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I got the device in my car a little over a month ago, at first it worked fine. About 3 wks after I had it the device shut off... no lights on it or anything so I pulled over because I wasn't sure what was gonna happen... I turned my car off and then turned it back on and it started without me having to blow in it. Then my horn started going off so I shut it off again, then it asked me to blow in it and after I did my car turned on. I got to my friend’s house hang out for a bit. Had NOTHING to drink besides water, blew into it and it said violation so I tried again. Yet again it said violation so I went back in my friends for about 20 min and came back to my car. It then let me start it with no violation. But it said "7 day violation". I just figured that meant it was 7 days until my violation was up.
Between this time I would blow in it to start it and then again about 5 min after. The third time my interlock would shut off again. I would have to pull over and shut my car off and this kept happening. Well when my 7 day violation was up I couldn't start my car. It said "violation lockout" so I called the customer service number and they told me that within those 7 days I was supposed to go and get it reset. I explained to them I did not know that and that I wasn't drinking so I don’t know why I got the violation. All they said was that I should of read the manual. So I had to pay 60$ to get a code so I could start my car and had 6 hours to bring it in and get it reset, so I had to pay 110$ to drive my car even though it wasn't my fault!
When I went I told the guy working that my device is messing up so bad I can barely drink because I never know if I'm gonna have to pull over on the highway or be at a busy intersection, he told me I'd have to wait until my appointment to get it collaborated. Also my windshield wiper motor went out on my driver’s side where the device is. I've never had problems with my car before! This device is costing me so much money and it is a piece of crap!!! I want out! I'm spending so much money on it for me to not even wanna drive my car!!! I do not recommend this device to anyone. Stay as far away as possible!!!
DO NOT!!! and I say this with EMPHASIS. DO NOT go here, I scheduled an appointment to come in and get a device installed. As I walked in I realized that they were using old equipment and their shop is not clean or well kept. So I did a quick review on the company for Smart Start Interlock which was this site. They had a review of 1.3/5 stars. You will get screwed by this company. As I walked in he got the paperwork ready and I was going over the reviews he asked me what I was doing because he was waiting on me to sign the paperwork to install the interlock. I was telling him about the reviews and he got really upset and told me to Get the ** out. Really horrible place. Do not use. Out of 335 reviews they got a 1.5 star rating. That goes to show that this company will screw you over. I wish I could give this a 0 rating. REALLY HORRIBLE. A Mile High Interlock. 2331 W Hampden Ave Unit 142, Englewood, CO 80110
Everything from emails they send me with invalid phone numbers, this place is terrible. Save yourself and go elsewhere if you can afford to pay a little more, I only have to have it for 4 months so I'll put up with their lack of any customer service. The Gateway Automotive service in Mountlake Terrace Washington, OMG what a **, and I've worked in shops, I'm used to **. The Russian ** that works there needs his ass kicked, but not for 3 months, I have to deal with him till then. Rude and snotty doesn't cover it, I don't know any words to describe him. All I can say is I felt like puking after dealing with him. And again I'm a wrench/machinist my whole life (I'm 55) and this little ** takes the cake in needing his ass kicked.
I get an email from Smart Start with a number to call for help. It was time for to pay my monthly fee. The number on the email they sent me is wrong, it goes to some non company that says your call will be recorded for customer service, and then silence till u hang up. So I call the number I stored in my phone, again I finished that call by telling her to ** off. So from installation to calling their main office in Texas, every step of the way was, and is so bad. Bottom line if you deal with this company be ready for misery frustration and ulcers from a company that knows damn good and well you have no choice, you have to deal with them.
Check this out, I'm filling this review out and right below the review/comment box is another little box that says "order number". I go get my paper work to put in the order number, yeah there is no order number on any of the paper work, I'm looking at it all right now, there is no order number. See every step of the way, lol. ** anyhow. ** THIS PLACE!!!
I was skeptical about getting Smart Start because of the reviews. But, they were closest to me and cheaper per month. But I feel like I can now give an honest review. I have had SS since April 2017. I don't drink (quit 3 years ago) or smoke and no drugs but due to when I did drink, I have to have this equipment for 7 years. I'm a 54 years old female. I had lots of trouble with the equipment when I initially got it because I have asthma. I've learned how to blow and most times I can blow within the first 6 tries to get started and on my way.
I have blown one warn because I rinsed my mouth with sweet tea and one because I used my asthma inhaler, but I now use artificial sweeteners in my tea and haven't blown a warn once using it. I have been eating something multiple times when I got the little sounds telling me to blow, and I have never had a warn with food, including pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries, crackers and anything else I happened to be consuming at the time. I've worn perfume and done multiple other things that I was warned could cause a bad blow. Didn't happen! I have a feeling that the people who say they had a bad blow and weren't drinking, well honestly, I think they are lying.
