What is the right thing here................

Thanks for pitching in.

I have been buying, selling, and upgrading for about 2 years now. I have done so with very few issues, although, tough for anyone to say no issues. This deal was not made from AudioGon, but I would like your years of experience as help.

This problem is about ethics, more than anything.

I had a set of B&W 801 Anniversary edition speakers.
Great physical shape, with no problems. Used for about a year, I had been running them with a McIntosh MC-352, a Citation Audio 7.1, and until they sold last week, a Jeff Rowland Model 7. They had performed flawlessly the entire time.

I bought them from the original owner, a person (a local dentist) that replaced them with Wilson Slams.

Anyway, he informed me that he had to have the dealer replace a sub driver when one blew in 1994/5. No problem, I suppose that happens, althought I have not experienced this situation.

Someone locally wanted to buy the speakers, and I told them to come look, and listen. He refused to make the drive (an hour, tops) from San Jose to Orinda, DOT. He didn't have a car, then the car he did have was broken down, then he didn't have time, etc. Since I didn't want to lift them by myself, I would not deliver them, which for something lighter, I would no problem. An hour seemed like nothing to insure your $2,500 investment, right?

He wanted me to have a company ship them, so I did. They picked them up, and drove them to SJ. Like any other transaction, I was prepaid, $2,500. Fair for the speakers, with stands, both in great shape.

He called me the NEXT day and told me the speakers were blown, the subs. He said it was blown and there was no way for me to know, it was so minor and that he pushed it over the edge, or some garbage like this. He has a Krell KAS amp (a large amp he explained). When he removed the drivers, he said one was not even the matching driver. I had the grills on the entire time, and have NEVER had a problem with the drivers at all.

The speakers worked fine for a year here, and they worked when he got them. Granted, the different driver thing seems wrong, but, the question is this:

He has asked me to either cover the cost of new drivers or return the speakers for a full refund.

I know what my thoughts are, what are yours?

Trying to be the honest individual I am,
If it was me in this situation I would pay for the drivers. The fact that they didn't match reflects badly although its not your fault. How much are new drivers?
Cover the cost of replacing the damaged drivers and then change your email and phone number when all is said and done. Otherwise, I think that you will find that this guy is a certified "P.I.T.A." in the long run.

Before agreeing to do so, i would make it clear to him that the speakers were fully functional at the time of delivery. Not only that, there is no written or verbal warranty that covers physical or electrical abuse. Big amp or not, it is pretty tough to pop a good quality woofer unless something goes haywire. As such, you will be a nice guy and cover his idiocy on this one occasion, but that you better never hear from him again.

After this, learn your lesson about dealing with idiots that are too busy to care about anything. The only reason that they don't care is because they don't take responsibility for anything. As such, it's easy to blow things off and let someone else worry about it. Trust your instincts and abide by them. God gave them to you for a good reason. Sean

Hummm..I don't know what this guy's game is but if you feel confident that you sent him good quality speakers (ie. not on the verge of a "blown woofer") then i would let him sweat it out a bit. Let him huff and puff. But like Sean says you may find him a "P.I.T.A." in the long run. New woofers are probably going to be like $400/pr. For me that's alot. If you got to dig deep for this kind of money make him a final offer to pay half. Another alternative is to have them shipped back to you (he pays shipping) and i can offer you some suggestions on using the cabinets for a new driver "kit" selection. I am finding out as well there are all kinds of people in this world. LOL
You never had any problems so assume that both the woofers were good when you sold them. Now BOTH are supposedly blown out in one day? I would cover for HALF of the non-matching driver only, at best, if even that. No labor or shipping either.
If the amplification he used was within the speaker manufacturers recommendations, then I agree with Wloeb.
Thanks so far. The drivers are $600 per pair he says. Odd, when I call B&W, they are $500 each. Maybe he is a better negotiator. Either way, $600 is alot of cash.
I feel that one driver being from the Anniversary series, and the other from the 801F or 801 80 series is wrong.
I might, might being the key word here, be willing to go that route. If I had been given the choice, I would rather refund his money completely, take the speakers in the condition I sold them to him back, and start over. They have no value to me with blown drivers, and $600 doesn't seem fair.

Other opportunities?

Perhaps having him ship the speakers back, giving him a refund, and then examining and fixing the speakers at your lesuire (perhaps just to resell them) is the best thing. This way you wash your hands of this person. What if next week the tweeters blow? Or he notices a 'blemish' that 'must have been there when you shipped it', etc.

$600 isn't fair, as you say. Maybe you can do the same as the first owner, replace the blown driver with a cheaper 'copy', and then inform whoever you sell it to next about this (and likely have to reduce the price a little).

