Very Bad purchase from upscale audio Acoustic Zen Adagio


This was not my first purchase from Kevin Deal at Upscale audio. I am a entry level audiophile. My PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP and Dialogue Premium Preamplifier have given many hours of enjoyment. I have purchased well over 1K in tubes from Kevin. This purchase took me over the 10K mark with Upscale Audio. I am not a rookie to audio or tube amplification. I have had a successful tube amp repair and design shop since 1993. 
My concern.
Here is the description of the Acoustic Zen Adagio from Upscale audio's website.
This pair of Adagio's from our demo room are also the last pair of Adagio's in our inventory. The Adagio is such a sweet sounding speaker and is perfect for those who really like to get inside the music. The pair we have are in the stunning Figure Red wood finish. The baffle style is the original (and better sounding) non-tapered baffle, as pictured. Price $2499.00 plus shipping
Ok.
I called Kevin and talked to him on the phone.  I asked him if he would entertain an offer. I told him that I had seen the same speakers offered on Audiogon and Audioasylum for considerably less.
He said I am a retail store and back my products. He also said this and I quote " Those people are just guys in their underwear scratching their asses." I am a store.
I trusted the description of the speakers and I trusted Kevin.
Total price. $2839.  $2499.00 plus $340.00 shipping to NC.
The speakers arrived and I couldn't wait to unpack them and hook them up. The packing was great. My anticipation was greater.
Left speaker Tweeter DOA. The same speaker had a shameful reject finish.  The lacquer was so clouded you can hardly see the wood figure. The back of the speaker was loaded with black specks under the lacquer. These speakers are seconds, rejects. I sent Kevin Deal 4 emails referring to the fact that this really was a bad deal.  It has been 3 days and no response.
On the other hand Robert Lee ( Owner of Acoustic Zen)  responded immediately to my email asking for help with the DOA Tweeter. I sent it off next day air to him and today responded that it is on it's way back  to me.
Somehow Kevin Deal's Train ran off the tracks so don't ask for your money back

rbogartr
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Based on my visits at UA, Kevin and his staff are good people.

Does sound odd that the condition of  the speaker wouldn’t be fully disclosed as such?

I wouldn’t be emailing. No luck calling him?

Now that he opened his superstore(more like an audio playground)
he's probably quite busy.


I'd believe Kevin is in for the long haul and wouldn't be trying to risk his (considerable) business for a quick buck. Wait until you talk to the man before freaking out.
Get your money back!   I live nearby his store and was considering a purchase.   Not any more.  The AZ Adagio Jr. is still a good speaker.  Buy it elsewhere.
What form of payment did you use?
Trust me i dealt with him before,  TMF is a racist!!  He would say things to get a sales, once you take that bite, good luck in finding that redneck for a refund.   I once got bitten by him it left a bad impression on his business.  Never again would i deal with that asshole!   I feel for you, hope everything works out well.  Happy Listening!  

Is Mr. Deal a member here? If so, maybe he will chime in this discussion.