Oh, SS has claimed you get 5 free missed blows, that's a lie! The times I have missed a blow because of my asthma, I have been charged every single time! I was able to get out of the charge but you don't get anything for free!!! Except for the mouthpieces. I don't feel like at $73 a month that they are really free! I do wish there was a program in NC for low income people in this program. I live on $911 a month disability and it's almost impossible to pay for this, gas, car insurance and rent and utilities. Anyway, I want you to know, you aren't in this alone ladies and gentlemen. It's a long road but it will end eventually. And remember, don't drink and drive! You might just save your own life!
Smart Start is a money pit. I have had my blower in car for 2 months, the car's alarm will go off when driving and starting get car, every bump into go over will screw up machine, it will say missed test while driving and say lockout. Smart Start in Olympia, Wilmette, does not know what they are doing, I have another 4-day lockout, missed test, alarm going off while driving. I have to pay every time. I'm finding someone else, they make me sick. They really do. Then they give you this big ass cord that is moving around while driving and pulls on starter and alarm, I'm thinking they do it on purpose. I'm done.
I'm not giving them my hard earned money, every week I go there, all I know they better give me all of my money back. They suck. IT IS THE WORST COMPANY EVER, they really are, I’m done, going through someone that cares, and does not charge ya every ** time when clearly it is not your ** fault. That company, Smart Start are CON ARTIST THAT TAKE PEOPLE'S MONEY. Don’t go through Smart Start, THEY ARE NO GOOD.
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They hired some junkie to do their work. First couple of months went smooth. Then, I would go to get it serviced and nobody would be there. This happened 3 times in one week and my car almost locked out. I'm talking hours. The next month, same thing. Only the business line to the place wasn't even on and I called "Smart Start" and they basically said keep checking to see if you can catch him and call for a code if I get locked out.
So here I am, wasting my time, my gas, my kids time, leaving work early to give these guys my money and prevent my car from locking out. I never did find him. My car locked out and I had to be at work so I called and got the code and went to work. The code was only good for 6 hours. I had kids to pick up from school and stuff to do after work so I called when it was close to the end of my shift. These JERKS really wanted to charge me for another code trying to tell me about MY responsibility. I was cheated! I called LifeSaver and I have an appt in 2 days for the same price with people who will actually do their job. I wouldn't recommend Smart Start to anybody! What a JOKE of a business.
I've had Smart Start since last year and entered a plea deal. In the midst of that I traded my older car for an newer one and had to transfer the service, to which they don't guarantee the same interlock box from the previous car. I had a PO starting in June and in my July (they can only look back from the last time you service/recalibrate) there were no issue with the interlock, which the readings come from the dreaded $75/month payment, me assuming that there were no issues.
When I went in August, (when there are July readings) there were problems and my PO said he need to record our session for training purposes and I didn't think anything of it until he tells me I had a dismal July. Now in the State of Texas, according to SS, will not give you a report for the month -- it is against state regulations. I had not done anything different - mainly drink Monsters and ate gummy bears with no problems in pre-trial readings nor June. Well, I had the service transferred from my older car to my newer one in late June with a new box.
There had been weird behaviors from the box - having me blow 4 times in a 5 minute period with the device indicating that I had passed. I got a warning and told swish water - odd, since that had no effect on my previous box. I told the PO that I would swish water every time I blew and to report the issue to SS. I did so a week or so later and the SS folks said they would look at and change the settings. Come this week (August report), the results for August came in - me religiously swishing water to bring the readings down. When I went into my monthly PO meeting, a "supervisor" to warn me that if I had another bad month I would face a judge.
The kicker was that at the last day of Aug and during Trump's visit of all days. I get into my car the box initiates and says blow. But I can't blow and get the solid tone that let's one know how long to blow while it takes a sample. I tried over and over. I call tech support at SS and go through an hour of troubleshooting, only to learn that pump on the interlock was kaput. Now I would imagine that if there was bad pump it wouldn't just go out immediately - that there would be a slow - in my case 2-month death. And that had something to do with the reading and that the sensor measuring BAC does not have the proper air ratio to get a proper reading. They replaced my box and am HOPING that solves the problem.
What is mysterious to me is that PO's Supervisor said I had a fail, when I always hit #3 to make sure I have no violations, car always started without a re-blow and got chastised for turning my car off for 5 minutes (I was donating food to the food pantry and they say to turn cars off and I also didn't want to miss a rolling blow). Their conjecture of my reading was an indicator for use when I have not had a single drink since May of last year. I asked where that conclusion came from, I was told that it was provided by SS and I asked SS what the parameters are and they said they are set by the county.
