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?
Bf85b117 4590 4be7 a756 d05f898cdaf9mitch4t
Once upon a time, I entered a store and said I was interested in browsing what they had. I was not intending to listen to anything and made that clear. Salesperson said it would be $50 fee that could be applied to the purchase. I thanked him and left. I never stepped in again, but I did pass by many times and watched it close for good, as many stores have done since then.

Fast forward a few years and a few blocks away. I entered another store, made it clear that I was not in to buy anything, checked out first two rooms and had no pressure from the salesman at all. I went to one or two more rooms, ever increasing cost of the equipment shown, and was about to leave. Salesman told me I forgot to check the last room out and that I should as it was the best they had. Stack of dCS machines with other equipment to match performance and price and then some. I played some records and CDs, had a very relaxed chat with the salesman, and that was it. I bought a few things there over time. That store is still in business.

The seller is simply trying to get compensate for his time. While it’s not common to charge a fee for demo, the store owner is well within its rights to do so. As others have mentioned, if you don’t like the terms look elsewhere.

At this point, only you know the worthiness of these monoblocks. We can all criticize the unfair demo policy but at the end of the day only you know how rare or common are the opportunities to demo these amps. To me, $17k is a large sum and I would like to be 110% certain that they will work in my system before I dump this kind of money. So if the demo fee is not ridiculous and the store has something else to offer you can possibly use then I would take the leap of faith.

The flip side of this transaction is you take the risk of buying them unheard on a used market and ‘deal’ with reselling process if you don’t end up liking them.
Aug-25-2020Are you going to charge a fee for an in store demo?
Yes. We are. Although the fee can be used towards purchase of other electronics also. Too many hobbyists like to pass time hearing products. They ruin it for businesses.
"Too many hobbyists like to pass time hearing products. They ruin it for businesses."

I thought that audio hobby is all about passing time hearing products. No hobbyists, no business.

I asked two weeks ago what the fee was and I haven't gotten an answer.