a Mazda CX-5, not a TomTom. The navigation device is a "Mazda NB1" - it's not a TomTom.

              I'm a Mazda customer and, as a Mazda customer, I was wronged. They should be going to great lengths to ensure myself, and other customers involved, are dealt with correctly by their subcontractor. Instead I got something along the lines of "not my problem mate".

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. Spiz

                  Re: As I read that

                  I can’t even count the number of times that comments on here have had to make the distinction between people who are technical like most of us El Reg readers, and your average consumer.

                  The average consumer is not going to say “oh wait this might be rebranded, I had better contact TomTom to close the account because I did a quick google search”.

                  Mazda were the ones that bundled the system and by proxy the link to TomTom, therefore they should be making it clear to the consumer that said link exists and provide clear instructions on what needs to be done at the end of ownership to remove it. It’s a simple addition to the page shown in the article which would save a headache like this.

                  It is not unreasonable on Ben’s part to assume that, with no warning to the contrary, the relationship with TomTom would be handled during the “reset” process.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: As I read that

                  *woooosh*

                  Did the whole point of that comment really pass over your head? What are you doing on El Reg if you don't understand English? All posters do it.

                3. TechHeadToo

                  Re: As I read that

                  Regardless of the technicalities,

                  If the 'man on the Clapham omnibus' (A legal simile to indicate ' an ordinary man in the street ' ) is led to believe that he is buying a Mazda by all the advertising and print and signing. Then it seems reasonable for the judge in the case to take his part in saying that Mazda should have taken more care about their relationship with their supplier, and what that supplier does with Maxda's customers. For more years than Mazda has been selling to this country pre-installed entertainment equipment has been a part of the vehicle, and the vehicle manufacturers' warranty covered it. Not so with 3rd party equipment. IN the days when we took our radio less car to a fitter and chose our own, the radio was the responsibility of the fitter, and through them, to the radio manufacturer.

                  Mazda therefore has the primary relationship, and nowadays, their relationship is to TomTom. I don't see that the requirement for the customer to register, post sale, with Tom Tom, negates Mazda's responsibility o the affair.

        3. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          The factory reset procedure implies that everything on the car will be wiped.

          I use my car's Bluetooth for phone calls, but when I sold my car it didn't cancel my phone contract. Find me a lawyer!

          1. Ben Rose
            Megaphone

            Re: As I read that

            @Robert Grant - I didn't have a contract to cancel. There was no contact in place until 7 months after we sold the car, presumably when the new owner signed up.

          2. dajames Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            I use my car's Bluetooth for phone calls, but when I sold my car it didn't cancel my phone contract. Find me a lawyer!

            If your phone was supplied by the car manufacturer when you bought the car, then you might have a point!

        4. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          Everything on the car is wiped. The online account with TomTom is online, not on the car.

          So many people expect to be spoon fed all the time, won’t understand what they are doing, won’t take responsibility.

          1. Ben Rose
            Megaphone

            Re: As I read that

            "Everything on the car is wiped. The online account with TomTom is online, not on the car."

            If the car was wiped, it shouldn't be able to re-authenticate with the online account. This is a basic security issue if there wasn't a token or key in play here. The only one that appears to be used is a hard coded serial number, which doesn't change during a factory reset.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            >The online account with TomTom is online

            She added that when Rose sold his Mazda, he did not delete his online account with TomTom and remains registered in its customer database to this day.

            Well this comment raises a question about the relationship between the online account and the vehicle.

            It would be sensible for TomTom to have users sign up with a personal account to which vehicles are attached. What isn't clear here is whether the online account was automatically set up for the vehicle but with a named user and thus needs to be separately cleared down when the vehicle is disposed of.

            What is going to be interesting are all those vehicles that get written off ie. scraped without the owner being able to do a reset...

      5. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: As I read that

        No. TomTom admitted their error.

        1. Ben Rose
          Megaphone

          Re: As I read that

          @Terry 6 "No. TomTom admitted their error."

          No, they didn't. They admitted to a problem, but not the one they are being accused of.

          They're claiming they accidentally renewed a handful of subscriptions. Not true, this wasn't a renewal. They signed me up to something I had never bought in the past.This isn't accidentally turning something back on - it was never on.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            Fair point, I'd read that as them admitting the whole thing.

      6. Ben Rose
        Megaphone

        Re: As I read that

        "Sounds like he signed up for regular updates with TomTom and forgot about it"

        No, you're wrong. Never signed up to anything, that's kinda the point.

        I was signed up to a repeating monthly subscription, for a product I'd never bought, in a car I no longer own, using payment details I'd used to buy one off map updates in 2016.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          "I was signed up to a repeating monthly subscription, for a product I'd never bought, in a car I no longer own, using payment details I'd used to buy one off map updates in 2016."

          This is more like me buying something and the company saying "We checked our records and we have a past resident of $HOUSE as $NAME. Shall I just go ahead and charge them?"

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            It’s like you signing up to Netflix through your tv then resetting your tv to factory and expecting Netflix to know you don’t want their service anymore.

            People expect to have their arses wiped for them these days. It’s not healthy, it’s embarrassing.

            1. Ben Rose
              Megaphone

              Re: As I read that

              "It’s like you signing up to Netflix through your tv then resetting your tv to factory and expecting Netflix to know you don’t want their service anymore."

              No, it's like buying a TV in 2016, factory resetting the TV four years later, selling the TV and then the new TV owner billing their Netflix 4K multiscreen subscription to your 2016 debit card.

              You never subscribed to Netflix but the new owner did.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: As I read that

              Unless he NEVER SIGNED UP to Netflix? How do you explain THAT?

              1. Ben Rose

                Re: As I read that

                @AC - "Unless he NEVER SIGNED UP to Netflix? How do you explain THAT?"

                Indeed, precisely that.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: As I read that

                  Explain how? Sleepwalking.

                  If I’d given payment details been using a paid subscription service like Netflix for months, then I might have an inkling. Explain how I might not notice I was using Netflix? Precisely that.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: As I read that

                    He never signed up to Tom-Tom.

                    How many people here (including Ben himself) need to repeat that before you get it?

                2. stevebp

                  Re: As I read that

                  Werdsmith is a troll - I wouldn't waste your keystrokes

          2. Ben Rose
            Megaphone

            Re: As I read that

            @DavCrav - "This is more like me buying something and the company saying "We checked our records and we have a past resident of $HOUSE as $NAME. Shall I just go ahead and charge them?""

            Yes, exactly that. it's like selling your house and the new owner billing their new Sky subscription to your account.

      7. myithingwontcharge

        Re: As I read that

        >he signed up for regular updates with TomTom and forgot about it, and he's trying to blame Mazda for it.

        As I read the article he signed up using the dashboard on his car. That implies that Tomtom was an option presented by Mazda and managed by their interface. Therefore he is correct to blame Mazda if wiping the car does not remove any associated subscriptions, especially if the manual implies it does.

    2. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: As I read that

      If TomTom is installed by default in some fashion by Mazda I'd assume they had some liability, then again I'm sure the TOS and TomTom email he got when he signed up probably mentioned about having to cancel etc.

      Not sure I'd assume selling my merc would stop apple itunes charging me afterwards - I'd go cancel itunes etc. (I don't have either btw.. just saying).

    3. Nick Porter

      Re: As I read that

      So when you have a problem with the brakes on your car you should take it up with Brembo directly, nothing to do with the manufacturer of the car?