SS says they can't give me monthly reports per state law. I only have a few months on it. I bought a BACtrack device for $85 to test the SS tester. The interesting thing is that there was only once that the reading went to .001, most were .005-9 (which there is a small amount of alcohol from the flora in your mouth) after drinking a Monster, smoking a cigarette and still definitely below 2 mark. DON'T DO THIS WITH YOUR INTERLOCK - please drink and swish all the water you can before, during and even a few minutes after - I've had rolling blows come up with engine off and if not for me having to collect my things, would have never noticed.
First, after reading report after report, I understand what you folks are going through with this fraud of a company, which leads me to my second point. Second, I want to explain to those looking in that this report and the majority of what I read has everything to do with a private company failing not only clients but also the general public and the government contract they were entrusted with. If you think these reports are from whiney winos trying to make excuses, you're missing the point. Reporting to CA does nothing to help if they still dwi. More to the point, Smart Start does nothing to help the public if these drivers still dwi. There is no benefit to the public or deterrent to the accused by mandate of this fraud company and their bunk product and service. Why your government uses them or this tech? No clue other than they are misguided by whatever data they researched l, if any at all.
Third, Smart Start. You have problems. Many many problems but I will focus on one major. Software. If you want to reduce complaints and actually begin to provide a (hell, any) service, repair and fix your (or your middle man service provider) software problems. 'Ill attempt to focus on this and not the lockout codes and service codes and everything created ad hoc to attempt to mitigate your flawed service offerings... so I try...
The "Smart" Start allows for a 2 minute (yes folks, it gets pretty stupid) grace start after turning the ignition off. Other than complete stupidity in motion, the software glitch responsible for this brilliant piece of social engineering leads to a hardware responsible for keeping the electric service leeched from our batteries fully operational and draining the battery for however long the vehicle is parked. Question: What happens when our headlights remain on with engine off for any amount of time, anyone (Smart start, come on, I know you can take a wild guess, look at the gigantic mountain of complaints that lead to this identical flaw in your "service" offerings... you can tell us!)?
Anyway, the AAA man got here before SS could consult on a final answer... AAA not only guessed correct, he's been on the scene enough to know exactly how to fix the crisis at hand caused by SS. It happens 100's of times every day all over the SS service area. Thanks AAA man. A simple battery recharge to solve a problem caused by the Smart Start that was installed to solve a problem that is high on the public's conscience but nil on the Smart Start capability because it's a con. It puts a small bandaid full of holes on a weeping wound that flows like money into the Smart Start and MADD blood money coffers. This service does not in any logical, applicable or appreciable manner provide any safety to the public from those that dwi. It's a false sense of security and now all that care are aware.
*Total money OoP in 6 months NOT including the routine fees paid to Smart Start, $900. $900 in tow fees, mechanics fees, "lock-out" codes, "violation fees". Then there Uber fees, lost income, children with me stranded in the heat with no A/C. I could go on but I will wrap this up and will certainly be back for another round of updates. P.S. Thank you for replacing your admittedly defective hand held device after 3 months (of void customer service and responsiveness and singing the Stranded in the Heat Smart Start Summertime Blues... when can we expect a defective software fix?). Till next time. For a really Dumb Move, get a Smart Start! Peace!
All Smart Start products are computer and/or solid state based. Problems happen with electronics, like it or not. HOWEVER... when problems arise, it is how you handle the issue and how do you treat your customer that leaves the impression. Once again, Smart Start gets a failing grade. I own the mistake I made when I got a High Blood Alcohol DUI ticket and have had the Smart Start device in my car for 2 years now. I am responsible for my actions. Smart Start as a company should also be responsible for theirs, however this company treats you as they have you over a barrel every time there is an equipment problem.
In the 2 years I've had the interlock in my car, I've had (6) failures and (1) major violation offense all of which are device failure. Smart Start will only replace cords and head units, all have which have been done multiple times and not the device itself which at this point is what should be done. Worse than the paranoia the malfunctioning equipment causes, because your driver's license is on the line at all times, I've been treated like a second class citizen, talked at and talked down to every single time I had to get on the phone with Steve (the manager in Harrison Twp MI).
Failures happen, it's how you respond and Smart Start got its 6th failing grade from me yesterday. I didn't even mention Steve does not call you back, you need to hunt him down sit on hold, get hung up on all demonstrating there is no value placed on my (the customers) time. Yesterday alone I spent 2 hours 15 minutes on the phone with the net result being I got talked at, talked down to and told how it would be. Again, nothing done and I am forced to live with it. There are multiple providers for Ignition Interlocks. If I had to do it all over again, Smart Start would be my VERY LAST choice.
