|Problem: Buyer reports problem with purchase|
04-19-2007: Robduvall initiated process
04-23-2007: Jboeyjus submitted response
Robduvall describes the events as follows:
I recently purchased a Krell KSA-80 for the price of $1,100 including shipping on 26-March-2007 – Order # 1176148967. The initial items I had purchased from this vendor operated well and I was happy with them so I had expected the same. When I received the KSA-80 I tested it only briefly and in a room that wasn’t void of other sounds and both channels gave sound. This was only to see if the amp worked. Given that I had specifically asked them to check it out for hums and see if both channels worked well and balanced, I gave some latitude to their honesty and left positive feedback for them for the purchase of the KSA-80 without completely checking out the amp. I subsequently thought that I was not going to use the amp and accepted that I had made a purchase that I didn’t need and would sell it. However, I later decided to use the amp to power part of my home theater so I hooked it up again on 09-April-2007 and began listening to it to find placement of the speakers. It was in my quiet home theater room that I found that the amp has a hum that is completely unacceptable. This hum is quite evident in a quiet room and becomes more prominent when the volume is turned up. In addition, the right channel has less fidelity than the left. This would seem like a grounding issue. On an amplifier such as this it would be very dangerous to simply disconnect the ground wire to remove the hum. Therefore, this amplifier is defective and makes the sounds that I specifically asked them to check for. I then hooked up two other amplifiers in place of the KSA-80 (both a Krell & BAT) to specifically check if it was the amp or other components in my system and they both worked fine and without any noise.
I contacted the vendor and explained my situation and they simply stated that since I had already left positive feedback for them that the amp was mine – regardless. They told me that if there was something wrong with the amp then I had caused the problem and they would not take it back under any circumstances. They immediately took the stated stance of “protecting themselves” against problem customers and accused me of lying to them because I didn’t want the amp anymore. (I had written them saying that the amp was what they said it was and I had thought I didn’t need it any longer. I changed my mind after that and decided to use it, anyway. It was then that I noticed these problems. If I simply didn’t want the amp I would accept my responsibility and sell it myself.) I tried several communications with them starting on 11-April-2007 to return the amp based on the defects but each escalated in further “legal” threats from both parties.
I have reached my wit’s end with these scam artists. Their policies plainly state that their products are backed by a 30 day return policy and, in the event of a misrepresented product, a full refund minus shipping is allowed. I believe that since I had specifically asked them to test the amp for balance and performance and it fails I am entitled to a full refund minus the true shipping costs. I understand that I did not fully test the amp before leaving feedback but this does not absolve my rights as a consumer. They are responsible for the quality of their product regardless if I noticed the flaws after I had left the feedback. The discovery was well within their 30 day trial period. They refuse to take any action to rectify the situation.
In the matter of feedback – the vendor have repeatedly pushed their position at me stating that since they have so much good feedback they are above influence by such matters. In my defense, I have a great deal of positive feedback, as well. I have several transactions in Audiogon and nearly 100 transactions in eBay - all with positive feedback.
Robduvall is requesting the following resultion:
Return of the item with a full refund of item purchase price minus true shipping costs.
I believe that the vendor is responsible for the quality of their product and that they should allow my return of this item with a full refund minus true shipping costs. I bought from them because of their stated policies and the protection that a dealer is supposed to provide. Their policies are quite clear on their web site and they simply refuse to do anything to take care of this situation. Per their mails it is apparent that once you have left positive feedback they are no longer responsible for the item. Legally, I know this is not the case. I believe that other parties should also be made aware of how these scam artists will rip you off if there is any sort of problem.
Jboeyjus describes the events as follows:
We do have a 30 day return policy but it is not unconditional.
Our Return Policy as outlined at www.jbaudiopimp.com :
“We do not accept returns for vacuum tubes, cartridges, factory-sealed box items that have been opened, open-box new items that have been plugged in, and sold-as-is items. All other returns will be accepted within 30 days if returned in original condition with all accessories. Shipping charges will not be refunded under any circumstances. A full refund will be given to items that were GROSSLY misrepresented. However, there will be a 15% restocking fee (20% for tube power amplifiers) for all other returns, including but are not limited to, items that have been SUBSTANTIALLY represented, items that are not compatible with the buyer's system, or simply buyer's change of mind for any reason.”
We will take the item back for a full refund if and only if it was “grossly misrepresented” or arrives not working. We simply refund the money, and then deal with the shipping company claim on our own if the damage was due to shipping. The risk of damage is quite high when shipping items and we know that. That is why we offer to eat the damage costs. We have hundreds of customers to attest to our honest practices. Or if the customer changes their mind about the item for any other reason we will gladly take it back for a 15% restocking fee. (20% for tube power amps) If and only if the item is returned in its original condition.
This particular situation does not fall into either category. Not only did he leave the feedback saying that “I bought their Krell KSA-80. It was exactly as described and a fine product. I love it! Gret communication and cooperation. Thanks guys...” on 4/9/07 but before that on 4/6/07 we received an email stating:
“I wanted to thank you for the Krell gear. I have all of it hooked up and working fine. It turns out that I really don't need the KSA-80 after all but it is what you promised. I will be leaving positive feedback for each of these three classifieds for the HTS, KAV-500 and KSA-80. I would appreciate it if you did the same.”