      1. Ben Rose
        Megaphone

        Re: As I read that

        @Nick Porter

        "So when you have a problem with the brakes on your car you should take it up with Brembo directly, nothing to do with the manufacturer of the car?"

        Spot on - incidentally the Mazda CX-5 brakes do squeal, a lot. Google it...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As I read that

      It's not really a problem with TomTom either. They had a service agreement with the Reg reader that existed outside that car - and I bet they emailed said Reg reader a subscription reminder too. Next...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Ben Rose

        Re: As I read that

        @AC - "It's not really a problem with TomTom either. They had a service agreement with the Reg reader that existed outside that car - and I bet they emailed said Reg reader a subscription reminder too. Next..."

        There was no service agreement, no contract, no subscription.

        This contract STARTED in July 2020 - we sold the car in December 2019.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          Re: As I read that

          They got your credit card details from somewhere so you must have given it to them at some point since I doubt your bought the car on a credit card so Mazda or the dealer couldn't have given it to them.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            You clearly didn't read it though.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As I read that

      Worse. It's a non-story. That is, there is a story, but not the one reported. Customer thought car was buying things from the new owner... when it was just Tomtom sending out bills to the wrong customer (hopefully not charged/chargeable bills, just "thanks for renewing" letters/emails when they never did renew).

      So why it needs three or more paragraphs for "TomTom sent out the wrong emails" I've no idea. Yes it's upsetting and confusing to customers, but the method of discovery and description in the article seems very very backwards. It reminds me of my mates when I ask them "so do you need a new car battery" I get their life story, starting with their grandparents before (2 hours later) it's "no, turns out I just forgot which button turns the headlights on, oh and by the way have you..." ;)

      1. Ben Rose
        Megaphone

        Re: As I read that

        @TechnicalBen

        Sorry, you've read it wrong. This was nothing to do with wrong emails.

        This was an old customer being signed up to an entirely new monthly repeating subscription without any authority - expect perhaps from the dashboard of the "factory reset" car.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As I read that

          Guess I did. I stopped at the part the article said "We erroneously sent out emails" not "we erroneously renewals". ???

          1. Ben Rose
            Megaphone

            Re: As I read that

            @TechnicalBen - "Guess I did. I stopped at the part the article said "We erroneously sent out emails" not "we erroneously renewals". ???"

            This wasn't a renewal. I was NEVER subscribed to this product.

    6. iron Silver badge

      Re: As I read that

      As I read it the problem was with the user. He thought the "self-destruct button" would do the job but forgot he'd signed up for a 3rd party service. It is not Mazda or TomTom's fault he didn't cancel the service.

      1. Ben Rose
        Megaphone

        Re: As I read that

        @iron "It is not Mazda or TomTom's fault he didn't cancel the service."

        I didn't sign up to the service, that's the point. I got signed up AFTER I sold the car.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As I read that

          I do though feel for you. I was in insurance when they changed opt in for renewals to opt out. I felt bad about it back then, but was not in it for long. Mind you, I have had 1 policy lapse in error due to forgetting to renew myself!

          1. Ben Rose
            Megaphone

            Re: As I read that

            @TechnicalBen - "I do though feel for you. I was in insurance when they changed opt in for renewals to opt out. I felt bad about it back then, but was not in it for long. Mind you, I have had 1 policy lapse in error due to forgetting to renew myself!"

            This wasn't a renewal. I never subscribed to this product.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: As I read that

              Poor Ben. It seems you're getting more hassle from the commentards that can't read an article, than the original issue itself! :-)

              At this point a copy/paste reply will do!

    7. Ben Rose
      Megaphone

      Re: As I read that

      "The problem was with TomTom and not with Mazda?"

      My problem was with both. I'm a customer for both and they both let me down.

    8. Woodnag

      Re: As I read that

      He started the TT contract from the car. I'd expect that I'd be able to stop it from the car too.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: As I read that

        I expect to be able to stop my cellphone account from any web browser. But only if I bothered to do it.

      2. Ben Rose
        Megaphone

        Re: As I read that

        @Woodnah - "He started the TT contract from the car. I'd expect that I'd be able to stop it from the car too."

        Perhaps, but I never had a contract for this product. I was signed up to something I NEVER purchased. It wasn't a renewal.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton

          Re: As I read that

          How did they get your card details then to charge you if you never signed up to something?

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: As I read that

            He'd-paid-for-a-one off, years before. It says so. Read it.

    9. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: As I read that

      "The problem was with TomTom and not with Mazda?"

      The problem is with both. Mazda fitted the TomTom gear as standard yet didn't put in their manual that owners selling their car on should also delete/disable any billing accounts associated with the car.

      If it's bolted on the car, it should be noted in the manual. The manual in my car covers all sorts of options I don't have nor were offered with the model I have. They just copied and pasted text that applied to all of my make and model for English speaking countries.

  2. Red Sceptic

    New one on me

    “1BIP” - YABATR

    (Yet Another Bloody Acronym To Remember)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New one on me

      No, that's a new numbering convention to go alongside the list of words in the English Newspeak language that have been removed from use.

      Before and After Christ is no longer acceptable in the TemperTantrum era and renaming it "Common Era" is obviously out because that's not extreme enough. Therefore in the eyes of it's adherents the iPhone is quite literally the new Christ and everything shall be renumbered to Before iPhone or ExNovo iPhone.

      Of course, then we have the problem of the iPhone releases slowly being rolled out to different countries so year one has a different epoch in many countries.

      Terrible will be the arguments over this matter; which will split up into their own national churches of heretics fighting over the one true date of the coming of the iPhone. Future and terrible religious wars shall be fought to settle the question of the One True Date once and for all.

      Alternately, these people could get a life and use a real calendar.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: New one on me

        "Alternately, these people could get a life and use a real calendar."

        But...where's the hipster cred in doing that? This guy has to prove he's trendy and edgy and wants to keep his posh desk job straddling cars and tech, and the techie yoof demographic demand frequent new acronyms and verbing all their nouns. And I'm not just talking about "Go google it and you'll find an answer." I'm talking about the annoying new thing of "I can math" or "I logic'ed it". grrrr)

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: New one on me

          Come on. "I can math" has always in my experience been a lighthearted joke in one of two situations: someone expresses surprise at your having done some calculation quickly or when they didn't expect you to do it, or you have made a stupid mistake in mental arithmetic. It's used to juxtapose someone who doesn't know how to phrase that grammatically correctly with someone who is doing mental mathematics. As for "I logicked", I have heard that but very rarely and the grammatical way of saying the same thing: "I used logical thinking to come up with a solution" sounds pretty stupid too.

          There are some people who seem to enjoy verbifying nouns, but it's usually sectors like PR or consultants who need new euphemisms or new things they are an expert in that nobody else has heard of so they must be good.

        2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: New one on me

          Verbing weirds nouns.

          1. Emir Al Weeq

            Re: New one on me

            Upvote for the C&H ref

      2. 96percentchimp

        Re: New one on me

        I read it as a jokey reference to the cultural change introduced by the iPhone and similar devices, but go ahead if you must and turn it into another straw man culture war rant.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: New one on me

      Or not.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1BiP

      Apart from this assertion, I will never ever use any reference to years BiP.

      I might be tempted to make reference to the years BP3 (Before Psion 3), but maybe picking random short-lived Nokia models to pivot dating around might amuse me even more

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    GDPR

    Give that button a push with them and see where it goes.

