B&W 800D or 802D Cosmetic Issues

Hello folks,

I am seeking feedback from 800D or 802D owners only. I have recently order a pair of 800D2 from my dealer. The pair arrived 2 weeks later and delivered to my home. Upon close inspection, I notice finish imperfections on one of the speaker's Marlan head and tweeter tube. There are several deep scratches embedded in the finish that are visible in day light or with the flash light. If you stand couple of feet away, you cannot spot these imperfections. The other speaker is perfect with no sign of scratches...the finish is smooth and inky glossy black.

The dealer sent over the field inspector to address the issue. The inspector notice the imperfections and gave the following explanation -

"800D are hand made, no two speaker will have the same finish and you may find these minor imperfections on another pair as well". He went on to say, that I am being 'picky' and no one really inspect these speakers with a flash light.

I feel bit disappointed with the craftsmanship and still in disbelief that these speaker passed the Q.C. test at B&W facility and no one noticed these imperfections.

I do realize that over time piano black finish tend to generate surface scratches....sort of nature of the beast. I can understand the disparity in wood grain finishes but these Marlan heads and tweeter are being painted and applied several coates of lacquer, shouldnt they be identical and spotless?

I wonder if anyone out there experienced these issues with the finish. For what I have seen at dealer showroom and another pair at local shop, a brand new pair shouldn't have these cosmetic issues. After all you're buying a flagship pair at a 24K price point.
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Showing 8 responses by zd542

Unfortunately, stuff like that happens all the time. The best thing to do is work with a good dealer.
That's a good one. You should have the field inspector watch it next time they send him out.
""800D are hand made, no two speaker will have the same finish and you may find these minor imperfections on another pair as well". He went on to say, that I am being 'picky' and no one really inspect these speakers with a flash light."

That's the dumbest excuse for shipping damage I've ever heard. Since when are hand made products inferior to a production line? That's the whole purpose of building a speaker by hand.

Your dealer should be ashamed of him self. When they delivered your $24k speakers, its customary to go over them with a fine tooth comb to insure the speakers don't have any damage. The speaker was either damaged in shipping, or damaged when they were unboxed. Either way, it should be fixed.

"The dealer sent over the field inspector to address the issue. The inspector notice the imperfections and gave the following explanation - "

That's a load of crap as well. Field inspector? Tell your dealer to send the field inspector to look at some farms, and send you a speaker inspector instead.

If your dealer still gives you a hard time, tell them if they don't take care of this, you are going to call B&W and say that your dealer sold them to you via mail order.
B&W was correct in referring you to the dealer you bought the speakers from. Its their job as a dealer to handle this type of thing. Any type of warranty issue like this has to be initiated by a dealer. If it was me, I would ask for a new housing (the actual piece that has the imperfection), and nothing more. You don't want to ask for another speaker unless you absolutely have to because the drivers are matched, and unless they replace the drivers in the other speaker, the whole thing will be a mess. Your dealer should be able to swap everything out while keeping the drivers that are already in the speaker.

I think that would be a fair request. You're asking for nothing more than what you should have gotten in the first place. Don't let the dealer push you around either. He should have already ordered this part. If the dealer refuses to do the right thing, then get B&W involved.
"09-10-15: Vapor1
Actually wet sanding and buffing is what I do with any new car. Every factory paint will have some peel, the only way to remove it is with wet sanding."

Yes, but that's if he leaves the speakers outside and exposed to the elements. The OP is going to keep them in the garage. Shouldn't have any problems.
If only 1 of the new speakers are blemished, swap the good one from the 2nd pair to the orig that was scratched. That way, you can just be done with the whole thing. Just swap the actual housing and keep the original drivers with the speakers they came with. That's exactly what your dealer/B&W are going to do anyway. They'll either pull the part out and fix, or replace it.

I forgot to mention this in my earlier posts. Its common practice to classify audio equipment as refurbished. They usually do this on returned or damaged items. I'm willing to bet that your dealer bought refurbished speakers for a lower price and just sold them to you as new. Its the only thing that makes sense. I'm not a big B&W fan myself, but the fit and finish on their products is usually immaculate. At first, I thought the damage was from shipping or setup. After reading some of the others comments, it looks like whatever happened to it was done at the factory. And if that's the case, there's no way B&W would let a speaker like that leave the factory. They go over those things with a fine tooth comb.

