The Exogal saga continued....

As the owner of the Comet Plus/Ion combo, I have been a vocal critic of Exogal for fumbling the ball on the absence of applications needed to run them. They made the Comet without an illuminated window and reading it is difficult, and the remote, by their own admission, is inadequate. So the apps were indispensable, period. They have claimed for months that a new, improved remote "module" was in the making and about to be released immanently. I actually tried out a prototype they sent me and it wasn't very good. As time passed I tried to communicate with them via their website (on which they advertise a streamer line that they don't make!) and by phone, and was ignored.

So I chased down their sales manager here on Audiogon and he put me in touch with the CEO. The CEO admitted there was a problem and offered a range of excuses--a knee operation, a major internet hacking of their site, the pandemic, poor Chinese-sourced parts, an inability to get parts, etc. [In retrospect I am surprised that he didn't claim the same aliens who started the forest fires in California had attacked Minnesota] I said that I had the Ion packed up in a box as it was unusable and requested a remote for the Comet which he said was ready and would be shipped. He further stated that a new product line was in the making and that when it was released those who had the misfortune to purchase the Comet/Ion could trade those units in for "generous" credit toward the new line. Very well, I have spend thousands of dollars on this stuff so how long do I have to sit on it until I can change it out? There is no timetable for the new offerings--possibly by the end of the year, possibly not. Basically I got the old "trust me, I'm working on it" speech that they give everyone.

Two weeks went by--no remote. At that point I demanded a refund for the Comet and Ion which of course the CEO denied. He claimed he didn't send the remote because he assumed that I had packed both the Comet and Ion away until the unspecified time that he would so generously exchange them for his new products! He said he would send the remote immediately.

Yet another week has gone by--no remote. So I pass all this on to the court of public opinion. But it is ironic that the CEO of Exogal, in one of his own public postings right here on Exogal wrote: 
Too many audio companies announce a product, start selling it, and then frustrate the paying customer with BS excuses. Meanwhile, they've got your money." That sounds remarkably like the situation I find myself in. 
At the risk of beating a dead horse, the Exogal people know this criticism and others are here (the CEO in an email told the dealer that I "went off on Audiogon") so why don't they respond? If my company's credibility was questioned in a popular public forum I would respond immediately. This isn't a case of customer dissatisfaction, it is an example of a company not living up to its promises. The CEO knows very well that his remote and unreadable window are product defects and he has said as much on posted videos and quotes cited by reviewers. Without the now defunct applications these are fatal flaws. 

The CEO has stated that Exogal has "a loyal following" and implied that they are satisfied with the present state of affairs. Really? That's not what I'm hearing on my personal messages here.

It is peculiar to offer a trade-in, however generous, when the company has a history of ill-conceived products like the Vortex. So the Comet/Ion is problematic, the Vortex was advertised in detail yet never produced--so do we really need s strike three? If a company can't produce a simple thing like a decent remote control how can one believe they are going to start an entirely new and complex product line? Personally I've had it with Exogal.

I openly challenge the CEO and Sales Manager to respond here, not with a lot of excuses but with the truth. So far the silence is deafening. 
If this is all true, and I have no reason to doubt it, and I know companies are loathe to return money, that it would seem to me that it might be in their best interest to accept your return for a full refund.
I never expected a full refund, just some sort of refund for the more recently bought Ion which is useless in itself. I have been demanding a remote for the Comet for months. I suspect they don’t have the money to refund anything because they haven’t been selling any products to generate income. 
If it ever got out that they refunded money to me many others would make the same demand and they would be busted. A class action lawsuit would get their attention. 
In addition to the company’s failings listed above, they had a falling out with a major discount dealer active on Audiogon who initially distributed the Comet. In 2018 they were going to buy Core Power Technology but that deal fell through. I believe that CPT now has a close relationship with that discount dealer (who in my opinion is excellent in all respects).

People have been privately suggesting they lost a major financial backer, they are in the process of bankruptcy proceedings, or they are trying to sell out to another company. I urge other dissatisfied customers to come forward—you don’t owe these people any loyalty and they are just sweet talking you to gain time. 