    1. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: GDPR

      Not going to be a factor, he signed up with TomTom, not Mazda and only TomTom hold this data.

      1. spold Silver badge

        Re: GDPR

        ...so he should now submit a "Delete my data" request as facilitated by GDPR.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: GDPR

        Except he no longer has the service so has the right to be removed and his data.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: GDPR

          Yes he has the right. But TomTom need to be told if he is exercising that right.

    2. Ben Rose
      Megaphone

      Re: GDPR

      @Dwarf - already going down that road, would appear TomTom doesn't have a GDPR policy or a data protection officer.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: GDPR

        "... would appear TomTom doesn't have a GDPR policy or a data protection officer."

        Oooh - popcorn time!!

        By the way, as Ellen Ripley said, "Have IQs suddenly dropped around here?!" I have a weeks holiday and find that normally sensible long-time commentards have lost reading comprehension. Mazda, as the initial seller of the car with the device fitted, is as responsible for the ICE system as it is for the brakes, clutch, mirrors, etc. At the time this happened, there was clearly no contract with either Mazda or Tom Tom. If Ben received a bill for new brakes on a car he didn't own, he wouldn't be blamed, so why all the "shoulda's" because it's software?

      2. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: GDPR

        @Ben

        But the country and broader EU does and companies have to comply with the rules, Looks like they are going to need to learn quickly. Don't forget that the directors must comply with the rules, even if they have not got explicit roles in the company to handle that sort of request. (or they were just fobbing you off)

        Don't forget that you've just got to make the request..They have the obligation to fulfil it.

        Might be good to talk to the ICO or perhaps get a bit of legal advice to make them realise their obligations if things get sticky.

        https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/your-personal-information-concerns/

        Good luck !!

  4. Ben Tasker Silver badge

    Simpler than I expected

    As I started the article I predicted another outcome.

    I assumed it was going to turn out to be that TomTom billed based on an immutable identifier (say the device's serial number), so when he wiped his data from the car, it didn't change the billing identifier leading to Tomtom not knowing anything.

    I think it's a bit too easy, though, to say that he should have known he needed to contact Tomtom and cancel his account. He set it up through the car's interface, so most "normal" people would probably assume it'd get killed when they did the reset, if they even thought of it. Either Mazda need to update their handbook "if you configured Tomtom, go to https://blah", or the reset should send a notification to TomTom.

    1. andy gibson

      Re: Simpler than I expected

      You're on a hiding to nothing if you expect a company to cancel a direct debit for you. I've seen plenty of stories of utility companies and Virgin Media continue to charge when people have left them.

      In fact when I moved house from one VM area to another they couldn't just change the address, they had to set up a whole new account and a new direct debit.

      When the new one was set up and money debited I ended the old DD - which resulted in threatening emails from Virgin about terminating my service while under contract and to reinstate it immediately otherwise I'd be liable for penalties.

      1. UCAP

        Re: Simpler than I expected

        I agree with you; I always remove any direct debit mandates via on-line banking when I cancel a service. That way even if the supplier screws up (and they do so frequently in my experience) they get nothing but a shitty message from my bank.

        Did have one threaten to get a CCJ against me once, but I promised them that I would turn up in court with proof that I had cancelled my contract with them. They shut up PDQ at that point.

      2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Simpler than I expected

        > You're on a hiding to nothing if you expect a company to cancel a direct debit for you. I've seen plenty of stories of utility companies and Virgin Media continue to charge when people have left them.

        True.

        In the heady old days of Tiscali, I moved house and they failed to action the home move. After them telling me I'd now have to wait a month for an engineer I cancelled with them, and went with BT (who had me up and running 48 hrs later).

        But... to my shame, I forgot to cancel the direct debit. Tiscali were still taking money 3 months later (when I noticed), then told me it might take 6 months for my money to be returned, so I used the DD guarantee to get back via my bank. Cue angry letters and debt collector threats, along with claims they could find "no record" of my home move request, or me cancelling (despite me sending them copies of their confirmation emails).

        I had to take the sods through arbitration, whilst trying to ignore the constant letters saying they were going to sell the "debt". Quite aside from needing better service nowadays, I'd never go with a budget ISP again.

        /anecdote

        But my point wasn't so much that they should cancel it for you, as it was that Mazda could simply put "remember to contact Tomtom" in their manual to remind people selling their car. After all, you probably set the account up months (if not years) ago, so relying on people remembering for themselves instead of printing 1 extra sentence seems poor.

        1. DBH

          Re: Simpler than I expected

          If I was the kind of person to roll with conspiracy theories, I might suggest something like Mazda are getting a percentage from TomTom for the "reference", hence their apparent willingness to obfuscate matters around cancellation

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Simpler than I expected

          Since having had money taken from my account after cancelling a contract as well as the DD with Vodafone (companies can do that in Spain), I had to go and get the money back and shout at my bank.

          Then I had to go to a Voda shop which is only a franchise here, I spoke to the drone on the shop who assured me everything was good, so I pointed out that I had recorded the entire conversation.

          The drone was a little upset as, as far as I know you can use a recording in court here, now I record everything when dealing with people who could take my money.

        3. keith_w Bronze badge

          Re: Simpler than I expected

          Or the person in the story could have checked his credit card or bank statement and asked "why is tom-tom billing me?"

          1. Ben Rose
            Megaphone

            Re: Simpler than I expected

            @keith_w - "Or the person in the story could have checked his credit card or bank statement and asked "why is tom-tom billing me?"

            I was notified on the day the payment went through and followed up the same day. Was greeted with denial and customer blame.

            In July 2020 they started charging me for a product I'd never bought in a car I'd sold in December 2019.

        4. Ben Rose
          Megaphone

          Re: Simpler than I expected

          "But my point wasn't so much that they should cancel it for you, as it was that Mazda could simply put "remember to contact Tomtom" in their manual to remind people selling their car. After all, you probably set the account up months (if not years) ago, so relying on people remembering for themselves instead of printing 1 extra sentence seems poor."

          I had nothing to cancel, I never bought this product from them.

      3. Ben Rose
        Megaphone

        Re: Simpler than I expected

        "You're on a hiding to nothing if you expect a company to cancel a direct debit for you"

        I never signed up for a direct debit. I never bought this product, I never paid a monthly charge - until 7 months after we sold the car.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Simpler than I expected

          If you never signed a direct debit, how did they get your payment details. I'm missing this important point here.

          If you never purchased anything, how did they take payment?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simpler than I expected

      "so most "normal" people would probably assume it'd get killed when they did the reset"

      I wish that argument worked for wiping my iPhone to get out of an airtime contract.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Simpler than I expected

        When you purchased your iPhone, did the manufacturer indicate that the contract for service was a component of the product? When you first got your iPhone, did you set up the contract on it as part of the process, or did you set up the contract with the mobile provider and connect the iPhone to it? Both of those things were different for this case. There was one other thing that was different, and that is that there wasn't any contract. This has been clarified by the original source several times above this in the comments: there was no contract, and the charge that TomTom sent out was not a valid charge.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Simpler than I expected

          Doesn’t matter if it’s valid or not, I would know that I’d signed up for a service regardless of the device I used to sign up and I would have been aware that I need to end that service when I don’t want it.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Simpler than I expected

            @werdsmith He-didn't-sign-up-for-anything. He seems to have been auto-enrolled by TomTom using data they had stored for services supplied to a car ( and TomTom device) he no longer owned.