First off my DUI was in 2009, it took me until 2015 to get in a position to afford to get my license back and afford the monthly fees for this device. Since then I QUIT DRINKING, got married, and have had 3 kids. I've had 1 missed test violation that I paid without fighting and a lockout due to a breakdown that I also paid without hesitation just because it wasn't worth fighting.
My current issue stems from the fact that I evacuated from Hurricane Irma. After driving for 23 hours straight I finally found a vacant hotel in Tennessee that had room for a family of 5 and a dog. Lord only knows how many times I tested in that 23 hour period with no issues because I no longer drink. We arrived at the hotel and I ran in to grab the key (we preregistered for the room so didn't think it would take any time) while my wife stepped out of the vehicle to inform family where we were at. I had just tested so I didn't think I'd need any tests any time soon and wanted the AC on for the dog and kids waiting in the car. In the few moments I was inside the lobby of the hotel the device violated me for a missed test. First thing I did when I got into my room was call them.
The recorded message says they have accommodations for people that were affected by the hurricane. When I talk to the representative I was told there is nothing they can do for me but give me an extended lockout code or I could drive to a shop an hour from my location and have the device serviced. Now I was in a completely unfamiliar area dealing with the uncertainty of whether my entire life was going to be wiped out and their solution was to drive to some town I don't know and pay to have the device serviced only days before it was supposed to be removed anyways. I pleaded to them that this was a huge mistake and I'm not comfortable driving to an unknown area to pay a stranger that I'll never see again to work on my car. My only recourse was to use their extended lockout code.
Thankfully my area was spared the damage that was forecasted but here it is days AFTER I was supposed to have the device removed. I have only hours left on my extension code. I called to see about having the device removed and it says it takes 2 business days for the process to occur. I call customer service and explain the situation and am told we can give you another code for $35. I've been out of work for 2 weeks now, it cost $600 for hotels and several hundred in gas not to mention feeding a family of 5 on the road. I'm being told there is nothing that can be done. So now not only will I have to pay the money for the removal I'll also have to pay for this lockout code for a service that I'd no longer be using if it wasn't for the evacuation. You're not a person to this company, just a source of cash, keep that in mind. There are tons of ways to tack on extra fees and they find ways to do it at any chance they can. BEWARE.
My van has been owned by a family member for 12 years. NO ISSUES. After I had the ILS installed my van would shut off while driving, dashboard lights failed and gave me error messages on the device. Then I couldn't use the system as I was as instructed. I had to wait at my son's band performance, to drive him & his 3 friends home, while on the phone with CS for over 45 mins. Lol. They finally informed me it went into "default mode" & had to teach me to use it that way. Blow for 4 seconds until it beeped, then continue to hum and blow for 7 more seconds. VERY DIFFICULT!!!
Recently I had a MAJOR electronical issue. My mechanic told me they didn't re-mount my battery (to keep it from moving) after installation. So it slid and the positive battery cord was constantly rubbing against the pulley and chewed the cord off... Which caused it to lose its grounding and throw the electricity throughout the engine, which could have fried my entire CP system and engine!!! I KNOW the battery WAS mounted before I had the interlock system installed. The "technician" was apparently too lazy to secure my battery after installing the Smart Start interlock. This could have caused my van to be totaled and ruined.
This company may charge $65.00 per month for service and free installation, but every month right before it's time to renew for the new month the device conveniently locks you out for an additional $75.00!! They may as well say their fee per month is $140.00. You can call til you're blue in the face and get nowhere and no refund!! Find another company... This one is a ripoff!! Big time scammers with DMV's help.
Smart Start, Inc. denies responsibility for their contract installer's faulty work, and the contractors blame Smart Start for being non-responsive to their calls for guidance and information. Caught in the cross fire is the offender, who will be charged fees by Smart Start for missed data reads and failed tests, and called into court to answer for supposed violations (and possibly pay additional legal fees and fines). It feels like a shell game in which our state government is very complicit.
Consider: The state of NY has authorized Smart Start, a private national business concern, to impose fees for violations that violate the terms of the IID NYS law. Why is that? Why is NYS doing business (and thereby imposing derelict services on its citizens) from a company whose BBB and Consumer Affairs record is worse than deplorable? Is this a reflection of how Albany vets and monitors all of its contractors, or is it a measure of contempt and disregard for only those citizens who happened to make a highly unsympathetic and MADDening mistake?
Why is it that the courts, when confronted with proof that Smart Start was indeed negligent/derelict/fraudulent, issue stern admonitions to the driver/offender, threatening additional fines and/or extending the length of IID sentence? No one would argue that DWI laws need to have teeth and protect the public. But the pendulum has swung too far from center. MADD has public opinion and elected officials by the short hairs, DWI convictions are a huge source of revenue to Albany, and who, god help me, wants to be the flag carrier for drunk drivers?