Sounds like you've been screwed. The only recommendation I have is don't let it ruin your life -- letting resentments run your life day after day is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. 
I agree entirely. But the CEO and Sales Manager are well known figures in the audio world and Audiogon and revealing all this disgraces them and keeps others from suffering the same fate--many people were erroneously giving them the benefit of the doubt. I venture to guess that they have lost a great deal of credibility in the industry and that will be their undoing. I have been buying audio stuff for many years and this is the first time I have ever been swindled. 
I seem to recall a post here on Audiogon from a company representative not too long ago. It came  off as rather candid and sincere.
@rtorchia sorry to hear about your troubles but thanks for informing all about this company. No matter how good their products are in coming years it will be one company to stay clear of.
I don’t know, kind of sounds like some form of being swindled. Being sold an unusable product.  But of course, my statement is based solely on the OPs side of the story.
"Swindled" may be too strong a strong word because when the apps were available (in my case for several years) everything was fine. I loved the Comet and bought the Ion for that reason, and tried to buy a Vortex. The basic point is that the Comet/Ion combo is application based as the CEO has himself stated on numerous occasions. On one video he actually tosses the cheap remote away and says it is junk! Without the application it is a pain to use--read their own advertising literature and how they are quoted in the reviews. This is not what we paid some thousands of dollars for and the units were sold on a false premise. They keep saying this new "Pulsar" remote is in the making and that has gone on for months. Then one has to play hide and seek to get answers from them and those answers are unsatisfactory.

This lack of applications is a very serious and fundamental issue. That is why I have made no complaints about the sub-par headphone jack on the rear of the Comet that even its creators consider inadequate. But that is typical of their poor business decisions, one that they remedied on the top Vortex model that was never produced. I very certainly could complain about all the fabulous potential for upgrades they advertised to keep the product from being obsolete; I think we have had reverse progress on that subject.

The veracity of my account is very easy to confirm: there are no more apps and evidently there is no new "Pulsar" remote (that they said they would charge $125 for if one didn't participate in the trial). Read for yourselves the CEO's two attestations that he made on this site a while back. Would you be satisfied with these evasive responses and litany of excuses if you spent all this money? After months? Nobody would like to hear the other side of the story (Exogal's) more than I, which is why I started this post. 
I refer you all to two Audiogon posts by exogal_ceo: one on February 20, 2019 in which we are asked to "be patient a little longer" and the other on November 10, 2020 in which we are informed "you are gonna have to be patient." Today is March 11, 2021 and I have tired of being patient. 

What would you fellows do is you bought a tube amplifier and the manufacturer said, "Gee, sorry, they don't make 12Au7s anymore--be patient while we design a new amp." 

We make mistakes.
We own up to them.
We make some bad decisions.
We try not to remake them.
We bend over backwards to make people happy.
We draw the line at bending over forwards, if you get my drift.

Your big gripe is that we abandoned our apps. I realize that you don't give a crap that we've spent more developing and maintaining our apps than we spent developing our DAC and PowerDAC technology. When two architecturally different platforms change 4+ times a year and a software engineer costs about $100 an hour to work on an app that we not only give away for free, but pay the app stores EXTRA so ads didn't run on them, you don't have to do a lot of math to realize that's a losing proposition for the company. I wish I'd been clairvoyant 8 years ago. Did I mention that we get analytics and that fewer than half of Comet owners even downloaded the apps? Live and learn.

When we conceived of and designed the products, we expected everyone would use the apps and the non-illuminated display was part of that decision process. the whole thing didn't work out. But if not being able to foresee the future counts as "poor planning" in your world, OK. This is life on the bleeding edge of technology. We make good DAC's. We've sucked at User Interfaces. 

As for your problem and "...having to chase down our sales manager on Audiogon." I can't think of a less productive way to search for somebody. I'm not that freaking hard to find. Me and the company are on every social media platform, our phone and email is on our website, which is the first thing that comes up if you Google "EXOGAL". But anyway, once you finally managed to track us down in our villainous desert hideout, the only acceptable solution you articulated is that you think we owe you your money back. Simply put: No. You bought them through a dealer - your issue there is with the dealer. You've had the Ion for about 2 years. We don't run a product rental company. Sorry.

We do have a bunch of loyal customers, many of whom have had issues that we resolved in a way that exceeded their expectations. You clearly think we suck. I'm sorry that I don't run the business to your satisfaction and I'm sorry that a bunch of s**t happened that affected our ability to do business effectively this year. We're a small company and we did the best we could over the last 15 months. 

I'm going to leave it with this: If you'd have come at us with even a slight attempt at civility, you'd probably have had a different experience with us. We've done a lot of out-of-warranty work and custom mods for people just because they said "Please". You came at me less politely than the tone in the bilge you wrote in the above posts. Do you often find success in crabbing at people? It must work for you. One of my personal failings is a distinct lack of desire to prioritize people who dump on me. Got that from my dad.

Do everyone a favor: sell your stuff. I hear people can do that on Audiogon. Tell whoever you sell it to that we'll help them in whatever way they need.

