Tell us your worst audio dealer or mfr. experience.


Please tell us the worst experience you've had with a Dealer, Manufacturer or both and what actions were needed and what the outcome was.
I'm sure there are many interesting horror stories.
Interested to hear all.
dbyni
Zanden Audio and The Audio Shoppe in Mass.
Hot rod audio mods
The worst audio experience I've ever had was at Stereo Exchange in NYC. Some water got tracked into the store because it was raining and I slipped and went down right on my ass. Pain like I never felt.
Dave Gordon at Audio Research flat out lied to me (I was a customer). I will never forget it and I will tell everyone I know.
I agree, there are some 'slippery' sales people at the Stereo Exchange.
Sound by Singer. Carried Audio Valve, but when my amps needed repair, it took 3 phone calls just to get someone to answer my question about repair. Let's just say they were not interested in assisting me in any way. I had to find repair work on my own. I was willing to pay whatever price it took to fix these, so price was not an issue.

They just refused to stand behind the product and were unbelievably arrogant as a bonus.

I don't want to get started on Tim Paravincini, but I needed
a replacement part and his personal behavior (not the amp) caused me to fix it and dump it because I didn't ever want anything in my system that reminded me of his incredible
behavior over a simple broken part for one of his amps.
Wow talk about a negative rap.
"05-03-15: Buconero117
I agree, there are some 'slippery' sales people at the Stereo Exchange."

Actually, its the owner that's slippery.
Jtinn, what did the guy at Audio Research say to you?
With the best of intentions, I dealt with David Wasserman, the owner of Stereo Exchange in NYC - I bought a pair of used Eggleston Rosa speakers from him here on Audiogon.
He was VERY patient, professional and accommodating. I took weeks to finally pick them up due to my business schedule and me not being readily available. It was a very positive experience - he established my trust and confidence.
I highly recommend David.
I am sincerely sorry to hear about Zd542 slipping and falling - we've all had that unpleasant experience. Not fun :-(
Only good wishes, TJF.
I don't want to get started on Tim Paravincini, but I needed
a replacement part and his personal behavior (not the amp) caused me to fix it and dump it because I didn't ever want anything in my system that reminded me of his incredible
behavior over a simple broken part for one of his amps.
I hear ya! In this cottage industry, I dump anything if not happy with the company.

I'm a big fan of EAR and glad never had to deal with Tim Paravincini directly.
"He was VERY patient, professional and accommodating. I took weeks to finally pick them up due to my business schedule and me not being readily available. It was a very positive experience - he established my trust and confidence.
I highly recommend David."

At least Dave's starting to figure out how to take care of customers. He almost went out a few years ago when a new Best Buy opened up near the store. He's one of the few owners in the entire industry, that doesn't know anything about audio. For him, its just a business. Its very rare in that most people that open an audio store do so because they're really into the equipment.
Sonic Frontiers and Chris Johnson.
I paid big dollars for their CD transport. I think at the time it was $1800.
But, once I received the unit, it would play maybe one CD out of 5.

I sent it to Canada at my cost for repair and after many months of pleading to him to repair/return the unit, it was returned just the same way that I sent it.

Chris Johnson claimed I was using defective CD discs.

I found out later, Sonic Frontiers was using a Phillips transport that was known to have problems.

I can see why Sonic Frontiers went out of business...
I'm surprised to read the negative posts about David and Stereo Exchange in NYC. Let me explain my experience.

After winning the Audiogon auction for a pair of Eggleston Rosa speakers, David was kind enough to hold the speakers for over a month due to my business schedule of extended travel.

David also held my check and agreed to allow me to pay cash.

My business travel was none stop and I only had an early Sunday morning to meet, so David agreed to meet me at the store at 8 am on a Sunday.

While I was there, and after inspecting the speakers, I was interested in the different brands Stereo Exchange carried which I wasn't familiar with. David was kind enough to discuss the brands, their strengths and in what systems they were typically used by his clients. He compared the brands I was not familiar with brands I was (VAC, Rogue, Rodgers with Audio Research - and Focal with Sonus Faber, etc). This in spite of him having an appointment he needed to get to.

It was a good experience and David was professional and friendly, dependable and polite. He did what he said and went through a great effort to accomplish a small sale (I got the speakers at a steal!).

A very positive experience, one I will always remember. David has my confidence and trust.

Only good wishes, TJF.
"I found out later, Sonic Frontiers was using a Phillips transport that was known to have problems.

I can see why Sonic Frontiers went out of business...
Ozzy (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

Did you have one of those iris transports? They looked neat but I wouldn't want to have to fix one if it broke.
"Jtinn
Dave Gordon at Audio Research flat out lied to me (I was a customer). I will never forget it and I will tell everyone I know."