I have no idea if B&W would lie and side with the dealer, or take the complaint seriously, but you should at least contact them and ask to check the serial numbers. Refurb items are labeled as such, and that info would be linked to the SN's. Hopefully, they would give you an honest answer.
If you are having a problem with your dealer, I can think of a couple of things you can do to help yourself. The first thing you need to do is change your attitude and become a problem. You tried to be nice and that didn't work. The longer this situation drags on works in favor of your dealer.

Then you need to call your dealer and threaten him with 3 actions you intend to make good on. 1. You will call B&W, as well as follow up your call with a certified letter stating that your dealer didn't follow proper B&W protocol required for the sale and delivery of B&W speakers. Also tell him you are sending B&W all supporting and related documents. But that's it. Give no more information. The dealer will be trying very hard to bait you into giving him more info, along with trying to convince you that this course of action will hurt, not help you. Be disciplined, and ignore it all.

2. Now tell the dealer (and follow up in your certified letter), that you will be taking him to small claims court for whatever the maximum allowed in your state is (most states are $5000), plus all related expenses. You will be suing for just the damaged speaker housing, and no more. Don't worry if the part doesn't cost 5k. Always ask for the max and let the judge decide what you should get.

From past experience, I know that the instant I bring up small claims court, you'll get a bunch of posters telling you to not bother, for any number of reasons. They'll be wrong. The US small claims court has a set of rules and regulations that very few people know about. Its not the same as using a regular court.

3. Now its time to start talking about stopping payment on your credit card. Its important to complete the first steps I list, as well as anything else you feel is important. You're not just going too call your credit card company up and have them reverse payment on a pair of 25k speakers you already have in your possession. There will be an investigation an an adjuster will be sent out to look at the speakers. Showing the adjuster that you are already taking reasonable steps to resolve the issue will go a long way in getting the credit company to side with you.

You will have 2 obstacles to overcome when dealing with the credit card company. The first, is that very few people are familiar with speakers that cost 25k. Expect them to be naturally suspicious, and do whatever they ask in helping them assess the value of the speakers. Second, due to the amount of money involved, expect a fight if things come down to a refund. The chance that your dealer left the money he got from the sale in the bank account linked to card purchases is most likely 0. That means, if the dealer does not cooperate in refunding the money, the bank will have to use their own funds. They won't want to do this, so expect some resistance.

I hope this info helps you out. If you can convince your dealer that you will be taking action on 1 and 2, they should fix the problem right away. That's why sending them a certified follow up letter is so important. They know you're serious.
"09-18-15: Onhwy61
Can anyone explain the economics of a dealer selling high end loudspeakers. What's the dollar cost to him/her of taking back two sets of high cost components and replacing them with a third set? Is it all out the dealer's pocket or is the distributor/manufacturer putting some money on the table?"

It depends. In this case we don't know the whole situation because there's a question as to weather the speakers are actually new or b stock or refurb. If its a defect from the factory on a new speaker, the factory makes good on the part in either a replace of fix scenario. The dealers usually eat the labor of maybe going out to the customers house, repack time, shipping drop off. But nothing really big. The markup on a typical high end speaker is usually pretty decent, and most manufactures don't allow you to discount the product, and your market is usually protected.

I believe this situation is a special case. As mentioned before, there's the question of the speakers not actually being new. I'm not sure what B&W would do in this case because they didn't really do anything wrong, but their dealer did. My guess is that if they get all the facts, they'll warranty the speaker. Its just the right thing to do.

If the speakers are legit new, this still is a special case in my opinion. By the looks of it, the dealer may have bitten off more than they can chew. Its one thing to sell a 25k speaker, but its something else to sell and service a sale like that properly. Most likely, this dealer doesn't have the funds to cover all things that can go wrong, and the customer is suffering as a result. My best guess is that the dealer would like to do the right thing, but he doesn't have the resources. Personally, I feel bad for the dealer, but he needs to make this right. He knew something like this could happen, yet he still chose to take the money. Its not the customers fault he chose to gamble.

Not to get off topic, but anyone that’s ever read my posts has probably seen my rants about how important it is to pick the right dealer. Or at least one that's capable of handling the sale. Several years ago when I bought a pair of 802's from Stereo Exchange, I asked them if they were in stock. They laughed and showed me the computer screen. They had 26 pairs in stock downstairs. The point is, a dealer like this can handle all aspects of a sale like this. Since then I've moved to Audio Connection for most of what I buy. John's in a different league entirely. If a manufacturer gives one of his customers a hard time he'll put his foot up their a**. I'm going on about this because I think those of us that have good dealers should get the word out to help others who may not. Too many people have to suffer with bad dealers.