Escort has now added an online chat feature which shows up on the top of the page after you click on their Product Support link on their home page. I tried it out today, and here are my experiences:
I inquired about getting my 9500i re-flashed for its audio ramp-up issue. I mentioned that I traded an expensive camera lens for a new 9500i but didn't have a sales receipt since the person I traded with lost their original sales receipt. In essence, I was told that essentially my 9500i was received as a gift, and I was told to simply use the online registration form and enter my 9500i serial number. Escort's representative also told me that they (in this case) will go by the manufacturing date of my 9500i radar detector for warranty coverage. During the chat I received a RMA number to get my 9500i re-flashed for the ramp-up fix. Cool, huh? I have to pay shipping to them, which for me is not an issue.
I also mentioned that I am a registered owner of both a Bel V995 and a Bel STi. The chat representative confirmed that I had sent in my STi a while back for the re-flash which fixed the 33.8 bug, and that there is now a recent new flash which addresses the audio ramp-up issue where my STi currently has either just slow or fast audio beeps with no audio ramp-up in between. I received a separate RMA number for my STi as well. So, yes, there is now a a fix for the STi's audio ramp-up issue. The online chat person actually took 3 minutes and walked over to the Bel service department to confirm that there is now a fix for the STi's audio ramp-up issue. Again, really cool.
Now I just have to decide which RD to part with first for their appropriate flashes since I don't want to be without both of them for several days!
Other interesting stuff from the online chat:
Escort confirmed that Cobra RDs do indeed present many design headaches with regards to filtering out Cobra emissions yet not rejecting true police radar, not just for Belscort but also for all other RD manufacturers. The repair tech I was conversing with seemed to hate Cobra RD designs for this very reason.
Overall, it seems that Escort is indeed very serious about vastly improving both customer service and customer relations. The online chat utility is currently not available on the Bel web site. If you own a Bel labeled product and have questions or issues, try using the online chat which is now available on Escort's web site.
So, what can I say? I received RMA numbers for both my 9500i and for my STi to get them both reflashed with the latest firmware. The online chat utility worked great and seemed to be more forthcoming regarding the nature of the responses from Escort's reps. I will send one RD in and then the other since I have to have a RD for daily use. I also mentioned that both RDs are detecting radar flawlessly and that both just need the latest flashes without testing either for radar detection performance. Thus a quick turnaround for each RD.