Warning: Stolen SDRplay RSP-1A’s on eBay will not Function Properly

SDRplay have recently released a PSA noting that a consignment of RSP-1A's was stolen from their manufacturing partner. This is important as SDRplay have decided to blacklist the serial numbers from this stolen consignment, and so the stolen units will not work at all, or may only work with a small number of programs. You may then be stuck trying to obtain a refund from the thief, although we believe that SDRplay would most likely help get you a legit device if you purchased a stolen one unknowingly. They write:

It has come to our attention that a consignment of RSPs that was recently stolen from our manufacturing partner have appeared for sale on eBay.

If you have any of the following devices and have purchased them from a non-approved reseller of SDRplay products, please contact [email protected] and also contact the seller requesting a refund as the devices appear to have come from a stolen consignment of goods.

Please be aware that we have now black-listed the above serial numbers [see the original forum post for black list serials] and these devices will not work at all or will only work with a very restricted range of software. Anyone with any of these devices will not receive any form of support or technical assistance from SDRplay.

We are aware that the following eBay sellers have been selling devices from the stolen consignment:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/greenfields1001 (formerly listed as mansnothot01)
https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/connie68purple

Whilst we recognise that the above resellers may well have purchased the devices in good faith and in complete innocence, they have thus far failed to cooperate with us by explaining where they obtained the devices from. We will therefore be forwarding on their details to the Police so that they can investigate further.

We strongly recommend that people only purchase new devices from an authorised SDRplay distributor or reseller. A full list of authorised sellers is available from our website at:

https://www.sdrplay.com/distis.php

Thank you

Admin – SDRplay Ltd

It is a good time to also remind that there are many scam sellers on eBay. There are often fake listings for RTL-SDR dongles too, with scammers selling our RTL-SDR V3 for $10. These are simply fake listings and not stolen products. Those sellers rely on baiting people into purchasing at the lower price, and then they simply take the money and run. Normally PayPal or eBay will eventually refund you, but the dispute process could take several months. The real eBay account for our RTL-SDR products is "rtl-sdr-blog". 

Update: SDRplay released a second statement just now mentioning why the blacklist was undertaken.

Further to our previous post on this matter, what people will not yet be aware of is that we also had a consignment of the new product that is due to be announced tomorrow stolen. We have had three separate consignments stolen and devices from all three have turned up on the same ebay account and so this suggests that a single person is responsible for all three thefts.

The decision to blacklist devices was taken to target the as of yet unsold devices to render them worthless and to make it pointless for the thieves to attempt to sell them. Of the consignment of RSP1As and RSP2pros, we have reason to believe that the majority remain unsold and so we took this action to render them worthless and deter the thieves from attempting to sell them.

By making this public in the way we did, we are giving the following messages:

1. We have end to end traceability of our products from the point of manufacture to the point that they reach our seller. If any are stolen, we will know and we will know the serial numbers of the devices taken.

2. Via the serial numbers we can render these devices worthless and so there is no point in attempting to sell them. The unwitting purchaser will become aware that they have received a stolen device and will want their money back.

3. Because we can make these devices worthless, there is no point in stealing any more of our products.

We made public the serial numbers of the RSP1As and RSP2Pros public and very clearly asked anyone who may have purchased one of these devices (believing them to be genuine) to contact us. Those that do and assist us in tracking down the thieves will be treated VERY sympathetically.

We will NOT penalise innocent people so that assumption that this is our intent is frankly WRONG!!

Our objective here is to gather as much information as possible so that it can be forwarded to the relevant law enforcement agencies to assist them in tracking down the culprits.

Some of the comments that we have seen on this subject by ill-informed people are massively wide of the mark. We have a responsibility to gather as much information as possible and forward it to the relevant authorities. We have also suffered a considerable financial loss, not just in terms of the cost of the goods, but also in terms of the lost sale opportunities. Some of the comments that we have seen regarding insurance cover are equally ill informed. For insurance claims to be taken seriously, you have an obligation to report the thefts and take all possible steps to assist in the recovery of the stolen goods that that is precisely what we are doing.

Finally, we have NEVER said that we will "brick" the devices. That is an incorrect assumption that has been made. Blacklisting and 'bricking' are two quite different things.

25 comments

  1. GW

    I found this on ebay:
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/273203820694

    Note this listing was placed 8 days before they launched their new product. I am guessing that this is what caused the whole thing to ‘kick off’.

