As many of you have read, I recently purchased a Crokinole board, by MayDay games, from Tanga.com. It was terrible, as evidenced by this review I did last week: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/629733/mayday-games-crokinole-its-not-crokinole-its-cro
Now, I contacted Seth Hiatt, owner of MayDay games, for a replacement, and he promptly responded that this was an isolated incident and that I could get a refund or replacement board. I initially asked him for a refund, but I later decided that it was only fair for me to get a new board in order to evaluate the quality and produce a second review.
Here's where it gets interesting. He asked me to pack it up and ship it, but not back to MayDay in Layton, Utah. Instead, he asked me to ship it to another customer, one Jacki of State College, PA. I was a bit taken aback, but I kept my mouth shut. I immediately looked at my shipper, the one I got when I received the board, and that, too, didn't come from MayDay. It came from a guy named Dave of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I got in touch with Dave, and we talked via email:
Sorry to bother you, but I am chasing down a story about a Crokinole Board. I have the shipper listed as "Dave XXXXX, Minneapolis, MN, 55419".
Is that you, and if so, do you work for MayDay games or did you buy one and ask for a refund/return?
Again, sorry to bother you if you're not the right guy.
He responded within an hour:
I am the person who shipped that to you. But I do not work for Mayday.
I had bought it through Tanga.com, it was shipped to me from Mayday (Seth Hiatt, in UT), and I complained to Mayday (Seth) about board flaws. He sent me a shipping label, to forward it to someone who had purchased a "slightly damaged" board, and then sent me out a new one (again) from UT.
I'm not thrilled with the replacement. I'm kind of at a point where I'm thinking about giving up; just sanding a couple spots on the board, finding and punching the peg holes (the sticker/laminate is covering all but one of them), and re-waxing the whole thing with a hard coating. Or something.
The Mayday boards I've seen before this have all been decent, but I don't know what it is with the last 2 I've gotten. I think this one might be mostly fixable.
So, that's the story I have. What was your question, and is there a larger issue here? I was curious if other people hard complaints about the boards they had received.
So, as you can see, I got a defective board AND SETH KNEW IT. Then, not only that, but he asked me to send it to ANOTHER Tanga.com CUSTOMER!!
Not being satisfied, I asked Seth via email if he thought it was ethical to send a bad board to another customer. Here's the email chain:
Let me ask you this, though. Don’t you find it a hair on the unethical side to have me send a board that is clearly and obviously defective to a subsequent customer rather than back to MayDay for inspection/repair or subsequent replacement by the factory?
To which he responded:
The one going to the other customer is for a demo version of the game and they KNOW they are getting a damaged/defective one. It is strictly for evaluation purposes and they are aware of the issues with it (smiley).
Well, knowing that this was shady as could be, I googled the person I was supposed to ship this to, and I found that she was a realtor with a website and phone number. So, I called her, and told her I was a reporter for The Superfly Circus and was doing some fact checking about MayDay Games. I told her that Seth had told me that she knew it was a demo board, and she was APPALLED. She told me that no, it was for her son, and she knew the game. She too bought it from Tanga.com, and was expecting a new board. I emailed her what Seth had said, in his own words, and she responded with an email as I asked her to go on the record:
JH: Thanks so much, Pete. The underlined portion of the email you got is blatantly untrue. I thought I was getting a brand new board at a good price. I did not think I was getting a defective board, or even a used board. I would not buy a used board in this type of product. Furthermore, I did not need a demo board. I have played the game with my family and love it. I merely wanted to have another board so I could return the one I have to my son.
These people should be ashamed of themselves, but I guess their business model is to dupe innocent folks who are looking for a good buy on a great game. Good luck exposing them for what they are.
Thanks again for your vigilance.
So, as you can see from the copious evidence, these bad boards are NOT an isolated incident, and to mitigate his losses, Seth is having his customers ship bad boards down the stream, either trying to buy time or perhaps simply hoping that someone will overlook the glaring inadequacies.
In short a small amount of reporting has developed into an outright scandal that's indicating a knowing, willful fraud being committed by MayDay upon its customers and upon Tanga.com.
As of this writing, I am going to continue to pursue this story.
Follow Up: If you want a refund from Tanga for one of these boards, email Nate~AT~Tanga.com.