The 3 stars for this company is particularly for the 2 installers/technicians at the Everett, WA location. They were nothing but nice and polite to me and just doing their job. The shop itself was in North Everett, in the dumps so naturally the building looked run down & crappy to me, especially when it's in a shared parking lot with an aerospace supplier & with an espresso stand just a few feet away so it's super cramped when going in for calibration every month. There was only 2 garage slots, so you can only imagine how busy the 2 dudes who run the shop; them installing and also running the calibration window!
My review will be for the (almost) 6 months I had it in my car. Before I got it installed, I thought, "How hard can it be to blow into this stupid thing? I know friends that had it, shouldn't be too hard right?" I'm a young woman, quite healthy for being in my late 20's, no problem right? Well WRONG! I got it installed in the beginning of March '17, and for that month was my constant calling/crying for about 2 weeks because I was having such a hard time with it! Due to frustration of not being able to blow into the device correctly. I ended up getting 2 violations because I was not able to provide a breath sample during the rolling re-tests, it just came to a point I said "** IT!" It was not worth the risk to be late for work and rack up "violation fees" ($55 bucks a pop!) so I decided to search for any van-pools at work and found one that had room for one more but it required me to start my shift an hour earlier, so I van-pooled for 2 weeks!
But because I wanted my driving privileges back, I didn't want to appear as "non-compliant" so I decided to give it another shot, and not to mention I am pregnant and when you have a growing fetus that pushes up on your diaphragm, it's very difficult to blow & hum for a steady 7 seconds! Anyway, I trained myself into keeping a rhythmic blow and since then I haven't had too much trouble with the device, there were a few times where I just couldn't get it right and the countdown from 5/6 minutes to provide a breath sample can easily stress you, cause anxiety and mess you up.
My 2 complaints are; 1: I think everyone in cahoots with this company should at least dedicate an hour or two to show us how to properly use the device. When they were done installing it in my car, I think I sat there for like only 15 minutes with one of the technicians who was trying to train me. While he was very patient and understanding, 15 minutes is not enough to properly train someone for a device such as this (it makes you wonder, is it programmed to make it difficult so the company can make MORE $$ off of us? Who knows, I honestly wouldn't put it pass them) 2: If this device is really to "only detect alcohol" and to prevent us from drinking and driving, why the hell should we pay for "lockout, violation" fees??? Because after failing to give those couple of rolling re-test when I first got it, I was able to provide a sample right away after and still passed!
So it makes me scratch my head that we have to pay $55 bucks to get it reset before it locks us out, especially when I was able to pass the test, obviously I wasn't drinking. I do not disagree with an interlock system for a vehicle for repeat offenders but for first time offenders with no criminal background, it's kind of ridiculous. We all know why it's here, it's all $$$. I made a mistake, and I will comply with the law and I'd love to drive normally again (and hopefully SOON!!!) but as a first time offender with no prior convictions, not even so much as a speeding ticket on my record, I feel it's very harsh, but hey... Money talks.
But after having this dumb device in my car, let me just say, I will not be drinking and driving ever again. While I haven't experienced what majority of the other reviews, I can honestly say I feel pretty lucky only experiencing the minor issues but I can totally sympathize with everyone, having this device is really humiliating and puts a damper on your bank account, it stresses you out mentally AND physically.
My car has gone into lock twice! The first time was the my grandfather passed in our home. I heated the car, got the kids, said bye to my grandma, and made it to the car in the final countdown! It would not accept my blow. I paid that anyway. Then, got the device Calibrated June 3. The mechanic saw my brakes and asked why I drove. I explained I was afraid to miss the appointment even though I had to use my parking brake to stop! While bleeding the brakes the next day I once again caught the device in its final countdown and it wouldn't accept my blow. I got locked out again and emailed an associate that evening. He told me I could either unregistered the car or get 6 hour pass to get it to the shop! I told him the car is inoperable. So they put me as noncompliant to PennDOT!
I am livid and finally get a referral to a Mike ** who tells me I can get a notarized letter the car is inoperable, so I ask why I wasn't told that when I first contacted about the car! This guy snaps at me and implies I never contacted them until I got the letter from PennDOT and threatens to hang up on me because I'm trying to explain that I have the emails and have been working on this since the incident! Wouldn't it be stupid of me to comply for 10 months, and not report the car inoperable with only 2 months left to complete?
