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WayTools asked that I acknowledge their responses to my queries. For some reason my original response is still in moderation. I'm guessing it's because of the links in their responses. I'm going to remove the links so you can decide for yourself how helpful their responses are. Remember, my emails to them were basically, "when will the product ship." I asked more stuff at the end, but you get the point. Their unedited responses are below (except I removed the links).
Keep in mind their first reply 1 year and 9 months after my order hints that shipping is just around the corner. The next one, 2 months later even told me the shipping process. In 2018, they said it was "going to be a great year for TextBlade and all its users." In August 2018, they confirmed my shipping estimate was "this summer" and even underlined it. 3/21/2019 was the first time they mentioned getting a refund in an email to me. That was after I mentioned the FTC.
You can also see the post that got me banned from their site (3/21/2019). Hey, it's their site and they are welcome to ban me, but you can decide if it was a bit draconian.9/29/2016: Hi John, Thanks for your email. We certainly understand that folks are eager to get their TextBlades, and sorry for our delay. We will be adding more TREG users, and will keep you in mind. Either way, just as TREG deliveries did happen, so will your shipment, and we hope you do love it when yours arrives. New TREG shipments always reflect the latest build process knowledge, and TREG user input is working very effectively to validate update details to help expedite general release. We've posted a Q4 window estimate on your status page while we work through inventory updates based on extensive user testing data, and flex fab is progressing as planned. You're in an early shipping group, so we do hope it'll be by your anniversary, but we'll have better visibility once we've tested finished TextBlades from this new process. We're using everything learned from TREG user experience, and putting it into what we ship to everyone. The heavy user testing is a conservative philosophy and takes time, but we think it's right for a big step forward. We very much appreciate your interest, and we are working hard to release something you will love. Thank you, WayTools Team
11/21/2016: Hi John, Thanks for your email, and sorry for our delay. We've identified and believe we've now resolved an intermittent issue that could sometimes cause character swaps for some users. We've shipped newly updated units to the field, and we're analyzing more user input now to be certain that's it's completely validated, but so far it looks good. Customers have been reporting good improvements with the units that we've shipped out with these changes, and we believe we understand what was causing it and how to prevent it. We are testing firmware and lamination process changes we've made to address this. In the meantime, we've preemptively ordered some additional lamination part stock, to let us move pretty quickly if all checks out ok. So we have units in the field right now with the firmware and lamination changes, and we're hopeful that let's us start general release within this quarter. After our test release group customers confirm no further details to address, we'll start shipping general release. You'll get a Configuration Email a few days before your shipment is ready to go out with a link to control all the details, so you'll be notified automatically. Customers are pretty happy with our test release shipments, and you can read some of their comments on our Blog page (link removed). We certainly don't want to take longer than needed, but with a significant advance, there's a duty to respond on those details, so everyone can enjoy what this new machine can really do. Thank you, WayTools Team8/13/2017: Hi John, Thanks so much for writing us, and very sorry for holding back general release. We are currently working with an expanding group of Test Release Group (TREG) users who we've shipped, to find and resolve any detail points they report based on their daily use. We'll confirm a final ship date for you once the remaining user observations have been settled, and that's expected over the next few months. We're very sorry our estimates can't be more precise right now. We'll update your Status Page (LINK REMOVED) again as we approach general release, and dates will become more definitive at that time. For many of our TREG customers, testing is already complete right now, but our users are pretty thorough on the details, and some have found unusual cases that are worth addressing before general release. They are finding less and less now, so that's quite encouraging. We're sorry that takes time, but we think you'll find it's definitely worth us making that extra effort. Very much appreciate your patience, John. We hope you are very pleased when your TextBlade arrives. Thank you, WayTools Team