And before anyone feels the need to scold me on my tone: I don't normally talk to customers this way, publicly or privately. But since Bob decided to use both barrels on me personally, and the company I run in a public forum, well... just be glad there are zero words that start with "F" in here.

Jeff Haagenstad (...if you Google it, remember the two a's there!)
651-964-0698 x700
Post removed 
I have a Pulsar unit I am assessing.  So far woks flawlessly.  I will try to produce a brief update at very soon.
I now see said the blind man as he pissed into the wind and it all came back to him.....
Jeff we are all weeping out of sympathy for you. Some of you seem to have a predilection for this company but from the above response the owner admits his many failures and expects customers to accept them. Personally I couldn’t care less about his trials and tribulations—I simply want a functional product. Amazing that he blames everything on the dealer! Had they answered their phone and email in a timely manner none of this would have occurred. He never intended to do a thing but to avoid me and hope I would go away. Yes, as I have said repeatedly here I loved the product and never anticipated this would come to pass. I hope that you you find all this so acceptable will have the same experience. 
Refutation of Exogal CEO Point by Point--readers look this over carefully and please feel free to tell me if I am wrong. 

1. CEO is annoyed that I criticized him in this public forum. Had he answered my email made the Thursday before last none of this would have happened and all would have been settled amicably. 

1a. I requested and was told I would get the new functioning remote shortly. Over three weeks have passed and no remote. Above Doug Schroeder says he has an operating remote he is in the process of assessing. Is that the "SR 71 Smart Remote" that Exogal describes in detail on its website? Or is this like the Vortex series, something that is currently advertised but never produced? CEO refuses to address the remote issue and when asked to produce one doesn't respond. But he did admit in print that "It didn't work out" which is about as self-incriminating a statement as one can make. 

2. CEO feels entitled to sympathy over a number of business misjudgments. His chronic business mismanagement does not absolve him from contractual obligations to his customers. Do we hear elite companies like Primaluna, Wyred 4 Sound, Benchmark, Rogue, etc. whine that they want our sympathy for problematic products? No, they make great products (and continue to do so even in these challenging times) and stand by them. 

3. CEO "gets it" that I am annoyed about the application loss. But I and others bought the units because we were assured there would be apps to run them and that's why we weren't concerned about the cheap remote and unlit, obscure window. All of the reviewers drew attention to this as did the CEO himself. This is an extremely serious issue that comes close to invalidating the products.

3a. CEO tries to wrangle out of the application loss issue by saying that the majority of buyers didn't download them. I don't believe that but even if true he has a contractual responsibility to furnish the applications. He still advertises the downloads on his website with links that don't work. That's just plain false or misleading advertising. Suppose you ordered and paid for a pizza with anchovies, they made it properly but then picked out all the anchovies prior to serving it--shouldn't you be annoyed? 

4. CEO states my issue is with the dealer, not him. Really? A company makes a problematic product, engages dealers to distribute it, and then passes the blame off to them when the product has glitches? That is an outlandish assertion but it explains why many of the dealers on the current Exogal site no longer distribute the product. The CEO has a habit of passing the blame for his company's many failures along to others--me, the dealer, the competitiveness of the market, etc. 

5. The CEO considers me "uncivil." I have taken pains to maintain civility and discuss this in a rational, fact based manner. I have even said how much I liked Exogal before the app loss. "Steakster" kindly went and found all the positive statements I have made about Exogal in the past. So what does that prove? It proves that they have turned a good customer very much against them through bad business conduct. "Steakster" if you look on the Exogal site you will find a statement by me recommending their Comet/Ion combo so you can add that to your list. 

6. The CEO makes a product that becomes problematic for a very fundamental reason. What does he do? He tells the customer to sell it and he will assist the new buyer. He is simply annoyed that I went after him and this is his petty manifestation of pique. On the website they tour their high level of customer service!

I could go on but all the CEO did in his response was make himself look ridiculous and back himself into a corner. If you try to defend what is beyond defense you collapse. Despite these criticisms I don't that the CEO is an intrinsically bad guy, quite the opposite. He is typical of the very talented hobbyist who tries to make it in a competitive and difficult business environment and can't hack it. As I said above, those of you who defend all this obfuscation need to suffer it. Fortunately I have other and more conventional remedies for this situation. 
Post removed 
I don't know anyone involved in this spat and have no stick in this fire. Jeff, my thoughts and wishes are with you. Hang in there. The audio business is brutal and the fora are worse. 
Facts are the OP bought a product in good faith, enjoyed the product in the manner it was described and sold. Now owns a product that is nothing more than an expensive paperweight because the company failed to hold up their end of the bargain.
Some may have money to burn but when I spend a chunk I have certain expectations as my clients do when they hire me.