I said his associates never gave me the option to refile that the car is inoperable! He tells me he said all he had to say. So I print the D. L. 21 form and Lo behold there is a box for my situation. Also I reviewed my emails and notice that the associate specifically told me I could not have a car in my name, in Brackets! So I call back and these people really tried to tell me I have to call PennDOT to credit that window of noncompliance!
I said it's not rocket science that you all have to correct that and send that to PennDOT! I am still waiting for them to get back! Meanwhile I called another agency and the first thing he said was an inoperable car is no problem and told me what to do! Intoxalock. So I said if this is common why did they give me such a hard time? He said, "Because they wanted you to keep paying for the device." WOW...
The Smart Start Interlock was installed in my car on July 31, 2017. I was able to pass the blowing on hum for 3 times during my initial testing before leaving the site. However, once I left the site, every time I blew into the machine, it kept saying "blow harder". I could not get my car to start again. No matter how many times I blew as hard as I could, the message kept saying "blow harder". I was so frustrated I cannot describe it. I finally got my car home but was afraid to drive it for 7 days because every time I tried to start it, the message kept saying "blow harder".
I was afraid once I did succeed in getting it started, I would get stuck somewhere and not be able to get home. After many, many internet sites, there was one that a woman said to take a DEEP BREATH through your NOSE and then blow evenly through the machine. Wow... that was the secret!!! I have had very little problems since. The machine is very finicky so I have had some experiences where I had to blow through my nose a few times, but most of the time it is successful. Felt the necessity to share this with those of you who are having the same nightmare experiences I was having. I feel much more confident now. Please pass on.
I left work at 4:15 and blew a pass. I made one stop at the health food store and blew another pass. My next stop was the mall. I grabbed a chicken fiesta wrap and was back in the car within 15 minutes. FAIL. I sat and waited 10 minutes and then blew a pass. I have been on hold with Smart Start for over 2 hours. I ended up calling the police to get a breathalyzer test from them. I was NOT drinking. Now I will have to pay for a fail. I don't want any record of a fail. Their customer service is awful. Bad enough to get a false fail, but now I cannot reach anyone. This costs a lot of money to have such terrible service. Not impressed. I am doing what I should be but am getting frustrated.
Sooo, missed my monthly scheduled recalibration appointment because I had to go to the hospital. Made it in an hour or 2 late, trying to book another appointment. First, they try charging me 75 dollars fee for missing the appointment. Then, I sit here trying to book an appointment. Call center says "10 mins wait" and I'm literally on hold for 2 hours, still no one answers the call. For someone living with little to no income I'm tired of being charged BS fees for every little thing, and every time I need to get a hold of them it takes hours of wasting my time, get some better customer service if this "required" service is something that already has to cost us thousands.
I will not go through all the malfunctions I have had with the device (missed tests I never missed, recall messages and "VIOL LOCKs" when I wasn't even in my car). Suffice to say that the device landed me back in court for an additional $5,000 in lawyer fees and when I managed to escalate the issues all the way to Smart Start's NY Judicial Services Liaison and their Director of Operations they actually owned up to all the device malfunctions. The court didn't care though and I ended up with a Scram device. This is all for a first offense that should have been very cut and dried.
When I went to a new mechanic with the device for calibration (because the geniuses at Candlewood Valley Motors in New Milford, CT were part of the issue - not installing properly) he flat out said that he advises every customer to go with a DIFFERENT IID company because they are TERRIBLE. Why? Because they are impossible to get on the phone (even for the mechanic, terrible customer service and the faulty violations). Smart Start gets you in as the low-cost leader (with that waived installation fee/and lower monthly fee) - but once they do - try to get a hold of someone without having to hold on the line for 20 minutes. Smart Start tries to conduct everything through forms submitted through their website and then does not respond to them.
If you are having issues - my advice to you is to make sure YOU ARE THE SQUEAKIEST WHEEL they ever dealt with. I sure did - I committed to calling and emailing them several times a day and got the attention of senior management - who apologized and wrote letters supporting that it all came down to malfunctions. I'm actually proud to say they lost their license to do business in the NY county where my case was because of my efforts. This is your life - it behooves you to get Smart Start's attention. Ask to speak with supervisors when you get on the phone. And then ask for their judicial liaison if you feel you are not being treated properly. Good luck everyone.
I had my device removed today and I called to get a refund since I only had the device for 1 month instead of the 2 months I paid for, keep in mind that you have to pay for 2 months upfront. I also had to pay a $75.00 fee to have it removed. I was told that they don't prorate and I'm out the money. I was also told to review the paperwork I signed, which was 15 months ago. Unbelievable!! This is completely unfair and when I asked where the money was going that wasn't getting back, I was told it goes to "stuff" at the dealer. If that's the case, what exactly have I been paying for every 2 months then?
