Do not buy any Sonus Faber used

Sumiko just announced that

What a curious statement . Can you imagine Volkswagen refusing to provide parts for their own cars, no matter where they were bought? I do hope other distributors will follow. It would surely drive the prices down considerably on Audiogon for used gear.
Nonsense. I just bought some replacement drivers last week. No issues, no problems.

Did you try & make a purchase or did you just happen to read this today on their website?
Just checked their web site and did not see anything under their general home page tabs or under the Sonus Faber tabs.
If you read it on the internet it must be true. No?
Same stuff from Parasound back aways.. It stopped me from buying JC-1 or JC-2 used here.
Later folks say nothing about it anymore on Parasound website.. but forget it. If they just flip back and forth, who knows down the line what the policy will be.
IMO they are shooting themselves in the foot over thier OWn inability to control thier distribution of thier own products.. So they take it out on customers.
Forget it!

I bought Bryston. (which also has a statement that warranty needs the original reciept from authorized dealer.. but at least they will fix stuff..)
Are you sure they aren't referring to warranty issues? That would make sense and be in line with everyone else. Surely they understand that some people sell their current speakers in order to buy new Sonus Fabers. I would want to hear it from them before I beleive it. Also the holding company that owns SF now owns Audio Research as well. Imagine telling Audio Reserach owners that they can't get parts for their components. A move like this would be marketing suicide.
If true, Sumiko IS committing marketing suicide. I just hope they realize it while they are still in business. They may wake up and realize that they are not the only game in town. It's just another example of the tail trying to wag the dog.

I bought a McIntosh MVP871, as a discontinued model, after the MVP881 was introduced. I was told it would include full manufacturer warranty. I sent in the warranty card and Mcintosh sent back a letter denying coverage because the dealer had exceeded the grace period allowed for discontinued products. I wasn't asking for service, just the warranty coverage. I don't expect to have a problem with a new component, let alone a McIntosh. It leaves a bad taste with me and I'll have to think twice before I buy, or recommend one of their products in the future.

BTW, I own Sonus Fabers and have never had any problems with them.
The issue for Sumiko and Sonus Faber is grey market stuff. There are people who bring it in for Europe and sell it in the US. It used to be a bigger problem than it is today. They have had that notice up for years. If I remember correctly they put that notice up when someone was selling a pair of Strads from Poland that the seller claimed were gifts from the founder Franco Serblin, which was not true. As long as your speakers have real serial numbers and came from an authorized US distributor you are fine. If you want to buy a used pair, just check where it was purchased, get the serial number and check with Sumiko.
Not sure if this applies to SF, but I once read that of one US distributor that would not service products that were not imported into the US by themselves. He argued that he has invested in the US distribution and set up a dealer network, provides warranty service etc., and if someone wants to buy from a non domestic source, they can also use that source for service and parts.

Only products that were not intended for the US market were precluded from support. The distributor did not abandon the used US imported market.
It is and excerpt from yesterdays "important notice" posted by Sumiko on Audiogon. It caught my attention because I was looking to buy some Sonus Faber monitors. I'm not sure how closely they're going to enforce the policy (the part about a proof of purchase from authorised dealer)but to refuse to sell parts for a product no matter the origin makes little sense to me. They usualy have hefty markup on parts and can order from manufacturer if needed. Anyway , maybe I've read too much into it but to me manufacturer has an obligation to support its product for a reasonable period of time.
Must be a trans-shipment incident. Dealers from other countries selling out of their area?

I haven't paid a lot of attention to Sonus Faber since the mid 1990's, just curious, do they now make their own drivers? As far as I knew, they use drivers made by other manufacturers.

I remember a friend in the 1990's who owned Extremas and needed new drivers. He knew which drivers they used and saved 50% buying them elsewhere.

Here's more of the note posted by Sonus Faber:


1. Directly imported by you from another country, OR
2. Purchased directly from a dealer OVERSEAS, OR
3. Acquired by you from an UNAUTHORIZED North American based re-seller,

In other words, you will only be provided a North American warranty on Sonus faber product purchased from a SUMIKO authorized Sonus faber dealer.