            1. Kernel

              Re: Simpler than I expected

              "Re: Simpler than I expected

              @werdsmith He-didn't-sign-up-for-anything. He seems to have been auto-enrolled by TomTom using data they had stored for services supplied to a car ( and TomTom device) he no longer owned."

              I'm getting the distinct impression that 'Werdsmith' is having a basic issue with reading and comprehension - at least four times he has repeated his theme that Ben should have cancelled his subscription when he sold the car, despite Ben having stated numerous times that he never subscribed to anything in the first place.

              Perhaps it's time Werdsmith changed his username to something that doesn't imply a better than average skill in language?

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Simpler than I expected

                Maybe it's "werdsmith" because he beats the words into a different shape?

              2. Ben Rose
                Megaphone

                Re: Simpler than I expected

                @Kernel "I'm getting the distinct impression that 'Werdsmith' is having a basic issue with reading and comprehension - at least four times he has repeated his theme that Ben should have cancelled his subscription when he sold the car, despite Ben having stated numerous times that he never subscribed to anything in the first place."

                Werdsmith's comprehension of this situation is so poor I'm beginning to think he works for TomTom - would explain a lot.

                1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                  Re: Simpler than I expected

                  werdsmith is usually quite perceptive. I don't always agree with what he says, but it is usually coherently argued. His current fixation on the wrong end of the stick (or just the wrong stick) is unusual and a bit worrying.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Simpler than I expected

                I had customers telling me "I never did X" till their blue in the face, then video examples (in store) or paperwork with their signatures or "but my kids did use my card with my permission/take my card" often changed the subject.

                Not saying it happened here, but Rose has left out a massive point, that I'm happy to be pointed to, as to *how they got his payment details* if there was no product subscription or purchase.

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: Simpler than I expected

                  It tells you this. You've posted this load of cobblers 3 times here and it's just as wrong after the third one as it was after the first. He is explicit. He'd paid for a one off purchase years previously.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Simpler than I expected

                  they're

              4. Robert Baker
                Mushroom

                Re: Simpler than I expected

                Do these forums have the standard "ignore this member" function, so I can block Terdsmith and his stupid comments?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Could this be made SIMpler?

        "wiping my mobilePhone to get out of an airtime contract."

        Where is the association between the phone and the airtime contract and the person/organisation paying the bills?

        Is the association intimately and permanently associated with the phone?

        Is it intimately and permanently associated with the phone owner?

        Is there some way of removing the association from the phone, and potentially transferring it to another phone, such that the original device temporarily or permanently loses any useful trace of the previous bill payer?

        See where I'm headed here?

        Why aren't chargeable facilities such as the ones being discussed required by (international) law to have some kind of standards-based multi-vendor-compatible Subrscriber Identification Mechanism?

        No Subscriber Identication Mechanism => no chargeable subscriptions, no bills.

        Can I patent this or is it too SIMple?

        s/phone/device (where device might mean "infotainment system", for example)

        Does this concept make any sense?

    3. Ben Rose
      Megaphone

      Re: Simpler than I expected

      @Ben Tasker

      "I assumed it was going to turn out to be that TomTom billed based on an immutable identifier (say the device's serial number), so when he wiped his data from the car, it didn't change the billing identifier leading to Tomtom not knowing anything."

      You should have stopped there, you were correct.

      I didn't need to cancel anything, I didn't have a contract with them. The priduct subscription STARTED in July 2020, we sold the car in December 2019.

      Somebody else signed up to this package - presumably the serial number never changed after a factory reset.and allowed the previous owner to be billed.

      It's like if Sky billed using only your postcode and then the next house owner put their subscription on your card.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Simpler than I expected

        How did they bill you? You mean they had your address on record from Mazda and then sent the bill to you that way? Then yes, they are in a massive error there to assume ownership.

        If a company is working like that, it is rotten to the core. Payments and contracts can be entirely divided and should not automatically sell populate/cross data over, as that's when leaks and breaks happen. such as a partner using their partners payment details to make further purchases (or even if this was a company car, an employee could spend company money through a failure of TomTom to protect the data). Sorry for my mistake if I missed that point.

  5. darkknight

    Hang on, a PR person called Fudge?

    1. RockBurner

      Maybe he has a sweet nature?

    2. spold Silver badge

      ...does he have a colleague called Bodge?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        He works in product development.

    3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
      Happy

      My reaction precisely.

      Nominative Determinism. It's a wonderful thing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Was going to comment on this. You beat me to it.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        And you beat me to being beaten

        That said it's a sweet irony. (pun intended.)

  6. oiseau Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Nothing new

    ... if you expect a company to cancel a direct debit for you.

    I see this is a worldwide thing, evidently not limited to what are these days called first world countries.

    Where I live it is one of the main complaints customers have.

    When I was but a child and living in the US, my father puchased a car from a Ford dealer, an ugly beige two door Falcon with financing directly from the company.

    I cannot recall the price but it was a relatively small amount up-front and something like 36 installments of $66.66. (late 60's)

    A wife, four children and a dog meant money was always short and I recall his being very happy when he finally paid the last $66.66.

    Nevertheless, the billing for the $66.66 continued to arrive at our mailbox, so for the first two or three months he called Ford's credit office and everytime they said it was OK and the problem was solved.

    The billing stopped but was replaced with overdue payment notices and after that, polite letters demanding payment or legal action.

    This went on for about a year or so and I recall my father actually being refused financing for something we needed from Sears thanks to this.

    Eventually, when confronted by xerox copies of all the cancelled checks personally presented by my father at some office in downtown DC, whoever was responsible for billing or whatever finally managed to solve the issue.

    It's not the same as direct debit was unheard of at the time, but it shows there's really nothing new under the sun.

    O.

    1. Ben Rose

      Re: Nothing new

      @oisaue - ... "if you expect a company to cancel a direct debit for you."

      I didn't have a direct debit. Nor did I have a subscription.

      We sold the car in December 2019. The subscription package was added to our account in July 2020 - we never bought it. This wasn't something that was renewed or we forgot to cancel - we never bought it, ever.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he used the in-car screen to set up his annual subscription to TomTom

    Oh, how cool is that, eh!

    p.s. does he own a "smart fridge"? Several alexa-linked speakers around the house? A battery of voice-activated bulbs perchance, etc, etc?

    1. Ben Rose
      Megaphone

      Re: he used the in-car screen to set up his annual subscription to TomTom

      You can't sign up without using the screen.

      I have none of those other things, not that it's relevant at all.

  8. not.known@this.address Silver badge

    NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

    Choose something like a supermarket or tourist attraction that is near where you live (and preferably near your route home) as your "destination", then you never have to worry about someone getting your address from your GPS. Once you get close enough, you ignore the GPS and just drive home.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

      Do you not know where you live? Can't you remember the route you took to get to wherever you went?

      I've never used or needed a SatNav and it always amazes me how other people can't anywhere without one, even places they go every day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        They like to repeatedly change roundabouts around here. Or roadworks. A satnav is good at warning you so you don't find out after you took the 5 mile route, and are then stuck for a 10 mile detour! I had one night where 3... yes THREE roads, each 8 miles long had closures with detour signs 5 or so miles around as rivers and limited access everywhere. I was furious when I got home. Sat nav would have saved me that night and warned me as I set off, instead of me finding out as I approached the barrier to the road closure.

        Still don't need my exact address though.

      2. Giles C Bronze badge

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        Well in non covid times I organise events and routes for a car club.