I had the Smart Start installed in my car for my son who has the DUI, not me but my son. The technician was very blunt, rude and inconsiderate to me. I'm not the one with a DUI, yet I was treated with disrespect. I made it very clear to him that he should talk to me with a better attitude as I am doing this as a favor for my son and that nobody should be talked down to. He appeared to absolutely hate his job and made everyone who came to the shop feel like an inconvenience.
Look, people make mistakes, that does not give any technician of this company make you feel like you are not worth the beating heart in your chest. I have dealt with the blow box before with another family member and all I can say is that this is the biggest CASH COW on the planet. The machines are not all that reliable, the company makes up the rules every time you go in for your calibration. So be wary if getting one installed. You MUST drive a minimum 100 km every month or they add a month to your sentence.
Do NOT use mouthwash, eat marinade sauces or spicy foods as this will also set your device as a fail and you will have months added to your sentence. My family member who had this in before had a 1 year sentence, by the time he had the damn thing removed, it was 16 months later and with fines, courses, installs, replacement part costs due to malfunctions, and various other charges for bullshit rules, it cost over $10 thousand dollars. Be wary of their "additional" rules that they don't inform you about until you go in for the calibration as some of these rules are so bogus, you'd swear they are making them up as they go so they can get more money out of you.
I had to have a breathalyzer because I wouldn't let the police take my blood. I don't even drink, but it is what it is. Before Smart Start I was at another horrible place that got shut down when the owner went to prison for fraud related to client's bank accounts used to pay the service. To be fair Smart Start didn't do any of that. It was simple for the duration of the time I needed the device. I went in, paid, they fixed my car and I left for the month. The local mechanics were actually really nice, no complaints there. The Kennewick, WA office provides stellar service. The problems started when it came time to remove the device.
I contacted the main office somewhere in the toothless, hard to understand part of the country and they were not only rude but told me they would get back to me in 3-5 business days. My state's DOL website says I no longer need an IID, I have even been pulled over by a police officer for using it (he thought I was on my cell phone) and told I don't need the device. I can even look up the removal authorization myself and try and show it to them, but the Smart Start headquarters hasn't been able to find this info going on 2 months, meaning I have to keep paying for service or they will impound my car. This is why only people that have a reading level above first grade should be allowed to run a business. The south is full of cousin ** crooks and some of them own this company.
Not only does their equipment constantly fail, they will charge YOU for the failure of their equipment even if the tech (if you can call them that. I have been to 3 different locations due to them shutting down locations all the time. You could be frequenting one in your own town which seems convenient but before long the only option could be in excess of 45 minutes and 3+ towns away) deems it product failure. On top of the outrageous cost, now you will be paying an extra 50 dollars every time their equipment fails. Also note once equipment malfunctions (which you can guarantee it will) if you're lucky it will give you 5 days to pull a bunch of money out of your butt to get the problem fixed OR YOU DONT GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT A TOWNTRUCKS HELP.
You have to submit an incident report trying to put in technical terms just how jacked off their equipment was when malfunctioning and then hope they side for you and then they reimburse you the next month. Like you just got cash falling out of your pocket for this. And on top of it my battery died for 3:55 and they generated a report that put me back in court 4 different time for 3-4 hours each suggesting that I was tampering with it. Like I somehow was able to disconnect their device, get hammered drunk then 3:55 later magically be sober enough then to start my car to go to work after a jump start from a friend.
If you like being ripped off, ** with and constantly thrown through legal system, then by golly this is the place for you!!! If you have no other option I highly recommend installing a GO-pro device to monitor the behavior of the problematic product. This will be to protect YOU by having actual video evidence of this thing going haywire and avoid having to try and explain all the strange things it has in store for you. Good luck. You'll need it.
I am replying to people who are experiencing this same situation. I live in the State of Washington. Our DUI laws state that if you're under the influence of narcotics you must have this evil device. I am guilty. I am not denying that. (Get that straight.) I have had this device for two years. I have been hospitalized and have had severe panic attacks and asthma attacks from blowing in this temperamental machine. We all know that means tough **. Pay up. There must be something us people with breathing conditions can do about this.
I do not even drink... ever!!! I have paid over 2000 for violation locks. I want that money back!!! This is insane. I could be behind the wheel totally wasted and no one would ever know. It does more harm than good and it is a major distracted driving hazard on top of everything else. It is very difficult for my friend who is healthy as an ox to blow in it. Let alone myself. So asthmatics you're not alone. I feel your frustration!!! That's all.
Straight to the point! Device installed, battery and electronic issues with my dash. Phoned, emailed, etc., etc., etc. We all know the crap they put us thru. So long story short, cost me couple thousand for tow truck, dealer diagnostic and fines and re-install... New installer found it was not installed correctly!!! Hey what do you know. So since they will not help me and treat me like garbage I am taking them to court.