I've talked to him before. He can be a real Dick.
Pick up the phone and call.  He's pretty easy to reach that way.
Do not like this Upscale Audio would never buy anything from them ill pass.
I talked to him once about some tubes.  When I finished talking, I said, "I don't need this."   Its not like I can't find respectful and customer oriented guys to send my money too.
I too found Deal irritating so I took my business elsewhere. Thankfully that led me to Andy Bouman of Vintage Tube Services. Andy is not only extremely knowledgeable about tubes and vintage gear ( anything audio actually) but very helpful and friendly........and has many "holy grail" NOS tubes and goes the extra mile in matching them.
I have bought a few items from UA.  One item I had an issue with (a phonostage) and Kevin immediately remedied the problem, plus threw in a second set of tubes (4 total).
Wow - this is the first time I've ever heard anything negative about Upscale.  I bought a Nitty Gritty machine and my Opera Callas monitors from them and probably a few other things and everything was exactly as represented.  I know Kevin can be rather outspoken, but that's another issue.  Sorry you had a problem.  Perhaps Kevin was unable to get to his emails for a couple of days?  I would be upset too, but 3 days isn't that much.  Good luck. 
If this were 1910, and you’d ordered something from the Sears catalog and not gotten a response by postal mail in three days, I’d tell you to wait. But in 2017, when most people have email on their phone, and at the very least most people with online businesses have either email on their phone or have a system to respond to online communications, 3 days = 3 months. Even if he’s on vacation or indisposed, there should be someone in place to respond to inquiries. I bet it didn’t take 3 days for him to respond when you wanted to make the purchase.
Thank you for posting. It will help others. On the other hand Robert Lee is known to be very helpful. I sent him an email (before buying AZ cables) and he responded instantly.
Kevin Deal left a VM and sent me an email today. He regretted the DOA Tweeter. He Stood by his claim that the Speakers were in beautiful condition. I emailed two photos to him showing that the speakers are not even the same color. One is that bright red clear finish you see in the ads, the other is a cloudy brownish finish with lacquer runs like when you hold a spray can too close and keep spraying. As far as the tweeter, that is not an issue. Robert Lee resolved that. I would post the pictures here but I do not know how. Anyway I am guessing this post is dead now, thanks for all your inputs. I can't wait to hear them when the tweeter arrives. You live and learn. I learned a lot on this purchase. 
So what is Mr Deal goin do about the bad finishes with the Speakers?
I would send Robert Lee some pics of the inferior finish. He might know what might have happened to the finish. Maybe it reacted with the packing? Who knows?
Bob
I see the DOA tweeter is being replaced but what about the finish where the lacquer was clouded  and the back of the speaker was loaded with black specks under the lacquer?   Based on this description and I would return these speakers to Upscale Audio.   

Is it possible the packing material and/or shipping caused these finish problems? Or, did the package receive some water damage during its shipment?  Since the tweeter was DOA, is it possible some kind of shipping damage occurred that caused these problems?   

I believe the best way toward a resolution is a phone call with Upscale Audio to discuss, review and get resolved.  Voice messages, emails and posting on Audiogon is not the solution (my opinion).    
As long as you contacted Upscale about the DOA tweeter within 48 hours after you received the speakers, then inform them that you are expecting them to honor their end of the terms and conditions as posted on their web site. They are obligated to either pay for the repairs or give you a full refund.

I talked once to Kevin from Upscale Audio on the phone. The man was a smart as and quite rude. I don’t plan on buying anything from him.

ozzy.

rbogartr, you wrote above,

"Anyway I am guessing this post is dead now, thanks for all your inputs. I can't wait to hear them when the tweeter arrives. You live and learn. I learned a lot on this purchase."  

I am confused about your saying above that this post is dead now.  Are you saying that now that Kevin knows about the situation he will repair or preferably refund you the money for the speaker purchase?  Or are you saying you are going to live with the ugly speakers with the new tweeter and accept you were ripped off?  Or are you saying that he offered you money to keep or for you to repair the speakers cosmetically?

If its anything but you are sending the speakers back for a full refund forget about it.  Also, you really should provide the final resolution to this situation because you may not know it but a lot of people who currently deal with Kevin may not in the future if this is not ultimately resolved in a professional manner.


If the finish is bad on one of the speakers, Upscale should take them back. Send pictures to Kevin Deal and Mr. Lee. Mr. Lee should be able to help convince Kevin to resolve this problem. I would ask Mr. Lee to get involved.
The first and last time I talked to this guy he came across as arrogant and pretentious. I had some questions about some tubes in an amp I had that he was a dealer for at the time and his basic responses was "look man I know nothing about these amps, I just sell them and as far as the tubes go I could'nt tell you much about those either cause their just not very cool tubes".

