GoPro Faces Bad KARMA with Recall

karma recall
Image: James DeRuvo

UPDATE:  Seeking to keep customers in the fold after they have returned their recalled KARMA’s, GoPro is offering them a free Hero5 Black on top of the full refund for returning the recalled drone and accessories. This may also be to ensure that all drones are returned so that the problem can be fixed across the board.

“You will receive a refund for your purchase,” says the updated KARMA Recall FAQ. “All components included with the Karma drone bundle, including HERO5 Black and Karma Grip, must be returned for a full refund. Once your complete return has been processed and refund issued we will send you a HERO5 Black as a thank you.”

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

It looked like GoPro’s new KARMA drone was going to save the company from dipping sales and a disastrous year. But now there’s word that the company is recalling every KARMA drone they’ve built over problems with power loss, which is causing the drones to crash. And it couldn’t come at a worse time.

“Safety is our top priority. A very small number of KARMA owners have reported incidents of power failure during operation. We have moved quickly to recall all units of KARMA and provide a full refund while we investigate the issue. We are very sorry to have inconvenienced our customers and we are taking every step to make the return and refund process as easy as possible.” – CEO Nicholas Woodman said in a statement, GoPro’s FAQ page

The Karma collapsed

To date, it’s been estimated that GoPro has sold 2,500 KARMA drones. Frankly, I think that could be a bit light, but certainly it’s a small enough number that a blanket recall will enable them to recover quickly. The problem seems to stem from a power issue that has caused a few KARMA drones to literally fall out of the sky.

Since this is clearly a safety issue, GoPro issued a quick recall of all units. That’s right. ALL units. Even if you have a Karma drone that seems to be flying fine with no problems, GoPro still wants all units back so they can study the problem and work out a fix, which I presume is a design change.

“If you already own KARMA, return your product for a full refund… You can still return the product without a receipt.”

Nick Woodman finally reveals the GoPro Karma as more than a drone.

The good news is that even if you don’t have your receipt, you can return the KARMA for a full refund, even the accessories you’ve bought, although GoPro does says that the recall does not affect any purchased accessories. However, if you have bought the drone as part of the KARMA Bundle that includes the HERO5 Black and KARMA Grip, GoPro wants you to return the entire bundle.

What worries me is that they are offering refunds, not exchanges. What this could indicate is that GoPro may not really know what’s wrong, but recognize that it could require a redesign to the power system because of a major fault. Either way, it’s serious and GoPro is taking swift action. The silver lining here is that will go a long way with consumers when GoPro figures out the problem and fixes it.

Until then, those who bought the KARMA and KARMA Bundle online at GoPro.com should email GoPro Support here to start the returns process, or call 866-886-3001. Those who bought at a retail store can just return it directly, save Best Buy, which also offers a recall hotline at 800-566-7498. They also have a product recall site here, but there’s no info listed yet.  Lastly, there’s also the Consumer Product Safety Commission Recall site. That can be found here.

But seriously a full recall in November? That’s going to kill the sales in GoPro’s most pivotal time. Their only real hope to salvage the holiday season is if they can have a very quick fix by Black Friday. Naturally though, faithful GoPro users will be patient and hope that a quick fix is found, but let’s face it, with the Holidays right around the corner, those who get a refund may be tempted to merely take the money and put it into DJI’s Mavic Pro.

Pity 3DR closed their doors. Events like this could be a life preserver, but instead, I think it’s safe to say that the advantage is DJI’s for the Holidays.

About doddle 16509 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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