On the eve of Donald Trump‘s victory to become President-Elect, another story unfolded. GoPro announced the recall of its first drone, the Karma. With around 2,500 units sold to that date, GoPro is expecting a “complete and utter” return of all units sold. To try to make it up to those who bought a Karma, GoPro is offering a Hero5 in exchange for returning it.

gopro free hero5 black
Image Source: GoPro.com

Refund and a free Hero5 Black

If you have a GoPro Karma drone, you must return it complete with any bundle you purchased. That means if you got a camera, Karma Grip or anything else in a bundle, you must return it. Strangely, this also includes the Hero5 Black, which the company will later give you as a freebie.

However, it states on the companies website: “All components included with the Karma drone bundle, including Hero5 Black and Karma Grip, must be returned for a full refund.”

So if you purchased the Hero5 with the Karma, we’re sorry to say there’s no way around it. You will have to return the camera, only for GoPro to send you a free Hero5 at some point later, presumably, after your returned goods have been processed and you have received a full refund.

gopro karma drone recall and free Hero5 black sweetener
Image Source: GoPro

No Karma for GoPro

If you have a Karma drone and are not aware of this issue, you could be the lucky one. However, many of those who bought one of the drones reported that it dropped out of the sky. The Karmas have been losing power mid-flight, meaning that they could become like falling asteroids, harming those below.

In fact, before the official recall, there was a rumor that GoPro had been aware of an issue and even expected that something like this would happen before the drone went on sale.

The issues first started to draw attention when many Karma drone owners posted videos on YouTube. Most of the time, the keywords used to describe the videos’ contents were “Karma Crash.” Users reported getting one to three minutes of flight time before the motor cut out and it fell. This has caused the Federal Aviation Administration to open an investigation into the matter.

Return your Karma

If you are still in possession of a Karma drone, you should probably return it now, even if you haven’t seen the issues mentioned above. GoPro has set up a page on its website for this purpose with relevant information; see here.

In a statement on the returns page, GoPro says:

“GoPro is committed to providing our customers with great product experiences. To honor this commitment, 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.”

Are you a Karma drone owner and if so, did you experience the power loss issue? What do you think about the free Hero5? We believe GoPro may have finally done enough damage to its reputation for competitors to take its place in the market. We know that’s harsh, but if it’s true that GoPro knew the Karma had a problem like this, it will deal immense damage to the brand’s reputation. There may not be any way back, even if you get a free Hero5 Black as a thank-you.