Tuesday, March 15, 2011

MayDay Games Crokinole Review - The Rest Of The Story

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:

Hi Pete,
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.

Best regards,

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.


Craig "Allen" Salmond said...

Holy shit.

Now I'm pissed..

ninthdoc said...

Wow! Just... just... What a crock of crap!

I almost bought one of these from these guys at GenCon. I'm glad that I didn't. I've used their card sleeves for Dominion. I'm going to resleeve my entire complete Dominion set and mail them their sleeves.

I will never by another product from Seth Hiatt again. I need to print these reviews and camp out in front of MayDay's booth at GenCon to pass them out. Making a defective product can be forgiven; Seth was trying something new. This is just absolute criminal and tort worthy crap.

Does anyone out there think MayDay can survive a class action lawsuit?

Disreputable said...

The revelation of this blew me away.

Way to go, Pete

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised. Their sleeves for Dominion are extremely sub-par, and I can only imagine that the rest of their products are of terrible quality as well.

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...


Jeff T said...

This guy has had bad business practices for years. Just google reviews and BBB on sphiatt.com and Hiatt Enterprises. I will not shop at Mayday games.

Unknown said...

I bought two boards from Seth just before Christmas and one of them was bad. I had the same experience, he asked me to ship my bad board to someone who he claims knew he was getting a bad board, but was getting it at a discount. The replacement board was also flawed, but with enough waxing it didn't affect gameplay. It saddens me that I participated in duping another customer who thought they had purchased a brand new board.

cbs42 said...

I have an ongoing issue with Mayday right now, and after hearing lots of things like this about the company, I don't expect it to be resolved to my satisfaction. This was my first order from them and thankfully it was for under $20. Maybe I'll just walk away to save myself the time and trouble. I'm just grateful it didn't cost me more to learn not to deal with them in the future. Thanks for this follow-up, Pete!

Four Color Promises said...

Wow, what horrible practices. Good job on the follow up.

Unknown said...

If anyone has any problems at all with their product please email us directly at maydaygames@gmail.com and we will be happy to help them.

Dave got a new board and emailed us on 3/12 that he got it and was happy with it, stating "it was much better, thanks!". Dave subsequently got a full refund as well.

Pete also got a full refund and decided to take the defective board to Goodwill rather than ship it to someone else as he had previously agreed.

If any of you ever get shorted product or feel cheated in anyway please email us and we will be happy to help. In 10,000+ orders there has never been anyone who didn't get either a full refund or a replacement, or in Dave's case... both.

=+=SuperflyTNT=+= said...

I got my refund from Tanga, and they told me SPECIFICALLY to keep it. I donated it because I didn't want any more damage to my table.

Dave was NOT happy, as evidenced HERE: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/6450586#6450586

Anyone who wants the full story:

Inside that thread people have come out of the woodwork to complain about the product, and as shown above in these comments, Richard Harris got the same treatment. Belieive what you want.

=+=SuperflyTNT=+= said...

Oh, and I'd also like to note that Nate at Tanga offered me $25 in Tanga Cash for my trouble and the help in investigating, which I refused because I knew they would be out money over all of this.

His email to me:
"Hey Pete,

Thanks again for all of your help. As I said on the phone we are investigating the issue through Mayday Games and I really appreciate what you have done to bring this issue to our attention. We are investigating the issue and will work very hard to make sure this kind of problem does not occur again with any of our valued customers.

Please don’t hesitate to email or call if you have any further questions.

As I said before, you have been refunded in full and are free to do with the board as you see fit.

I hope you have a great week,

Tanga Nate

Pete Miller said...

Keep it up, Pete! I can't believe that Tanga is going to stand for this. Asking a customer to send a return to another customer! BS!

Unknown said...

Same thing happened to me... i received a damaged board from someone in Chapel Hill, NC. They left their package label inside the box w/tracking number! I will email details. Still waiting for MayDay to reply...

=+=SuperflyTNT=+= said...

You guys aren't going to believe this....I got contacted last night by a guy in Pittsburgh who had this to say:

Hello superflytnt,

I've had the same problem with my Mayday Crokinole Board... no reply from Mayday Games yet... Check the FedEX tracking numbers, from both shipments, and you'll see... Mayday says this doesn't happen? Here's my details of what happened!

I received my "new" Crokinole board, but the board I got was previously tampered with. The center plug was removed and the board was very poorly (re)packed in the box, and some of the screw posts were damaged.

There was a FedEx shipping tag left on the back of the box from the "previous shipment". Someone from Chapel Hill, NC was sent this board before me, from 09/02/2010.... their FedEx tracking number was127578915000454


This board was a used/damaged board that was hastily repacked and shipped to me from NC by the previous owner (as new!). There was also a grocery bag stuffed in the bottom as padding and holding broken wooden pins. It also had the previous owner's name written on it.... along with some other paperwork.

MY shipping label from the Crokinole Board... my tracking number 127578915006036

says it was sent to me from Durham, NC... not UT.!!


MayDay Games KNOWINGLY had an unhappy customer from NC ship their used/damaged board directly to me... I have their tracking number, their name and address. What am I now to do with this damaged board? Mayday Games tried to deceive me with a used board. Sad.

Steve said...

Wow, I was amazed by this. I had hoped it was not true, but there really does seem to be a lot of evidence to this shady and unethical practice being true. If this is not posted to BGG, someone should! People should know.

=+=SuperflyTNT=+= said...

Steve - I got banned from BGG and so I nuked my account. I had 18,000 thumbs, some awards like "Love Spreader of the Week" and whatnot, but I can be ... abrasive. I don't particularly care for passive aggressive, elitist fuck knuckles telling me things in a snotty way.

Anyhow, post this on BGG, get the word back out. You have my permission. In retrospect, I almost wish I'd kept my account there as I had 100+ reviews, some of games nobody else reviewed, a lot of interviews, as well as this sort of thing.

Nobody misses me, though. ;)