How bout some details?
Wow, this guy Tim Paravincini must be the biggest asshole in all of audio. I have *never* read a single good thing about him. I'd rather contract ebola than to deal with him...
I must say this in defense of Mr. Paravincini: maybe I haven't yet met the biggest asshole in the industry...
I second Sound By Singer....By FAR my worst experience I ever had with a dealer or anyone else on the internet. Andrew is the ultimate "used car salesman" of the audio industry. If his lips are moving, he is lying.
Andy Singer really wonderful HO HO!!
AV South in Tampa. Any time I've gone or shopped them. Never again.
Many condescending attitudes out there but most are nice. That's about the worst thing I've experienced
Anyone remember the Audio Pimp (Johnny B)??
Andy Singer proclaming he had the best ears in the world at the Krell Evo 1 introduction back in 2006.
05-04-15: Linkster
Anyone remember the Audio Pimp (Johnny B)??
LOL! Who could forget? How many of you turned a blind eye and fell for his antics?
Pimp banner
Pompous Ass
Manufacturer Entry: Purepower in Canada....'nuff said as the saying goes. There are other threads on this forum that describe why.
Let's talk Audible Illusions and Art Ferris. I called with a bad channel and he said to send my Modulus in. I did so. Three months later he could not find my preamp.

He finally figured out that it was at the home of one of his associates, also named Art, who did repair work for him.

Almost four months, and half a dozen phone calls later, it was back and, surprisingly, worked. I don't remember the exact cost, and my memory may well be colored by my ire, but the cost was quite venturesome.
Linkster, what ever happened to the Pimp?
I had a very negative experience with Green Mountain Audio. Yes, the founder and owner Roy is a very nice guy. But as a business owner some fundamentals were missing when I dealt with him.

The process from start of my order to when the speakers were finally delivered went 3 weeks past the original promised date. I would receive assurance "the speakers will ship early next week"...I would call that Wednesday and be told "oh no, sorry, will be next week". That went on for 3 consecutive weeks.

Finally when they shipped, the driver of one of the drivers was 100% defective. I called and wanted a replacement shipped express so I could have prior to vacation and my shipper account was used without him asking to reimburse me in any way and it was his defective speaker. I was going to assume the difference between ground and expedited but he never asked or seemed to care.
"Linkster, what ever happened to the Pimp?"
I think he became a congressman.
No he got some hookers moved to Vegas.
"05-03-15: Tjassoc
I'm surprised to read the negative posts about David and Stereo Exchange in NYC. Let me explain my experience."

It looks like he may have changed. Unfortunately, he didn't always do the right thing like he did for you.
"05-05-15: Ebm
No he got some hookers moved to Vegas."

Why did he get the hookers and then move to Vegas? Why not just use Vegas hookers?
Vegas doesn't need any more hookers. There are thousands there.
According to one source Johnny Boey, the self styled Audio Pimp, was supposedly on the wanted list by NY and Louisiana not long before he vanished after MSS Hifi was shut down. Back in 2003 he was arrested at his home but somehow got off, although according to another source he had done time behind bars at once or more for other things. Slippery character to say the least and the last person I'd ever want to do business with. To those of you who did, what were you thinking?
Do a search on PurePower in these forums, you will get all the details regarding their product and service.

For years, all the magazines and industry heavyweights have pushed why we should support brick-and-mortar retailers. Well, I purchased a turntable from this well-established dealer in Hawaii. The whole experience was terrible, and the guy just give empty promises one after another. I ended up hooking up with another dealer just so I could buy parts that were missing and get broken parts fixed to get it to work.

I had filed against both with Better Business Bureaus and Consumer Protection Agencies, but they both have no power whatsoever.

FrankC
I get what you're saying about having a bad experience, but is it fair to condemn all retailers because of it? Also, if you don't have any good local dealers, I can recommend some excellent dealers that will do the right thing by you.
CSA Audio, Montclair, NJ, 35 years ago. Paid in full for an Audio Research RPR-1 with faceplate that they were to order for me. Weeks passed and when I called them, they gave me hassle and excuses. I went to the store, and when they finally admiited they hadn't ordered it yet and couldn't give me a delivery date, I asked for a refund. Mind you, I was as polite as could be. They asked me to leave and when I repeated my request for a refund, they called the cops!

I then called ARC and had the unit - it was the last they had - shipped to another ARC dealer. (Audio Advocate in Millburn.)

CSA did finally refund my money. I never did business with them again.
Cleeds: Who at CSA did you deal with back then? Was it a guy named Dale?
In all fairness to CSA, it should be noted that the ownership changed many years ago.
I don't recall the name of the person I dealt with - but it was one of the owners. Certainly, it's fair to note that the store's ownership has changed, if that's true. But, I've since found other audio stores who have earned my respect and business, so there's no reason at all for me to return to return to CSA.
It's not really a bad experience but a frustrating one. I called one of my dealers (name withheld because it is not so bad) to suggest a cartridge for my tonearm - that I bought from him a while back. Said on the phone, I will get back to you. 2 weeks pass and I call another retailer who carries my arm and table, talked good options and bought one on the phone.

