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'Leap year' bug disrupts sat-nav devices

( 04/04/2012 )

A 'leap year' bug has been identified by a sat-nav manufacturer after motorists and car insurance policy holders reported that their units were malfunctioning.

Dutch firm TomTom say the bug has caused its global positioning system (GPS) firmware to malfunction and fail to register user locations.

Users of the devices complained they were presented with a grey screen and message that said there was no GPS signal.

"It refused to shift its position from Gatwick and kept showing a message saying 'looking for valid GPS signals,'" TomTom user Graham Pitt told the BBC, when describing a trip he took from Gatwick airport to Cornwall.

"I assumed it had broken but when I went to check TomTom's website I saw there were similar complaints about a range of models on its discussion boards. I feel this should have been made public earlier to alert customers to the problem."

The problem has been noted by users worldwide, with reports of the same fault coming in from the UK, Switzerland, Australia and Denmark. According to TomTom, the problem was first reported on the 31st March and by Tuesday afternoon a thread named 'No GPS signal' had attracted over 350 posts. As a temporary fix, TomTom have told users to hold the on/off button for 20 seconds to reset their devices.

The company say they are currently working on a fix and will soon release updates to solve the problem. In a statement, the firm asked customers to "Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused."

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