Manufacturer Repairs? What is a reasonable time?

I sent a solid state amp back to the manufacturer in the USA on March 16 for a minor repair - one channel input not working - despite 4 phone calls and 4 e-mails - he hasn't even started the repair. Doesn't respond to emails but does answer the phone and says he is busy and is alone. I Will not identify him yet, since I'm not sure what the "norm" is, since I have always been thoroughly spoiled by Bel Canto, Atmasphere, CJ, AR, acoustic Zen, Cambridge, EAR, who respond immediately and usually have my unit back in 2 weeks. So when do I start to play "ugly", realizing that the economy is bad and manufacturers may be struggling?
Unless the broken equipment is a vintage or rarity, and he needs time to locate necessary parts; I say two to three weeks should be a reasonable amount of time for any amp repair because it takes less than that to completely replace the interior of any amp. There is no excuse if he hasn't even started after 3 months. Busy isn't an acceptable reason, it only means poor management.
IMHO, that level of customer service is unacceptable. Personally, I would already have purchased this amps replacement. I'd also keep pressure on the manufacturer to repair it, but I would sell the amp immediately upon it's return to me. I would make sure that I never had to deal with this manufacturer again!
Six weeks, which is Sony's time frame. Hopefully, unless it is still under warranty, you have put a 'stop loss' amount on the repair cost. Otherwise you leave them an open ended repair order, which never works out to your advantage.
It's time to identify this company! Three months is absurd. You will be doing the audiophile community a service. No one should be subject to this kind of abuse. Please send my comment on to this idiot.
I waited 3 months for an amp to be repaired about 8 years ago. The amp sat on the floor for 6 weeks before they even looked at it. The company that did this was one of the ones you have listed as spoiling you in the past.
Springbok10, did the manufacturer give you an estimate before shipping the amp? If he didn't mentioned possible delays, then I have to agree with Jmcgrogan2.
I sent in my Ayre CD player for a repair and up-grade. It has been six weeks, and it took a week of no responses before I learned to hang on the line and reach a person, instead of leaving a message that was ignored. I did expect it to take a while, and I called a week ago and it was on a bench. So, I am in limbo because I expected it would take two months, and it seems to be going as I expected. I think that means either they are very busy with new products, or have an understaffed repair department. I am willing to wait because it is such a great product, and nice, when you get them. I would like to plug PS Audio...I sent them an email about installing a power plant and I got a response in less than ten minutes!! Springbok10, I believe you are in the market for a new amp. At this point I would not expect it to be repaired, and I think you should use their name to protect others. Then again, some times we are just unlucky.
Three months is a long time, but it's not outrageous. Before going nuclear make an effort to clearly express your displeasure to the proprietor and offer them the opportunity to make it up to you. A firm return date is what you're looking for. If he won't provide that, or misses the date with no explanation, then do what you have to do.

It's worth noting that if we try to put out of business every audiophile company that screwed up something with a particular customer there wouldn't be any audiophile companies left standing.
Quality of service and turnaround times for service can vary widely. Hard to say what is reasonable, although less hard to identify which companies have the best reputations for customer service over the long term however. You identified at least one or two that I could vouch for.

At a minimum, its reasonable to expect any vendor should be able to provide a reasonable estimate of the time required to complete a particular repair and keep the customer up to date if that changes.
I'm curious as to how you know that "one channel not working" is a "minor repair"? It is not as if the company has their employees just sitting around playing card games. If they have a long queue of repairs, it is typically, first in first out. So, they get to it when they reach a stopping point on the products in front of you. Now they can hire more technicians, but first, they must train them on repairs of their equipment and to hire full time assuming that the back log will continue may be a problem. To me, as long as they pick up the phone and acknowledge they have the equipment and give me a timeline for repairs, I'm good. It is when they don't pick up the phone. Then I have a problem.
Varied opinions, which is what I expected, hence the secrecy regarding the identity of the manufacturer. Sure, I dont know how minor the repair, nor does he, since he hasnt looked at it yet. Ignoring e-mails is also annoying, but he does pick up the phone to tell me that he is too busy to do the repair and will be done in "a few weeks" (since March). I give him the benefit of the doubt, but if I dont at least get a date from him, then I will do what I have to do - believe you me, it's not my intention to put anybody out of business, but fair is fair. All I asked for was a firm date or estimate, not endless procrastination.
I think its fair to allow a vendor to revise their initial time estimate once or twice, but more than that would be a red flag for me. Generally, three strikes your out is a pretty decent rule....

To some vendors, good customer service is a cornerstone of their brand and business model. Others, perhaps not so much. Some might operate under the assumption that the customer is locked into them as the only qualified service option and has no recourse other than to do things on their terms. It all depends....
I say it's time to get a rope.

