DC Leakage and dealer issues

I was auditioning an amp from a well known Canadian designer. The amp played for 30 seconds and then blew. The designer told me that my preamp must have DC leakage and that the amp has DC protection circiuts. The Spectron Digital amp I also auditioned also kept turning off but did not blow. The other amps I auditioned Pass X-250, Rowland M-112, Plinius 102 and Sonogy Black Knight II, etc., did not have any issues with my BAT preamp. I took my BAT VK-30SE preamp to a dealer who told me he could not find the DC leakage. I wrote to BAT and they told me to measure the output with a volt meter and when I did, I did not get a reading. I returned the amp and received a second amp to audition. BTW, the manufacturer also wanted me to become a NY area dealer if I wanted to accept their offer. The second amp keeps turning off after 5-10 minutes of play, again they are telling me DC leakage. I have advised them that I do not want the amp and that I am sending it back for a full refund. The manufacturer now wants me to pay $400 repair costs for the first amp that blew up plus their customs fees. That would mean that it will cost me $830 (including my shipping and customs fees) to audition a $2200 amp. Boy am I pissed off.

What do you think I should do? I still have to ship the second amp back.

All comments welcome.

Sorry for the spot you find yourself in. Were I in this spot, I would treat it as a business issue and proceed forward. I don't know how much energy you want to expend, but for myself I find that if a fight is worth fighting, then it is worth fighting well.

First: if the designer is "well known", then he or she is in a position of having a reputation to protect.

Second: is the dialog verbal or in writing. If previously all verbal, then I would document the ENTIRE transaction in writing in detail, with your plan for proceeding and your plan for suggested remediation and any requested assistance and forward a copy to the other party, certified return receipt.

Third: Forward a copy of this correspondence to any BBB or state/provincial consumer assistance entity in any local where the designer has a physical presence. If sending mail to a government agency, ALWAYS send it certified return receipt.

Fourth: You would seem to be in NY. BAT is in Deleware if I am not mistaken; not too far away. Take or ship the Pre in question to BAT for analysis. If they agree with your assessment, have them certify their results. If the results are not in your favor, then you likely have the answer to your questions.

Fifth: Forward a said copy of such analysis (if appropriate) to the designer, and any other parties to whom you have sent correspondence, mailing appropriately.

The facts at this point will likely lend themselves to an intelligent further path. BAT is WELL regarded in the audio industry, and I would think that it would take someone with a lot of stones to argue with the technical capabilities of BAT if the findings are in your favor. I would also think that if there is anything amiss with the Pre, that BAT (for the sake of their reputation) would be most interested in making everyone happy.

