Expectations for warranty repair timing


All,

I've had a piece of audio gear back with a manufacturer for repair for a month, and want to solicit feedback here on what constitutes an appropriate turnaround time for warranty repair.  This isn't stipulated in the warranty paperwork, and there doesn't appear to be any guidance on this from consumer advocacy organizations, so I'm turning to you all to make sure my expectations are in the right place.  

A month (or more, we'll see) doesn't feel like a reasonable wait time to me, and it doesn't help that my periodic requests for updates have been met with dismissiveness.  Regardless, I'd appreciate hearing from others who have had similar experiences. 

Thanks!
lousyreeds1
I would say that some of it depends on the country of manufacturing. If the company is in the same country as you, I agree, that a month should be plenty of time to provide most common services.

However, if you are dealing with International shipping, and/or extensive damage repairs, I could certainly understand it taking longer than a month.
In my experience, one must temper impatient desire for the return of one's gear with a realistic appraisal of the manufacturer's size and scale of operation. If you have a component from a one or two man shop, a month's wait is nothing unusual. I've had an amp sit waiting for repair for multiple month's from one well known but small manufacturer. On the other hand, if I had gear go back to someone like Bryston who operates on a larger scale, I would expect a repair to be completed within a month's time unless there was a delay for parts. However, I've also heard more than one person complain that really large manufacturers can be really slow and unresponsive as well. In any event, I learned long ago, have two of everything so you've always got a backup. 
Thanks.  This isn't extensive damage, but the manufacturer appears to be having trouble fixing the problem (though they've clearly been able to replicate it).  Question is, when should they offer a replacement unit or refund if they can't get it repaired?  

That month doesn't include shipping.  It's been back with the manufacturer for a full month.
Thanks, Photon46, that's helpful.  I don't mind waiting - I just want to make sure this is industry standard.  Sounds like maybe it is.  

Of course, an update once in a while would go a long way.
What do they say when you contact them about it?
They tell me they're not sure yet why the problem is happening and won't rush it.  That's it.
I'd suggest getting your dealer involved. If the manufacturer has had the unit a month yet are "not sure yet why the problem is happening," that's a poor excuse. Perhaps it's time for you to request a replacement.
They tell me they're not sure yet why the problem is happening and won't rush it.  That's it.


It may be something that they want to be sure is corrected properly. Especially if it might be something that might affect other owners and require a recall/upgrade.
It sounds like they are trying to do the right thing. I would give them some more time. If they don't get back to you, then call them directly.
B
Depends on the company. In two instances I've had my gear back from repair inside of a week. That was exceptional. Once I brought a preamp direct to the manufacturer over my lunch break. They corrected an issue while I waited. 

Other repairs were between 1-2 weeks. I would think that is the norm unless the company is a one or two man shop. 
You are so right lousyreeds1, a little communication would go a long way in these matters. It never ceases to amaze me how poorly so many companies perform with regard to keeping customers informed about the status of orders, repairs, etc. 
Yes, it’s good to know with whom you’re dealing and how they deal with issues. The reputation for the sonic quality of the product has little to do with what it’s going to be like if there’s a problem.

I bought a pair of speakers from a builder who enjoyed a cult-like following on these forums. Hooking up the speakers for the first time fried one channel on my amp. It seemed obvious there was an internal short in the speaker but the builder at first resisted any implication that there could possibly be an issue with one of his speakers.

What followed was nine months of frustration. I shipped the speakers to him using his, very expensive, choice of shippers, but never got an update from him unless I called and asked.

First, the woofer was unavailable from his distributor, though it was a standard model Morel woofer easily available from any number of sources.

Then the issue was that the cryo lab had "lost" the new crossover. (I’d stupidly agreed to an upgrade as part of the deal.) How can you lose a crossover in a cryo chamber? Is a cryo chamber bigger than my microwave oven?

Other issues ensued, and after nine months I finally got back the speakers. By that time I’d bought a pair of DeVore Eights and when the repaired, upgraded, cryoed speakers arrived I was able to A/B them with the DeVores. No contest. At the same price the DeVores were dramatically better.

