SD by EI5DI - eHam Product Review - NA4M N2MG

eHam Product Reviews


eHam.net has a Product Review section for amateur-radio-related hardware and software. At times, dissatisfied customers post "reviews" which are, in reality, customer-service rants. In these circumstances, it is the responsibility of Phil Duff NA4M, eHam's Product Reviews Manager, to place these posts in eHam's Company Reviews forum - in accordance with eHam's published guidelines.

Sometimes, NA4M makes mistakes. Getting NA4M to admit his mistakes can be a challenge. Here is a screenshot of a "Product Review" of SD by EI5DI posted on August 12 2015 by ON3JMV.





It's clear this is not a product review but is, in effect, a customer-service rant. ON3JMV may have had a valid complaint, and the blame may be entirely mine, but this does not give ON3JMV the right to misrepresent his complaint as a product review. In turn, NA4M's decision to accept and publish ON3JMV's post as a legitimate product review was a mistake - he (NA4M) is required to assess each and every review before publication.

What follows is a complete record of my email correspondence with NA4M and with Mike Gilmer N2MG (eHam Site Manager), in their capacities as eHam officials.

I'm making this public in the hope that it will serve as a template to help other product suppliers who may feel intimidated or bullied by eHam and their product-review policies. It should be noted that suppliers whose products are misrepresented or who are themselves unfairly criticised in eHam product reviews are not given any right of reply.

I invite readers to consider this as a customer-service review of eHam - I rate them zero out of five.



    On 03/09/2015 01:07, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: productreviewsmaster1@eham.net
    Subject: eHam Review of SD

    Hello OM,

    I'm contacting you with regard to a review of SD, my contest logging software, by ON3JMV on August 12 this year.

    http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/522

    It's clear this is not a review of the product. With regard to his complaint "this software is technically outdated, not a mouse navigation, look to the DOS" - well, he knew that and was happy to pay for it in January 2013, and use it ever since.

    SD's console, or text, user interface (with no need for a mouse) is a feature, not a defect.

    The rest of the review relates to a perceived customer service issue which is, I believe, contrary to your review guidelines.

    Please consider removing this review.

    Thanks & 73,
    Paul EI5DI



    On 03/09/2015 16:18, Phil Duff wrote:

    Subject: Re: eHam Review of SD

    He is entitled to express his opinion based on his experience and expectation of the product.

    It's also generally ok to mention customer service as long as it is not the sole topic of a review.



    On 03/09/2015 16:57, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: na4m4dx@gmail.com
    Subject: Re: eHam Review of SD

      He is entitled to express his opinion based on his experience and expectation of the product.

    Yes, you're right - except that no one pays for SD without trying it first, and they don't register unless they're happy with it.

    Anyone can download it and test it, as he did. When users register, they get unrestricted access to updates for 12 months. His gripe is that, 30 months later, he doesn't want to have to pay to access the latest version.

      It's also generally ok to mention customer service as long as it is not the sole topic of a review.

    What he said hardly qualifies as a "mention". It's more of a vindictive outburst in apparent retaliation for not getting what he wanted - a free update some 18 months after his entitlement to updates expired.

    You might consider checking the text on SD's registration page http://www.ei5di.com/sdregist.html - where users' responsibilities are explained.

    I would have thought that, in accordance with eHam guidelines for product reviews, the proper place for his complaint, such as it may be, is in your Company Reviews forum. I expect you will give this careful consideration.

    Thanks & 73,
    Paul EI5DI



    On 21/09/2015 16:55, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: na4m4dx@gmail.com
    To: productreviewsmaster1@eham.net

    Subject: Re: eHam Review of SD

    Hello Phil,

    I did not receive an acknowledgement or reply to my second email of 3rd September in which I asked you to consider removing the review of SD by ON3JMV at http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/522

    May I respectfully remind you of the eHam Terms & Conditions for product reviews -

      "The product reviews is not the correct place for reviews of companies/dealers/manufacturers or customer service. The correct place for these reviews is in the Community Forum "CompanyReviews"."

    In the circumstances, please either move ON3JMV's comments to the correct place, or explain why you consider that the bulk of his comments do not constitute a review of "companies/dealers/manufacturers or customer service" - please be specific.

    73,
    Paul EI5DI
    21 September 2015



    On 21/09/2015 23:40, Phil Duff wrote:

    Subject : Re: eHam Review of SD

    I've once again reread the subject review and again see no reason to remove or move the review.

    I can add that if a review is solely focused on customer service ti usually should be submitted to the CompanyReviews Forum. That does not appear to be the case for this review.

    The other aspects of the review appear entirely appropriate as a review.