3/15/2018: Hi John, Thanks for checking in, and sorry for the late reply. Our team is in full swing, and very busy working together with hundreds of users who are helping validate TextBlade for general release. TREG users who have it now are already giving us strong validation that it is superior to all their other keyboards.You can read about what we're doing on the Feb 17 report on your order status page (link removed). We’ll update as we complete the testing and begin general release. Very sorry our estimates can’t be more precise right now. Your pre-order purchase entitles you to significant savings and other benefits with our Early Adopter Guarantee (link removed). Those benefits include free MultiMap (save $19 per TextBlade), free future-proof swap (save up to $99), and a special gift based on your order date. All of those are included free of charge with your pre-order, and each are worth quite a bit of money. Our intent is that folks who ordered early should get a better deal. If any of those benefits is not of interest to you, we'd be happy to let you trade one for having us pay expedited shipping for you. We’re committed to doing all that’s needed for a high quality general release, and expect that 2018 will be a fantastic year for TextBlade and all its users. Thank you, WayTools TeamHi John, Thanks for your note, and very sorry for holding back release during validation. Yes, your estimated ship window is this summer, and we will update you on your Status Page as the details are cleared. We’re shipping more TextBlades to expand the installed base of users, and the process is working really well. As the punch list has narrowed, we bring in more users to surface any remaining details, at a pace our support team can resolve quickly. Sorry for the time for this phase, but it’s really the fastest way to deliver the best experience in general release. Once you get your TextBlade, we hope it’ll be clear why this approach is smart for a major paradigm shift in technology. We very much appreciate your patience, John. Thank you, WayTools Team
3/21/2019: Hi John, Thanks for your email. We’re complying with FTC Regulations. We understand your impression on a quick read of them, but there’s more to the provisions, and you’ve conflated some of them. The context here is quite different from a default presumption of 30 days, if no time estimate had been stated. Here, we provide estimated dates which are some months out, and update as we have more info. We disclose and acknowledge the uncertainties of ship date on our order process, and don’t promise final dates until we have cleared certain technical milestones. We always let customers take a refund at will, at any time. If you study the FTC guidelines in depth (our legal team has), they apply to promised dates certain, rather than estimates that are disclosed to be uncertain. Ultimately, it’s always in the customer’s control whether to keep an order or get a quick refund. It’s easy for a customer to decide this online at any time, based on their view of contemporary status. The FTC always advises customers that the first recourse if not satisfied is simply to obtain a refund. That is the primary resolution mechanism. The regulations also provide for a vendor to make refunds preemptively and independently if needed, at the vendor’s discretion, in order to resolve any concerns of customers. The mod’s will suspend posts when they see information posted that is materially incorrect, which is represented as authoritative. In this case, this topic had already been visited many times on many threads, which are available on our site, and you can peruse. At this point, there is much published on topic covering the same points we discuss here with you in this email. We appreciate your interest, and hope you are delighted when you receive your TextBlade. Thank you, WayTools Team
3/21/2019: Hi John, 1. To your timing question, we’ll be updating our order status server with new info soon.You can read a little about what we’re preparing right now, on our forum here - (Link to forum removed). While we’re updating the firmware, for a rough idea, please assume it will be around summer when we get sign-off from the treg users, and can start general release. The team is working through detail points on this right now, so we’ll have a more defined forecast when we update the server. If you’d like to see some impressions from the customers we’ve already shipped, you can find them here (link to forum removed). 2. To the comments about a class action, we’ve not been noticed of any such action, which is a legal requirement for an actual suit. We know a couple customers mused about this as a way to push shipping them as part of treg, however we don’t see a bludger as a way to invite a friendly relationship. Please forward the contact you received and we’ll talk with them to answer their questions. 3. For forum posts, mod’s do change trust level for a cooling period when they see assertions that misinform. That’s the essential utility of the trust rating. In your post, the language was postured as a fairly imperative form of a declaration to all our customers. It suggests FTC conflict. Yet it’s in a forum where the audience is well-informed of the delay, and indeed conversing about it. We have no interest in heavy-handedness. But experience has shown that common sense caution is wise to avoid unproductive debate where a party may have interests other than resolution. Below is the language from your post - “Of course, if it doesn't ship, we should all be reminded of the notification rules required by the Federal Trade Commission relating to sales on the Internet. (REMOVED LINK TO FTC WEBSITE)” You can weigh whether the mod’s take seems arbitrary, or rational in this context. Thank you, WayTools Team