        We end up usually with a 150 mile route taking in the scenic (I.e. back roads) with anything between 10 - 30 cars the route having up to 50 waypoints on it. Bear in mind that 1 or 2 of us will have driven the route before a satnav is invaluable to ensure everyone gets to the same stop.

        As for them getting home that is their problem, but if you drive the same route every day then you don’t need a satnav, unless it is for the live traffic information.

        P.s. I do a route once a year which the instructions are in tulip map format - no satnav clues unless they get really lost in which case I will give them the postcode of the end stop by phone

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        "Do you not know where you live?"

        Yeah, I do. But having an ETA, getting out of the town or city I'm currently by the quickest route, avoiding delays that I otherwise don't know about etc. are useful functions. Likewise, getting to places I've never been top before. Pre-SatNav I had a couple of road atlases and numerous town and city maps totalling something like £75, which needed updating at least every few years and, as is well known with paper maps, are at least a year out of date when first printed. A £200 SatNav with lifetime map updates is cheaper and more likely to be up to date.You may have a different use case, or be happy to delay your travel while you stop and ask directions, or be happy to be delayed by taking the wrong turning or getting stuck in a queue, but some us would rather just get where we want to be.

        I will add that for a short while between relying on published maps and buying a SatNav, I did use multimap.co.uk for a while, screen grabbing and printing relevant maps at relevant scales to get where I wanted to go. But doing that every night ready for the next day is a bit of a chore when I can put a post code and a door number into a satNav and have to do all the heavy lifting more me. It's kind of the raison d'etre of computers. Making life easier for the user.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

          It's kind of the raison d'etre of computers. Making life easier for the user.

          I was with you until that last bit.

        2. Solviva

          Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

          Once upon a time before mobile telephones were quite so smart but not entirely dumb I had a bluetooth GPS receiver connected to my laptop with Microsoft Autoroute. It worked at a pinch...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

            Autoroute! I remember when it ran on DOS and you had to upgrade to at least an EGA graphics card to use it. It only showed A roads and motorways, mainly in straight lines and if your town was small, it might not be on it. Villages were just ignored :-)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Autoroute needs *how many* floppies this year?

              "Autoroute! I remember when it ran on DOS"

              I remember that too. Considering the hardware restrictions of the time, it did OK.

              I also remember a few years later when Microsoft bought the product (or maybe the company? Nextbase?) and within a couple of years and a couple of versions the MS version had lost the plot. In particular it had lost the OS Maps which used to be a major selling point for Real Autoroute (and Personal Navigator and friends).

              One MS release of Autoroute was reviewed in PC Magazine or similar (featured on the front cover, no less) and seemingly the review was so bad that the whole review was dropped from later print runs of the magazine but was still featured on the front cover. (Print? What's a print run, granddad?)

              There's a Jon Honeyball article around online from Windows Magazine covering the release of MS Autoroute 97. That was a fun read too.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

          "I had a couple of road atlases and numerous town and city maps totalling something like £75"

          I still have mine in the pouches behind the front seats. SatNav is pretty good, but not perfect. Paper maps also don't break when the flippin' suction cup thingy releases and it goes crashing around the cabin. I'm still a fan of being able to see a large overview of the route. It's useless to zoom out 80 times on a low res screen. You might think that the A road parallels the motorway and is a good detour until you discover it takes a 90 degree right turn miles up the road and you can't correct for that unless you go all the way back. Easy to spot on a paper map.

          Vintage local maps are a treasure trove. I have dozens marked up with finds while on road trips. Try to do that digitally and you find they disappear the next time you are forced to upgrade.

      4. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        That is so naive. Or was it just trolling?

        The home endpoint has to be there so that you can leave your start point, which usually means somewhere you're not too familiar with (or you wouldn't be using it). Most journeys are far too complex to recall all the details in one direction, let alone in reverse. Oh and the route into any location is seldom the same as the route out in almost any town with any kind of one way system. Using a satnav is a damned sight easier for those of us without photographic memory than trying to recall a route you've studied on a map before you leave. (I'm old enough to have done that a lot). Not to mention trying to work out how to escape from such places as Birmingham ( slip lanes may be on the right, the left or in the middle of the road you're on) or Leeds (roundabouts with multiple exits at weird angles) or Inner London (no right turns for a mile then a compulsory left).

        They also relocate your route when you take a wrong turning, or miss one, or find one is blocked. And ( supposedly) warn of diversions and plot alternative routes - something you can't do if you're driving on your own and still bloody difficult with someone else navigating because by the time they've found the right route you'll have gone past it.

        But the endpoint only needs to be somewhere near home. And arguably best not your actual address. You don't need to be paranoid to think that it's a good idea to not store unnecessarily precise information.

      5. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        "Do you not know where you live? Can't you remember the route you took to get to wherever you went?"

        I have a false "home" address in my SatNav. It's handy for telling me my ETA. Every so often the main road gets shut down for hours since many idiots get into head on wrecks because they are too impatient and pass when they don't have enough time. The SatNav reminds me of the very hard to see road one exit up the motorway so I don't go past it and have to drive another 5 miles before there is a place to get turned around.

        I can also hand off driving to a friend that may not know how to get to my house from a different direction.

      6. not.known@this.address Silver badge

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        Iron, that's my point. I *do* know where I live, and I know how to get to my house from my chosen "home" location on my satnav. But if someone steals my satnav and tries to use it to rob me because I'm obviously not at home, they'll be out of luck because my satnav home postcode is about 5 minutes away from where I live. And since I live in an urban area, that's a lot of houses for them to check to find the right one to break into - and really not worth their bother.

        I often use it on my journey to and from work because it provides a useful comparison on things like journey times or different routes on different days, and it's always useful when there's an accident and I don't want to wait for the road to be cleared (and I will be one less car in the queue of rubberneckers, and about 4 metres less of roadblock for the Police to clear...)

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

          Well put. Some of the comments on this thread seem to be from people far removed from normal life. For starters, most people clearly do use satnavs so idiot comments that say we shouldn't need to clearly are far removed from normal life. As are those that miss the point that it doesn't hurt to have a "home" location slightly removed from the actual one. Even if it's not proven, even if it's genuinely debatable whether it can help with security it might, and it serves no useful added purpose to use your precise address so why not.

          There is a not uncommon them on El Reg that the commentard's lack of interest or need in some common every day activity or behaviour means they think that such activity is of no use or interest objectively to anyone.

          I wonder how many of these are involved in designing UIs.

          It would explain a lot.

    2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

      If you happen, for whatever reason, to be paranoid about someone knowing your address, rather than faffing around with supermarkets or whatever, why not use a neighbors address?

      (I'm sure there's anecdotal "evidence" of Something Bad that happened because someone stole a car and discovered the owner's home address and then perpetrated some ingenious fraud against the owner, or something, but the association between a number plate and the "registered keeper" will be all over the place anyway -- insurance, parking, speeding fines, etc. So to me the "risk assessment" puts car-thief-learning-address-from-car is way down compared to, say, every other way the data could leak.

      (My car knows my address -- the girlfriend is the only one who uses it, but it means she can pick me up at the airport or wherever and get us home while I snooze!)

      1. Giles C Bronze badge

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        There is a problem with this idea.

        Most satnavs have a history where they store previous routes. Both tomtom and garmin do this.

