Charging A Fee To Demo An Amplifier In A Brick & Mortar Store


I Saw a pair of pre-owned tube monoblocs for sale on an onlline forum for around $17k.
The seller has a retail store for hiigh end audio. The seller mentioned that there will be an up-front fee for the demo if a prospect comes to the store the amps are not purchased. The demo fee may also be used for credit towards any purchase in the store.

This is the first time I’ve ever heard of this. Is this now a common occurance in high end audio stores? I sent a note to the seller asking what the demo fee amount was....two weeks and I didn’t get a response.

Does anyone know what amount of fees are charged for a demo?
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Showing 6 responses by rlb61

These amps already have 800 hours on them, AND you have to buy speakers with them if you want the $2K discount. They have a lot of chutzpah charging for an in-store demo given the circumstances.
Look, given the size and cost of those amps, the dealer should have them set up already for demo. If he can't because of space considerations, then he shouldn't have them in the first place. Certainly, he knew or had reason to know, whether he bought them from ARC directly or took them in on trade, that these could be difficult to demo/sell and that they would take up floor space in the store. It's the dealer's fault for failing to anticipate this in the first place, and customers should not have to pay to "hear" his mistake.
@smer319 ... I disagree completely. You’re making the guy pay for a demo in YOUR listening room with YOUR equipment and YOUR cables, most or all of which are different from that of the customer. So, even if the customer digs the sound, that’s likely NOT what he’s going to hear at home. If you were setting up the demo in the customer’s house, then charging to do so would be acceptable. However, that’s NOT what’s happening here. Bottom line ... you made a mistake with those amps, can’t keep them out for demos, took a bath on them, and are now trying to make back some $$ at the expense of any customer who might want an audition. I would hope that reasonable people would decline your "generous" demo offer and look elsewhere.
A misconception here is that these are $60K amps. They are NOT! They’re $17K used amps with about 800 hours on them. It’s doubtful that anyone would tire kick these and go buy them elsewhere given the huge discount which, in and of itself, would give me pause in considering them. A B&M seller who charges for an in-store demo simply can’t compete with his internet colleagues ... and it is obvious to me that he knows it.
It’s even worse if he bought those amps directly from ARC, and didn’t think through the impact they could have on his space. He now has realized that he can’t sell them quickly, so he’s put them in storage and is trying a fire sale, but the customer must pay for the demo. It’s ridiculous. The dealer made a big mistake, but the customer shouldn’t have to absorb that cost. Additionally, if the customer forks over the $500 and doesn’t dig the amps, then he is left with a store credit which may be useless to him/her currently or at all. That’s ice in winter.
@skypunk ... And, that's likely why he's still stuck with super expensive amps that he can't move.