Best of luck.
Hi Dan,

Since we spoke about everything from audio to racing cars, it's clear to me that this is not an, "your an idiot and didn't notice issue", but a slimy or ignorant buyer issue. I think that this deserves a personal inspection at the buyer's home. It's too convenient a problem. Go inspect personally. It's either true or not. Either way, you get to eyeball the buyer and determine whether you trust and believe him.

It's easy enough to make the decision at that time.

If he's being truthful, I'm certain you won't have any difficulty with how to resolve the matter.

Best wishes,

Bill E.
Thanks Bill!! We did have a great chat, thanks!

I like that idea, it may be just the way to go. I am leaning on picking up the cost of one driver. Originally I had thought of depreciating the cost of the used driver (since it did have some value before it blew) and backing that out of the cost of a new one. Can you tell I worked for an insurance company for 15 years and now in Finance?

Anyway, I posted this just to see if I was that far off base in my logic, excluding that last statement about depreciating the sub.

Thanks to all that have responded and to those yet to do so.

Just his attitude before purchase 'screams' problem buyer. But it is OK, you kind of knew it, but ignored your instincts BEFORE you sold them your speakers. I would return his money, and take the speakers back. If you partialy refund him, or replace drivers... troubles with him, might not end there?! Good Luck!
The likelihood of both drivers blowing at the same time-frame as a result of driver failure is probably incalculable. You sent them working…end of discussion! This is clearly a user error or one of the truly unique happenings in our lifetime...in the universe.

On the changed driver…did you hide that it was changed? If not you owe him nothing unless you tried to say that everything was “original”. I mean you probably should proactively reveal something like that but technically it doesn’t make you liable for anything unless you mislead him. Was it an authorized change by B&W? If so, I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. Did it ever sound sonically off to you? Probably not so again, don’t feel guilty.

If on the other hand, you feel guilty because you think you should have proactively revealed the change, then offer to pay for 1 driver…$300 (half the pair price) and make sure you get something in writing (email) from the buyer that this settles your account. Be clear that you are offering to pay because you feel responsible for the driver difference NOT because they went bad. Even if you talk on the phone, say it again in email and save your email coorespondence.

If you don’t feel guilty but just want to be a good guy then offer ½ or ½.

If you decide to visit (which I don't think is needed) call and show up as soon after telling him as possible. In other words, call, ask, drive and see him in an hour. I might even take a change and not call until i was in town.

Just some thoughts...good luck.

Bbtuna -

Thanks for the comments. I never did actually know of any different drivers. The change, I was told, was by a B&W dealer that used to be in Walnut Creek, CA. It would appear, based on what I am told, the repacement driver was from a different series. You are correct, I do feel guilty, but only because a good deal only happens when BOTH parties are satisfied. I want to do the right thing, as I think life works out better for you if you live your life on the straight and narrow, or is it arrow?

For what it is worth, I, and everyone else that has listened to my stereo, includes a writer/review from Home Theater magazine (not that this means anything) have never noticed a difference. Heck, would the drivers even look any different?

Anyway, I like the 1/2 split if this is what makes everyone happy. I do NOT think I am liable for such, but if this is what it takes, then MAYBE I will give.

I will ponder and keep reading suggestions/thoughts.

Thanks again.
Personally, I think you're getting screwed by a jerk but I admire your commitment to taking the high road.

I only sell (and, after two horrendous ebay experiences, only buy) within driving distance. My sales are always "as is, where is" and the buyer is welcome to ask as many questions and do as much evaluation as he desires before writing me a check. Once the check is in my hands, the deal is done and I don't care if he finds an osprey nest in the crossover box, it's his. I print this plainly on the bill of sale and I don't accept the check until the bill of sale is signed.

I've never had a disagreement resulting from this way of doing things.

Hi Dan, I would go for trying to get him to split the cost of the new driver, if that is fruitless then I would go get the speakers, refund the money and end this business relationship. It sounds like you're reasonable and it sounds like he maybe isn't - you can't do anything about that so don't waste your time trying. 600 bucks to me is not worth dealing with what could be a major P.I.T.A. - good luck.
i think if you want the full benefit of a new product,you should pay full retail, at a store,in the used market it is the buyer and seller that both need to be aware,did he ask if the speakers had been repaired etc ,speakers do not come with a service history,i have bought off audiogon twice,the first time I was not that happy,but I never asked the right ? that is not the sellars problem,I left the guy + feedback,i do not to like to pay retail,if the buyer did not ask if the speakers had been repaired correctly,it is not your problem,and for you to offer to help with the payment of the drivers,he should be happy,good luck,
I like the bill of sale idea, I will have to take that into consideration for the future. This is good for both parties since you know when the deal begins and ends. Even if you are not selling, it would be a good idea. Porshecab should probably do the same to close this deal out either way he goes so he has proof of a closed deal.

problem with Pops idea, and several others, is that the seller ends up getting a pair of speakers back that have fried drivers which is NOT the condition he sent them in. Why should the seller take this hit, it just isn't right; high road or no. Compromise a little to be big but don't eat a bad persons problem, they will never learn the lesson of consequence for action.