        So unless you start the satnav a mile from home (possible with stand alone units not sure about built in) the journey history will show your start and end point, therefore giving the person with your car your home address.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

          That only applies if you start from being parked exactly outside your front door. Chance would be a fine thing. And even then the thief can't know that. They can only use the designated "Home" address. So it's worthwhile not quite using that one- and anyway there's no advantage to using the correct one. It's of no practical difference which house number you use in your street, or which street in your neighbourhood, even. Probably more charitable to use a neutral location so that the nice old couple up the road don't get burgled.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

            THAT only applies if the satnav doesn't keep a running history of your location even when you're not navigating, but most navigators keep a "live" mode for general use (such as to read traffic alerts while driving around your home), so as someone said, any car thief could get "hand-grenade close" pretty much no matter what you do. Heck, they could probably figure it out even without a satnav, such as by insurance cards or registrations which BY LAW must be kept in the car somewhere.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

              "such as by insurance cards or registrations which BY LAW must be kept in the car somewhere."

              Not here in the UK. There's no legal requirement to carry any documentation of any kind with you in normal day to day life.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

                Not in the UK, but in most states in the US, yes, primarily because of its large size and cross-jurisdiction issues. Often the first words you hear out of a traffic cop during a stop is "License and registration, please?" (I speak from firsthand experience).

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

                  Ah right! So that particular dumb AC was posting a confident assertion about the world, based upon just his own particular experience of his own particular state in his own particular country.

                  <Sighs heavily>. We used to get a better class of AC here when I first joined.

            2. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

              "such as by insurance cards or registrations which BY LAW must be kept in the car..."

              Not in the UK. It has to be produced at a cop shop if demanded. Which can be a pain, probably mores so now that most of them have been closed down. And the details as we see on TV road crime shows, can be recalled on the police computer instantly from the central database. But here in London, and most large UK cities, you'd be lucky to get parked within heavy artillery distance, let alone hand grenade. But to a thieving chancer, near certainty is much more encouraging that a possibility. But again, that is irrelevant to this point. It doesn't cause any pain to use a location close to home rather than right outside ,so why not be better safe than sorry?

      2. Emir Al Weeq

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        @Malcolm Weir.

        Lift keys from a family leaving car park: they've just started shopping so won't notice for a bit.

        Walk around car park pressing keys until you hear the car blip.

        Drive to their house courtesy of say-nav. If the house has an alarm, check the keys for an RFID tag. Let yourself in and load stuff into their car.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

          Precisely this.

          Also, see car is from different part of town. Tip off criminal mates that said address may be vacant for (quite*) a while.

          *It'll be quite a while 'cos their car's been nicked.

        2. dajames Silver badge

          Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

          If the house has an alarm, check the keys for an RFID tag.

          Don't get me started! RFID tags for alarm systems are SUCH a stupid idea.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

            OH? You underestimate the stupidity of the average person. KEYS are hard for them to figure out.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

        Yes - it's best never ever to use your own address for anything. I personally use different houses in the street for different vendors, so my Amazon parcels get delivered to number 15 - while Royal Mail thinks i live at Number 22 and Hermes think I actually live 3 streets over etc. As a result I have never ever had a thief manage to attack me in my home by stealing my car, looking at the Sat Nav and driving to my house. Simples!

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

          Full marks for totally missing the point.

    3. Lindsay T

      Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

      My "home" is miles into the deep dark wood. Hope they enjoy the trek if they nick my car. Fortunately it's old and decrepit so not at much risk.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    Names and Official positions!

    PR director Graeme Fudge... you can't make that up! PR guy fudging the facts!

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    “Time to belt-up and prepare for more of these stories,”

    If you're in that line of business, time to read up on GDPR.

    And a nice article for nominative determinism.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing really to see here

    "She added that when Rose sold his Mazda, he did not delete his online account with TomTom and remains registered in its customer database to this day".

    Remind me to remove my Three SIM , from my car, when I sell the car. I'll also need to inform my insurance company to remove the car from my policy.

  12. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge
    Stop

    I bought a portable TomTom device a few years ago and...

    ...it kindly asks me to be plugged in to my pc to receive updates. It happens every 3 months.

    Tomtom gently reminded me that this device is now too old and won't be updated any further. And my subscription is still active, despite having now no compatible device. Of course, it urged me to buy a new device, already covered by the subscription service. The now old device keeps asking me to be updated forever, and the tomtom pc software keeps warning me said device ran out of memory (2 Gib) and it can't download new maps, besides being no longer supported.

    However, old device still works fine, much better than any android app currently on my phone, because it doesn't connect to the internet, not incurring in additional fees, while the GPS antenna is still excellent.

    And roads on my Continent didn't change location recently, so I am perfectly fine with said outdated portable device and its outstanding ETA calculator.

    And I expect the PC subscription to cancel itself (as in EXPIRE) when I refuse to pay for additional service, as I own a discontinued autonomous GPS device that is no longer supported by TomTom. And that's what should have happened here, the subscription should simply expire upon refusal of payment.

  13. Dr_N Silver badge

    TomTom ....

    .... yes, I remember them,back at the turn of the century. Maps wasn't it? That were out of date 6 months after you purchased them.

    (To be fair the Go810, with a hard disk drive full of world maps, actually saved me a fortune in hirecar satnav rental charges back in the day.)

    1. drgeoff

      Re: TomTom ....

      Surely you meant "out of date 6 months BEFORE you purchased them".

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: TomTom ....

        Fair point!

      2. dajames Silver badge

        Paper maps ...

        Surely you meant "out of date 6 months BEFORE you purchased them".

        ... despite having next year's date on the cover.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Paper maps ...

          I remember using an out of date road atlas (maybe 5 years old?) and planning a route based on the map showing a "proposed" road supposed to open a year after the date of the map. Got there and the new motorway extension still didn't exist! (M60 anyone? Years late and paper maps kept showing the proposed route with ever changing and optimistic opening dates on them for years, in particular the eastern part near Ashton.)

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: Paper maps ...

            To be fair, it took getting a new car for the Honda in-built satnav to show the new exit of the M6 to the M1 South. Which had been open for over 2 years by then and had been in progress for several before. Twice the old one had had updates at annual service and the new intersection still didn't show. There are few more major ones than M6/M1, nor few that are so important. But the maps used by Honda didn't update for it .Staying on the M6 southwards instead of exiting to the M1 as intended now leads you off into the green and pleasant. And since the satnav didn't know where it was anymore, there's a serious bit of detour before you regain a fast road.

            (Yes, I did get caught by this the first time; the satav telling me to "keep right" the way I'd always gone, to proceed onto the M1 from the M6 merge, when actually there was a shiny new sliproad on the left.).

  14. Steven Guenther

    BMW watch out

    BWM wants to add more things to "Subscription" of your car. Activate more toys by remote software. You could get billed for seat warmer after selling the car. Using a 3rd party is a dodge the US government uses to get out of all sorts of liability.

  15. TVC

    My experience is that the dealers have a scant understanding of how the systems in the cars they sell actually work, not helped by the fact that there are frequent software changes and updates. Took me 3 years to find out why I could not get all the functions in my ex demoToyota - it needed a subscription, which also defeated me so I have to hit a cancel button on every trip to save it asking me if i want to set up a connection.

  16. steamnut

    Tom Tom are a PITA

    I have had TomTom satnavs since the beginning and my family use a lot of them too. I still have my original TomTom Go although they no will longer update it. Back in the early days you could email them and get answers now you have to go through lots of suggested fixes all designed to stop you actually contacting them at all.