3/22/2019: Hi John, We’ll re-send your status page link via email. Use the Change tab there to cancel, and it will let you send the credit to any card you choose. So no worries if your old card expired. On your status page right near the schedule estimates, the explanations you want are located there, as the attached markups show. Your status page changes as we update with new information. You do not get an email each time your bank balance changes, for example. You just go online to your bank and can see the current balance. Your status page works the same way. We tried the notification email approach on earlier products, and many customers complained that there were simply too many notifications, so we adopted this method and customers prefer it. We had inventory when we made our first press announcement, but we held it back from mass release during this time, at great cost to us, because of the refinement work that we reported on in great detail as we progressed. You’ve referred to our press release, but didn’t acknowledge all that we reported since then. We accept that you don’t have faith in us, and won’t try to change your mind. But we do take pride in doing something distinguished, and treating our customers honorably. You can choose what to see, and what to ignore, as you please. In fairness, we did what we did, and posted what we wrote, even if you prefer not to read it or credit us for doing so. You may wish to judge us only on the part of the picture you choose to see, and are free to convince yourself we are uncaring, or unworthy. That’s up to you to decide. We mention these points not for our benefit, but on the chance that it might provide some closure and peace for you. With your refund, we’ll consider the matter settled. We’re grateful for your interest. Thank you, WayTools Team
It's a shame. I want the product. All they have to do is ship it. If so many TREGs are happy with it, then why not ship it? And for those that are so vocal, why not ship it to them and shut them up? If they have complaints, I would think that it would be easier to say, "hey, you are part of the TREG - we know there are still things to work out."
The technique is basically “When caught doing wrong things, blame your target.”
Please stop doing this.
WayTools_Support said:Mims - We’re sorry you didn’t acknowledge the many responses we personally emailed you, and the updates we posted to your order status page.
The FTC or a lawyer would suggest you seek a refund first, and only add to their workload if a vendor doesn’t cooperate to refund your purchase.
As you've acknowledged, we refunded you promptly. We even suggested this remedy for you earlier, in response to your email queries.
Your post 20 on the first page of this thread raises the same lawsuit / FTC ideas, which had already been addressed in personal emails to you at your request.
You’re now repeating substantially the same content, which isn’t consistent with the spirit or rules of this forum.
So, what you are saying is that although you aren't following the rules because you offer a refund, it's okay?
The FTC / lawsuit information was included here simply because it was part of the emails I sent to you. I still stand behind the fact that you are breaking the FTCs rules. So, now you want to remove me from this forum too because I literally defended myself from your personal attack by including all of my correspondence with you? Common now...
Mr. Mims is an intelligent man who knows all this quite well.
Contrary to his characterization, he has had more than 10 email exchanges with WayTools Support, where all of this was discussed in depth with many thousands of words of personal response from us to accommodate his extensive and detailed queries.
Mr Mims knows that chronic misinformation is precisely what reduces posting rights. And yet he has characterized our response as an unreasonable ban.
He understands well how nuance and the turn of a phrase can bolster, or misrepresent the truth, and he has a good command of language.
We’re not confident in the paraphrasing or quotations from Mr. Mims, because of the many conflicting points he’s presented directly to us.
We can say however, that if he sent such chronic conduct to any editor, a very rational response would be to encourage him to take a refund so as to end the conversation.
We encouraged him to take a refund, and he did.
Given all this, we also can’t reconcile why he’d ever want to buy our product on amazon, since it’s made by the very same firm that he works so hard to disparage.
Whether a person has a purpose for their narrative, other than just to genuinely enjoy the product - that is unfathomable for us.
We simply accept that there are different interests in the world, and we withdraw from transacting where there’s conflict.