    Listing an item that isn’t yet for sale anywhere isn’t the smartest move by greenfileds1001 🙂 !

    GW

  2. Nigel

    I am not the only one who will not buy ANYTHING from Mr. Hudson ever again!

    This companys attitude is just underlining the fact that there are far more serious competitors out there, whose SDRs do NOT have FM Band breakthrough ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE!
    Even my $20 RTL-SDR manages to avoid this, and so does the Funcube Dongle, to say nothing of the Airspy!
    The old sayings about The British and Customer Service seems still to be valid, sadly…

    • Fred in a shed

      What product do you have? In my experience their customer support is fantastic unlike some others that you list here

  3. Tomek

    I agree with CC. The RSP-1A may be a nice piece of HW but the SW that goes with it is rubbish. Such a disapointment. Maybe they should put more work into developement rather than chasing baddies.

    • Bendail Vam

      Sorry kind of OT here, but IMHO the software that comes with the sdrplay devices is pretty darn good – however the backwards implementation of the GUI/controls is what seems to piss people off – but once you’ve re-learnt (pun intended) to do it “their” way, the software works as intended.

      • Tomek

        Agreed. I am OK with real bad user interface in opensource/freeware or any other HW or SW that anybody creates in their free time and shares with others. That’s what the fun is about. But once you charge money for it you should meet expectations, not force your customers to meet yours. I don’t think it is OT, IMHO they really are waisting time while the selection of SW usable with RSP-1A grows smaller – did you notice that? Every new SDR software seems to barely or not at all support SDRPlay. We used to say the receiver is only as good as its antenna. With SDR the GUI end seems to be a an equally limiting factor.

    • Golan Klinger

      Are you referring to SDRuno? It was the first SDR program I ever used and I found it straightforward enough. I subsequently tried SDR Console and HDSDR, both of which seem to work fine with the RSP1a so if you don’t like SDRuno, why not run one of the other programs? Due to a lack of experience and knowledge, I can’t comment on the relative merits of the programs but I can say that I prefer SDRuno.

      Off-hand thought: I would really enjoy reading a thorough comparison of the various SDR programs out there.

  4. bald eagle

    If you read the second comment carefully you may notice that noone will be punished for buying a stolen device, despite i think being that thick and greedy would deserve some punishment.

  5. anon

    I love their clarification:
    Because we can make these devices worthless, there is no point in stealing any more of our products.

    Just the fact that they can do that to a $100 device makes me nervous.
    I had been considering buying one, but after seeing how they handled this and knowing that they can effectively neuter any device based on their serial codes is a bit too ‘big brother’y for me.

    I understand wanting to protect their stock and inventory. However, 39 devices at $100 a pop probably is small beans compared to what they’ve made in legitimate sales so far this year.

    Very glad that I went with LimeSDR’s stuff- I’d be shocked if the Lime crew started locking out devices just because they felt like it.

    • Jon

      Yeah, I’m with you. I understand what they’re after, but it brings up the old question: if you buy something, and the manufacturer/seller can at a later time render it useless — did you really buy it, or were you just renting it?

  6. Anonymous

    If I read the list, it is 39 devices in total that were stolen from there manufacturing partner (considering the price point the theft happened in China).

    Pros
    Blocked the 39 devices from being used by new binary blob drivers, firmwares and their software.
    Made a clear statement that stolen products will be next best things to shiny bricks.

    Cons
    Punish 39 people, who bought genuine branded hardware in good faith.
    Bad Public Relations, for company.
    Decimate the second hand value of all products.
    Because the second hand market will tank, people will think twice about buying any of their products.
    Highlighting to the world how much control the company has of products after they are sold.

    I think it was an overreaction to a bad situation. But maybe this action is only temporary to aid in tracking the people who stole the 39 devices.

    • anonamouse

      Read it again. They make it very clear that they will not punish the innocent buys of the stolen devices.

      • Anonymous

        My comment was made before the Update section was added when “Anyone with any of these devices will not receive any form of support or technical assistance from SDRplay.” was the primary intonation.

        • anonamouse

          Don’t you think that the primary motivation here was to motivate the unwitting buyers to go back to the crooked seller and demand their money back and/or report them for selling stolen product? Treating these devices the same as those purchased from a legitimate source hardly motivates someone who sees their device on the stolen list from doing anything, nor does it discourage the crooks from continuing to sell what they have.

          • Anonymous

            So you are telling me that I don’t think that the primary motivation was to force buyers to complain, people who bought a branded product in good faith. To waste hours of their time. No absolutely I do think that is the primary motivation.

            • Vic

              This is ridiculous, buying a stolen product and pretending not to be bothered with complaints from the legitimate owner that wants his product back. You must be a kid.

              • Anonymous

                So I buy a brand name washing machine. And should accept that when I use the latest and greatest washing powder that it could go into a failure mode telling me that the device was stolen and that I need to contact the manufacturer to provide all the information that I can and prove that I was an innocent consumer duped by evil middleman. And then I need to waste even more time contacting the evil middleman, writing bad reviews and cancelling transactions to get my money back. That sounds like abuse.

                My post is not about stolen product, I can sympathise with anyone who is robbed (but three separate consignments stolen, that starts to sound like complete incompetence), this is about a major overreach by a company. So in your mind kids think about corporate abuse ?

                • anonamouse

                  If the police find that you are in possession of stolen goods, whether you bought them without realising that they were stolen or not, if you fail to cooperate to help track down the thieves, you will be charged with handling or possession of stolen goods. At the very least, you will have the goods confiscated without compensation. At worst, you may find yourself with a criminal record.
                  Whether you like it or not, the law is very clear on this point. The person in possession of stolen goods doesn’t own them, whether they paid for them or not.
                  SDRplay are being more than fair here. They have stated that people who help them will not lose out. That’s rather better than having the law breathing down your neck.
                  Your attitude of “why should I cooperate?” when in receipt of stolen goods is both morally and legally indefensible.

                  • Anonymous

                    ” the law is very clear on this point” which countries laws are you applying, UK law, Chinese law, North Korea law, Colombian law, Somalian, Brazilian law, Pakistani law, Afghanistan law, DR Congolese law, Burundi law, Iraqi law, Venezuelan law, US law, Cayman Island laws ?

                    If Sharia law were applied then in if all criteria is met the hand of the thief could be cut off.

                    If the jurisdiction where the goods were stolen was China, then surely the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China should be applied. And I actually do hope that your company, from all your responses I’m going to assume that you work there, are working closely with PRC’s law enforcement.

                    • anonamouse

                      If instead of assuming that the devices were manufactured in China, you had actually looked, you look, you would have seen that SDRplay stated that the devices were taken from their manufacturing partner and they have always made a point that their devices are manufactured in the UK. I have a couple of their devices and as a UK citizen, I like that they are manufactured here. In addition both ebay sites that were offering up the stolen devices for sale are UK ones, so it would seem more than logical that UK law would apply. Of course, I might be wrong or SDRplay might be lying and they could be manufactured in North Korea, Burundi, Iraq, Cayman Islands etc 🙂

                    • Anonymous

                      @anonamouse
                      So can you point me to where it explicitly states that the devices are manufactured in the UK. And not some vague statement where a manufactured/assembly subcontractor is based in the UK. Because I can subcontract work to a corporation in Alabama, and they can recontract that work out to Mexico. And if they stick the boards into plastic cases, can legally claim assembled in the USA.

                    • anonamouse

                      @Anonymous
                      This has been stated in several on-line video interviews with one of their marketing guys. Look them up. Even if only the final assemblies are only done in the UK (and I guess neither of us truly know that do we despite your speculation?), because it was the completed devices that were stolen, they were taken whilst in the UK. Your attempts to deflect from the key point here and try to shift blame onto the company has me wondering though. Perhaps:
                      1) You have one of the listed devices and are angry that you have been duped
                      2) Are one of the listed ebay sellers and is keen to get people you have sold stolen devices to angry with SDRplay so that they leave you alone.
                      3) You are an agitator who is either an acolyte for or works for a well known competitor of them and who is just enjoying ‘stirring the pot’
                      Which is it? My guess would be 2 or 3.

  7. Christophe Cattelain

    I have a genuine RSP1-A and it doesn’t work either on Linux… SDRPlay has a strange conception of ‘supported software’.

    • Anon

      You don’t say which of the numerous flavours is your preferred flavour of Linux. I run a RSP1A with Cubic SDR and other software on Ubuntu with no problems whatsoever

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