Don’t buy a used Bluetooth tracker / my current Samsung hell

I’ve reviewed a few Bluetooth trackers in the past, they work, they’re generally not my thing because I don’t lose things (I can count the number of times I’ve lost my keys on my magical unicorn horn.) My wife however seems to pay the Purse Tax, and as such even if we know which purse the keys are in chances are good of not finding them on first pass. We’re at hours wasted looking for keys.

TL;DR – don’t buy a used tracker, and don’t think you’ll be able to reset a Samsung account or get support without effort.

Recently for some reason her keys ended up in my car and for two or three days we could not find them (I had a fever, cold, demon flu, who knows, slept 16 hours at one point, did not go to my car,) and the tracker I had on her keys had evidently stopped working a LONG time ago and the software is garbage so it never popped up a helpful “we haven’t seen this in forever, something up?” message.

I examined the tracker and determined that the brownish ooze that was coming from the innards of the device merited a replacement and not much else. Battery exploded.

I decided to try the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Bluetooth Tracker as we’re currently in the Samsung ecosystem. This was my first mistake, my second was I decided to get a few of these used/reconditioned from Amazon in an attempt to save a couple of dollars per tracker and maybe help the environment out by not wasting unwanted tech product. This was by far the biggest and the amount of waste we’re at now on a $20 product is kind of absurd.

image 14 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here
Box on the left did not have packing, box on the right did. Same warehouse.

A few days later two of the trackers I ordered showed. Each slightly larger than quarter-sized tracker was packaged in a large box, pretty much empty. I could have fit over 50 trackers per box. Most of the shipping was air. Both came from the same warehouse location.

The first unit I tried required a reset… and once it was reset the software informed me that the previous owner was going to have to remove it from their account before I could use it.

Wrote Samsung and Amazon to see if this was doable, Samsung never responded, Amazon said return it. This would be the only return I’ve ever had that cost money… we’ll get to SmartTag 2 in a minute and the ongoing Samsung event…

I received an email for return of the tracker. Every time I’ve ever returned stuff I’ve just flashed my phone at UPS and they scan and go. So I loaded up the tracker and drove 15 minutes to the UPS store to return the tracker that Amazon is going to just have to throw away.

Got to the UPS store 15 minutes later and was informed that this was not a scannable thing, I could not just use the barcode that they’d shipped, because of the battery in this thing I was going to have to print it out and affix battery notifications to the return package.

And yeah, I had to pay to print it at UPS unless I wanted to drive back home, print, drive back. We were already at 18 minutes in on Amazon sending me bad product. I went ahead and paid to have the shipping label and warnings printed up so this could be mailed back to Amazon to throw in a dumpster.

That returned, we turn our focus to the other one.

The other SmartThings tracker pictured above works and was unclaimed by a previous owner. I paired it with my phone, worked fine. I went to update the smartthings software on Kim’s phone which would be doing the tracking, and was told we needed to sign into her SmartThings account.

This is where we’re at now. Day 3 I think.

If I put in her phone number it pulls her account up, if I put in her email it pulls her account up, however her password does not work. OK you think, this is a simple “request password reset” scenario and you would be wrong sir.

Oh no, in order to request a password reset from Samsung you have to match the name and birthdate. Some piece of data there is incorrect. Was there a finger flub? Did Google’s sign-in pass the wrong info? We do not know.

Because some piece of information on her first, last, or birthday is incorrect or incomplete, we can’t issue a password reset even though we control the phone number and email address.

I wrote to Samsung’s support with an exactly detailed what had happened – please send a password reset to either her phone number or her email. The Samsung tech support person reads zero of this, looks at my email address, tells me step by step how to go and reset my password and that I have an account already.

I’ve spent as much time on this particular garbage scenario as I spent looking for keys this past year. Out 30 minutes of driving and $1.15 or so printing to ship something back for Amazon to throw away. Not been a great experience.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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