5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Tractive GPS Tracker


First of all, Tractive is an important player in the pet tracker market, as the No.1 in the Sim based tracker field, we highly recognize and respect Tractive's branding and marketing capabilities, and there is no shortage of excellent tracker products launched. However, many parents may not have a careful understanding of Tractive, and simply make purchases based on search exposure and rankings, sales rankings on e-commerce platforms, and so on.

In order to avoid unpleasant experiences such as making a wrong purchase, dealing with troublesome returns and exchanges, monthly fee refunds and even the risk of losing your dog, you need to ask yourself and make sure again that you have chosen your product correctly before making a purchase. As we all know, the purchase page usually doesn't mention this open yet hidden information.


1. Do you have a stable cell phone signal where you are using the tracker?

Tractive trackers are SIM card based, or cellular network/cell phone signal based. When the place where you are using the tracker does not have a stable, reliable cell phone signal of a certain strength, then you may not be able to use Tractive properly.

And they say free trial, but couldn't get that to work so went ahead and paid for a subscription. I tried for 3 days and device NEVER got a signal either while on dog or in my hand. I even drove 30 miles through town with it powered on and on my dash; when I got home it said no history. Granted cell signals are weak here - but I still have 1-2 bars of mostly 4G and can continuously make and receive calls without issue. After 3 days of continued trying I gave up. Amazon accepted return without issue. Tractive website (from Austria) makes cancellation and refund of the subscription service a nightmare. Website says in multiple places that you can get a refund within 14 days - but how? They do not allow you to remove your method of payment and only say that it will go away if you cancel your subscription for future charges.

Tractive No signal

It's great that Tractive's website recently helped us directly reference the FCC's coverage maps so that we could easily confirm cell phone coverage in our area before purchasing.

However, the question is, is this data and information accurate enough? (We don't mean to question the authority of the FCC in any way)

As seen from the tips on the FCC's official website

The coverage map was created using data submitted voluntarily by the four mobile carriers……

Please note: The map depicts the coverage a customer can expect to receive when outdoors and stationary. It is not meant to reflect where service is available when a user is indoors or in a moving vehicle.

Because the coverage map is based on propagation modeling, a user’s actual, on-the-ground experience may vary due to factors such as the end-user device used to connect to the network, cell site capacity, and terrain.


As seen from reports and news of the FCC's happenings with several major carriers, Verizon and T-Mobile in trouble after FCC accuses them of lying about coverage maps 

Maybe this checking map says something, but it's hard to say whether it's trustworthy or not. 

Learn more about why many areas in rural America don't have a stable and reliable cell phone signal. SIM-based GPS Trackers: A Risky Choice for Rural and Suburban Dog Owners


That's why we recommend that you still judge it by the actual cell phone signal conditions in the live environment where you live or use the tracker.

Specifically, if you live in rural and suburban areas with poor signal, or if your dog may run into areas with poor signal around where you live, and if the area where you plan to take your dog out for walks and hikes is in an area with no network signal. These are all scenarios related to environments that do not have cell phone reception. 

If none of these scenarios are practical for you, then you may able to consider choosing Tractive.


2. Are you willing to pay a fixed monthly fee regardless of whether you use the tracker or not?

For some users, the dog is basically safe in the yard or room at home during the week. Usually, they only take their dogs out of their familiar and safe home part of the time; in addition, some users don't need the tracker at all, and only use it when they are away from their best friend for a short period of time for various reasons, as if they were hiring a temporary dog sitter.

As a result, many users want the flexibility to pay for their subscription on a sporadic basis for as long as they need it (monthly or even weekly and daily), rather than a large, life-long subscription.

After all, in addition to a couple dozen dollars for the product (which seems cheap), you'll need to pay an additional subscription fee of roughly $100 per year, after which you'll be eligible to use Tractive. When you stop paying the subscription fee, the electronic device is not as useful as a brick.

It's not a small investment, and make sure you don't miss your window, especially if you regret it and need a refund.

Also, for newbies, consider shorter trial subscription periods to avoid problems with unsubscribing (such as the case2 in next point).


3. Are you willing to be more patient and wait for customer service when you have problems with your tracker?

Tractive's main source of profit is a commission share from the subscription fees paid by users, rather than making money from selling the tracker itself.

As a result, Tractive's marketing strategy will favor a more aggressive approach, with a lower threshold price to encourage users to try and buy. Once a customer is acquired, steady revenue and profit can be earned for up to 1-2 years.

Under this business model, Tractive's user growth is relatively stable and even fast. We ignore the cost of the subscription fee, thinking it's like the advertisement for a cup of coffee.

In fact, we could probably get a better tasting cup of coffee for free instead of being forced to drink it; and because Tractive's products require relatively many steps and operations such as activation, subscription, download, etc., it is inevitable that users will encounter a variety of problems and need to seek quick response and help from the after-sales team.

