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.


10 Comments

  1. Doug S. says:

    I’m hesitant to post anything in case another flame war breaks out.

    I’ve read mixed reviews of the macpadd online. They seem to vary from “pricey but actually works,” to “falls apart quickly.” I was thinking about getting one for a while but the Tom’s Hardware flame war really convinced me not to buy one.

    The way you and the Tuan from Tom’s Hardware were treated was unacceptable, from any size business. From the reports on ripoffreport.com it looks like your experience with Macpadd/QMS is not unusual.

    Some of the information dug up by the commenters on Tom’s Hardware really casts the father and son in a bad light (pot selling and four current lawsuits). The behavior of the father and the son in the Tom’s flame war doesn’t help their case either.

    Unfortunately these days it really is buyer beware online and there isn’t a good way to look in to these small companies unless something like the Tom’s flame war happens.

    I think you’ve been plenty patient with these people. I look forward to your review. Did they at least refund some of your money for the wait and the poor treatment?

    • Jeff Summers says:

      I hesitated posting my experiences as the last thing I wanted was a flame war to break out either. I did not post this to invoke that sort of reaction.

      Looking over the series of events, I think there are important points that can be learned from this. If a business is going to work in the digital age, steps must be taken to ensure open communication lines with the customer. When those lines break down they can have severe consequences as has been shown both in my case as well as Tuan’s experience.

      Another interesting point that bears repeating, if your business is going to utilize social networking as part of its communication plan, you need to understand what that means and be prepared. Broadcasting your message out is one thing but you also need to take time to listen. It was the lack of listening that was the downfall. Both father and son admitted they had limited experience with either Twitter or Facebook with respect to how it can be used. They therefore were not monitoring and when backlash occurred they were ill prepared.

      I agree with your comment that these days it is definitely a buyer beware scenario. This makes the experience that I had even more detrimental. These negative customer experiences tend to snowball and become larger and larger if left unattended. I firmly believe that the only reason my order was found and ultimately shipped was because I took the time to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Until then my emails were completely ignored.

      As to your question, no there was never an offer by the company to reimburse me or refund either a portion or all of the money I paid for the product. In fact, the company admitted that in another instance they had refunded the customer’s money and sent the product but that was never offered or discussed in my case. I was not looking for that so it didn’t really bother me but from a customer goodwill standpoint it would have been a gracious offer.

      So far I am still waiting delivery. Every day I check the mailbox wondering if this will be the day that the mousepad finally arrives. My luck it will get lost in the holiday mail.

  2. Doug S. says:

    Do you have an update for us? It is 11 days later, has the fabled Macpadd arrived or has it been “lost in the mail” as everyone else’s has?

    • Jeff Summers says:

      I wish I did have an update. I am checking the mail daily but so far no mouse pad.

  3. Doug S. says:

    Can I assume that since there hasn’t been any more updates you haven’t received your mouse pad?

    • Jeff Summers says:

      Yes, that is a very safe assumption. I have still not received the MacPadd that was ordered in April.

  4. Doug S. says:

    Sounds like you need to reopen your complaint with the BBB and file a report on ripoffreport.com.

    This type of scam happens too much on the internet. I had this problem with a company that sold through amazon.com. Three months later it took a letter to amazon to get my money back.

  5. MacPadd says:

    JEFF SUMMERS RECEIVED HIS MACPADD (See January 19, 2010 email)

    Hi MacPadd,

    I just wanted to write and let you know that the MacPadd Pro arrived today. Thank you very much for sticking with this and for sending it along. Looking at the postmark (Jan 8, 2010) I can only assume this was the second package that you sent. I still have not seen the first one. If it ever shows up I will let you know and make arrangements to get it back to you.

    Jeff

    • Jeff Summers says:

      I did receive the MacPadd and I have posted a statement regarding the transaction on my blog. I do have one request for MacPadd, please remove my email address from your blog. I really don’t like it being in the clear for anyone to harvest.

  6. Jim Fish says:

    I have met the owner on a few occasions and I can say with certainty that you do not want to do business with him.

    He has a history of bad business deeds and then employing means to cover them up. He is known in his community as a fraud and I warn all to stay away.

    His product is real, if you can get it but has been met with criticism for poor quality production and performance. It is really scratchy and bothersome to use and the backing is cheap shelf tack.

    Be warned!!!

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