If you can't just return the speakers, and the finish is disturbing you, bear in mind that the speaker can be excellently refinished by a furniture refinisher....I know that would be an expense, but sometimes if there is no other way, its best just not to be aggravated and to move on.
Stringreen, You have hit a home run. A lousy looking finish on a speaker is really infinitesimal in the grand Scheme. My wife went for a annual physical and was told she had 3 months to live from a rare form of cancer.. She only made it 2. The last thing on her mind would have been a poor finish on a speaker. I figure I paid about $500.00 too much for these speakers. The cost of an emergency room visit. I can't devote the time or emotion to try to recover my loss. Like you posted " its best just not to be aggravated and to move on"  Wise words. Thank you.

I've managed to go awhile without a major life's setback, I am truly sorry for your loss rbogartr.  We do all handle things differently.  In your situation I would feel like screaming in his face.  Your a nice guy and if we have the whole he story someone has done you really wrong and for a lot more than $500.  I have been a member here for so many years I can't remember, and having a successful person act like this is pretty close to an all time low.

rbogart, I'm sorry and I can understand that in scope of things pursuing this is not that important, but you already met your goal - telling others about dishonest seller.  I cannot imagine anybody putting speakers into boxes and not realizing color is different.
rbogartr-
I'm very sorry for your loss.  It sounds like you are not letting the tragedy define your life and I applaud you for that.  My wife went for her annual and her OB/GYN immediately found a stage 2 tumor that her annual mammographer "missed".  5 surgeries, 6 rounds of strong chemo and 12 years later, she is doing fine, but we lost her sister/best friend to a rare cancer 2 years ago.  It does teach you to put things into perspective, but you also should not have to put up with this kind of bad behavior.  Kudos to Robert Lee for stepping up.  I agree that you should give Kevin a call and talk to him about it.  He may have some photos of the speakers that may help determine if it was some kind of shipping damage.  I can understand a B&M dealer being put off by having an Audiogon price being used as a negotiating chip, but you could point out to him that Audiogon at least attempts to resolve disputes when items are not as advertised.  f it's shipping damage, as the shipper, it's his responsibility to initiate a claim and to make you whole while it is being processed.  If he still does not step up, and if you paid via paypal or cc, I would go through their process to obtain a refund.  With paypal, the process is heavily weighted in the buyer's favor.  Your credit card issuer will give you a temporary credit while investigating. 

Best of luck.  You sound like the kind of guy I would want as a customer if I were in retail. 
How did you pay?
With Paypal you could always make a claim and return them to the store, you may even have the same chance with paying through a credit card comp....
I second the endorsement of Andy at Tube Vintage Services....have never been dissapointed and would not consider shopping elsewhere.
Kevin Deal has answered with photos over at Audio Asylum.

https://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=speakers&m=354793
All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
And all that you love
And all that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
And all that you give
And all that you deal
And all that you buy
Beg, borrow or steal
And all you create
And all you destroy
And all that you do
And all that you say
And all that you eat
And everyone you meet (everyone you meet)
And all that you slight
And everyone you fight
And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that's to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon
 Pink Floyd - Eclipse Lyrics 
from my experiences and knowledge; one speaker apparently was exposed to sunlight. Looking from these pixs ( worked on car paint and finished clear coat). from my very own eyes, yes they do look different,  both speakers are not a matched pair.   Either way; buyer should be aware, and Mr. Shady Deal should let the buyer knows before hand.  Send it back to the manufacture see if they can buff the clear coat out. Mr. Shady Deal should take care of that for you. End of the story!
Based on Deals response at AA he regrets that the tweeter didnt work and let Acoustic Zen deal with it. He doesn't take any responsibility for the finish. In Deals typical snarky manner he makes a disparaging remark about the buyer and because he felt uneasy when talking to him before the sale he took pics of the speakers before shipping. If he felt so uneasy about the transaction he shouldn't have gone through with it. He may be right that the speakers left his store in good condition but his refusal to take any responsibility for their condition upon arrival speaks volumes about him and his ethics.....or lack thereof. 
Just want this to end. But I do need to respond to Kevin Deal's post with pictures that I was able to post on Audioasylum.
https://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/bbs.mpl 
https://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=speakers&m=354793
My post above, contains a link, that will take you to the thread on AA with photos of both speakers from Kevin Deal and the original poster.
In my experience, the atomization of the lacquer was off by a hair when the milky one was sprayed. Dried in the air a bit. Probably.

