Help - amp going into safe mode

Hey! my friend's harman kardon ss amp keeps going into safe mode and stereo exchange in nyc (where he bought it from 4 years ago for $700) wants a minimum credit card authorization of $380 just to look at it! what a scam. he's moved it around to different outlets in the house but it keeps going into safe mode every 5 seconds when turned on.

anybody have ideas for him?

thanks in advance.
Kubla- Assuming that the pre-amp isn't passing dc to the amp, or RF getting into the amp, and that there aren't speaker cable or interconnect problems, the amp is sick. It is likely a faulty sensor (dc offset or temp) or the amp is overheating due to incorrect bias on one channel or both. Not knowing the circuit topology, repair could be easy or a real pain. $380 does sound high. Try a different repair center for HK. However, it could easily run $250 if it requires more than an hour just to troubleshoot. I hate to say it, but it might be worth checking into the cost of a replacement component just to weigh your options. Good luck.
If you have access to instrumentation then try having a look at it yourselves, not in an attempt to repair but simply as a diagnostic. You're correct in that Stereo Exchange is asking WAY too much just to have a peek at it; a complete repair job might not even cost that much at a reasonably competent shop whose prices are FAIR.
As JC advises, first ensure that it isn't an interface issue by disconnecting all cabling in & out, but of course AC power must be connected. If protect mode is still triggering, then get access to an oscilloscope or at least an analog voltmeter. Observe electrical activity at the output terminals, one channel at a time, while powering up. Specifically look for transient voltages or DC offset (even less than 1 volt) at the output terminals. I suspect that you may observe some activity in that regard, confirming that indeed the unit is ailing. However the only benefit of this test is for you to help your repair shop save some time by steering them in possible directions of failure. JC very aptly observes that repair cost of this unit may not even be justifiable considering its original price.
thanks guys. i'll pass this info along to my friend.