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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@laaudionut asked: Sep-16-2020
What is the inconvenience fee associated with an in-store demo...fully face masked, of course?

@smer319 replied:
These are packed and put away. Can you tell me what kind of system would you want it demonstrated with ? Please call the store...Probably $500.00 which will be applied to purchase price of $16995.00.

So the amps are packed up and smer319 will get them out, set them up, and demonstrate them with gear the potential buyer requests. A $500 deposit is not an unreasonable request to do that. These are big, heavy, complicated amps. The buyer has the option to just buy them off the internet, unseen and unheard, like most of us do all the time, and not pay the deposit.

@mrdecibel said:
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 ),

We all know this is a big problem for retailers now, and it’s why many are closing up their stores for good. I think it’s a good idea to try to see the situation from both the buyer’s and the seller’s point of view and be a little less judgmental. I don’t think it’s easy to run a profitable audio store today.

Though I can understand the dealer's point of view, I can't accept it completely.
Given that the amps are used and fairly expensive, I see no reason to charge for an audition. Exactly how many people are wanting to audition these amps?
When I bought much lower priced merchandise on Audiogon from private sellers, they not only allowed me to audition, but invited me into their homes.
@OP, I think you should spend your money elsewhere, regardless of whether those amps float your boat.
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.
Yes in my serious search for an amp or amps to replace my Ayre, I have auditioned both the 650
and 750. They are sonic wonders w right speakers and imo a tube salesman dream. New with zero hours, home setup, etc they are in the realm of coin Sunil is talking - obviously less demo or used. Let’s be clear, a pair of these are exotic and not inexpensive- do some research on this family of amplifiers and ARC design philosophy and you will understand- minimal fusing - parts on the board are the fuses.... so this ain’t a deep market product. Now ( lots of years managing a 6 + high end showroom store ) if any of us are honest there are tire kickers. The guy here has a name, it’s Sunil - I don’t know him super well. Like all humans, he has his fans and detractors.  Btw that  price is right in line with values for the 650 when I was looking. Magic if you can stand the heat, tube bills and like soldering now and then...

One thing to consider, with 800 hours on the tubes, its going to cost a few grand to retube the units if you buy them from ARC.   I think why they have been sitting for so long is huge the price to retube them when it is needed.  It is a BIG expense.  I hope you live in Alaska or Siberia as those amps will probably keep your house hot year round.