Not sure about the laws in NY, but based upon Washington State law, if the designer has any physical presence in NY, then you could proceed against him/her in small claims court (in your municipality) forcing him/her to come to you. If uncontested, you would normally win a judgement, and if the other party has a physical business presence in the state, then sooner or later that judgment will become a PITA for the adjudged party and they will likely wish to make nice.
Tell them that the original amp should have been covered under warranty. After all, a dealer that pops a brand new amp / has a unit that develops problems is not expected to pay, are they ??? If they give you a hard time, tell them that your schedule is busy and that you will forward them a bill for wasting your time in terms of making you deal with under-designed and defective products. Also let them know that it could hurt their business if you were to leak what a shitty product it was that they made, how other reputable products have better protection and / or ran perfectly under identical conditions and how they treated you as a potential customer and / or dealer when the product failed to operate under normal conditions. No need to ship any of your other products out for verification since the other products that are of REAL quality had no problems operating. Sean
Without stating my thought as to who this designer/company probably is, the main thing I note from your post is this incongruity: The amp supposedly has DC 'protection circuitry', yet you go on to suggest that the manufacturer characterizes it as having 'blown up' and needing $400 worth of repair. Does that strike you as being as contradictory and foul-smelling as it does me? Even if his diagnoses is correct (despite your other evidence and experiences with the other amps), shouldn't his first amp have performed the same way as the second and shut down unharmed? The only thing you should pay for is whatever you both agreed to from the start, and anything else is on the manufacturer for offering to operate in home-audition, direct-sell mode due to their lack of a local dealer. The possibility that the first amp might not have been damaged if used with a different preamp doesn't mean that it wasn't faulty, just that the fact might not have been revealed otherwise. (Can't help but wonder what he'd be saying now if you had agreed to become a dealer...)
It sounds like you're going to send the incompatible power amp back and get a refund net of the repair costs. Get your poweramp-eating preamp checked out. Then it's up to you to show the manufacturer that you and your unit behaved in a reasonable fashion. Did your auditioning begin after you blew up the power amp you had to begin with? If you don't get satisfaction in the trenches, escalate your request to the marketing manager of the parent company. If the company is publically traded, go to a stock quote website and read the news. Press releases usually contain a contact name and email addy for the top public relations person at a company. Use a gimmick, like the company's own slogan which may tout their products' reliability or other reputed qualities. You'll find it on their website. Show that they failed to come through on the promise they made to the public. Through it all, act calmly and reasonably and present verifiable facts and dates. So keep a diary of who said and did what, including your own actions, as events occur. Present the story without adding your opinion. It's ok to say how you feel but there's no need to explain why. In the end, if you have a reasonable case and can truthfully portray yourself as the innocent witness to the unreasonable acts of the company, you'll get results. However, if it turns out that you are at fault, prepare youself to accept the same responsibility you might wish in inspire in the company.
Sean & Zaikesman,

Thanks for your replies. I can always count on both of you to give honest opinions even if someone does not agree with them. I emailed the same thing to the designer about why I should pay the repair and how come the second amp did not blow the fuses and cause any damages. The second amp keeps turning off after 5-10 minutes but has not blown any fuses. The problem is I sent my check and they can return a check to me in any amount they want. I have learned a big lesson here and I probably will never consider another company without checking out their customer relations, custmer polieies and will probably lean towards USA companies in the future.

Bob Crump told me to replace the tubes and that he feels I will never be able to detect a burping tube that may be on its way out. He had a similiar experience with one of his JC-1 amps and a reviewer with a BAT VK-30.

How do you tell if a tube is going bad and how much damage can happen to your system?

Where do I get the best 6H tubes for my BAT?

I will probably post a follow up to the final outcome next week. Should I spill the beans on who it is then?


Did you have the Canadian amp set to French or English when it blew? (just kidding.)
Peter, why not refer the manufacturer to this thread, and then see if they want to continue in their present vein? In the retail businesses I've been in, we have a saying: An unsatisfied customer will tell a hundred times more people about their experience than will a satisfied customer. If you sell somebody a great widget that works as expected or even better, they might tell one person; if you sell them a bad widget, and particularly if you then give them a run-around about it, they will tell a hundred. In the case of the internet, raise that to a thousand. If the manufacturer wishes to remain anonymous in this case, let them make you a satisfied customer as they should.
Peter: It sounds as if the BAT VK-30 can be a handful to own and operate in terms of finding suitable candidates to operate with. I have run across similar products in my line of work. The bottom line in most of those cases is that the owner ends up selling it in order to find a product that is both more versatile and less volatile in terms of the components connected to it. While i still stand by my comments that the original amp had problems, it is becoming more obvious that other brands also "dislike" or "have problems with" that specific preamp.

I wonder if this could be a specific problem unique to circuits using the BAT 6H30 "super-tube" ??? Sean

I just happened to see this thread and it reminds me of the same problem that I had with a BAT P5 / BAT VK30se.

I purchased a BAT P5 Phono and connected it to a BAT VK30SE.

This in turn was connected to an ARC VT130se.

When I tried to use my system, my new KT88 tubes started flashing and 3 of them were destroyed. The P5 was the problem.

This started in May and I finally got my P5 back last week. This story is too long to post all of it here.

The point I'm making here is that the P5 had a high frequency oscillation that passed through the 30se and caused all sorts of damage to my amps power tubes.

Also, BAT put on a fix on the P5 to filter DC leakage.