Nov 17 2008

Review Of Zoombak Finds Performance Less Than Average


Upon purchasing the Zoombak GPS tracking device, you will first notice the convenient compact size of the unit which comes complete with an AC wall charger, pouch, car charger and user-guide. What might also catch your eye is the innovative packaging which illustrates Zoombak’s efforts to target specific market segments.  Their message, “We offer products designed to meet everyone’s needs”, leaves an overall aesthetically pleasing first impression on the consumer.

Start-Up and Activation:

Upon bringing the unit home, you will need to activate the Zoombak GPS tracking unit before it will be ready to record GPS locations. The initial set-up process requires the user to visit the Zoombak website and click on the “activate” tab to create and activate an account. Activating an account requires an e-mail address for a username, a password for secure login, a four digit pin for SMS based communication with the Zoombak, and the answer to a  general security question such as a mother’s maiden name or family pet name. You will also need to provide an alphanumeric name such as Ryan25, Spot04, etc. Once the account is created, the user will then need to disclose credit card information to keep on file for the monthly fee ($14.99) that will be drawn from the user’s credit card every 30 days. Because the unit incorporates cellular technology provided by T-Mobile, a service plan, along with a one year commitment is required under the T-Mobile terms and conditions. If you were to cancel the plan prematurely, a $100.00 termination fee would be applied to your card on file. Activating the unit is a simple, user-friendly procedure.  Should you, however, experience difficulty getting an account set-up, Zoombak provides customer service support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as a “live-chat” option that is available from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., EST.


Activation Complete!

Once an account as been set-up and the data plan has been activated, the Zoombak GPS tracking unit must be charged for 24 hours before it can be placed on the vehicle to begin tracking. (PLEASE NOTE:  As timing is often essential, customers needing to track immediately out of the box should be wary of this requirement, as initial use of this product will necessitate a certain amount of planning) There is one LED light on the unit that will flash amber when the battery is getting low and will retain a steady amber color when charging. When the unit is charged at capacity, the LED light will illuminate a steady green color which will indicate that the unit is ready for placement. The LED light will then flash green to signify that the unit is on and functioning. If battery life is a concern, Zoombak customers can sign up to receive e-mail or text alerts when the unit’s battery is at 25% capacity and/or when the unit is powered off due to a drained battery. After being charged for 24 hours, the Zoombak was positioned outside with a clear line of sight to acquire its first signal. Unfortunately, the unit failed to communicate with the server, meaning that it was unable to track positions or record data. Since Zoombak provides 24 hour customer care, a phone call was placed into the call center to address the technical issue. Although 24 hour technical support initially sounded wonderful, once dialogue began with the Costa Rican support team, a surprising discovery was made:  The Zoombak customer support team was not a technical based support team, meaning it appeared they had pre-scripted dialogue for certain FAQs. The support team sounded as if they read their answers straight from a computer rather than listened to the various questions, making these people seem less than professional. Once it was determined that the Zoombak was defective, the unit had to be exchanged at the local electronics store where it was purchased and the whole process needed to be started over from scratch.

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9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Review Of Zoombak Finds Performance Less Than Average”

  1. [...] Review Of Zoombak Finds Performance Less Than AverageBecause the unit incorporates cellular technology provided by T-Mobile, a service plan, along with a one year commitment is required under the T-Mobile terms and conditions. If you were to cancel the plan prematurely, … [...]

  2. steve smithon 10 Apr 2009 at 10:41 am

    looking for a tracking device that I can put on my 9.9hp out board motor so I can find it if stolen thanks Steve

  3. Mikeon 03 Jun 2009 at 7:16 pm

    When I first purchased and activated Zoombak it worked great – for about a month. Since then I have had 4 new Zoombaks sent to me to replace the original one that broke. Three were DOA and 1 worked about 10% of the time. A month later I am still trying to get it to work. It was supposedly ‘escalated’, whatever that means, and I was told that the “Experts” would work on it and would have an answer in 24 hours. I called back 40 hours later and was told that there was not a single update to the trouble ticket and that it could take 24-48 hours for a resolution. My last call was nearly 1-week later and the problem was not resolved, and I doubt it was even worked on. Guess what, they’re sending me a fifth replacement.