How about sharing the name of the dealer who did such a shabby job replacing the woofer in the first place. As they were not DOA, it seems to me that this flim flam procedure is the root of your problem. With out this obvious inconsistentcy there would be no issue with perceived deceit. I personally believe you to be sincere. However, if I were the buyer and the item failed shortly (next day!) after purchase only to discover the specific fault was with parts that were other than I what I was sold, I would be most skeptical. As you were told that a replacement was installed at your time of purchase, perhaps a close inspection was in order. Did you relay this information to your buyer prior to sale? If so, then it's a moot point , he knew there were risks involved. If not, the I feel the honorable thing to do is either pay to bring them to spec or have him return the speakers for a full refund.
The more I think of it, the idea that both woofers were blown after you sent them out in good working condition is incredulous. The replacement of the inappropriate woofer is appropriate compensation. Shame on the dealer!
Dan tell him to ship the drivers back to you so you can inspect them. If they are indeed blown, you should replace them.

Sounds funny that both drivers blew at the same time. Bring them back to a speaker repair place or to B&W and they'll tell you exactly how they were blown.

If it was a misuse on his part, you should NOT pay for the repair.
I am somewhat skeptical about the accuracy of your purchaser's claims that the subs are blown and one is mismatched, and about his request to you for cash compensation. As a safeguard against the possibility of an unjustified request for compensation, you might consider offering the following alternative approach. You and the purchaser could identify and agree upon a factory-authorized repair center within reasonable driving distance. He could deliver or ship the speakers to that repair center. If they examined the speakers, and found them to be damaged or mismatched as claimed, you would pay the factory-authorized center for the repairs, rather than making direct cash payment to your purchaser. If, however, he refused to have the speakers subjected to an independent inspection by an objective third party such as a factory-authorized repair center, or if they inspected the speakers and found them to be undamaged, properly matched, or damaged by abuse, then you would have a reasonable basis for declining to meet his demand for compensation, based on his unwillingness to submit his claims to third-party evaluation or upon the independently determined lack of justification for his demands. Selecting a mutually acceptable factory-authorized repair center would protect both of your interests, by assuring each of you that the third party making the determination was honest and unbiased. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you good luck -- this doesn't sound like a very happy situation.
it doesn't matter why how they were blown, just that they were NOT blown at the sellers house. this is a buyer issue
Yeah, I am leaning towards the buyer beware side more than not. The part I find amazing so, it not that drivers are different, although that is odd, but that I had them for over a year with NO problems, and within 1/2 day, he has issues with them?

I am considering a $200 good faith gesture, with all in writing up front.

Not the best situation, but this is how I am leaning.

I thought that 99% of the time speakers are blown from distortion, not power as he has stated.

I would tend to agree with 02pete. If I shipped them out working, I would want to KNOW that they were blown, and not from abuse, before I paid for a repair. Assumming that they are, in fact, blown, not abused, I would pay for 50% of repair, since you delivered them in working order. BTW, does this guy have any feedback by which you can verify his bona-fides. Since its only an hour away, at a bare minimum, I would insist on a physical inspection. Tell him to bring them back if he wants any compensation. Even if he bought them new at retail, he would have to deliver them to the dealer or repair station at his expense, for a warranty repair. I agree with doing the right thing, but in this case, it seems like the ONLY thing you have any moral or legal obligation to make right is the mismatched woofer, and even then, only in the event a qualified tech determines it was not abused. Just my $0.02.
the drivers were good when they left Porshecab's house. They were not damaged in shipment or there would be a shipping claim. They must have worked long enough at the other end for the buyer to note they went from working to blown. This is a buyer issue not a seller issue. He did something to blow them... too much power, too little power, bad ohm match, or distortion...anyway you add it up the buyer blew the drivers not the seller. the seller owes the buyer NOTHING.

The fact that one driver wasn't matched is irrelevant to the blown driver issue. The different drivers certainly did not contribute to the issue. The driver was changed by an authorized dealer...the fact that it is not a match is irrelevant again because the authorized dealer brought them back to spec. Now we picky philes feel everything should be just so but Porshecab sold in good faith and owes the buyer NOTHING.