The reader can decide their own logical case for what they feel is reasonable engagement by manufacturers and customers.
First, the characterization that I've had "extensive and detailed" queries is ridiculous. For your enjoyment, here are the emails that I have sent in their entirety. Remember, ALL of the contact was initiated by me. The only thing deleted from my emails below is my full name and phone number. As you might guess, the "longer" emails are at the end when I had been given the run around long enough.
So, that's it. As for the editor with MacWorld. My email to her:9/28/16: I’m order PDG VY8Z WG5. I ordered almost 2 years ago (January 17, 2015). I do not understand how others are receiving their TextBlades when I was clearly one of the first to pre-order. I want the TextBlade. I believe in the product. I’m just frustrated that I have no real indication that I will ever get the product. Will I get the keyboard before my two year anniversary or are you thinking of pushing the shipping date back again? Thanks for your response.
11/16/16: Are you still on track to ship mine in Q4? I really don’t want to get an update on December 31 that changes my shipping date to Q2.
8/30/17: What is the expected ship date? We are almost at 3 years from my order.
3/12/18: Hi. Checking again on this order. My status page says “Winter.” Winter ends in a week. It’s been 3 years. When I ordered, the product was shipping in February of 2015. You advertised this product as shipping, NOT as in development which it clearly is. I understand that I can get my money back, but I’ve waited 3 years,. Each shipping update tells me that is coming in 3 months. So I wait figuring that I’ve waited this long, might as well wait a little longer. That game has been going on for 3 years. So, when do you HONESTLY expect this product to ship? I also think that I’ve earned overnight shipping.
3/15/18: Sending this email again. Please respond.
8/25/18: Hi. Sneaking up on 4 years. What is the status update. Your website does not provide any information other than “Summer.” Is summer still accurate? I ordered in January 2015. Thank you for your response.
10/20/18: Hi. I have not received any information from you about the status of my order. I assumed that this summer (your underline, not mine) meant before September 22. I think that as a paying customer you should consider communicating with us instead of waiting for us to email you. So, what is the status of my order? Yes, I can see that it says Fall - just like it said Summer, Spring, Winter, etc. REALISTICALLY, when will my product ship? Also, Mims1 (my username on the forum) is not able to start new messages. It says that I’m not authorized to view this resource. I’d like to commune with other users. Finally, why have I not been selected for TREG? No one ordered earlier than me (January 2015), no one signed up for the TREG before I did (same day it was announced) and finally, I have been a beta tested for other companies - I know tech. Please advise.
11/4/18: Sending again...
3/21/19: I’m checking on this order: PDG VY8Z WG5. I ordered in January 2015 - 4 years ago. As my order is listed as shipping in winter, I DO NOT want to cancel my order. If you do not anticipate the order shipping within 30 days, you should be reminded of the FTC rules for notifying customers found here: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/selling-internet-prompt-delivery-rules. Further, my forum account has been suspended for “suspicious activity” until a team member reviews the post. I’m not aware of any suspicious activity, but it’s been weeks since the suspension. My account should either be unlocked, or I should be told how to activate a new account. Thanks!
3/21/19: 3 things:
1. Again, I’m checking on this order: PDG VY8Z WG5. Please let me know when you plan to ship my order. I don’t care about the other two as long as you answer this one.
2. I’m not a lawyer, but as I’m sure you are aware, there’s a law firm running around contacting people they believe have ordered (mentions about TextBlade on social media was how they found me) talking about a class action lawsuit. They sent me that link and other info. It doesn’t help me get my TextBlade if you get sued, so I’m ignoring them. Thought the info might help you if you aren’t shipping in 30 days, but I guess your lawyers are confident that things are good.
3. My account was frozen, not just the post. I just provided a link ago the FTC. I think calling it materially inaccurate is wrong. If you are worried that people might misread it (as you are telling me that I have), then respond to it on the site. Or delete my post. Banning me seems pretty heavy handed.