Note in the third to last paragraph they say that it has to have been purchased from an authorized dealer not that YOU have to have purchased from an authorized dealer. This is most likely aimed at the grey-market but I would check with them to be sure if I was about to buy used. After all, you don't really know where the seller originally purchased the product.
Great Business model. Welcome behind the iron curtain..ahem I mean world :-)
I agree it is probably due to grey-market competition for US based dealers and distributers There is a big mark-up on some of these products by the distributer which makes buying overseas for expensive items seem attractive. I ran into this when I bought a used Japanese cartridge and the US distributer would not even answer a question I had about a specification (stylus tip to mounting hole distance) when I read him the serial number. He basically hung up the phone on me. I ended up calling Japan at 2:00AM EST and found someone who spoke English and could answer my question.

It's a tough issue. The US dealers and distributers loose out when we buy overseas. I don't really blame this policy, but it does force the buyers to think very carefully before buying items of unknown origin. I guess it's "Buyer Beware" or pay up.
I see it totally different way. US distributors for Sonus Faber are probably substantially more greedy than ones from other countries so that it makes more sense to purchase from overseas+ expensive shipping! INSANE.
I've seen on ebay lots of smashing deals on new Grand Piano for low $2k ranges from overseas that saves at least $1k vs. buying new from US dealers/distributors.

Nevertheless, I'd like to encourage owners('goners) of US purchased models share necessary purchase information with ones that need to order parts for their used models so this nonsence is at some magnitude newtralized.

The moral behind it should state: A cork shouldn't help S-holes from being 'penitrated'-).
The way I read it, it is talking about warranty issues, as a couple of others pointed out. I am sure you can still get replacement parts, they just won't be covered under warranty.

You also don't necessarily have to go through the American distributor, either. A friend of mine just bought a replacement part for a foreign make CD player on ebay, and installed it himself. He got the part much more inexpensively, and the international shipping costs would have been passed on to him by the distributor, anyway.
The whole point is they are not just talking about warranty issues. They are sayint they will not work an ANY product, nor supply parts for any product not purchased from an 'authorized' dealer. So if your able to get you used one fixed is a big question mark. And also would be bad for resale.
If I had to guess, I would say that this is aimed at both the gray market and the re-sale market. If just gray market, then no warranty service would have been sufficient. I think it's brand suicide, or at least distributor suicide, but what do I know?
I use to be a Sumiko dealer in the 1980s and early 90s and they were great to deal with; that was then, this is now. When I called them to get the thread size for spikes for a REL sub the told me to call a dealer; not only are they the importers BUT THEY OWN THE COMPANY! A couple of years ago I ask about being a dealer again as they have a lot of good lines; they gave me the name of their west coast rep [ I had dealt direct in the old days]. I called him but I never heard from him; I told them this and they just said call again. I will tell you one secret I have learned the hard way; if they won't call you back when they want your business FORGET about them calling you back when you need help.
I guess if you lived and bought them overseas, you have a problem bringing them to the US with you. No parts? Maybe you have to buy them (parts) from the country where you bought them? I can see the warranty not paying for parts problem. Paying for you own parts? Why not be able to buy your own parts, is what I say.
There is such a long list of rock solid audio companies one can rely on for fantastic service after the sale and that are are run by caring owners: Ayre, Bryston, Thiel, Macintosh, PS Audio, Wilson, Audio Research, Conrad-Johnson, Shunyata Research, etc. I'm sure others can add to the list. This isn't to say that no one has ever had a bum experience with the ones I've listed here but reputations are built over time and those reputations are well earned ( or well deserved).

I choose to support the good ones whenever I can. Stanwal, you are *so* right about companies that treat potential customers rudely. Run, don't walk, away from them.
I've had bad customer service from Sumiko that this statement on their web site just seals the coffin tight! Stay away from anything Sumiko does should be the message IMHO.
Not having read any of the above replies, my thoughts:

Sumiko is not the manufacturer, "just" the NA distributor. I'm sure if SF wasn't happy about their policy, things would change (either the policy or the distrubutor). Sounds more like an effort to help the NA dealers stay in business. Think ahead: no dealers, no distributor = what? mail order from Italy? Good for the Italians and nearby countries, not so much for NA.

"Drive the prices down considerably", maybe (actually probably) for the gray market products. Might actually help the "real" products. Boxes are tough to keep around but a copy of the receipt can easily be tucked away and becomes a selling point. Ads might say, "OBM and R". Don't have the OBM? Well, pack it well and don't forget the R. It's part of the deal.

My 12 cents (adjusted for inflation).

