Originally Posted by earwicker7
Why is everyone assuming the guy is broke? I realize this is a possibility, but I think it's just as likely that he's a greedy pig (a la Bernie Madoff) getting fat off of scamming audiophiles. It's been established that the guy is using cheap parts in amps that sell for uber-expensive prices, and is also going as far as taking thousands of dollars with no product being produced, so I can't see why people assume he has no funds.
I think people need to get out of the "He's a nice guy who is only acting this way because his back is up against the wall" mode of thinking and realize that the guy is an immoral con artist.
I've been a lurker here for over a year, just started posting recently. Before I posted at all, though, I read through a ton of threads to get the flavor of the place, see what was happening. The various Singlepower threads are, in many ways, the most interesting (and frustrating and heartbreaking) and yes, I read all 100+ pages this thread.
If Mikhail isn't an outright, deliberate scammer, it occurs to me he may be mentally ill. I say that seriously.
I read all of the quoted emails people had received and the guy sounds rather delusional about the qualities of his products, the uniqueness of his designs, and often talks about how no other amps in the world are even close to sounding as good (though he puts it in more forceful terms). He appears to be inventing brand new circuits the likes of which audio engineering has never seen, and he does so every other day. There is more than a whiff of self delusion in his writings.
Couple that with his erratic behaviors:
- Constantly adding or removing features/upgrades that he and the customer have already agreed on, without prior authorization. Buyers often don't know what they are actually going to get in the mail (if anything), and Mikhail routinely substitutes parts or makes wholesale revisions whenever he feels like it. There is a frantic obsessiveness to that.
- His conversations with customers, as they have been posted here, make very little sense at all. The frequent promises to deliver when he well knows he won't, are either the actions of someone who is intentionally stealing or is incapable of discerning reality as the rest of us understand it.
- The sudden, expensive flights to a customer home to right a terrible wrong, and do so in person. One could argue he does this out of guilt or a desire to fix a problem, but look at the guts of some of these units he has sold and then subsequently had to buy an airplane ticket to repair. They are hardly amplifiers in the common meaning of the term in audio, rather, they are conglomerations of barely associated parts, often cheap, in bizarre designs that rarely, if ever work (not talking about the lower line stock units people generally seem pleased with, until they have to repair them) correctly or for very long. Several of the amps opened and photographed are potentially dangerous, and the innards a scattered mess of poor wiring and lousy grounding. Yet the casings are expensive looking, and according to Mikhail, took "hundreds" of hours to mill.These are not the products of an ordered mind
In the end, those who have lost money must decide individually what they should, or should not do about it. I understand Mike's desire to write off his loss and move on, now that he a has consulted a lawyer and decided there is little or nothing to be gained pursuing this. Sure, more money could be spent to put Singlepower out of business, or "teach a lesson", but the effort and unhappiness in doing so may not be worth the moral payoff.
On a larger scale, I do think it is time for Head-Fi to reconsider whether Mikhail should hold an account here, be allowed to attend gatherings (I understand he will not be at the next one due to missing a filing date, apparently), or even have his products acknowledged in a way that may lead to more sales (or attempted sales, at any rate). There remains the conundrum of those who are currently in limbo, though I suspect most of those cases will resolve by buyers giving up their money for lost, after a year or two more have passed and more empty promises are not fulfilled.
This is a fantastic community. I say that as someone who has not been very involved until now, and has just the faintest whiff of how close knit it can be. I am still finding my way around and learning the dynamics here.
A person behaving the way Mikhail has behaved, over such a long period of time and with so many negative consequences, presents a real liability to the cohesiveness of the core community here. At some point he needs to be cut loose and shunned, before he can do even more damage. Ultimately it matters not the cause of his actions (except to anyone who may initiate legal proceedings against him) because the outcome is the same - lost money, missing products, frustrated, unhappy headfiers, and the potential for new victims.
I speak only for myself, but this topic has been in the back of my mind for a couple weeks now.