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There is a member called Shin who sells high end Pioneer (including the 710)regularly on Audiogon and eBay. I bought a Pioneer 38A from him and was quite happy, even after we had a problem with the warranty, which was eventually solved. I was going to buy a TV from him also, but haven't mustered up the funds yet. I would not hesitate to buy from him again, and his prices are quite good (although I did get one local dealer to match). --Lorne
The warranty will be valid if the dealer is authorized. Call Pioneer and ask. Two things to keep in mind though...
1) Freight costs. That is a BIG freakin' box! The freight costs may eat up a good percentage of the savings over buying closer to home. Make sure you get the costs in writing and that it includes insurance for full replacement value. Also, the freight will probably be a drop and run type. You'll be responsible for unboxing, moving and hooking it up. If you aren't comfortable doing this, buy local. Also make absolutely certain you thoroughly inspect the box when you get it to make sure there is no damage. If you are unsure, don't even think of signing unless the freight company is willing to let you open and inspect.
2) If you have problems, you are likely hosed. The set WILL need an alignment after being banged around that much...but if the set has a technical problem, you will likely have to pay for return freight AND replacement freight. Bye Bye savings. This is one reason I don't sell big screens online...it is just not worth it.
The Sound Broker
Kevin pretty much summed up my feelings on the subject. Too many variables on a large product that IS "shake, rattle & roll" sensitive. If you DO decide to go that route, find out from the MANUFACTURER's mouth what the warranty is and EXACTLY how it would work. DON'T just take the dealers' word, as they could go out of business and you would be left hanging. Sean
If you are concerned about damage during shipping, remember that the unit you buy in the store was shipped there, and the store most likely has not opened the box before selling it to you.
Also, many stores require the purchaser to contact the manufacturer for warranty service, even if the unit was just bought. And, if the set is out of alignment, this may be hard to prove.
But, having said that, many dealers will honor competing prices, even from the internet. I purchased a SONY TV from a nearby dealer after giving them a competing price from a web. They matched it within $20 which was close enought for me.
Thanks for all the feedback. The set I really want is the Pioneer PRO-610 which, unfortunately, is very pricey compared to competitive models from Mitsubishi and Sony. It can be had for about $4600 + shipping from a number of sources online, and seems to go for $5500-6000 if you just ask for a quote from a local dealer. I'm a bit worried about the scenario mentioned above - going through the local shop who has it shipped to them and then delivers it to me without opening it. The value-add doesn't seem to be there UNLESS there's a problem, in which case they'll likely have an interest in making me happy.
I did find a local dealer who is an authorized repair shop for the line, and their price ($6000 initial quote) includes delivery and fine tuning on-site. I'm probably going to work with them to get the differential down from the $1400 it is at initial quote - it's definitely worth 1/2 that to guarantee satisfaction, reward the local dealer, etc.
BTW, if anyone is unaware of www.pricescan.com, it's really great for finding the best online prices of a lot of electronics. Obviously, you don't find the high-end stuff there, but there's a lot of pretty-good stuff there, and they show price trends for specific products over time, etc. The graph of the PRO-610 shows when Pioneer obviously cut prices, and also supports that $6000 is at the upper end of the asking-price market for that set, a graph which I'll take with me to help negotiate a better price. -Kirk
Always check your local Costco's! 2 years ago, we bought a Phillips 60" for $10 less than our Phillips distributor buddy could get! Seeing a lot of Pioneer, Toshiba, Sony
Phillips, et al. high-def units lately. Also, Costco has a
no b.s. customer service policy. I've returned an 8 month
old Compaq PC, an air compressor I blew up, broken Gargoyle
sunglasses, even a digital camera after 4 mos. Selection varies store to store, and if you see a piece you want, do not "come back later" to get it. It won't be there.