Sunday, November 6, 2016

Shadowhawk Flashlights: The Scam Exposed

Introduction


The legal threat from Shadowhawk was fairly cordial and very well written as far as legal threats go. Was it even a threat? I'm not a lawyer, but it seemed to me to have menacing undertones. Someone I know called it "cordially adversarial" which seems like the same thing.

The legal advice I got was basically to be prepared to defend any of the facts laid out in the original article or retract them. So I decided to make it easier and completely rewrite the article, doing my best to break it down to its bare essence. At first I started it breaking it down into all its components and was prepared to defend a myriad of facts, when it dawned on me to keep it simple.

Background


A few months ago, someone got in contact with me and told me that one of the largest companies I was reporting on had a well known owner with a sordid past.

Having spent quite a bit of my blogging time covering the dizzying variations of the “Military technology now available to public!” type flashlight scams, the information came as a welcome surprise.

So, spending a few weeks going through it all, I wrote the first version of this article trying to paint the facts as best I knew them, and thought I did a decent job. Their lawyers seemed to disagree. And here we are.

The Facts


The main thing I was very surprised to hear was that the the principal of the Shadowhawk company I was writing about was the same person referenced in a Dr. Oz segment in this clip here. Judging by the large 2 1/2 year old legal filing they also sent to me relating to Dr. Oz, it's pretty safe to say which one of us won't be getting holiday greeting cards from Dr. Oz this holiday season.

With name-in-hand given to me by my source who identified Nathan James Martinez as the main principle behind Shadowhawk, a public record search showed that he does indeed own Shadowhawk (something not denied by his lawyers) and he was in fact the same person referenced in the Dr. Oz video. Because public records.

So, I’m not the first person to call Nathan Martinez out for unscrupulous behavior, even before I found out who he is! I had never watched Dr. Oz or heard of Nathan Martinez until a little bird whispered in my ear and linked the video. 


My Opinions

*below this line of text are just my opinions

It is my opinion that Shadowhawk is an unscrupulous company, using grossly misleading tag lines and images (military technology! local authorities! futuristic looking devices!), sock puppet reviews (fine print: all made up), artificial urgency (limited quantities! 75% off! Hurry!) and other shady and possibly borderline illegal tactics in their marketing of what’s basically a super-cheap flashlight straight from Shenzhen, China, with a mark-up proportional to their ridiculous claims. And judging by the amount of ads they spam the internet with, it must be a highly lucrative business!


I think that until enough people contact the FTC and their local attorneys general (also suggested by Dr. Oz,) these unscrupulous companies will operate with total impunity, selling cheap crap to technically-unsavvy grandmas who think they are getting flashlights used by the Navy SEALs and don't have a nephew in the Navy they can ask about flashlights.

I’m still happy to give a fair and unbiased review to one of their flashlights. But I’m also a flashlight expert and collector who is part part of a large flashlight enthusiast community, so I'll know what I'm holding, good or bad.

But at the end of the day, flashlights and blogging are just hobbies to me. Sun Tzu once said that he will triumph who knows when to fight, and when not to, and I’ve tried to take that to heart and just kept to the basics: the chewy center of the tootsie roll. I'd rather talk about flashlights than internet marketers. 

And though I have no respect for Shadowhawk the company itself, I do have respect for the professional and cordial tone of  their lawyers. An attorney once told me "when dealing with an attorney, always respond in kind" and I've tried to respond to reason with reason, without giving up the gist of the article, my opinions of their client, or my core values.

Update 11/14/2016: Deleted an inappropriate comment and tweaked some of the wording slightly, and removed the photo due to another email from Shadowhawk's attorney. His face is clearly visible in the Dr. Oz video, so this is between Shadowhawk and Dr. Oz.

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