Company tells disgruntled customer that he will not receive support unless he removes a negative review, then threatens to sue him

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This might work better if the company didn’t rely so heavily on such a niche audience. I could see Apple or Samsung being able to get away with doing it, because their audience and the market is vast, but even then, the power of viral internet protest is formidable. But ham radio? There are so few potential customers for the product, wouldn’t pissing off even one of them have a noticeable effect on market share?


So the reviewer replaced his negative review of the software with a negative review of the company?


At the bottom of page 38 of the forums, the guy who made the threat blames his behavior on diabetes/low blood sugar.
I’m no doctor, but isn’t 38 forum pages a long time to go between doses of medication?


Nope, the company did that all by itself…


They really didn’t think this through. The guy has already written a negative review. Did they really think he wouldn’t update it with what they did? It’s not like he had anything ELSE to lose! “Okay, I’ve changed my negative review into a more negative review.”


The problem is, it is also a very niche software without any alternatives for the functionality is my understanding, so where else are you going to go?


Don’t mess with amateur radio operators. We are an especially crusty and curmudgeonly bunch.


Sounds like a great niche for an open-source project.


what’s his typing speed?

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More than 50 hours by forum post timestamps…

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Two negatives. That’s a positive, right?


Most diabetes meds are designed to keep your blood sugars low. If he hasn’t taken his meds, over time, he should naturally be hyperglycemic (high blood sugars), not hypoglycemic (low). But most meds are administered every 12 to 24 hours.

So…not only (not really) apologizing, but making up poor excuses to boot?


Deliberately bricking paid-for software - surely this is actually a crime? I’m not sure if it’s vandalism, theft or fraud… or some combination. The Computer Misuse Act must at least come into it, somehow.


There are actually a significant number of alternatives, some of them free. I don’t know if there are Open Source logging programs, but there are some specialized programs for ham radio use that are Open Source. (Source: Am ham radio operator K2DBK)


Rick Ruhl, one of the co-founders of the company, resigned effective 12/31/16. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but others have reported that he was the one with the bad attitude. I have no idea if this is true, but regardless it looks like this may give HRD a chance to regain it’s footing.


I posted a negative review because TV implied I could use my ham radio to speak to people in 1996.
I mean, I wasn’t able to solve or prevent any murders at all!
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This may be related

I’m a ham radio operator, and have used this software in the past before it got bought out and made for-pay (it used to be freeware). The whole issue of HRD has been quite controversial ever since the original owner, who wrote it for fun and gave it away for free. When his interests changed, he sold it for an undisclosed amount to the fellows who are now in the news. The original program had a lot of bugs, but people were generally understanding since it was being given away. When it went for-pay, a lot of people were put off, especially since the price was $100 plus $50/yr for known buggy software, which was never properly fixed. Many of the bugs from ca 2008 are still present!

The real problem is one of the co-owners. He’s been writing ham radio software for profit for a long time (20+ years, IIRC), and he has a long history of this kind of customer-abusive behaviour. He’s the one who claims his bad behaviour was due to diabetes.

My favourite part of this whole thing is how they did the blacklisting… they had a telnet server on a non-standard port where you could enter any callsign and see if it was active, unknown, refunded, or blacklisted. Anybody, anywhere could connect and check. Many people who had posted reviews online or asked probing questions on various ham fora found their callsigns blacklisted pre-emptively. I’m surprised my call isn’t in the list, but I just complained about it on Twitter.

There’s a really good summary and timeline available on Reddit, if anyone is interested, here: