The MacPadd Saga
I think perhaps everyone at one time or another has had a case of buyer’s remorse. For me this usually happens after I have made an impulse purchase without thinking through all the ramifications of what the purchase means. Sometimes though the remorse occurs because of something outside of my control.
Shortly after purchasing my MacBook Pro last spring I was looking for a new mouse pad for the wireless Mighty Mouse that I bought. While the MacBook Pro is a portable with a track pad, I also have a large screen monitor and wireless keyboard and mouse that I use when I am at my desk at home.
I really didn’t want a neoprene mouse pad that reminded me of the old trap door on a pair of scuba diving long johns. I was looking for something sleek and modern that would make the perfect accessory to my new Macintosh.
After picking up a few magazines I came across an ad for the ultimate mouse pad. It was called MacPadd from Quality Management Systems (QMS) Inc. in Ontario Canada. Their product was touted as the “better mouse padd”.
It is a piece of machined aluminum similar to the MacBook Pro’s case. From the photos on the web site it looked like just the thing I was looking for. The problem was the size. According to the site it was nine inches by six inches.
With a 24-inch monitor and my primary applications are graphic and photography software, it was just too small. After going back and forth with the company via email I learned they were about to release the MacPadd Pro, which was nine inches square. That was still on the small side of what I wanted but it looked so cool I just had to get one.
I paid via PayPal from my checking account, something I rarely do but made an exception this once. The order was placed on April 5, 2009. I eagerly waited for my mouse pad to arrive hoping it would live up to the hype on their web site.
I received an email from the company shortly after ordering saying my order had been accepted. At that point though all communications ceased from QMS. After a couple of weeks I had still not received the mouse pad that I had ordered. I sent an email to enquire the status of the shipment but received no response.
A month passed and still no mouse pad so I sent another email asking for status. That email too went unanswered. Each month on the anniversary of my order date I would send an email asking for status and none of these were ever answered.
I began to think that I had been duped and that this company did not exist. How could I have been so stupid? I attempted to file a complaint with PayPal to try and get my money back. Because I paid with my checking account, PayPal would not help leaving me without recourse.
After six months I had written off this purchase figuring I would never see the product or my money again. Shortly thereafter I began seeing activity on the MacPadd Twitter account. They were advertising their product with regularity.
I attempted to contact them via Twitter but my messages there went unanswered. I tried email again but it too did not receive a reply. I also found a Facebook account for MacPadd, which like the Twitter account had come to life and was actively adding messages.
I tried to get a response via Facebook but on the two occasions where I brought up my unfulfilled order the messages were deleted. I was now positive that this company was not legitimate. Rather than sit idly by I decided to do something about it.
I went to the Better Business Bureau web site and opened up a complaint against QMS Inc. Within a couple of days of that I received an email from the owner of QMS. He stated that my order had somehow been misplaced and all of my emails had gone to his Junk folder.
While that seemed a little far-fetched I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He apologized for the problem with the order and assured me that the mouse pad would be shipped that week.
Just a few hours after that email I received a message via Facebook with a two word profanity. I was taken aback from this as I thought things were finally progressing and the transaction was finally coming to an end.
It seems I was a passenger on a ship caught in the perfect storm. At this same time, the company was involved in a disagreement with a member of Tom’s Hardware over an order. This disagreement went from perhaps a simple misunderstanding to a firestorm of activity around the Internet with both sides claiming the other was at fault.
The messages between Tom’s Hardware and QMS Inc. deteriorated rather quickly and because Tom’s Hardware made the argument public it became ugly. Personal attacks were attributed to both sides and flame wars erupted on several web sites and blogs.
I just happened to file my BBB complaint at the same time and as became caught in the crossfire. It was a nightmare that I really had no intention of getting involved with. I was just looking to get my long lost mouse pad and live my life.
After several emails back and forth with QMS Inc and also with the Tom’s Hardware representatives, I believe I have eliminated me being part of their public fight. I did receive a very nice apology from both QMS Inc and also from the owner’s son.
They have given me assurances that my MacPadd Pro has now shipped, seven months after the initial order. I am now in a waiting game as the mouse pad makes its way from Canada to Arizona.
For six months I was frustrated at the lack of communication from QMS Inc. and felt as though it was a fly-by-night operation. Rather than publicly ridicule the company and create a personal vendetta I posted warnings that my order had been unfulfilled.
As a result of staying calm and levelheaded and not making this a personal Jihad. I was hopefully able to resolve the problem and will finally see the mouse pad. I remain hopeful that this transaction will end soon and I will finally have the product.
This whole experience has been less than optimum. Hopefully through this QMS will learn from the issues and find a better way to allow customers to contact them without having to go through the BBB. Customers too need to realize that like many other companies this is probably a one-man operation and they cannot expect instantaneous communication like it was a major corporation.
Cottage industries such as QMS have been a part of the Macintosh community since its inception and are vital to provide products and services that Apple does not. I would hate to see that spirit destroyed over a single mouse pad.
When I finally do get the MacPadd, I will post a review of the product itself without all of the drama and back-story that I have just laid out. I felt this saga was important but I did not want to make it the focus of the product review, that would not be fair.