An extremely generous offer is to pay for 1 driver or 1/2 of 1 driver. Really I don't think Porshecab owes him anything and the guy is trying to make something out of nothing because he knows he screwed himself when he blew the drivers on the used speakers he just bought.

Porsch, does the 601's in reference have a 15 inch woofer? If so , i find it hard to believe they are blown??? I have 20 yr. old speakers with a 8 inch woofer and still works fine. Yes let this guy take it to a B&W repair center and have a letter in writing stating the woofers in question are in fact damaged. And tell him you will pay the service fee to have them examined. Get a phone # of the B&W center and call to see what exactly happened. IF the tech says "blown from extreme abuse" tell the buyer that every speaker has its limit. BYW what amp do you use and what's the wattage? As well what volume level?
Porschecab...I would make the drive and investigate further before ANY offer of reimbursement. As you pointed out, this whole transaction sounded shady from the beginning. How do you even know if the drivers are truly mis-matched? Because he told you they are??

To blow one woofer on speakers of this caliber is suspect...but BOTH of them? Mild clipping would have been very audible and should have alerted this clown that perhaps he should turn down the volume. I'm no expert, but I sincerely doubt that anything short of full-bore, heavily distorted clipping could have caused this damage. In addition, I was always under the impression that the tweeters are the most susceptible to damage under such circumstances, no?? I can't imagine what kind of abuse he must have subjected these speakers to in order to have this happen (if indeed it happened at all).

My guess is that this guy wanted to "crank" up his cool new speakers and see how loud they can go. This is like an inexperienced driver getting behind the wheel of a high performance car (Porsche 911 - Cabriolet?) and then, as a result of his poor driving skills, wrapping it around a tree. Then, because he has to blame somebody, asks the seller to pay his deductible because one of the rear tires was a Pirelli and the other a Dunlop. C'mon! Why can't people take personal responsibility for their actions? He blew it (no pun intended) and now he's looking to lay blame.

Some have suggested that you take the speakers back. I wouldn't touch them if I were you. Whatever he did to blow them certainly couldn't have been good for the rest of the drivers and only further complicates the prospect of re-selling them. He bought them...they're his!

I would inform the buyer that in order to consider reparations, you will need to either inspect them personally, or (as Pete02 suggested) have them inspected by an agreed upon 3rd party. In either case, be very clear that there is to be NO refund of any sort - this will keep the resolution path very clear. Your only intent will be to determine the nature of the problem and, IF APPROPRIATE, make a monetary adjustment according to your findings. Also, if he decides to have them inspected by a 3rd party, he will be responsible for their tranportation to the repair shop. Don't offer assistance. It's HIS responsibility.

My guess is that he definitely won't agree to letting you come to his home for inspection and will very likely come up with a litany of excuses for his inability to get them to the repair facility. BTW - I would insist the the entire speaker be taken to the repair shop, not just the "blown" drivers.

I undertand that you want to do the right thing here, but you also need to protect yourself from being taken advantage of.
they were working when they left Porshecab's house. He no longer owns the speakers, what the new owner does/did with them is his business. I am not going to call Porshecab up if my driver(s) are blown. Why? Because I own them not Proshecab. What if the same thing happened but it was six months later, we would all say tough luck for the buyer right? How about if it was 3 months later, 1 month, 3 weeks, 1 week, 1 day? How long does it take a nincompoop to blow a driver(s) anyway? NO, NO, NO Porshecab sent a working product, the new owner needs to figure out what “he” wants to do with "his" new speakers “he” damaged. I will tell you what, if he contacts me, I am not paying to repair the damage “he” inflicted.

Similar situation: I borrowed an Arcam integrated and cd player (both 7s) from a dealer friend to audition with someone. I took them unboxed (dah) and when I was getting them back I dropped them and cracked the top left corner of both machines. Who should pay for that? Who did the damage? Me! So I bought them because I damaged them.

Now if a dealer sells (new or used) and there was a warranty then I would expect the seller/dealer to make the situation right. Now maybe I am mistaken but sales made here on Agon are final when the equipment is used. We don’t have to warranty any of the equipment when it reaches the buyers place, correct? Unless there is some transferable remaining warranty and even then the problem would be taken to the manufacturer not the seller. As consumers, we do not represent the manufacture like a dealer does, so once a sale is made, it is up to the buyer to take responsibility for their future.

Could you imagine this same thing with used car sales. If the engine was fine when delivered to the new buyer but a week later the buyer comes back and says the engine is blown...well you knew it was in good shape when it left you so the buyer must have drained the oil and forgot to put new oil in the car (or some such abuse), soooo blown engine. The buyer discovers it was not the original engine...so what?

No, Porshecab is free from liability (not a lawyer) and has no responsibility except to his own conscience.