(I had to spray many prototype rear projection video screens when I was working on the Goo Systems product development. A tougher spraying job is probably impossible to find. I was not an expert in spraying when I began. But I sure as hell was when I ended. However, my knowledge is self taught and self discerned, so caveat emptor)
Illuminating thread. rbogartr, you want it to end and I promise this will be my first and last post on the topic. Consumers have power when they communicate with each other. You helped others by starting the thread. Thank you. BTW I see the cloudiness in every picture posted. A dealer should always tell the truth about their products. rbogartr listened to the dealer, believed him, paid the asking price and was treated unfairly. Hats off to the manufacturer who responded responsibly.
https://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=speakers&m=354793
One last post with picture. Hard to capture on a cell phone but that's not whip cream on the edges, that's sloppy spay can run.
Even Kevin's photos show the dullness of one speaker compared to the other. In the first photo, the duller one is in front of the shiny one and it's plainly obvious. How he could miss it is beyond me. I hope the new tweeter goes a long way towards your listening pleasure.

As for the bad side, speaker placement can go a long way towards hiding it from regular sight lines. Best of luck.

All the best,
Nonoise
I have bought and sold a pretty good amount of products here on the 'Gon from other guys like myself who sit around in our underwear scratching our asses all day.  I have yet to have a bad experience, let alone an experience that couldn't be worked out. 

Don't like the cut of that man's jib!
I have purchased well over 1K in tubes from Kevin. This purchase took me over the 10K mark with Upscale Audio. OP
Let’s not forget the OP’s $10K in purchases. Isn’t that a factor in this business relationship?
The tweeter we didn’t check because we never used these speakers in the store that I recall. Kevin Deal., Audio Asylum
Before the speakers were packed, couldn’t somebody check to see if they worked? Doesn’t the showroom have demo systems set up?
If he has an issue with the type of finish a speaker might have he shouldn’t buy demos from across the country. Kevin Deal, Audio Asylum
Let’s not forget pride of ownership. The mis-matched paint job is very obvious in the OP’s photos. Also, it’s obvious in Kevin Deal’s photos that the window reflections on the high gloss finish is camouflaging the actual discrepancies. Those pictures were simply for shipping insurance purposes.
"The listing on my website was a mistake at $2499. They were supposed to be $2999." Kevin Deal, Audio Asylum
Besides not noticing the bad tweeter, the mis-matched colors and the bad clear coat - why not add the price tag, too. Very impressive.
With great dealers like John @ AC, Alan @ Audiowaves, Taylor @ Goldprint.....why buy from this idiot!?  I know because he sells Acoustic Zen.  Perhaps look at a different AZ dealer or look for a different speaker.  Let's face it despite some of the accolades given to Kevin @ UA, he really is an idiot so why deal with him?  He's not the Zen of tubes like many think he is.
I once talke to Kevin a few years ago for the first time and after I told him what system I have, he  immediately put down my system and he made me feel like I wasted my money and should have bought from him instead. I have McIntosh system and Vandersteen speakers that is love very much. I also have a Friend that received the racist impression by Kevin from Upscale. 
A few years ago I bought some tubes for my Integrated from Kevin Deal. Although I went ahead with the purchase and the tubes were fine, he talked down to me throughout most of the conversation. One of his comments was "Nobody does what I do" (regarding tubes). I got the impression that he is very fond of himself. My next purchase was from Andy at Vintage.  
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Andy at Vintage is a national treasure. I hope that he lives to be 110.