"Drive the prices down considerably", maybe (actually probably) for the gray market products. Might actually help the "real" products. Boxes are tough to keep around but a copy of the receipt can easily be tucked away and becomes a selling point. Ads might say, "OBM and R". Don't have the OBM? Well, pack it well and don't forget the R. It's part of the deal.

My 12 cents (adjusted for inflation).
Onemug (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
For those who don't have a receipt, lower resale value. That can equal to someone (seller) looking for another brand for their new purchase. That would equal less sales for them. After all, who wants to buy something you can't fix... No one is asking for something for nothing. I wonder how people have every receipt for everything they own?
Also, a lot of us have a good memory when someone treats us right. A lot of us have a better memory of those who've done us wrong!
Well, I guess this policy won't affect most of their clients who buy new from authorized US dealers. But all that sounds really bad to me. I have never had any interest in either Sonus Faber or Audio Research though.
Will it hurt their business? I don't know and I don't give a damn.
I have had excellent customer service from Sumiko. When I needed spikes for my REL subwoofer they were very friendly and provided me with a set of spikes for only $10.00. I later needed an amplifier repaired and I received the same prompt and friendly service and the cost was very reasonable.

I suggest calling Sumiko and ask for Dermot if you have any concerns about parts and service for Sonus Faber instead of jumping to conclusions.
Sounds more like an effort to help the NA dealers stay in business. Think ahead: no dealers, no distributor = what? mail order from Italy? Good for the Italians and nearby countries, not so much for NA.

That would be the case, if only US weren't #1 exporter of second hand equipment worldwide.

I do not have any statitics, but I would guesstimate that US citizens export 20x more used hifi gear than they actually import.

Just ask yourself a question - how many times have you been approched by non US buyers here on AgoN, and how many times have you sourced anything abroad ?

There are many reasons for that - US have the biggest s/h market, lowest prices, having AudiogoN, speaking langueage everyone can understand etc.

If it wasn't for US export sales of second hand gear, the possiblity to sell brand new gear to US clients through US dealers would decrease substantially.

Why ? More time needed to 'unload' used gear and even lower s/h prices. All that would mean that customesr would have less money at their disposal to invest into new stuff.
Sumiko is the US distributor. As a distributor, Sumiko plays a substantial role, and incurs considerable cost supporting their product line. A friend of mine is a Sonus Faber dealer. Dealers have to go to California for training about the product line and how to properly locate a speaker in the customer's room (dealers are expected to provide such service to customers). The regional representative for Sonus Faber also gives my friend substantial help on a variety of issues, including proper design of home theater system (e.g., number and location of subwoofers), and has actually come to the job site to troubleshoot home theater installations.

This kind of support means a lot of cost. Grey marketers don't incur such costs and can undercut the distributor. Why should Sumiko (the distributor) support the grey marketer's activities?
Why should Sumiko (the distributor) support the grey marketer's activities?
Couldn't agree more, but what about the innocent poor shmuck who buys a used pair under assurance that they were NOT gray market. Not covering warranty repairs is perfectly appropriate. Having to prove the provenance of any item for which you are ordering a apare part is draconian, IMO.
I agree with Swampwalker. Well stated.
Swampwalker, Peterayer - that is why Sumiko put up the warning on Audiogon. So people would not be caught unware. If anyone has any doubt, get the serial number and call Sumiko. There used to be a guy who sold SF under the name American Home Theater or something like that. It was clearly grey market. I called Sumiko and they said he was not an authorized dealer. End of my involvement with him. With Internet sales (new) I always check on whether the seller is an authorized dealer. I do sometimes buy from unauthorized dealers or from owners who cannot guarantee were it came from, but I do so knowing I may be trouble for parts later on. I certainly do not make significant purchases when I cannot trace the orginal. Just good buying sense in this day and age.
I agree with Peterayer and Swampwalker. Not covering warranty repairs should be perfectly appropriate.

Just imagine going with a 10 year old VW Jetta, which was imported from, say Canada, by the previous owner, and the dealership refusing a full paid rapair work. Not a warranty work, since the car is long after warranty, but a full paid service.

I think that under EU law you would be able to sue such a dealer.