Or as Slappy would suggest, "an old board with a rusty nail in it".
This is nonsense, would you be so patient if your car needed repairs? Doesn't this manufacturer realize that the rest of the money spent on your system might be in limbo too?
The couple of times I needed work done for me by Thiel over the past couple of decades, took no more than a couple of days. That's how it should be.
I really don't know what the problem is here, but something doesn't sound right about this whole situation. Maybe the business is in some type of trouble. Its possible they may not have the resources available (parts, labour or both), to fix the amp. If it were me, I would do whatever I had to do to just get the amp back. I would rather pay someone else to fix it rather than watch the manufacturer close down, or something, and loose the whole thing.
Recently I sent in an amp that I had shorted the transistors out because the speaker leads were touching in the back. Posts to close? I don't know. Anyway I called the company and the owner answered and I told him the situation and asked him how long should I be looking at to get it repaired. He said 2-3 weeks. It was 3.5 months later. I think I was patient. I know we live in a fast food era, "I got to have it right this second!!". I will say he returned it promptly after it was repaired which I appreciated. It is a great product and the owner of the company a decent enough guy. I would like him or his company to stay around. So I won't say who but I do think that was out of line with what is reasonable and what normal people would expect today. I am sure he has to deal with other people doing things for him. So I think it reasonable he give me a better time frame. Just saying. So I am not much help just thought I would chime in.
I agree with Zd542. If you feel that this is entirely too long to wait and they won't give you a reasonable estimate for repair time, then maybe it is time to ship it back to you. A decent repair facility can diagnose and repair an amp. Any amp. Musical Fidelity in Culver City, CA is very good at this type of work and Gary does great work. I get the impression that their is only one person there that does the repairs and he/she might also be tied up with other business related things. Give it some more time. But keep calling.
I have had an amp in for repair and have been waiting over six months . He is a one man boutique operation . He has had health problems too. What recourse do I have . How can I get him to get my amp back to me ? I am getting tempted to tell him to return it as is .

The problem with the amp is it is putting out thirty watts instead of 300 . I bought the amp used and had it for one week . Then shipped it to him . It is being done free of charge because it is under warranty .

Any suggestions ? I feel helpless .
Some of it depends on how big the manufacturer is. If it's a one man shop he may be answering the phone, building new units and doing repairs. In that case, it's one of the realities of dealing w a boutique brand. If it's a bigger operation, that's another story. 3 months is a long time, but I've waited that long before. Sometimes it's a matter of getting parts from a supplier, whatever. So not totally out of line, IMO. Frustrating but not totally out of line.
Maplegrovemusic, maybe we have the same amp??? Email me.
I feel this person at least owes a quick look to get an idea of the problem and in turn give you a time frame.

I've learned to take this whole hobby with a grain of salt. Many years ago I even pre-paid a small boutique manufacturer for repairs which he could not fix and never refunded my money. This person was very well respected , so I was pretty shocked when I sent him $500 and he never fixed the unit. It took prodding to get him to even send the still non working unit back to me. I learned that at the time a lot of these designers are smart odd balls, who aren't the best on the phone or at customer service.

I later sold the unit here, as-is at a further loss.

Hang in there, hopefully if the repairs don't pan out, you are able to move on financially to another brand.
3 months is unacceptable. In recent years my service experiences have all been good. Bryston was unreal. I shipped an amp Monday and I had it back on Thursday. Rogue did a repair in a week including shipping. Magnum Dynalab was also very quick. I've had quick repairs from Pass also
Over 5 months for a popular tube preamplifier. The scope of work was agreed to and the parts needed were confirmed in stock and available for the work. I was quoted a two week turnaround. Even though I brought up their notorious reputation for long service times I was assured they had those problems but in this case the parts needed were in stock. I shipped the unit with a minimal down payment.

After the third week I was told a part vendor went out of business, and on and on. After that third week conversation I purchased a new preamplifier. After the fifth month I contacted the manufacture by mail to canceled the work and asked them to return the unit. I received the unit with the work completed a little over a week later and sold it unopened within a few days later.
Vicdamone reads like the preamp I bought here! The person bought it used and it arrived damaged. The buyer shipped it to the manufacturere VAC Valve Amplification Co. and then waited.. and waited. In the meantime the owner bought another preamp he liked a lot. So as soon as the VAc Standard came back he sold it (to ME! for a great price) and I have loved it ever since.

I would say a small manufacturer just has trouble. They have orders for new stuff and have to build it, and may have repair stuff too. Then life gets in the way.. Sleep, weddings, school for kids, etc. health too.
So I usually do not buy small boutique makers stuff. But the VAC has been great for years now. So i at least can say, even though a repiar may take five six months.. it is worht it if you can handlee it.
If not. Then do not buy from tiny companies.
(And even big companies may take just as long.)
Elizabeth is right, but if that small manufacturer has visions of growing, they had best get their customer service in order and not make it a second or low priorrity IMHO.
Elizabeth, unusually similar story but not my pre. I love dealing with little boutique works and have had honest service from all but this manufacturer.

As I said, they were, and still are, notoriously famous for pulling the ol' oki-doke for service. I find absolutely no excuse for lying, dodging messages, and emails. I recall taking to using strange phones to avoid their caller ID which worked well but the hook was already set.

In the end a formal letter sent signature required mail seemed to stoke the fire. Damn silly actually.
Maybe none. If the unit is under warranty, most will simply replace it and later sell the unit, repaired, as 'B'Stock.
Too much high end pricing for low end service in this industry. Too be fair, there are some notable exceptions, that do provide outstanding service.
Same as Mchd1 above. One of the manufacturers that spoiled you is demonstrating very poor customer service to me. In my emails, I mentioned that I have both their cables and speakers - and still no response. Isn't there an expression that it's cheaper to keep an old customer than to find a new one?
I didn't read every response and don't know if the mystery manufacturer has been identified. I do know who it is. The company (JR) manufacturers very good equipment BUT the company is based upon the 1 or 2 men and a dog business model. The top dog does everything: invents new designs, new products, repairs warranty and out of warranty items, maintains the parts inventory, even does the marketing at trade shows. There may be a girl who occasionally answers the phone. After a 2-3 month wait for a repair, I sold the gear and refrained from purchasing a highly acclaimed $13k pre-amp. What happens if the top dog dies??
I won't buy gear from a mini operation. I need my gear to be in it for the long haul. But then again, manufacturers of all sizes have gone belly up.