Never heard back from the other, have bought several things from him over the years and there always seems to be a delay or snafu - no sense of urgency. When an audiophile is ready to buy it is time to sell him something!
I was also in CSA in about 2012, walked in one day during the week introduced myself and said I was speaker shopping. Could not get the guy to get off his chair and come around the front counter.

Went upstairs looked around by myself, asked about the speakers- can't remember the brand. Answered my questions, never got up so I left. It was not an owner. I later e-mailed the owner to inquire about a Shindo preamp and never got a reply - maybe he did not get it, certainly possible. But that was it for me. I have had too many good experiences to chase down unpleasant ones.
Avatar Acoustics. Far and away. Returned an AMR CD77.1 after repair and mods to me and it arrived damaged beyond repair. I asked to make a claim with UPS and Darren told me he only insured it for $50. He had charged me for the shipping...my bad, I thought it would be insured(!?). He them tried to guide me through repairs. Things kept going wrong the machine over the course of weeks and I suggested he provide some compensation towards a new machine. He flew into a petulant rage, full of a wide range of excuses and took absolutely no responsibility.

When I suggested we speak with AMR, his petulance took on a new, more vibrant hue and he declared he would no longer deal with me after we had both contacted Vincent Luke at AMR. VInce was amazing and generous. He offered to settle for Darren by providing me with a new DP777SE at a significant discount.

After a little under a year, the first SE was sent to Avatar. Darren kept it "for shows." Vince thought it was meant for me. Darren had turned communications onver to his wife, then his assistant, myself, and Vince.

After a year, an SE arrived. I listed it for sale unopened since, In the meantime, I purchased an Aesthetix Romulus, had it modded at the factory and was (am) enjoying it quite a lot. Besides, I had (have) no interest in dealing with Darren ever again. VInce thought listing it right away shed a bad light on AMR and suggested Avatar sell it for me. After 6 weeks of no movement, they passed it back to me....

Without a transferrable warranty, I opened it and it didn't work. It was suggested by Avatar that I check fuses, etc. No thank you! I at least still had the warranty. I returned it, it was a simple fix with the 240/120 switch in the wrong position, but I took my money back and let them keep it.

Never an apology, never a moment of taking responsibility. I'm still both shocked and dismayed. Prior to this, Darren had been very generous with his time and knowledge, but when it came time for him to step up as a responsible seller...let alone dealer and national distributor.. he not only disappeared, but aggressively avoided taking any responsibility whatsoever.

AMR UK was amazingly standup even though it wasn't their responsibility, but why they would keep Avatar onboard with this kind of behavior is beyond me.

Steer clear of Avatar would be my advice.
Years ago I was shopping speakers for my sister and her husband. I called Fidelis AV in NH on a pair of used speakers for info and schedule an audition. The salesman said speakers are boxed, he doesn't want to take them and set them up for an audition. Then said internet buyers don't need to audition before purchase so why do need to? If they don't sell in 3 or 4 weeks, then I'll take them out for you. I was SHOCKED!

Fidelis AV has moved several times in NH since so not sure if the salesman still works there.

Recently I decided to replace all my PCs and emailed 2 local BM (MA and NH) for Shunyata Sigma/Alpha to demo. They never replied and loss out on $15K+ of sales. No plans in trying to support local BM any longer.
Knghifi, it's the same way in Los Angeles with a lot of dealers. They always complain how bad business is but when you give them a chance to earn your business they don't want to go out of there way.
Avatar Acoustics shipped my AMR CD77.1 back to me by UPS and it was broken beyond reasonable repair. Even though the shipping was at my expense, Darren sent it uninsured. He was completely unwilling to take any responsibility and became petulant and offended that any compensation should be offered. When I offered to contact AMR to see what they were willing to do, he accused me of going behind his back (?!). AMR was reasonable, offering me a heavily discounted DP777SE when they were released. It took a over a year and it was still more money out of my pocket, but AMR was pretty stand up about it.

Darren left all communication to first his wife, then his assistant. To be fair, he had been very informative and helpful for years up until that point. When he had to step up as a reasonable seller, let alone dealer and national distributor, he was full of excuses and misplaced indigence. Really outrageous and disappointing behavior.

There it is...my worst experience by a long shot.
Budburma, good to know. I have thought about buying one of their pre-owned units in the past. My concern was service after the sale. After reading what you wrote I am glad I didn't.
David Wasserman of Stereo Exchange in NYC demonstrated his commitment to keeping a customer when he assisted me with a problem I had with my brand new McIntosh MC275 Mark VI amplifier.  

Nothing more than a bad tube, but McIntosh customer support/service treated me as though I were an inconvenience.  This will be the last piece of McIntosh equipment I will own. Stereo Exchange will sell me my next amplifier.  Soon!
USA tube audio.  Bought Ayon cd2s.  Numbers and letters started to come off remote. Called and spoke with them they laughed at me. Were rude on top of that