A product by itself is not a scam.
A scam is the combination of a product (that may or may not be good) and a crooked seller. You may find the same product offered by a reputable retailer such as Amazon. Buy it there to avoid getting your credit card slimed. Of course, the product will be no different.
Now let’s talk about Shadowhawk Flashlights using the Scam-O-Meter score-card, and see what kind of deal the X800 tactical flashlight is if you buy it from them. The website I’m looking at is entitled “Practical Survival Guide,” and in smaller letters, “Advertisement.” I’m providing a red link, which means click it at your peril. If you do, try clicking your browser’s back button. On my Safari browser, Shadowhawk has disabled this button. It’s like “Don’t go! We don’t have your money yet!” The only escape is to close the tab. This expose by Mark Wing is also disturbing.
Ridiculous claims: Shadowhawk Flashlights says that, due to the rise in terrorism, all the smart people who are afraid of guns are buying tactical flashlights. “We had to open up a second factory just to keep up with the massive amounts of orders coming in.” (Like a business with two factories would operate out of a mailbox.) If this light were to shine into your eyes, “You wouldn’t be able to see a thing, and would most likely lose your sense of balance.” This is just the kind of light that’s used by uniformed rescue services and the police. The box the light comes in is even shaped like a handgun case. You might not even need the light; you could frighten away an attacker just by showing him the box!
A disclaimer in small print at the bottom of the page disavows everything they’ve said. -1
Post Office box: Shadowhawk gives two addresses. Neither is what I’d call a “bricks and mortar” flashlight store. -1
- Corporate address: 7582 Las Vegas Blvd. S #115-405, Las Vegas, NV 89123.
- Returns address: 7875 Highlands Village Place, Suite B102 #401, San Diego, CA 92129.
Onerous terms: The Terms and Conditions are a blizzard of text, though mild compared to several I’ve seen.
- You can’t sue them, or join a class action that’s suing them.
- They’ll take your money now; but they won’t “accept” your order until they ship it.
- A refund is available up to 30 days after you receive the merchandise.
- Reversing their charge on your credit card is theft.
- They don’t guarantee that their products are suitable for any use; nor that anything they say is true.
The T&C seems directed more at possible imitators of Shadowhawk than at its customers. 0
- They’ll use the personal information you give them and that they suck out of your browser to beam ads at you.
- They’ll share it with other companies that will do the same.
- If they sell their company, your personal information will be part of the deal.
- You can opt out by sending them an email. -1
9/20/16 update: A reader reports that Shadowhawk will telephone you and try to pressure you into buying more stuff.
Lying and deception: Not responding to its customers makes Shadowhawk’s T&Cs and published business hours into empty gestures. One customer posted,
Is this a scam or should I just wait a few week before contacting my credit card company. I tried emailing 5 times and tried calling and never get a repose nor do they answer their phone. -1
Obfuscation: You have to click through two web pages to find out the price (from $56 for one flashlight to $29 for five). An animated countdown timer discourages comparison shopping. -1
Phony reviews: Shadowhawk’s own website masquerades as a review, and gets extra credit for broken English.
Upon receiving 4 Shadowhawk tactical flashlights, we could already tell by it’s packaging that these was a serious lights. They came in protective cases similar to a handgun. The light itself is small and sleek, with various zoom settings and the coveted “strobe mode” and “SOS” that every one loves.
I see lots of fake reviews on other sites like “Assistive Tech” and “Tactical Practical.” They’re vague, wildly enthusiastic, say nothing about hands-on product testing, and have links to Shadowhawk’s online store that enable payola to flow the other way. That’s an automatic -1
Crummy product: I see two “Shadowhawk X800” flashlights sold by Shadowhawk on Amazon. Strangely, they look different from the X800 on Shadowhawk’s website, and from each other.
- This one with a case for $56 earned one-star reviews from 56% of Amazon’s 156 reviewers. “I will keep the flashlights for my grand children to play with because the light is so poor it will not harm their eyes.”
- Another with accessories for $53.89 got one star from 80% of 10 reviewers; “Shoddy … a sham … not nearly as bright as they say it is.”
With multiple products bearing the same brand name and model number, it’s hard to be sure what’s going on here. But the online consensus is pretty bad. -1
Overpriced: Amazon has lots of flashlights that claim to be 800 lumens for $9.99 and up. Are those “tactical” zooming and blinking features worth an extra $30 or $40? It doesn’t matter. Here’s an 800-lumen flashlight that does both for $8.99. It won five stars in 76% of 311 reviews. -1
Unauthorized charges: I found no complaints about this. +1
Even if you like the X800, it looks like shopping on Amazon has much to recommend it.
- Reviewopedia: “TC1200 tactical flashlight reviews”
- The Outdoor Nerd: “Flashlight scam; Alumitact X700”
- Reddit: “Do not buy the Shadowhawk X800”
- CAFireAlliance tactical flashlight white paper