    The SatNav in my Lexus is a TomTom and I had a problem with the live traffic subscription. Although the satnav said my subscription was active and I was connecting to their server, if I actually logged-in the live traffic, the service stopped working. I ended up taking image copies of the SD card and proving that it was a problem with the configuration file caused by their server. I even did a hex dump to show the differences. However, Tom Tom insisted that it was a Lexus problem and to contact the dealer. Lexus say that, as it is basically working ok the unit was working and any problems were with either the Tom Tom software or their servers. This ping-pong went on for months until I sussed the flag bit and fixed the problem. In the meantime, Tom Tom sent me lots of offers to upgrade my obsolete units (Go, One, 910 etc) with "lifetime" map updates and free traffic.

    My other beef is the map updates are always more expensive for my Lexus than my other Tom Tom units. End of rant....

  17. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "The email informed recipients that their TomTom LIVE Services subscription was being renewed and would be billed for a month at GBP 9.99."

    Who would pay almost £10 a month for a sat nav subscription? The TomTom GPS app for your phone is £14.99 for a year of updates, so how much more do you get for your other £105 on the Mazda ICE version?

    1. stevebp

      I use Waze, which is free and constantly updated - why is anyone buying a sat nav these days anyway?

  18. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Connected cars

    What can be an even bigger problem going forward is EVs that use the car's VIN to bill for public charging. Until there is some sort of clearing house so you only need one payment account, and that preferably insulated from your bank account, you may find yourself signing up for accounts while on trips that you never use again. You sell the car on and the new owner plugs into one of those chargers and the system recognizes the VIN and cheerfully uses the credit card you signed up with. If you purchased another EV and used the same card, you may not notice the additional activity if it just says "vehicle charging" or some abbreviation. The new owner may think that the charger is free or the car is part of a program from the manufacturer as some do. They could also work out that the billing is still going to you and if they've purchased the car through a dealer, they won't know you or you them so they'll continue charging on your account until it gets shut off.

    I keep advocating for public chargers where is possible to pay with cash. If the network is down or your card is declined, you can still put some "fuel" in the car. If you have kids, free "gas" can be a huge problem. Not having lots of money puts a definite limit on travel distance.

    I'm not a fan of tracking. Connected cars are just too easy of a target to exploit. I'd like to start a business that installs switches to turn that sort of thing off and prevent VIN numbers from being sent (or at least make them random) when they are plugged in. I'm sure they'll pass a law against that which will make the service more profitable and the customers far more........colorful.

  19. Argus Tuft
    Facepalm

    sad

    the number of commentards on here who can’t bother to read the article or the extra details in the comments before having to spout to the world how smart they are is feked.

    the drop in average IQ of the Reg comments over the last 10 years or so is so sad.

    OP i feel for your frustration. It’s getting like reading 12yo’s arguing on reddit.

    1. conscience

      Re: sad

      I agree with you on that, Argus Tuft.

      I like to come on here to read the thoughts of scientists, engineers, programmers and various experienced techie people with information to share and stories to tell... it really added to the reported stories and their comments were often far more interesting than the professional reporting*. Sadly, these days many commenters can't even be bothered to read the article properly before posting their opinions, or worse, they are being paid to 'deliberately misunderstand' things in order to misrepresent the truth and shift blame away from the large companies who are responsible for this fiasco.

      My sympathies to you Ben Rose, clearly there was a problem with the companies involved here and the systems in use. Being charged for a product or service you have never bought should not be possible, that you used to own the vehicle is no justification at all. Despite the PR fudging at work, hopefully their systems are being looked at behind the scenes.

      * No offence to El Reg's finest hacks intended.

      1. Ben Rose
        Megaphone

        Re: sad

        Thanks guys, nice to hear there are a few genuine people left here.

        Few and far between these days.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sad

      I worked in insurance, banking and retail. Customers very rarely pay attention to contracts, paperwork or descriptions from companies. Companies also lie and hide important details in small print.

      Both the customer and the company here are leaving out key points and hiding what really happened and who is at fault.

      Customer put in their payment details, so at some point *they subscribed*, but TomTom also refunded the money, so admit *they did not make this clear*. Who actually is at fault is hard to say without seeing what was posted on the cars display, what was sent via email, and what was charged/when/how.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: sad

        Sounds like technicalben's repeated comment. Same answer- he had bought a one off purchase years before. It says so.

      2. Argus Tuft

        Re: sad

        and i rest my case....

  20. tony2heads

    Just use a phone

    family hired a car on holiday with on-board satnav. My daughter (being of a sceptical turn of mind) used her phone which was in all cases more up to date, with road closures and traffic jams.

    Wht bother with TomTom or Garmiy

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Just use a phone

      Hire cars, unless you are paying for premium service, will rarely have a connected SatNav with live updates. At best it will have an RDS or local equivalent traffic update service which is almost always at least 15-30 minutes out of date, both from incident start to telling you the obstruction is cleared.

  21. Lee D Silver badge

    Once of the reasons I bought a new Ford a few years ago.

    In-car satnav is just an SD card that you have to buy. It doesn't update online, it has no talk-home functionality - hell you literally can't even purchase the "officially supported" 3G/4G stick in the UK for if you wanted to run the in-car wifi off the car itself (it's just a repeater for your phone wifi otherwise, which is the most useless feature I can imagine) - and none of the ones I own work.

    Took it for a recall (silly issues with things like battery clips), they updated the software - it took three hours because, I quote the engineer, "We have to download the software onto the SD card and the download speed here is shite". When you want a new map, you have to buy a new SD card.

    Truth be told, the in-car satnav is pretty good, but my phone's CoPilot does a far better job, map updates are free forever after buying it, it has a pittance of a subscription traffic (far better than the RDS-TMC on the Ford), and it works entirely offline, and for walking. So I only really use the Ford for basic re-routing if I can't be bothered to stop and get the phone out.

    But an online car sounds like a fecking nightmare of privacy, security, talk-home and "we'll just turn off this account".

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whiz bang cars

    I have enough devices to support.

    I sure as hell don't want to support cars as well.

    Old school.

    Paper maps for the win.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Whiz bang cars

      "Paper maps for the win."

      Luckily for those of us who want and need a SatNav for daily use, you can still buy dedicated units. For the more occasional user, a phone mount is cheaper, so long as the screen is usable from wherever you can safely mount it. That has the plus point of keeping your phone battery topped up while you are in the car but a downside that there may be other apps vying for use of the screen.

  23. Mark192 Bronze badge

    Hi Ben

    Hi Ben,

    Does TomTom's explanation stack up and what are your thoughts?

    The article left me a little confused. Hopefully not as confused as Werdsmith.

    I've blathered on below so you can see where I'm coming from/laugh at my ignorance:

    The article quoted TomTom as stating:

    “Last week an email was mistakenly sent to a small number of customers registered with us as owners of a Mazda with our in-car entertainment suite installed. This included Mr Rose. The email informed recipients that their TomTom LIVE Services subscription was being renewed and would be billed for a month at GBP 9.99"

    This strongly implies that the issue was entirely at Tomtom's end and unrelated to anything the new owner of the car had done or whether the unit in the car was being used (or even still existed).

    The article does not evaluate TomTom's response so reads like it was written before TomTom's response/explanation came through - the article was on data retained in the unit but explanation appears to be human error at TomTom.

