Ham Radio Deluxe Blackball for Negative Review

How to not endear yourself to your customers 101: Shut off the licensing to your customer when they post a critical review. N2SUB found out the hard way you don’t mess with Ham Radio Deluxe.

After publishing a review on eham about his experience with trying to get things to work with Windows XP, and then with Windows 10, N2SUB had his HRD license revoked, and was told by technical support that his license key had been “blackballed” by the company.

Dr. Michael Carper, WA9PIEA, Owner and partner of HRD, in a very ham-fisted reply, claims that the blackball of the license key was the result of an over-zealous support tech. However, reading his response, it hardly reads like an apology. In fact, it is rather defensive of the incident as a whole where HRD seems to try to explain the behavior as an example of “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. While that may be the case, the fact it was retaliation for a product review may be in violation of the Consumer Review Fairness Act (HR 5111).

The eham review that sparked the controversy seems to speak fairly well to issues other hams have encountered with the product, including myself. N2SUB does not call anyone names, make any false claims, and is frankly a rather tame expression of his frustration with HRD. For HRD to have retaliated in this manner is bizarre.

In the end, it appears that things have been set right with N2SUB for the time being and his license has been un-blackballed. But the incident in general, and the response from the company, was odd. Let’s hope this behavior does not become a trend.


**UPDATE** Here is a link to the thread on QRZ.com

**UPDATE2** Here is some more info on the shenanigans taking place at Ham Radio Deluxe.

3 thoughts on “Ham Radio Deluxe Blackball for Negative Review

  1. Wow–excellent way to kill your product right in front of the whole ham community! If they are not already in a downward spiral, that might be the day it begins. You just don’t do that to people and think that the rest of us–present or future customers–won’t notice. Thanks for bringing this up!


  2. Got a bunch of twitter appends about this, but didn’t know how it started or the context…

    Someone had a bad day… I’ve always received great support from these folks, so this is surprising…

    73… Tim

  3. It started with HRD revoking a license for a poor review on eham – And then HRD “extorting” restoration of the license for removal of the review. It then went downhill from there with a fairly awful reply from the owner of HRD defending the practice of blacklisting users/callsigns of users that expressed negative impressions of HRD.

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