Save yourself the agony of ordering from: thompsonsmg.com or Doug Richardson.
In December of 2008 I ordered a Thompson Receiver from thompsonsmg.com. I followed the instructions to the letter and ordered the book, completed the order form in the book, and sent in my $100 deposit check. Doug states plainly and simply in his book that he doesn't like fielding phone calls since having to answer the phones pulls him from his manufacturing process. Ok, I promised myself that I wouldn't call to "bother" Doug as I wanted to be a good client.
So, in January of 2009, a year and a month after sending in my order form I decided that I had waited long enough to make a bothersome call to Doug to inquire about my receiver. I sent e-mails and didn't get a reply so I made a call to the Thompson "Wizard" behind the curtain in the Emerald city. I left a message and never received a return phone call to my home that was the same phone number that I had entered on my order form. So, a second e-mail went out to Doug to inquire about my receiver.
I received an e-mail reply back from Doug stating that he didn't have an order for me in January of 2009 and Doug asked me to research my order and to get back with him on what I thought that I'd ordered. Wow, didn't expect that...... It was January of 2009 and I had to locate my order form. I was very disappointed that I had followed Doug's recommendations not to call to constantly check on my order status. Really??? After a year of waiting I discover that he couldn't find my order.... disturbing to say the least.
I took a new job with Oracle in 2010. Later that year looking through my Thompson parts kit - - I realized that Doug never contacted me and that I would have to actually find my order form and the bank records showing that I had sent him a deposit check. In December of 2010 I reached out to Doug via email with a copy of my order form and the bank statement that showed that Doug had actually cashed my deposit check within DAYS of receiving my information back in December of 2008. I sent 5 emails to Doug to ask him about my order that December of 2010 - - and I finally received an e-mail back from a Woman named Madalon three weeks later that indicated that they had found my order. Great!! Two years later there is an order in the system?!?
After receiving Madalon's reply that they now officially had my order (that was now two years old) I decided to call Doug to inquire about where my order was in the production line. On the phone, Doug informed me that his shop had flooded, that he was changing his location, that equipment needed to be moved, etc, etc, etc. Doug cited a litany of excuses why the order was taking longer and informed me to be patient. I hung up the phone and realized that I never received a date or any promise of when my receiver would be delivered. Days later I called and Madalon answered the phone. I told her my name and she recited that I was number 59 on the list. Why 59 is pretty good. I would think that being 59th would put me "in range" of an actual delivery. I hung up the phone knowing after two years that Thompson SMG had finally acknowledged my order and that I was on "The List."
On February 2, 2012 the Thompson "Tickler" once again surfaced and it was time for my yearly communication to Doug (NEVER from Doug) about my order. In the prior year I realized that I needed to ask if my order had been placed at the BACK of the production run two years after I submitted my order in December 2008 or if my order was in the right 'spot' for a December 2008 order. I shouldn't be put at the back of the line in December 2010 because of Doug's mistake in losing my order - - right! My very detailed message to Doug on Feb 2, 2012 asked for an order update and inquired if I had somehow gotten to the back of the line in December 2010 due to Thompson SMG's mistake in losing my December 2008 order. I waited three weeks and never received a reply. Wow, what a shocker - - Thompson SMG not replying to e-mails????
I sent another email message to Thompson SMG (after waiting three weeks for a reply to my February 2nd email that I never received) informing Doug that I was fatigued with his complete lack of customer care. Furthermore, I informed Doug in my email that I didn't think that Thompson SMG was making receivers and that after three years and two months of waiting that I wanted my deposit check back. Furthermore, my email informed Doug that I would be contacting the California State Attorney General as I'm sure that there are HUNDREDS of folks just like me that sent in the REQUIRED deposit just to be completely blown off and ignored. After three years and two months of NEVER getting a call back from Doug he called my home less than 24 hours after I sent my Attorney General e-mail to him at Thompson SMG. The voice message Doug left for me on my cell phone was was frantic and in a VERY panicked tone.
Doug called me two times on a Sunday while I was out with my family and left a voice mail on my cell phone. Doug also sent me an e-mail later in the day on this past Sunday implying that he had been attempting to contact me for some time and that he was frustrated in my lack of a reply. I sent Doug a message that same Sunday evening replying that after three years and two months of DOUG not ever calling me back and it taking several weeks at best to get even an email reply from him or Madalon that I didn't appreciate his hinting that my lack of response for his one day of trying to reach me was the reason for our lack of communication.
I called Doug today (Feb 27, 2012) and he was very rude and indignant on the phone. The same tone you'll get from reading his book is the same person you'll get "live" on the phone. Doug informed me that he was returning my deposit to me and that I was not to order from his company ever again. Really!!
I let Doug know that I certainly didn't appreciate the tone and the accusation that it was somehow my fault that asking about my order that was 3 yrs and 2 months old was too much trouble for him. I then received the long litany of excuses why he wasn't able to get back to me for weeks regarding my emails, why he is having trouble making receivers, and why I should have been patient and (basically) have kept my mouth shut and not bothererd him so he wouldn't have to cancel my order. Doug stated (again this year) that he is unable to make receivers due to his 16 eye surgeries, his helper (Madalon's) recent hospitalization, and his inability to see well enough to even use the machinery that he supposedly uses to craft his materpieces.
I let Doug know that he should post on his website that his medical condition is preventing his completion of Receiver orders and that anyone submitting a receiver order should be aware that an order will take at least over three years. Doug confirmed that he can't even tell a client when they can expect delivery for orders already in the system, not considering the NEW order he is obviously still taking in.
I certainly would NOT have ordered if I had known that he's nearly blind, had no help, seems to have a litany of excuses why he can't work. This same person can somehow see good enough to endorse the HUNDREDS of deposit checks and drive those checks to be deposited at his bank. Doug confirmed that he has HUNDREDS of orders where nothing is being done to build these receivers. I decided that I wasn't going to fall for the same "just be patient" scam so Doug can push my original order outside the Statue of Limitations so he can tell me after five years to go pound sand and "thanks for your $100 dolllar deposit."
Doug stated that he's supposed to be getting a "Helper" person who can assist to pump out up to four receivers per day. I thought that I was paying for Doug's expertise in building Thompson? Now a "helper" is creating these masterpieces?
Oddly enough, this "I'm getting ramped up to get these receivers built" conversation this year is the same one that I heard back in the winter of 2010. At the conclusion of our conversation I informed Doug that I am confident that he is running a classic "PONZI" scheme and that he has no intention of ever fulfilling the orders that he continues to take in on a weekly basis. Furthermore, nothing on Doug's website indicates that he is actually MAKING receivers and you'll notice that all the photos and information was last refreshed (as of today 02/27/12) back in 2009.
I'm not sure where to go to get a display Thompson receiver, but I would recommend you look elsewhere besides ThompsonSMG. You would be better off throwing a $ 100 bill to the wind and waiting at the mailbox for a receiver than trusting Thompson SMG to build one for you.