3/22/19: I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me. Eh. I’ve seen much worse on your board about delays, and I still think it’s a better communications strategy to address my comment as a forum response as you did in your email to me below. And what would I want other than resolution? The main point of the FTC’s requirements (and my forum post) is basic but proactive communication. Either ship the product or change your communications strategy to conform with what we can agree is common sense communication - legal requirement or not. Your customers shouldn’t have to hunt information about a product that we’ve ordered. Regular emails with updates would be the best way to communicate progress. What concerns me is that for at least 2 years, the ship date shifts by a quarter at a time. I don’t want to cancel because I’m so elfin’ close to getting a TextBlade. Just 3 more months, I tell myself. Then, without notice (if I didn’t regularly check, I would never know) the date will change. If I hadn’t emailed you today, I would have no idea that you are going to miss your ship date of “Winter.” There is nothing on your site (except perhaps in the forums) that says that the dates are “uncertain estimates” - you tell me now that they are. When I ordered 4 years ago, you did not even hint that the product might take this long. In your press release (https://waytools.com/us/news/press/2015/january/13/press-release) which is how I heard about your product, February was the ship date. When I ordered, that’s what the website said. That’s what published information from your company said. It did not say, “this is an uncertain estimate.” Not even close. Since my order, the only updates I have gotten, I have had to hunt down. Not a single email that didn’t start with an email from me looking for an update. When someone changed my ship date to “Winter,” did they really think - based on the information you shared in your forum post - that the product had a snowball’s chance to get shipped in Winter? When the system updates in the next day or so, will it say “Spring” although you are telling me to at least count on summer? I’m frustrated that I’m being strung along. And people actually have the TextBlade. In your email below, you reference reviews of how awesome the product is. You’ve posted articles about the TextBlade in the wild. And yet, one of your first customers still has yet to get one of these products that is getting rave reviews. Why? Talk about rubbing salt in a wound. I don’t care about the reviews. I just want mine.
It hurts me to do it, but I must cancel my order. I’ve lost faith that I will ever get a TextBlade keyboard. It looks like an awesome concept that might never ship to the “unselected." As the credit card that was used is long gone, you will have to send me payment via (REMOVED).Long, long, long-time Macrumors reader. I read your article in January 2015 about the Textblade and promptly ordered one. I’ve seen your updates through the years. Fast-forward 3+ years - no Textblade. I’m curious if you have heard anything or are planning on doing another story. Some people who complain on their forums are getting their orders deleted….
Yes. I got a refund. No hassles. There is absolute truth in that. Of course, it's ridiculous that it should come to that. I ordered this thing in 2015. As for the "misinformation" in the forum, there was none. The only thing I did was include the link from the FTC, which I'm pretty sure is accurate information.
Now you have all the information. WayTools feel free to attack my character now.
For those of you defending WayTools, recognize that you have the product. Those of us that are complaining are upset because we don't have the product. You can tell us how wonderful it is (and we do indeed believe you), but when we ask honest questions in the forums, we get banned. I've seen people get their orders forcibly canceled by WayTools from forum comments. We've been strung along for 4 years after ordering a product that was supposed to ship in a month. We have not gotten any proactive communication from WayTools. Yes, I can search their forums for updates, but I shouldn't have to. They should communicate with me. And they promise updates that never post.
As a side note, I wrote to MacRumors 3 years after my initial order. Their article was the one that enticed me to place the order. This is the response that I got from one of their editors:
When the product launches (if it ever does), I'll probably order one. From Amazon. Once it's in stock.I know that WayTools has been sending out test units to people on their forums, but other than that, I haven't heard that they're any closer to a shipping date. I think what happened with the TextBlade is regrettable -- I saw a working test unit in 2015, but here, three years later, the product hasn't shipped.We cut ties with them completely in early 2016 and we won't be covering the TextBlade again in the future. I highly recommend getting a refund from WayTools if you pre-ordered a TextBlade unless you don't mind waiting indefinitely.