Sorry about this long rant but this has been irritating me for a long time.


 
photon46 said- 

"You are so right lousyreeds1, a little communication would go a long way in these matters. It never ceases to amaze me how poorly so many companies perform with regard to keeping customers informed about the status of orders, repairs, etc."

when my Bricasti DAC went in for repair I was advised when it arrived, when it was diagnosed, when it was fixed, and when it was shipped. From the time it left my house until I was received back by me, it was just a handful of days- I think I was without the DAC 3 days. 
Most of the high end equipment builders are a small to very very small businesses. I had an amp back to the very small business for repair with the builder. It was about 4 months to get it back. It was a routine repair. He repaired it and tested it for a couple of days. I didn't mind one bit. It is an excellent amp and the builder was honest in letting me know it would be a while. I know I do not like to rush a repair or even an original build. And a very small business that stays busy because people are happy to give them business I know it can take a while to get items cared for. 
I buy most everything used so I can't say I have much experience with warranty repairs, but I do know that the local respected techs have a 2-4 month backlog. 
my experience with ARC, Classe, Simaudio and Naim is that equipment was repaired and returned within a few weeks
swampwalker... I do know that the local respected techs have a 2-4 month backlog.
Yes, I think that is quite common. I have a piece in now with an expected 12-week turnaround. But that's for a reel-to-reel tape deck.

On a warranty repair, I would certainly expect to have some reliable information about the problem within four weeks. For a manufacturer to state it is  "not sure yet why the problem is happening" after a month is not acceptable, imo, which is why I suggested getting the dealer involved.

2 months lead time for parts from Marantz to fix an out of warranty current product.  To this add shipping, diagnosis, repair and return shipping.  A good 3 months.  But the repair shop has done an excellent job by calling me almost weekly and providing status.
You need 2 thing's. First, you need to buy components from established brands that have a good reputations when it comes to service. I've seen many times repairs done out of warranty were still covered anyway.

Second is a good dealer. Always let them know you're having a problem, and let them handle it. You paid for that type of service when you bought the piece. You won't be bothering them. Any good store wants to do this for the customer. Most will even give you a loaner so you can still listen to music.
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I went through the exact three month same wait for a Marantz SA11S1 "repair" only to have Marantz eventually throw in the towel and admit they couldn't provide repair parts for it because the laser assembly was no longer available and the engineers couldn't come up with an alternative. Not much a manufacturer can do when the subcontractor quits making parts for them. Unfortunately, a retail purchaser has no way of knowing if this sort of situation will arise at some time in the future. 
This is a small but established company with a loyal following and lots of reviews online.  There's no dealer to fall back on - they sell direct.  If it were an issue of locating parts or something else specific that's delaying things, that's fine - I'd just like to know what's going on and what timeline I should expect.  As with many things, respectful communication is the key, and on that front I've been disappointed.
some warranty work is for a 3 month old unit from the original owner, some is for an 18 year old unit from a second owner - guess this might make a difference also...
If you purchased your unit from a Dealer, request a loaner while your unit is in for repair
Never would wait 3 months for repairs this is totally unacceptable not a very good company.Would pass on there stuff big time.
"  If it were an issue of locating parts or something else specific that's delaying things, that's fine - I'd just like to know what's going on and what timeline I should expect."

That's important. A good company will always buy enough parts to service their products long after the model or specific parts are taken out of production.
The trouble with a thread like this is that the repair time is dependent on the amount of backlog a company has... Also, if they have changed their repair strategies.

For example:
Naim had a Naim, USA repair center at some point. They were very responsive. Then they went to an independent repair center. A recap of my Naim kit took 5 months, no calls, no updates, moving targets each time I called. 

VPI: A spindle bearing replacement took 4 months on my 13 year old TT. No calls, no updates, moving targets each time I called.

McIntosh: In the late 90's, my CD player needed repair. It took 3 months to fix. The unit came back with the same problem. Another 2 months to fix.

Linn Sondek: The power supply needed replacement. The dealer fixed it in 2 weeks. The dealer no longer is in business.

I now have backups on all my gear and no longer worry about repair times. To me it is a black hole, life is too short to fret about it. I do call periodically (emails are useless) and listen to the usual stories, but I take it all with a grain of salt.