And car dealers are no different than hifi delaers (techs) - thay also have annual training sessions, had invested a load of money into the shop etc.
Good analogy Elberoth2; esp. since SF speakers can easily cost as much or MORE than I have ever paid for a car! The only motive that I could impute to VW if they were to implement such a policy, would be that they wanted to eliminate the private re-sale market. Now you may ask, how does that translate to our hobby? i believe that you would have a situation like the "bad old days". The only outlet for your used gear would be your local high-end dealer. He/she controlled the second hand market and would give you $0.10 on the dollar for your gear in cash (re-selling for $.50 on the dollar) or maybe $0.20 in credit toward a trade priced at full retail!!! No wonder they want to eliminate the re-sale market. Given that gray market is a small portion of total sales (of course, since margins are slim, its significant in terms of lost new sales), and re-sales would be a small portion of that portion, I don't think that the refusal to sell parts unless you can verify proper purchase is definitely aimed at restricting second hand sales. IOW, Audiogon!!!!
The day may soon arrive when we buy direct from the manufacturer or an arms-length specialized mail/internet dealer. They will demo their gear at trade shows near big cities, or through small, home-based hobbyists, advertise on sites like this on the net and in some paper magazines, and then sell direct and offer great service. Forums will discuss the quality of the components and level of customer service.

Wait a minute, this is already happening. There is one really good dealer in my area and many good quality, carefully assembled home systems where I have heard some great components. Specialist set-up guys go around charging a fee to set up systems and consult with audiophiles. The industry is changing.
I've also had multiple dealings with Sumiko and they have been positive. If interested in purchasing used SF speakers, I agree with the other poster about calling Sumiko firsthand to obtain clarification from the "horse's mouth." So to speak.

If the policy quoted is verbatim, I think it will be interested to see the impact, if any, on SF sales, both new and used.

Fortunately for me, I guess, when I demo'd SF speakers they did not connect with me.
Why should Sumiko (the distributor) support the grey marketer's activities?
Larryi (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Why not? After all, they support the company that makes the grey merchandise.
Here's another angle on this discussion. What's a person who bought new SF product supposed to do with it if they buy another SF product? Stick it in the closet? Are all SF dealers willing to take used equipment bought from them back in on trade? What do they then do with the used equipment; sell it used? Will SF warranty it then?

I understand protecting your dealer network by prohibiting gray-market goods but the used market in legitimately-purchased product is different. I have said before that the used market can actually HELP equipment companies. There is a certain segment of the audiophile population that prefers to buy new. What do they do with their current equipment if they want to buy again and the dealer won't take trades? Toss it? The closet again? The dealers will sell more new equipment if the prospective buyer can recoup some of their investment in the equipment they have by selling it on the used market. There is a synergism between the new and used markets that shouldn't be ignored. If not for the used market, the market for new equipment would be substantially smaller.

12-03-11: Djohnson54
Here's another angle on this discussion. What's a person who bought new SF product supposed to do with it if they buy another SF product? Stick it in the closet? Are all SF dealers willing to take used equipment bought from them back in on trade? What do they then do with the used equipment; sell it used? Will SF warranty it then?
I imagine if they can't supply the receipt from the person that made the original purchase, it may be grey merchandise. They may resell grey merchandise providing their own receipt.

They may like the idea if you throw your present gear away. I guess they don't see it as free advertising having a lot of products out there, with people talking about it.

It sounds like they want us to buy their products, make the profit, and do their police work. This isn't counterfeit merchandise. The company that makes the products should do some work helping out. They are a big part of this problem.
Folks, don't overthink this. This is about obvious grey market product, with no serial numbers or serial numbers than clearly do not have a US origin. If you have a serial number that says it was US merchandise then you should be fine. Sumiko is not some sort of evil empire. They provide great customer service. They just want to cut down on grey market product, as do all distributors. If you have any question about used product or unauthorized dealers, just call them.

Honestly, I think it is good for Sumiko to warn people of possbile issues with used equipment, rather than have people find it out after the fact.

Djohnson54 - many companies only honor a warranty for the original owner. Sumiko/SF is no different. They will sell you replacement parts if your product is not grey market.
Grey or not grey market, parts and service should be available. But it's their business how to do business. They can have it and they can listen to their nice "furniture" by bloody selves. There are a lot of better speakers for the price, below the price and above it.
Dtc - do you think that your VW dealership should refuse a full paid rapair work on your Jetta, only because it was imported from Canada ?

This is radiculous.
Seems to me like the adiophile community and Sumiko and dealers would benefit from Sumiko posting a follow up notice clarifying their reasons and goals for the announced policy and what they consider to be non-supportable product.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Like Rrog I too received excellent service from Sumiko.
Bought a Strata II used here but it had no set-up instructions.
Their site had instructions for other models but no Strata II.