    On 22/09/2015 00:41, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: na4m4dx@gmail.com
    To: productreviewsmaster1@eham.net

    Subject: Re: eHam Review of SD

    OK, let's be specific.

    A single sentence in ON3JMV's "review" applies to anything other than customer service. It reads

      "Hello, this software is technically outdated, not a mouse navigation, look to the DOS."

    Once again, please be advised that ON3JMV's "review" amounts to no more than "a vindictive outburst in apparent retaliation for not getting what he wanted - a free update some 18 months after his entitlement to updates expired" (my words - as shown above).

    It appears that you neither understand nor accept this. You claim it is "entirely appropriate as a review". You are mistaken.

    The remainder of ON3JMV's review reads

      "I bought the license in January 2013 (this is not a freeware) because it was recommended for i contests UBA. Big problems with customer service, I believe EI5DI has long forgotten the Hapmspirit!
      Let me explain my PC broke down in June 2015, I bought a new and so it took me reinstall my programs, I asked for a new key to EI5DI, he refused because my key was valid only until January 2014 ... or passage of mandatory cash ... in the meantime, while browsing in the shack, I found my SD Key file on a USB key, but that key does not work with the latest version of SD, I contact EI5DI ask or downloaded the worm 17.23 which I am entitled ... I'm still waiting his answer!
      Since I switched to N1MM on the advice of the club OM."

    Any reasonable person would accept that is all presented as a customer service issue - especially as ON3JMV uses that term himself. ON3JMV sees it as a customer service issue. I see it as a customer service issue. Who are you to disagree and imply we are both wrong?

    I have given you specific valid reasons, in line with eHam's published Terms and Conditions for Product Reviews" why you should "remove or move the review" (your words). Please do so now, in line with your assumed or assigned responsibilities as eham.net Product Review Manager.

    73,
    Paul EI5DI



    On 23/09/2015 00:08, Phil Duff wrote:

    Subject : Re: eHam Review of SD

    Your best course of action is to contact the review author to discuss your concerns with the review

    They can request eHam remove the review or submit an updated review in which case the older review will be removed providing the updated review is accepted.



    On 22/09/2015 00:41, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: na4m4dx@gmail.com
    To: productreviewsmaster1@eham.net

    Subject: Re: eHam Review of SD

    Phil,

    I find it faintly amusing that you should try to pin responsibility for this state of affairs on anyone but yourself.

    You know it's not a "review" - the "review author" himself has said it's a customer service issue, and yet you persist in the fiction that it's a review. If you had any sense of responsibility you would (without further discussion,) do what you, as eHam.net Product Review Manager, neglected to do in the first place - that is to place the post in its entirety in the CompanyReviews forum, in accordance with eHam's (and your) published guidelines for product reviews.

    By misplacing my customer's complaint, you are depriving me of my right to reply, in public, on eHam.net, and you are adversely affecting my livelihood. Your publication of this so-called review could be considered libellous, and your offence is compounded for each day that you do nothing.

    Your best course of action now, in mitigation of the offence, is to move ON3JMV's customer-service complaint to where it belongs.

    I hereby put you on notice that, should you persist with the do-nothing option, you will be responsible for the consequences.

    73,
    Paul EI5DI

    Libel : "a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation".



    On 24/09/2015 16:57, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: n2mg@eham.net

    Subject: Product Review Complaint

    Mike, (note to readers - Mike N2MG is Site Manager of eHam.net)

    This is to let you know that I am in dispute with Phil Duff NA4M, eHam.net Product Reviews Manager, over his interpretation of a "review" of SD, my contest logging software.

    I hope you can help to resolve this dispute.

    Here is my side of the argument and, if needed, I will send you a copy of all correspondence with NA4M on this issue.

    ON3JMV was a registered user of SD. He paid a 20- euro registration fee in January 2013. In return, I sent him a key file which would activate any updates released within 12 months - before the end of January 2014. Prospective SD users can test all features of SD before they register.

    The next I heard from ON3JMV was in July this year when he came looking for a replacement key file and a copy of the version of SD (not the current version) that he had been happily using for some two and a half years. For various reasons I felt unable to give ON3JMV what he wanted - here is a copy of the email I sent

      On 02/08/2015 21:22, Paul O'Kane wrote:

      Hello Jean Michel,

      You registered on 4th January 2013, and your key file was valid for new versions released before the end of January 2014.

      In the circumstances, it is necessary to register again to get up-to-date with SD.

