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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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.
The demo fee reminds me of an old Marx Brothers line:  "do you suppose I can buy back my introduction to you?"
Thom @ Galibier Design
I know a dealer who does this, but is is for dedicated 1:1 off-hours listening sessions, with drinks, etc. Listening during regular hour is free.
I would happily pay a fee for a demo.

When I want something, I want a good deal.  No stupid prices.  I’ll contact a load of dealers & buy.   It irks me that I’m expected to pay for tyre kickers who waste hours of dealers time & never buy!

I would never have a free demo, then go elsewhere for the best price.  That’s not cool at all.

I’d much rather pay 20-30 quid for an hour, then I’m not beholden to that dealer.   I can tell him straight what I want to pay & that I’ll be shopping round.
He’s has something for his time.   Everyone’s a winner!
The only losers are the pests who waste dealer’s time.
What a pig dealer.  Their markup is at least 25% for consignment, 40% on new.  Just greedy.   I will remember the Sunny name and keep it on my list of dealers to avoid.  If I was ARC I would cancel them as a dealer also - leaves a bad taste in my mouth that they have a dealer like this.  $500 to listen?  My son just went to the Wilson dealer in Scottsdale, he told them he had no money to buy but wanted to hear the Chromosonics, the dealer spent the afternoon with him, knowing he could not afford any of these systems - I won't forget that either.  I am completely spoiled by my dealer.  The subpar dealers must congregate in California.