After an email I contacted Dermot directly. Explained my need and he said he thought he had copy on file and would fax me one for $10.

I agreed, however there was difficulty and he sent me a hard copy instead.

Never did bill me for the $10.

Thought that was pretty good service.



You may not have seen my original post above but that was my interpretation of the more complete version of what the OP quoted.

I certainly understand that it's a company's right to determine how they do business. If they want to honor warranties only for the original owner then that's fine. Indeed, if they want to only sell parts to the original owner then that's their right too. I was just pointing out that, in my opinion, it is short-sighted for a company to try and hurt the used market because their new business, at some level, depends on the ability of owners to recoup some of their investment by selling their current equipment. It's they law of unintended consequences at play.
Lots of conjecture & speculation above.

There are a few folks, including myself, who have responded to this thread to indicate we have been able to get parts and/or service with no problems.

If there is anybody who can give an example of being refused parts and/or service, that would certainly bring another facet to the question of yes, maybe or no.
Why wouldn’t Sumiko just surcharge the parts and service levied on grey market SF products?

US imported products would receive preferred service/part prices and owners of grey market SF product would just have to pay a surcharge to subsidize the US distribution channel.
Why should Sumiko (the distributor) support the grey marketer's activities?

Being able to save huge buying from overseas vs. overpaying buying from US distributor looks grey to me.
So what have we learned so far? It's Sumikos right to make a policy. It's anyones right to have an opinion of their policy, there's the right to have an opinion of peoples opinions, ad nauseam.

The way I read it is: Sumiko will take care of not only the original owner but ANY subsequent owner of a SF product that was ever bought from a NA dealer. The receipt makes it easy but if they get lost there is a serial # trail, you or a dealer will ask for a part for an "xxx" with serial # of "#####", they will look it up and if it's NA based, you're fine.

Caveat emptor/buyer beware is a smart policy and should be in force. Sellers of gray market better add a disclaimer to their ad or it may come back to bite them.

Sumiko is NA family to SF. If your in NA and want to buy outside the family then get your parts outside the family and don't whine about it.

I do feel for the used buyer of a gray piece that didn't know but it goes back to "buyer beware". I can't imaging NOT getting even an authorized dealer to do the "labor", you'll just have to supply the part. I also think this is only going to affect a very small % owners. IMO!

To add: Seeing as this is about protecting their dealer network, I would think it quite possible that if someone wanted to trade in a gray piece on a new piece, the dealer (that Sumiko wants to protect) will get authorizition on the gray piece so it will be seviceable after he sells it.
Again, I think this will be a very small % of the time.
Elberoth2 - I was once in the market for a car that was hard to find in the US. I found one, but it was grey market from Canada. I immediately walked away. Same with audio equipment. If I do not know where it comes from I either walk or decide to take a chance, knowing it may be an issue. And "imported from Canada" is very different than grey maket merchadise from Canada.

This policy is about grey market dealers trying to circumvent the SF distribution process, not general purpose sales. If you want to buy grey market equipment from outside Sumiko's territory, just be prepared for the possibility you might have to buy parts from the place of origin. There was a time when there was starting to be a problem with grey market SF speakers in the US. Sumiko shut down a lot of it, which I am fine with.

Incidently, my guess is that if you lived in Europe where you purchased SF speakers from an authorized dealer and moved to the US and brought them with you, chances are Sumiko would sell your parts through their authorized dealer chain.

For me its simple :

If you do not like the Sumiko/Sonus Faber policy, then don't buy the products. Note they are very upfront about the policy here on Audion and on their website.

Always think twice about grey market equipment.

Always ask the source of anything you buy.

Incidenly, I have 5 sets of SF speakers from Concertino Homes to Cremona. I have talked to them on multiple occassions and they have always been extremely helpful. Fortunately, I have never had to had any service.
Djohnson54 - This is about grey market speakers, not ones from authorized dealers.

Sumiko is perfectly willing to support used equipment, as long as it is not grey market. Nobody buying SF speakers from an authorized dealer should have any qualms about buying them and selling them. If you buy used speakers that originally came from an authorized dealer you are fine. But, if you want to buy from the grey market, then you need to be careful. In fact, supporting grey market speakers would hurt Sumiko's business, because it encourages people to buy from grey market sources, with the knowledge that Sumiko will bail them out if anything happends.

I totally agree that not supporting used equipment that originally came from an authorized dealer would be a bad business models. But that is not their policy.