    My advice is to NOT waste your time and money on Zoombak. A product that only works 10% of the time (at best) or not at is worthless, not to mention it takes 5 or more replacements to even get your 10% utilization. Troubleshooting the Zoombak is a joke. They always want you to place your device in a wide open area on top of your car to test it, and if it works, they consider it good. They seem to completely ignore the realitiy that the device is inside a car. They apparently expect us to secure it to the front window or dashboard in plain site of your kids that you are tracking; completely negating its purpose. We all have better things to do with our time rather than spend 5-6 hours on the phone with their “technical” people. Just use the GPS function on your kid’s cell phone and save yourself a ton of headaches.

  4. Kevin Richardson 18 Jun 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Wish I found this web site before I purchased Zoombak. Three versions later and still not working. Ended up getting a refund which was hard. I switched to Blackberry tracking in the end with I only had to install their Watchberry software on my phone and I’m now set and reliably tracking – phew.

    My advise, agreeing with the above, ditch bespoke trackers and use well manufactured GPS enabled phones, like Blackberry’s with someones tracking software like I did.


  5. Karenon 11 Aug 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I hope my TrackingKey works. Just got it in the mail today and the rubber seals are already falling off. For $200 I’m really hoping!

  6. Webnicianon 25 Aug 2009 at 9:29 am

    ZoomBak has an amazing device and service, but their marketing is over-blown and capitalizes on the public’s appetite for science fiction.

    I don’t understand how a company could promote a “GPS tracking device” intended to be enclosed or hidden nor do I understand how the average person could believe it. To date, every GPS on the market either requires a line-of-sight to the satellites or an outside antenna with the same. Yes, cell-tower triangulation can be used to estimate location, but only within 1/4 mile or so.

    Why doesn’t the company promote the actual capabilities of their service? ZoomBak, the service, WILL help find your kid or possessions, but with certain limitations. With typical cellular coverage, it can report at any time where it last got a GPS fix, which might be just outside of a building. If the device is in a car trunk, however, it would be unlikely that it would EVER get a GPS fix, so it could only use cellular triangulation.

    Simply put, you WILL NOT use the GPS features to combat vehicle theft unless you take some rather difficult measures to mount it. No thief will be so stupid as to not notice the device on the dash or an antenna on the roof. Kidnappers might not notice the device hidden in a bag, so GPS might help in that case. For fleet vehicles, there’s no reason it couldn’t be mounted for excellent GPS tracking.

  7. Ryanon 27 Nov 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I too used this piece of junk for a month before I sent it back for a return. What I hate most about it, other than the update interval of 5 minutes!, was the service agreement. Most people only need to use a GPS tracking system for a few months not 2 years zoombak. I found a great system that does real-time updates every 10 seconds and has no contracts at tracking system direct ..its a little more expensive but you get what you pay for :)

  8. Paul Frankson 15 Dec 2009 at 11:20 am

    Just a note:

    According to Zoombak, once activated account must be active and billed for one year, regardless of plan chossen.

    I just closed my account, and now I am informed that it can never be re-activiated. That does not make much sense, they stated it was a “SIM” issue, but I would think that like a cell phone, that transponder could be tied to a provider in the future. You would think it would be like setting a “New Account”.

    Basically this policy makes Zoombak a “one time use” product

  9. Windy Welchon 11 Jan 2010 at 5:49 pm

    BEWARE: Zoombak is run by nothing but selfish, insensitive, thieves. I have been waiting since AUGUST 09 for a refund on charges that they ILLEGALLY removed from my account AFTER I had closed my zoombak account. They have been promising me a refund since AUGUST, still have no refund, and on top of that they continued to charge me monthly, overdrawing my back account, to the sum of $763.97 in over draft charges, and bank fees. I have given them ALL the information and spoken to their manager, Darren Carson, over 20 times, and still they do not care. I am a mother of 3 kids, who because of this, did not get a christmas, I am disabled and make enough money to pay my rent, and still, they have not helped fix THEIR mistake. I have contacted the BBB and am in the process of filing a lawsuit for unauthorized charges and fraud against my account. This company should be ashamed of the way they have treated me, and my kids. If there is anyone higher than Mr. Darren Carson, i highly recommend you reassess your companys morals and check out the information I have sent to him over the past 6 months…Hey darren, still waiting on the “refund” you promised me back in august, september, october, november, december and january! Hows that coming along?

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