Timing is everything in the world of aerial photography. With the country distracted by a chaotic presidential election, GoPro has quietly announced that there’s been a huge mistake, one that will have ramifications for thousands of people across the US. No, not that mistake. It turns out that there have been cases of random power failure with the new Karma, causing drones to inexplicably fall from the sky. So even though the Karma drone has only been on shelves for a matter of days, GoPro has had to recall every single sold model. That’s estimated to be around 2,500 in total. Yikes.
Obviously, the last thing that any drone company should do is take risks and cut corners when it comes to safety, so we have to admire the admission from GoPro, despite the convenient timing of the announcement. A post on the company site says, “We have recalled Karma until we resolve a performance issue related to a loss of power during operation. We plan to resume shipment of Karma once the issue is addressed.”
“We are working in close coordination with both the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Federal Aviation Administration,” Chief Executive Nick Woodman acknowledged in the announcement. “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.”
GoPro recalls Karma
According to a GoPro statement, “The recall was announced after we discovered that in a small number of cases, Karma units lost power during operation. We are investigating the issue and working in close coordination with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration.”
The company is asking that all Karmas are returned, even if they appear to be working okay. GoPro will provide a full refund, not an exchange service, and has stated that the product will only be made available for purchase once the issue has been solved. And there’s one final annoyance for Karma pilots: All accessories have to be returned as well in order to receive a refund – something that very much goes against the “more than a drone“, modular concept that will have attracted many buyers in the first place.
What do I do if I’ve bought a GoPro Karma?
If you already own a GoPro Karma, follow these instructions to return your product for a full refund. If you bought yours from Best Buy or bestbuy.com, call the Best Buy recall hotline at 1-800-566-7498 or visit online support here. If you purchased your Karma directly from gopro.com, contact customer support at 1-866-886-3001 or visit online support here.
What now for GoPro?
It’s going to take a lot to come back from this for GoPro. Reliability is a huge selling point for drone enthusiasts when it comes to choosing their next product, and having your drone randomly fall out of the sky doesn’t say great things in that respect. But, as long as the Mavic Pro isn’t out there to compete, it’s hard to say for sure that the Karma is completely out of the running. Both DJI and GoPro have seen their reputations damaged in recent weeks. We’ll look deeper into this once the dust settles.