Let me begin this post by saying that it is not customary for me to whine about businesses. Being that my family are also business owners I understand things don't always run smoothly and sometimes there's confusion or misunderstanding between the business and consumers. However, this story is too good to be true, as was the service MDG promised! So in today's Toronto Star, on page A11, MDG advertised a Horizon 3000LX system for $849. This system includes an Intel Pentium 4 - 3.06GHz processor, 1 Gb of ram, 160Gb hard drive, 17" LCD monitor, etc., etc. It also came with a free printer, free digital camera, free MP3 player and free software bundle. It was defitinely a bargain by any means. My mother needed a new computer for her business and figured this would be a good fit and inexpensive. So my mother and myself decided to take a trip to our local MDG dealer in Mississauga (at 5659 McAdam Rd.). We get into the store and wait a few minutes for a sales representative to help us. He comes over and asks if he can help, we show him the advertisement from the Star. Instead of asking us to sit down to talk about the system or any of the free options he tells us to write down or name and number on a piece of paper and he'd call us when it was ready. My mom and I looked at each other and both basically said, "when what would be ready?". We hadn't purchased anything yet and we hadn't even discussed the system being offered. Then the salesperson returned with a blank piece of white printer paper and said to write our information on it. Nothing formal at all; not an agree to purchase contract or anything like it. After a few more minutes of trying to figure out what was going on, we finally got the salesperson to stop 'running away' and answer some questions. We asked about the free items. He told us they were all done through mail-in-rebates. That was fine, Futureshop, Best Buy, Staples et al. often have the same thing and it just seems to be a normal practice anymore. So we asked specifically about the free digital camera. The camera is supposed to be a Creative Arts 5.1 megapixel unit. Well, they didn't have any left in stock. Fine enough, we weren't there for the camera anyway. However, he was started to 'run' once again, but my mom stopped him to ask about the MP3 player. His response was that they could get us the MP3 player and the printer. It was $195 and the rebate would be $100. Now I've heard of funny math before and even poor math, but how anyone could mistaken free to equal $95? Apparently, that MDG doesn't carry the free MP3 player but only the upgraded model which you only get if you're willing to pay for it. Fine enough, again, the whole limited quantities thing. We did question that somewhat because it was too funny and seemed too much like a gimick to get more money out of us. However, he then proceeded to tell us that they didn't have the offered printer in stock either but they were getting new ones in and they would call us to let us know when it was available. Once again, limited quantities... So then after we were able to tackle him and tie him to a chair - well, okay... we just got him to stop running away again (It was truly like running away. Say something, bolt, repeat.) - we asked about the software bundle. Now here is where it gets really interesting. The advertisement states,
Notice that there is no 'limited quantity' statement and there are no astericks or whatever indicating to fine print. Even reading over the fine print several times, there is no mention of the software package. Good, because we would really like the software package. Remember too, that the system we wanted is a Horizon system. The salesperson looks at us blankly and proceeds to tell us that he wasn't sure if the software bundle was offered with that that system but he would check with the manager. The salesperson returns and tells us that it is offered with a different computer package. We pointed out that the ad states that it is included with a Horizon system and we wanted a Horizon. We were told it was another Horizon system it came with. Well, needless to say, things seemed a little too funny about the whole incident and we left without purchasing. But we were not alone either, as a couple that came in at the same time we did, asking for the same system, also left after they got the whole same spiel. This leads me to believe I wasn't being crazy. To Be Continued - Part 2: MDG and ME - Fun on the Phone! Links of Interest Complaints.com - a website containing several letters written about MDG Advertising Standards Canada - contains an issue concerning MDG advertising Epionions - forum containing both good and bad experiences about MDG
Over $440 in Microsoft 2005 software included. Total price for retail packaged versions $443.85 included with Vision or Horizon System purchase.