I recently had to have an interlock device installed into my car after obtaining my license 6 years after my DUI (I live downtown and haven't needed a car until now). Last night, after getting off work, I received my first violation. Had to get to the shop within 4 days to pay the $53 fine. I went this morning and was talked to incredibly disrespectfully by the mechanic on duty. He rolled his eyes at me when I asked a simple question. I paid him $55 cash and he told me my car was ready. I waited a few minutes for him to bring me my change. Finally, I knocked on the door and inquired about the $2 (More about principal at this point). His tone was disrespectful as he said, "God, let me finish what I'm doing." I questioned him his poor tone, and he walked away, with the door slamming shut in my face. Needless to say, I will be contacting his superior. Horrible treatment by a man who obviously hates his job.
I don't even know why I'm wasting my time writing this. I honestly came on here hoping I would bring some light to what Smart Start was about but clearly it looks like I'm not the only one with a god awful experience. For starters - I quit drinking. I drink zero. Zero things of the booze origin. Also I understand that sometimes the blow box will blow up if you scope, or enjoy a croissant...or in my case I was shoving pizza down my face as I was driving. That honestly didn't bother me that I got a "fail" because I was able to reblow - no big deal.
My interlock has been malfunctioning an insane amount. A connectivity issue. You try to call the smart start company and they direct you to email. I've sent 5 emails, probably more. Fully explaining my situation. Why should I have to pay 60 bucks for "service fees" to fix a violation that occurred because YOUR equipment disconnects while I'm driving. It's unsafe - if you don't blow you will get a violation and have to pay. Pulling over FIVE times in a ten minute simple drive across town isn't safe either. Having the alarm of my car BLARE because the interlock sets it off isn't safe as it's distracting as well. This was literally all tolerable before, it was what it was. I can't even handle driving my own vehicle and I get this stupid thing out in a month. I don't even know if I can last a month.
The sad thing is, when we get these installed we don't get a choice of ** companies. At least not in Saskatchewan. It's not like our phone companies where we can choose which one sucks the least and go with that one. Smart Start is the only option. And they're HORRIBLE. You want people to avoid driving under the influence? Stick them in my effing car for a day. They would probably off themselves before they even had a chance to drink. Sober for a year as of tomorrow and this blow box makes me feel like booze is the answer. It is so stressful and causes so much anxiety. Such a safety hazard if it malfunctions and THE BIGGEST MONEY GRAB EVER.
Yes - we all screwed up and drove under the influence and deserve a blow box. I actually think the concept is kinda great. This company though? Oh. My. God. I could write forever. But alas, it's my birthday so I'm gonna go dream of a time where smart start GETS BACK TO ME and books me an appointment to fix THEIR machine...that I pay insurance for. Until then I will try not to cause a five car pile up to add to my conviction record. What's the point of even taking the task of writing a review seriously anymore anyways? There's clearly SO many negative reviews with oddly similar experiences on here and they aren't doing anything to fix it. I sent them a link to this page in case they failed to notice that they are the worst company of 2017. The reviews are getting pretty bad this year. Don't drink and drive because the blow box itself will make you wanna end your life.
Had the device put in, my dashboard lights started working intermittently, and have now stopped altogether. Just bought the car, nothing wrong with it. Now I can't see my speedometer, can't tell how fast I'm driving. Another trip across town to hopefully have them fix it. Unsafe, very frustrating.
In no way am I excusing my poor judgment in putting me in this situation; BUT: THIS DEVICE IS DEADLY. There has to be a better way (besides monetary punishment) to ensure safety among drivers. I have almost caused 3 accidents, my anxiety level when driving is through the roof... and I am constantly getting beeped (even 3-5 minutes from starting... Really?). The constant anticipation of when you might be getting prompt to blow, the missed blows - that you have to pay to reset, the false blows... too much air and the DAMAGE DONE TO MY CAR!!! I have water leaking into the car because how it was installed... The mechanic is denying it... The car doesn't run the same... SCAM OVERALL.
They disconnect your remote starter when they connect the Smart Start blower. When I had the blower taken out 'Andres' that installs the Smart Start does not have the program to reprogram 'AstroStart'. I even called the manager of Smart Start and they say it is up to me to find, locate and reprogram the AstroStart in my vehicle. The only businesses I could find are in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Now I have no remote starter because Andres cannot reconnect my remote starter!!!! Smart Start Canada are not much of a professional government program!!! Thanks for making me now not have a remote starter!!!!
Smart Start Company Information
- Company Name:
- Smart Start