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kennyt 10-27-2007 03:29 PM

Service, above all could save the high end audio industry
I am no stranger to the high end audio business, and have dealt with almost every dealer within 50 miles or more of me over the last few years and have been unimpressed to say the least. Sure, they have great gear, but they are out of touch when it comes to customer service.

I have been personally mistreated by a high end shop who sold me their demo Revel F50's only to get them unpacked and find out seven drivers were blown! 7/10! When I told them this, they took them back but insisted I did it and wanted me to take them back after repair. I might have, but they kept them in the shop for four months. When I called to speak to a technician, I was told they were really busy and hadn't gotten to them yet but they would look at them that day! I called my CC and cancelled payment. The dealer who was not only rude on the phone and emails, stopped even contacting me in regards to this issue. Thankfully for me much of the communication was via Email, so I had good legal documentation of my side of the story and my CC refunded my money, the wife and I have new watches from the refund, so no loss. They just tied up my money for months….

Back to watches.... I recently bought a new watch @ Tourneau in Atlanta. Being at a store like Tourneau, I paid more than may usual max (75% of retail price) as I really wanted the watch and it is pretty rare in this country. I found the watch was defective on the second day and contacted them. They suggested I send it in for repair, which I politely refused. I told them it was a new watch and I didn't want a repaired one. Now, as I said this is not a common watch for the states and only a few hundred have been made to date. Tourneau found me another, let me keep the malfunctioning one (it still told time, the chrono didn't work nor did it wind itself but it is super cool so it was wearable) until they had the new one in ATL. When they got it, they called me and paid for it to be overnighted to them and the new watch was to me 48 hours later.

Top it all off the new watch came gift wrapped! A really nice touch that cost them almost nothing but will ensure I never feel bad paying extra @ Tourneau again!

Why can't audio dealers figure this out??

I could go on and on about fellow audiophiles problems with local dealers.... My best friend is redoing his HT. He gave a local shop $75,000 for a budget. when they gave him the proposal, it was for $194,000+! Guys, that’s not even the same zip code!

Another colleague of mine wanted to do something into new construction, he needed pre/pro, amps and speakers. He told three local shops he was looking to spend between $50,000 to $75,00. Only ONE shop ever would return his calls or Emails, and ultimately got the job. Three other dealers never even responded to him after going to their shops and multiple emails and voice mails!

A local analog shop was closing it's doors, 'restructuring to do consulting work' ie out of retail. I went there to see what they had, cash in pocket to spend on a TT. They offered me 30% off retail on their demo's! I was there THE LAST DAY!!! Needless to say I still don’t have a TT.

Treat me right, I won't mind paying, and gladly will for good customer service! Treat me like garbage and not only will I not come back, but no one who knows me will either! I used Tourneau in the example above, they will forever have a shot to supply me with any and all watches I want just for doing what was right. If my local dealers had even come close to that, they would still have my business, and that of many friends as well.

JerryDelColliano 10-27-2007 04:21 PM

Re: Service, above all could save the high end audio industry
Without question - that dealer should be spoken to by Revel and might possibly lose the line. I know the Revel people WELL and they work WAY too hard to see clients treated this way.

As for the watch company - they know customer service. You can take your poop-stained boxer shorts back to Nordstroms and they will give you a refund - without a QUESTION (other than if you could wipe better next time). Their reason is: they KNOW what it cost to earn you as a client and they KNOW they can return the item to the vendor or sell it at an outlet. In the case of dirty underwear, they likely would pay the money for a Biohazard removal before they lost you as a customer. Audio shops couldn't get this through their THICK skulls if it meant do or die and as we see with you - you will simply spend your money in other places.

Audiophile dealers SHOULD go out of business for the most part. Audiophile gear in the world of luxury goods is better sold as part of an integrated system. The problem is: audiophile dealers are SO ABSOLUTE in their OLD, SNOBBY ideas that they would rather go belly-up than get modern. Seriously, you offer a guy $1000 for a turntable that he is getting $0.10 on the dollar for - why wouldn't he just put the money in his pocket OR take it to pay his debts? Idiots.

In the end, the users of this forum REALLY need to think about who they do business with. Support, system design, system calibration and return policy means a LOT. Like 10 to 15% more in the overall price.

J.J. 11-18-2007 11:08 AM

Re: Service, above all could save the high end audio industry
I agree with you 100%. I don't mind paying extra or full price if the service is there. The problem is service is usually not good and I think people might as well find the cheapest price from anyone they can that is reputable.

See my Outlaw audio post.

Also, I tried to purchase a Rotel amp, only available from auth. retailer and they wanted me to come down and pay for it in person. So I made a trip just to put it on my credit card. I then had to keep calling them to find out if it was in or not because they wouldn't ship it to me. I had to go get it. Finally, I called one day and it was in. So I drove down to get it and I signed for it and took it home. I should have opened it up at the store because it was actually a different product. They just used that box to send someone's gear off for repair. So I called them and they said they would let me know when my amp was in, but that they wanted me to bring that piece back in first. I told them I already made two unnecessary trips and would bring it back when mine was in. Truth be told, they are lucky I am honest. My Rotel amp was not as expensive as the Lexicon that was in my box. If they would have given me much more grief we would have to have called it even.

So much for high end service!

kennyt 11-18-2007 11:59 AM

Re: Service, above all could save the high end audio industry
I once bought a pair of Linn AV5140's from a local dealer. they made me pick them up.

I asked three times if I had everything, to which they always replied 'yes'. Well, when I got home they hadn't given me the bases which come in a separate box! I told them I asked three times if this was all, and could they deliver them. Not only did they tell me I never asked, but refused to deliver them to me! They are 45 minutes away, so I got to go there twice in one day, once during rush hour to get my new speakers.

I haven't set foot in that shop since!

J.J. 11-18-2007 12:24 PM

Re: Service, above all could save the high end audio industry
I give praise to companies that do a good job, but I also tell everyone I can when I'm treated poorly. I live in Jacksonville, FL and too many other high-end shops to go to for me to be treated poorly.

I will give props to Mitsubishi. I bought a 60" 1080i when HD was first beginning to show up in TVs. I, also, bought a Mitsu DVD player for like $1000.00 at the time. When HD programming finally became available in my area I found out that I needed an external decoder to attach between my TV and the incoming signal. I searched and searched and it was going to cost me $500.00.

I called Mitsu several times and sent emails. I told them I post online and like to write the various trade publications that I subscribe to. They told me they would give me one (a decoder), but "please don't mention it so everyone wouldn't want one for free". I haven't ever mentioned it until now. They have won me over and I always consider their products first.

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