I purchased a product from miniDSP and contacted them beforehand to make sure I got the right product for what I needed and detailed what equipment I was using. I bought the product they recommended, was unable to use it and when I contacted them about the issues I was having was basically told tough luck. Not a good feeling to be looking at the box it came in and what I could have done with the money spent.

An offer of a refund or making it right goes a long way.

@dadork You're not wrong,  but two points.  First, he still has 2 remote options that,  while may not be to his liking are still completely functional along with his gear. Secondly, I doubt that any manufacturer would give a full refund (which was his original demand) to someone who changes his mind 2 years later. Plus,  he's convenient leaving out several possible solutions that I proposed in an attempt to make it right. What he really wants is for us to continue to make unsustainable investments in the apps. I liked the apps, too. I miss them. But I easily switched to a Pulsar and it's not reduced my ability to listen one bit. 
You are misrepresenting me as usual Jeff. So where is the remote you were going to send me? What is the different remote you now advertise on your website? You have steadfastly refused to send me a remote. I also asked for a refund on the Ion and never expected a full one. I didn't at all change my mind--you changed your product after the fact. That's your problem, not mine. 

PROOF THAT JEFF IS NOT TELLING THE TRUTH. Email sent by me to Exogal CEO March 3, 2021. He ignored this message which is why this fracas is taking place. If anyone doesn't believe me I will furnish screenshots of ALL my correspondence with Exogal. 

"I have to say this is not a case of mere customer dissatisfaction but rather your not living up to product expectations, namely no applications to run them as advertised. I didn’t get what I paid for because the application was made unavailable for whatever reason.

In the spirit of compromise I am willing to retain the Comet as long as you send the remote that works. (Actually  my Comet is a replacement you sent for one that blew up.) I will figure out some way to use it. But the Ion is useless and has to go. So I ask that you refund whatever is reasonable for the Ion. It is senseless for me to keep it in a box for such a time that other products may or may not be made available to replace it. This is a simple solution that avoids a big battle. Perry actually recommended keeping the Comet to trade in as there is a vague chance someone might buy it. R-- "

Let's see you get out of this Jeff!

One thing we need to get out in the open is that Jeff's allies here are industry insiders who know his background with Wadia and are sympathetic because they know Exogal is headed toward the same fate. Wadia made terrific products but even early on they could barely stay afloat--see Alan Taffel's article in The Absolute Sound, Feb., 2007. In 2011 (really December 2010) they sold out to Fine Sounds Group in Europe, probably partial fallout from the 2008 recession. Jeff and associates split off and eventually founded Exogal. At roughly the same time Wadia was acquired by the McIntosh Group. The tale of Wadia's demise reminds me of Sony Betamax--the excellence of a product doesn't assure market success, sometimes quite the opposite. Search Wadia in the most recent postings in forums here on Audiogon and you will see that purchasers of their products have been left high and dry. 

Clearly that is what's happening with Exogal. I am sure they are shopping for a buyer and I bet it will be someone in Europe. On its site Exogal states they have opened a European distributor. Jeff doesn't mind committing public relations suicide here because he know the clock is ticking down on his enterprise. But the new buyer isn't going to get stuck servicing questionable products so Exogal purchasers are going to be as badly off as the Wadia people. Very understandably Jeff doesn't want to be transparent. Again, I question his competence in business. For somewhere between $1,500--$1,800 and a remote control all of this could have been avoided. But no, he wants us to pity him and appreciate the fact that he didn't use the "f" word. 

One more misrepresentation from him and I will publish right here on this thread all of my ignored emails to Exogal, including one in which I asked for a recommendation on which Vortex to buy. 

You have done enough obsessive ranting in this thread rtorchia.

The part I can see where Exogal is in the wrong is not just sending this guy a remote in a timely manner. Any remote. Or is he demanding more than that?
Agisthos, how is your elementary reading comprehension? You get screwed by some lying manufacturer and we will see how you like it. 
It seems as though the op is being punished for practicing patience while being led down the garden path of unfulfilled  promises. While Joe salesman might be the paid employee, if the customer can’t get satisfaction there, where else to turn to, but the manufacturer?
I’m with OP on this one. It’s funny how the CEO conveniently sidesteps the topic of the remote control. Instead of coming here and shaming your customer, why not send the remote first and then justify the reasons. 
To all those who criticize ME please start this Exogal video at roughly 9:10:

You will see your Jeff in a Youtube Dagogo interview with Doug Schroeder discussing "user convenience" and saying the Comet window design was "intentionally crappy" and that "people got used to the notion" of using applications on phones and such devices to run the Comet. Yet in his bogus response to me above he said most people didn't download the app! What's the truth? This video can be found on the Exogal website in the news section. I don't see how people can defend Jeff given this mass of evidence that squarely places him on the wrong side. I'm not some obsessive nut--I just stand up for what is right.