      Thanks & 73,
      Paul EI5DI

    ON3JMV wasn't happy, and in apparent retaliation for not getting a free update 18 months after his entitlement to updates expired, he posted a "review" on eHam.net on 12th August - http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/522

    It seems to me this is not a "review" in any accepted sense of the word. He says "this software is technically outdated, not a mouse navigation, look to the DOS", but he knew all that before he voluntarily paid his registration fee - so what possible reason could he have for bringing it up after 30 months, other than as part of a vindictive outburst. He goes on to say "Big problems with customer service". It would seem this is an indication, however vague, that ON3JMV sees this as a customer service issue :-)

    Now, he is entitled to complain about customer service even if he is wrong. However, I appear to have no right of reply. NA4M refuses to treat ON3JMV's post as a customer service issue which, according to eHam.net's own guidelines, should have been moved (by NA4M) to the CompanyReviews forum. Had this been done, I would then have a right of reply and be able to defend my reputation in public.

    I'm unhappy about what is, in effect, a defamatory and personal post by ON3JNV published in your product review forum, and I'm more than unhappy with what I see as NA4M's obstinacy in not moving the post to the CompanyReviews forum as required by eHam's terms of reference for Product Reviews.

    I don't like disputes, they waste time for everyone concerned. I hope you can help to bring an end to this one.

    73,
    Paul EI5DI



    On 24/09/2015 17:40, Mike Gilmer wrote:

    Subject: Re: Product Review Complaint

    Paul,

    I'm somewhat aware of the situation. Phil has contacted me.

    You just wrote :

    "he came looking for a replacement key file and a copy of the version of SD (not the current version) that he had been happily using for some two and a half years. "

    " felt unable to give ON3JMV what he wanted"

    Why would it be a problem for you to provide him with the version he paid for?

    Mike N2MG



    On 24/09/2015 16:57, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: n2mg@eham.net

    Subject: Re: Product Review Complaint

    Mike,

    At this stage, the issue is whether ON3JMV's post was a legitimate product review or a rant related to a customer service issue he has with me personally.

    Once again, in his post ON3JMV refers to "Big problems with customer service". What more is there to say?

    73,
    Paul EI5DI



    On 27/09/2015 03:28, Mike Gilmer wrote:

    cc: productreviewsmaster1@eham.net

    Subject: Re: Product Review Complaint

    Paul,
    I want to understand the facts of ON3JMV's situation.

    As best I can tell, the key and software version he owns no longer work since he cannot install it on a new computer. Is that true?

    Mike N2MG



    On 27/09/2015 09:18, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: na4m4dx@gmail.com
    To: productreviewsmaster1@eham.net
    To: na4m4dx@gmail.com

    Subject: Re: eHam Review of SD

    Mike,

    My complaint is with you and Phil as officers of eHam.net.

    You have published a customer service post from OM3JMV and are misrepresenting it, contrary to your (eHam.net's) own guidelines, as a product review.

    Can I take it that you accept the post in question is not a legitimate product review?

    If so, please remove it immediately.

    Otherwise, either state which part of my email of September 24 you do not understand, or explain why you do not accept its contents.

    I view your continued publication and misrepresentation of this post as defamatory, and apparently done with malicious intent.

    You will be aware of the implications. You and Phil need to act promptly.

    73,
    Paul EI5DI



    On 27/09/2015 22:31, Phil Duff wrote:

    Subject: Review

    Paul -

    The eHam product review by ON3JMV has been moved from eHams Product Reviews to the eHam Forum "Company Reviews" as suggested in one of your previous emails.

    http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,105422.0.html

    The Forums are open for all to add their comments.

    73 Phil NA4M

    --
    Phil NA4M
    eHam.net Product Reviews Manager



    On 28/09/2015 14:13, Paul O'Kane wrote:

    To: na4m4dx@gmail.com

    Subject: Re: Review



    Noted.






NA4M is being disingenuous is implying that the post in quesion was voluntarily moved "as suggested in one of (my) previous emails". (Note that, in spite of everything, he still refers to it as a product review.)

NA4M moved the post because he had no choice. The "consequences" I alluded to in my email of September 22 were becoming clear both to him and to N2MG. For information - when defamation is motivated by malicious intent, the offenders leave themselves potentially liable to punitive damages.

NA4M is again being disingenuous, and economical with the truth, in saying "The Forums are open to all to add their comments", because eHam Product Reviews are not treated as discussion forums - there is no right of reply. I quote - "Product Reviews are not a discussion forum for general complaints, inquiries, repair diagnostic help, product modification, or customer service issues".

It doesn't end here - get the full story on Page 2 of eHam

One of the problems with eHam.net is that its self-appointed officers are answerable to no one. The other problem is that some of them, to include NA4M and N2MG, don't like to be reminded of eHam's own rules when they deviate from them.




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