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
Ok I looked at the gear. That’s not going anywhere for a demo without something, someone being pretty serious. THAT is a serious pair of amps... NO KIDDING... Probably cost 20-30 dollars in Electrical charges to get it warm enough to listen to.

To be real about it, you should go there to do the deal or NOT go at all.
I dealt with a WAREHOUSE in South SF, that was that way, wasn’t a demo fee as much as a, I had to open the shop fee. HUGE discount, demo and trade in stuff only. You went there knowing if you were gonna buy it or not.
I picked up a pair of VTL Wotans, for 6.5K, they had 3 pairs. They were taken in on an estate sale. 3 years old, a little under 40k a pair.
It was a 300.00 fee, just to look and make sure the valves were all there (another 3k from VTL factory for a set). AND use their forklift to load the heavy suckers. 3 sets of VMPS RM40s, at different times. 1/4-1/3 the price.

The VTLs were never taken out of the crate, never used..

Worth it for me..They have had some killer deals too, BUT not always a fee either. At least 4-5 sales people, different times, over a 10 year period. I guess they are still there..

I also remember, there were different areas, too. Different vendors, were staging their, used stuff or demos in a kind of Consortium, to save HIGH dollar floor space in the cities, SF central, Redwood City, ect. One stop shop, if you knew what you were looking for. This was South San... A lot lower rents.. and easier to load the REAL heavy stuff. NO HILLS!



I'd like to come to your store for a look around, but it's gonna cost you.
Even after you confirmed in-store demo that I gleanwd from your well worded post, multiple replies assume otherwise.
Personally the only demo I would consider valuable enough to pay for is in-home. Otherwise you can''t hear source, speakers and room synergy.
This dealer is really reaching.
Those types don't get any of MY money

Back when I was in the industry, and even more recently since then, I have experienced and heard stories of people going into shops ( by both the shop staff and the listener ), listening for hours, and then, the listener leaving, only to buy the auditioned products, elsewhere, likely for less, either new or used ( off of the internet, or another store ), leaving the store who did the demo, without a sale. This goes on...we all know it. The policies are there for a reason. And, it does rid of the actual tire kickers. Knowing the policies before you enter, will determine what you do. I feel bad for the brick and mortar stores today, as they are up against an invisible enemy, the internet. In this case, it was product that was packed up and boxed ( what I understood ). Should be no different than a restocking fee, as per Tekton, Schiit, and others. Not worth getting angry over. Make up your own mind.Enjoy, have a good day, and stay safe.
@mitch4t,  Another question is HOW interested are you in these Audio Research Reference 750 Mono Block Amplifiers, list price of $55,000, on sale for $16,995?  Have you been looking for a long time?  Do you REALLY LIKE these amps for this price?   To be honest, I am surprised these amps are for sale at such a substantially reduced price so I guess that is another question to ask the retailer?    Are these amplifiers working okay and do their tubes need to be replaced?   Do these amplifiers come with any kind of a warranty?   What happens if they stop working after 30-60 days?   I am not a tube person so is 800 hours of demo use a reasonable amount?   How old are these amplifiers?  

@stereo5 said "That dealer has been trying to 'unload' those mono locks for over a year now".   This might explain the reduced sale price and would be a concern to me.  

Your post states you asked about the audition fee and there was no response (AFTER 2 weeks).  This is a MAJOR concern of why is the retailer not responding to a potential interested party.  It does not say good things about their customer service.  

IF you are really interested in these amplifiers, AND the charge to audition these amplifiers is 'reasonable', then I suggest you give them a listen.  The price is right so you maybe should give them an audition.  

HOWEVER, based on the ABOVE posts, several people have expressed various concerns about this transaction.   Based on my 'understanding' of the translation, the audition fee, the implied condition of these amplifiers, the retailer, etc., I have concerns about a possible purchase (IMHO) and suggest you do more research and investigating.