Tractive has a strong after-sales service team, but with a large number of users' after-sales inquiries, it may affect the efficiency and effectiveness of processing.

case1  they deactivated the wrong device

I really wanted to like this product. I have been trying to for 3 weeks. I bought 2 of them for my two bigger dogs who like to escape and go for joy runs in the cow pasture. One of them worked great, the second never turned on. Took forever to get help from support or even get to a live chat. Their first response was to reset it. That didn't work so they sent another one. The replacement never would turn on either. I went through the process of getting support again. I was sent the same 2 generic emails that I received the first time before the had me fill out a claim form. I opted to have my subscription switch to the new replacement device just like I had the first time.. when it switched they deactivated the wrong device 😡 so now I have none that work. Also my dogs got out this morning right after it was deactivated. I sent them back this afternoon for a refund. I think this could be a good product with a little more dependability and a lot more Customer Support. A phone number to call would be nice too. Oh and apparently my yard is too small for the perimeter fences to work. 😒 


case2   never get a refund on the unused portion

After doing some research, I found out that they are headquartered in Austria (yeah, in Europe) and don't care about how laws work in the US. I cancelled my subscriptions ($180 for 2 years for one cat and $206 for 2 years for one dog) but will never get a refund on the unused portion. I was actually told that I can continue using the defective trackers until the subscriptions expire.

Yeah...not happening. So...this is my cautionary tale. DO NOT TRUST TRACTIVE WITH YOUR PET'S SAFETY OR YOUR MONEY!


4. Do you need to use LIVE Tracking frequently?

Real-time tracking or live tracking was not invented by Tractive, nor is it unique to it. It has been around for a long time.

Tractive's LIVE tracking means that tracker have increased the frequency of GPS data transmission to 2-3 seconds, so that you can get your dog's location in a more timely manner. Usually, it is 2-60 minutes.

LIVE tracking is great, but why can't you use it more often?

GPS itself is very power hungry and you should know that 4G/LTE module is the perfect partner for power consumption. Contradictory to this, the size of the pet tracker limits the capacity of the built-in battery.

Let's go back to the time when you navigated with your cell phone on, isn't the battery power consumed very fast, good thing you have a cell phone battery of at least 3000 mAh (refer to iPhone); and then imagine your tracker only has a battery of a few hundred mAh, how can it support frequent(I mean live or real-time) 4G/LTE data transmission?

In addition, if your dog is not under home wifi connection and at the same time in a place with poor 4g signal, the 4g module will consume more power and frequently connect with unstable base stations. You will find that the power consumption is also fast in this case. This is kind of another reason why it is not recommended to use Tractive in places with poor cell phone signal.


5. Are you tired of being harassed by imprecise and frequent e-fence notifications?

First of all if you have a 150*150 sq ft sized backyard then you deserve to have this e-fence because the e-fence is designed for a minimum area of roughly. But most homes don't use a backyard that big 😂 If I set the earth as a safe zone then I'm mostly dealing with the threat of aliens, not lost dogs.

Secondly, since GPS has a drift characteristic, it often happens that your dog is actually sitting quietly by your side, but the electronic fence keeps alerting you via messages that your dog ran out of the security fence one minute and returned to the room the next.

I continually get notifications on the app that my cat has left the 'virtual home fence' and has entered the virtual home fence. All while I am looking right at him from three feet away. Unless he has learned to teleport or astral project, I doubt he's moving in and out of the house so fast no one can see him move.

My dog's tracker says that she isn't in my network (I didn't even know she was online) and apparently hasn't been for 12 days. Until we recently moved two months ago, it said she was constantly in and out of the virtual home fence, like the cat.

The alerts are ridiculously inaccurate. I mean to the point of being worse than useless because I get an alert every hour or at least ten a day saying my dog has crossed the perimeter. Over half the time he is asleep in the middle of the yard. Company response: its not accurate when the dog is in the house or under something. well guess what? he sleeps under the blue clear sky but the tracker still tracks him leaving my yard. Company response: it has an 8 meter error margin. Ok, so why is it wrong three times that which is required for it to say he is in my neighbors yard instead of sleeping in my yard. Yes, my yard is huge. I placed the perimeter fencing on the app over 8 meters passed where my physical fence allows him to roam so that I would get an alert when he actually left my property. Well it shows him leaving it all day every day so the error margin is far greater than they pretend it is. I am home, and I can physically see him 40 meters from where the tracker says he is. company response: It was a glitch that we have now resolved.

Reality: I am getting endless erroneous notification of my dog traveling all over the place while he is sleeping so that means NOTHING else about the app like the health assessment can be trusted.



We still recognize that Tractive is a great, great company, but no single product can cover all users and all needs. We hope that more great products come to our plush friends and that a hundred flowers bloom instead of one.
The U.S. is a vast country and every user is unique, with unique children and differentiated usage scenarios and needs. Therefore, we should know more about the product before purchasing, after all, it affects the safety of our children.


  • Posted on by visitor

    I just realized that Tractive is an Austrian brand, so I might as well get Fi, is fi a US brand? There’s a subscription fee anyway…

  • Posted on by Terry
    Tractive GPS Tracker has limitations, such as its reliance on cell phone signal and the high monthly subscription fee, which may not be suitable for all users.

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