Speaking of the remote, what is this? The Pulsar? It isn't what I have. Is this the new one that he refuses to send? It's on their website. 
Tomorrow I'm gonna send you a regular Bluetooth remote, And a Pulsar, even though I already know you hate the Pulsar because of your Beta Test Feedback. That satisfies every commitment we've made to you. 
Just send me what in your opinion and experience works best. If Doug approves of it that works for me fine. I guess then I discard the old, original remote. Thank you.

The remainder of our disagreement you will have to negotiate with my attorney. 

I get your point rtorchia.  What is it that you hope to achieve with a very public demonstration of your anger?  It's a stereo. 
^A discussion about stereo on a stereo forum,  imagine that. Be wary the patient man’s anger.
steveashe, I used to run the 800 at a high level and learned that when a guy gives you the elbow at the break line you zap him otherwise everyone will do it. I want to expose Exogal for what it is so that the customers they are avoiding will see the truth. Also, others in the future will take warning and avoid the product and not get screwed. Finally, my attorney says I have a great case but for her to do all the research and present it would cost a fortune in legal fees. So this spat here has afforded me the opportunity to amass a huge amount of documented data against them that I can turn over to her. 

What would you do if you had spent thousands on an improperly advertised product from a company that was most likely about to fail? This isn't a $500 Sony. 

Your stress levels sound high, which is very unhealthy. Take control of the situation: move on, sell the item, buy a used item of equal value. There are more than enough alternatives out there. Gain peace of mind.
The remainder of our disagreement you will have to negotiate with my attorney.
What is the remainder of your disagreement?
Very unprofessional of the Exogal CEO and his company if I was in the market for what they offer I would consider his reply and run since it could be you having this wonderful experience instead of just enjoying music on the costly kit you bought from them.
I know that manufactures do lurk these types of site's all the time so the OP has a legit complaint and it has fallen on deaf ears.

I say good for you but as another said now maybe you should just cut your loses and sell this gear.

Best of luck to you.
What I think some of you are missing is that this is a SAGA, it says so right in the title.  A saga has a hero, a quest and a villainous monster (or sometimes a monstrous villain).

In this saga the intrepid Rtorchia, Son of Rtorchia, has seen the evil beast Exogal destroy his village and violate his stereo.  Driven by his thirst for revenge Rtorchia must set out on a quest to slay the beast and restore honor to his stereo.  After weeks of stormy seas, windy mountain peaks and desolate deserts Rtochia corners Exogal on an internet audio forum and an epic battle ensues.  Rtochia disembowls the beast, but alas, he too his mortally wounded.  Rtorchia, Son of Rtorchia has avenged his stereo and ascends to Valhalla.

It need a little work, but with some polish it's a good pitch to Neflix or Amazon.  I'm thinking Tom Holland as Rtorchia and Gary Oldman as the villain.
The remainder of our disagreement you will have to negotiate with my attorney.

I think this sums up that you have lost perspective on the entire issue and have become irrational. It’s no wonder Exogal stoped responding to your emails when you started demanding a full refund 2 years after purchase.

Yes the app has stopped working and development been abandoned. Yes you were not sent a remote/other method for using your product, and the company principals did not resolve your issue in a timely manner.

But what you are doing here is not proportionate. Take a step back.
@onhwy61 Gary Oldman is probably too good to play me. Chris Farley, rest his soul, would be perfect, though. Maybe John Goodman? Some old, fat white guy with "unfortunate" looks...
Guys, we are done here. Thanks for your comments both pro and con and also your patience. I know I sound obsessed but I don’t like getting pushed around and there was a lot of material to refute Mr. Jeff’s statements that some of you never considered. What you call anger I call righteous indignation. Anyhow best regards to you all and happy listening. 
CEO: "You did not complain politely, so well, good luck. And thanks for your money!
And "boo-hoo-hoo, it’s though to run an audio business.... customers are mean..... Pass me the Kleenex. No, the box.

Paathetic. With two "a"s
CEO... "We only know how to build half of our product. What is a user interface for, again? Wait, I'll go ask my wife".

CEO... "We made mistakes. We made mistakes. Why would we be impacted for our mistakes? They are just mistakes."

Check the definitions for:
- responsibility
- ownership
- decency