    An alternate theory could be that they regularly send out emails like this to "small numbers of customers" and that these are the result of issues in their software that bill a previous user of a unit when a new user signs up to a service (ie the new owner renews their service, previous owner sometimes gets billed instead/too)

  24. Lorribot Bronze badge

    its all about life cycle management, the bit no one cares about in a project.

    This is classic IT project management where the user experience for signing up is simple and integrated and seemingly all one thing, the user experience for unregistering is fractured go to 10 different websites to unregister everything and by the way we won't tell where to go you have to guess.

    If Mazda offer teh ability to sign up in car it shoudl take responsibility of end of life and at least notify you that you need to deregister or better still allow you to do it in car. Yes TomTom messed up but Mazda need to step and manage the whole process end to end not just the bits it wants to do.

    1. hayzoos

      Re: its all about life cycle management, the bit no one cares about in a project.

      I somewhat agree. But, how do you account for a change in the processes of the third party service provider. It still comes back to the life cycle issue, the contract between Mazda and TomTom should address end of ownership. It sure sounds like something GDPR might cover.

      Taken separately, the behaviour of TomTom is the major issue. The payment details of a one time purchase should not have been available for charging a subscription years later. Additionally, an account still existed at the time of refund and cancellation of the unauthorized subscription. Why? It should have been offered to be deleted right then and there. Could this fiasco be repeated in the future?

  25. Sp0ck

    Oh my, I've not read every comment but holy moly Ben has the patience of a saint, I've no idea how the hell he hasn't smashed his phone, laptop or whatever device he was using to reply to all of the people that couldn't grasp that he was being charged for something he never signed up for.

    Also, £9:99 a month for SatNav? Really, what the hell do you get for £9:99 a month?

  26. Arachnoid

    Change of contract

    It may be the initial sign up with the third party {tomtom} through the car interface,either had a limited period of free/paid subscription i.e. 3 years and then in the small print went to a different paid subscription i.e. monthly fees or alternately the fee for that particular subscription type changed and went to monthly similar Microsoft Office.

    That said it wasn't 100% Mazda at fault as they could not interject as the agreement was with a third party Tomtom.They could however have put a procedure in place to remind previous owners of this issue instead of relying on some license agreement they may have flicked through on the screen several years ago and I cant see it being an isolated case. Its like signing up for an app subscription on your mobile and hoping it dies when you sell or destroy the phone.

    The use of unauthorised payments to a card used on another service provided by the same vendor is very probably in breach of consumer credit laws as they should have written to the owner advising them the payment details had expired and asking for new credit payment details.

    At the end of the day I cant see why a subscription fee is required for a car when a stand alone device from the same manufacturer will come with "lifetime subscription" which basically is usually until they change the model type, model number [which may be the same device] , hardware architecture or requirements due to mapping changes that are not supported by that particular model. The only difference being the standalone device will bring in substantially more initial revenue that adding a piece of software to someone elses device as per a phone app.

    Just to add there are nefarious websites and apps that use what one could call underhand technology agreements i.e. agreeing to cookies, as acceptance you have agreed to a subscription service after the initial "free" offering..

  27. SidF

    Car dealers are slow to keep up

    Four years ago I bought a Focus from a Ford main dealer. It was an ex demo car with almost no miles on the clock. But it did have details of phones that had been paired with it by the dealer's staff. One of the phones was called " Fxxx Off, I'm Busy".

    1. Arachnoid

      Re: Car dealers are slow to keep up

      Yes I have a Mazda 3 that the previous owners left their mobile call signs on but it took a google search to find a way to remove them as there was nothing on the GUI or in the literature stating how to reset the device.

      Talking of which the 09 mazda has its own gps onboard , newer vehicles have a different software vendor so updates are completely unavailable should I even wish to spend upwards of £300 for it [more than the price of a decent standalone unit] .

  28. OttoOtts

    Why not use Google maps?

    It's free and you get the latest road updates and the traffic situation. Why buy something legacy?

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Why not use Google maps?

      Last time I used Google Maps for driving it was very "beta". Used data over the air all the time, and took me on some extremely weird routes. It even kept saying that it was experimental (just a couple of years ago).

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Why not use Google maps?

        Side issue to this, but hey, this is El Reg so why not.

        Younger daughter uses Google maps, her car has no built in sat nav. .She's happy with it, travelling all over the South of England.

        Our Honda does and it's good for door to door stuff. But Waze is better for tricky journeys. The Honda's built in sat nav is always years out of date, even when it's supposedly updated (see previous) and misses traffic issues that it's meant to warn us of.

  29. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I have Sygic on my phone, which is an Android (now ancient LG G3).

    I've had Sygic since it had another name (which I can't even recall now), and initially purchased it for use on an iPhone 4.

    When I switched to an Android phone (cheaper, larger screen) Sygic gave me a way to swap to the Android version for free, giving up the iPhone version (it may possibly still work on the iPhone). Pretty good customer service! It's been on a string of 3 or 4 Android phones so far.

    They tried to up-sell me to live traffic, but I don't really need that. I have all of Europe, with unlimited updates. Bought very cheaply during some offer.

    TomTom might be sleeker, but I'm quite happy with the economics of Sygic on a mobile phone. I'm in no way associated with Sygic (or whatever the company actually is called).

  30. stevebp

    There's a principle here, that techy geeks on El Reg would do well to remember: when designing a UI that may be used by a wide range of people, from old grannies to hip young dudes who have lived their lives online, be *very* explicit about how everything works and the effect of carrying out any instruction in your manual. I recently had to contact a cooker hood manufacturer because their manual was so poor, I couldn't work out how to change the filter "Oh yes, we have an instruction video for that, but I can't send it to you because I'm working from home", I was told by the friendly lady on the call.

  31. Lindsay T

    Lifetime?

    TomTom's idea of lifetime and mine are just a wee bit different. A few years ago, I bought my wife a TomTom satnav with lifetime updates. It now cannot access any further updates as it is now beyond its lifetime. TomTom defines lifetime as the lifetime of the product line! While we got a few years with updates, the irate blogs out there suggest that some found a lifetime lasting only a couple of years. TomTom are scoundrels and Waze is the answer.

    1. Cookie 8
      Big Brother

      Re: Lifetime?

      Waze is AN answer, providing you don't mind sharing your data with an arm of Google

  32. Bruce_c

    A car is something that is going to be sold on at some point, maybe a few months down the line or maybe 10 years later. With more and more personalised services built in there needs to be a simple straightforward 'do this when you sell' process detailed either in the handbook (if you have it) or in a menu on screen. It needs to be simple enough for your mum to use - think about all the people you have to support with (simple) tech issues. I also needs to either kill any linked online accounts or deregister itself as a linked device from them either automatically or indicate to you what they all are and how to do so manually.

    Remember not every car will be traded in to a dealer (who you would hope would be able to do this as part of the selling on process) but you could be selling/buying it as a private sale.

  33. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Thought I'd throw this in

    For as long as I've been using commercial/consumer computerised equipment there have been issues with composite systems, even when they're sold as a piece, when stuff goes wrong.

    Is it the main device, the peripheral, the drivers, the software...etc? More to the point, who do you go to to get it resolved.

    And there really needs to be a protocol for deciding who resolves these issues.

    Apple's solution has been to control everything themselves and charge a hefty premium for doing so.

    I dunno, is that the way forward? It seems unlikely it would happen, which is why a car company will slap in a satnav from a third party - even though it's built into the car's structure.

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