A Cautionary Tale for the Tandy CoCo Community [UPDATED]

[Note updates to the situation at the bottom of this post.]

Back in late February I purchased a Tandy Color Computer (CoCo) 3. I’ve long felt it to be a rather interesting machine and I’d never owned a CoCo before. I found a system unit in great condition on eBay, bundled with a few cartridges. I also grabbed an RGB-to-s-video adapter so that I could view 80-column text and high-res graphics clearly on a spare display in my computer room. To really put the system through its paces, however, a floppy drive system is typically required, but they’re not so easy to find and, well, who wants to become more dependent on floppy disks, right now?

Luckily, I did some searching and found that there are a couple of SD card reader options out there that let you emulate physical storage volumes with flash memory. The Drive Pak from Roger Taylor of Roger Taylor Software looked like a good option, and so I ordered, paying $89.00 (plus shipping and handling) to Taylor through PayPal on March 6, 2011.

Ten days later, I checked in via email to request a status on the shipping of the unit, and Taylor promptly replied, indicating that he was waiting on a batch of cases, which might not arrive for two weeks. I checked back in on April 12 and was told that the cases still were not in-hand and that there were many orders before mine. The next I checked in was months later, on August 10th, when Taylor sent me the following response:

It’ll be a little bit longer. I’m still backed up but occasionally I have to interleave come ebay orders to raise the funds to buy more of the uDrive modules from Australia. I have to order in bulk or I’d completely go belly up like I almost did before. I did receive a new batch of cases from my machinist and have plenty of boards, so it’s just a matter of me catching up on orders and not running out of the other key parts….I’m making the paks daily, so hang in there; it’s coming.

That’s the last I inquired specifically about the unit I purchased, now 10 months ago.

Taylor runs the the www.tandycolorcomputer.com website,  www.colorcomputer.net, and used to run www.coco3.com. He’s also active on the CoCoList listserv, and has made a few posts there over the course of the year indicating that he is moving as fast as he can, and guaranteeing that anyone who has ordered and paid for a unit will receive it – at some point.

Heading into December, I still really wanted the device. My CoCo 3 has been just sitting there, sadly gathering dust. Taylor mentioned that he sometimes sells the units on eBay here and there to help fund the overall process, so I searched eBay and saw an active auction of his for the same device I ordered nine months earlier. The auction showed two units available. I swallowed hard and, on December 8th, did a BuyItNow, paying $89.00 again for another unit. I did not make any indication that I had ordered earlier, fearing he would think I intended to immediately ask for a refund for the original, which was not my plan. My plan was to, whenever I received the first unit (if ever), sell it on eBay, myself, to recoup my funds.

I messaged Taylor through eBay the following day to ask if the item had shipped, and he responded with the following:

These items were late going out and I apologize. I didn’t know I was out of ACIA chips that go in the pack! PLEASE hang in there a few more days and it will arrive safely.

So, the big shock here comes in noting that he is selling an item on eBay, marked as “Available,” when it does not actually exist. Also, his message is a bit ambiguous as to whether the unit has shipped or not.

I followed up with lengthy messages of concern on December 29, January 3, and January 9 … and have received neither any further response from him nor the second unit I purchased (nor the first, for that matter).

It was my intent, in deciding to publicize this situation as a cautionary heads-up to readers who might one day do business with Roger Taylor, to demand a refund for both units from him. But, instead, I am going to periodically update this post, letting people know how Taylor has chosen to handle the matter. He owes me two units — let’s see when I get them. That may be of more value to members of the CoCo community out there, in the long run.

I have left negative feedback on the eBay auction in question…and I still want the units I paid for.

Update [Feb 26, 2012]: In the last week I’ve heard several people indicate that, on Coco3.com, Taylor recently made some posts indicating that he was looking / hoping for someone to take over the ownership and responsibility of the DrivePak situation. Commenter “charles” recalls Taylor there mentioning that the new owner would have 30 to 60 DrivePak orders to fullfil. Also, Coco3.com has been down for days, now…

Update [June 8, 2012]: I received an email from Roger Taylor a few weeks back, updating me on my order status. It seems he has sold the operation to a group that he expects to fulfill outlying orders. Taylor indicates that I should have received a refund for the December 2011 (second) order, but I have received no such refund. And, despite his suggestion, I don’t think I am going to go back and neutralize the eBay negative feedback I left after things clearly went south (again)…

I have removed the email from this post (on Fri, Oct 19 2012) now that Roger has responded in the comments.

I placed the email here initially, as many people other than myself had not heard anything from him in a long while. Perhaps it was a questionable move on my part to place it online, but I do believe others waiting on products ordered appreciated it being shared. FYI.

Update [January 7, 2013]: I received, from Infinitum Technology, all that I ordered from Roger Talyor in the mail, today: two Drive Paks and a Drive Wire. It has been a long road, but Taylor and Infinitum Technology finally made good. I look forward to having some fun with these new devices and my CoCo 3.

This entry was posted in TRS-80 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>