After telling us on two separate occasions that the KSA 80 was exactly what we promised, and using it for a week how can he come back on 4/13/07 and tell us that we “grossly misrepresented” it and expect us to honor that statement. At this point if he wanted to return it to us in for the 15% restocking fee and it was in its original condition we would have gladly accepted it back. He had planned on keeping it and reselling it on his own so we didn’t go that route. I feel that the humming issue developed while he was using it and he knows he can’t resell it for the full value anymore, and he can’t return it for the restocking fee because it is no longer in its original condition. The only way for him to get his money out of it is to change his story around and say that we misrepresented the amplifier. The amp worked perfectly when it left our shop, and he confirmed that it did.
Simply stated the KSA 80 is no longer in its original condition (which he confirmed that it arrived in by his previous emails) so we will not take it back for the restocking fee. It also was not grossly misrepresented (which he also confirmed in his previous email, and feedbacks) so we will not issue a full refund. I would not argue the fact that it was not “grossly misrepresented” without substantial proof because it would then just be our word against his and we run the risk of being made to look like a dishonest business.
I tried to be professional and explain that we have to protect ourselves against people who damage products on their own and then realize how much money they have lost and try to blame it on us in an attempt to recover the funds. That is why we do not offer an unconditional refund policy. Otherwise people would take advantage of us and we would lose a lot of money. I understand that these products are expensive and it can be quite emotional when things break forcing an otherwise honest person to try to find a dishonest way out of losing the money. I feel that is what happened here. Our refund policy is fair and protects both the honest customer, and ourselves. We do everything in our power to keep our customers happy but there are always people out there who are trying to take advantage of our kindness.
As to his statement to you calling us “scam artists”. If he truly felt that way he would not have contacted us after this trading of emails had started on 4/13/07 and the statements “I intend to pursue this to the fullest extent”, and “I hope all of this will be worth it. I don’t care how much it costs me… See your ass in court!!!” had been made asking us if we could find him another piece of equipment (a wadia 850, or 861) that he could trade the the KSA 80 back for. Referenced here:
“Look… Before this gets too far out of hand I am in need of some other equipment. If you can find me a Wadia 850 or 861 for a reasonable price in exchange perhaps we can work out a deal…”
Once he saw that his legal statements would not intimidate us into giving him what he wanted he tried another angle to try to get something more out of the deal. Why would he want to do business with us anymore if we were such horrible scam artists?
If the hum was there I would have heard it and would not have sold him the item. Or if it happened during shipping and is as bad as he says it is he would have heard it upon the initial test of the amplifier. It doesn’t matter if it is hooked up in a perfect listening room or not. After telling us that the amp was “exactly as described” on separate occasions there is no way we are going to honor a statement that we grossly misrepresented it.
We did not misrepresent this item at all and it worked perfectly when it left our shop. He confirmed that it arrived in the same condition, and after damaging the amp on his own and realizing that without paying for costly repairs he was going to suffer a loss of $1100 he is trying to find a dishonest way to recover his money. If the amp hummed he would have heard it when it arrived during his initial test. It doesn’t matter what room it is in. If it hums it hums. Obviously it didn’t when it arrived. Its people like this guy that keep us from being able to offer an unconditional refund policy. Per our return policy this situation does not fall into any category warranting a refund and there is no way we are going to take this item back and issue one. This is no fault of ours and I am very disappointed that there are people in this world that would be this dishonest and then have the nerve to accuse us of being the scam artists.
Jboeyjus's proposed resolution:
We do not agree with his proposal for resolution. We have done nothing wrong here. We are simply sticking to our policies which are clearly outlined and through the years have both protected our honest customers, and ourselves as well.
The dealer's position is based entirely on their accusation that I have intended to decieve them. Their accusation is that I have fabricated a dishonest story to support my position. They flat out accuse me of lying. I have been completely honest and forthright in my position and have not fabricated this story in any way. I have done nothing wrong here. Everything I have stated is true and honest. In addition, in their last mail to me they offerd to have me suggest a compromise:
"If you feel we can make some sort of compromise feel free to bring it up but there will be no full refund issued."
The above excerpt from their mail shows their offer to have me suggest a compromise. I did this by offering to work things out through acquiring another item and working with them to reach an agreement. They now use this "bait and switch" tactic to further support their position that I am dishonest. It is my belief that an honest dealer would have gone to at least some effort to resolve this situation instead of immediately taking the position that a customer who has purchased three expensive items from them is trying to decieve them. It is because of this immediate protest that I now believe that this dealer has been dishonest from the beginning and had hoped that I would not notice the defect. Now they are trying to make me the fall guy for an item they knew wasn't acceptable from the start.
The positive feedback I had left them for this item was a direct copy of the feedback I had left them for the other two items I have purchased from them. I simply copied and pasted this feedback and, as previously stated, did so without fully checking out the item. I obviously should have more fully checked out the item before leaving the feedback but this does not change the facts.
I hold firmly in my originally stated position... The item is in the original condition that it arrived in. I have done nothing to cause damage to the item nor have I lied in my dealings in this matter. I wish to be able to return the item with a full refund of my money minus true shipping costs and without any additional or inflated charges.
Each and every one of my many other transactions in Audiogon and eBay are referencable and positive. Many are for expensive items in the $1,000 to $2,000+ range. You would find in investigation that I am an honest and fair trader who goes out of their way to ensure satisfaction. I have been trading on line for over four years and I believe in honor in conducting business. I have also become friends with many of the people who I have bought from and sold items to. My record speaks for itself.
Whether you allow this dealer to continue to conduct business in Audiogon is your decision...
As of 07-24-2007, Audiogon is requesting input from members regarding this dispute.