Where to Buy Audiophile Recordings with a Smile

I recently started using a major internet audio supplier for my lp's, sacd's and cd recordings. They usually come up number 1 in searches for lps (not Amazon). I probably spent close to $1,000 in the last 4 months with this company. Unfortunately I received an album that I didn't open after buying and when I finally did 4 months later the record was sonically a mess. I emailed customer service, explained my situation and asked if anything could be done. Since I found the problem after the 1 month return policy they said "no". I explained that I buy lots of recordings, also from some other sources but with my business schedule I don't always get to the new recordings in a timely manner and would they be willing to make an exception this time since I had listened to the majority of what they had sent me with no concerns. A second email indicated "no" so this company to save $20 and uphold their return policy has lost a customer.

Any suggestions on whom you've used over the years and that you have developed a good relationship with in all facets of being the buyer?
I'm not impressed with current pressings at all. I stick to originals mostly for my personal collection. Since I'm a media dealer, I manage to find ones for personal use in Mint or NearMint condition. Current audiophile pressings including MFSL with boosted upper and lower frequencies usually being sold while original versions remain.
FWIW, I would be surprised if any dealer would accept a return after four months, regardless of the explanation that is offered. Also, I would not consider it unreasonable for a dealer to uphold a clearly stated return policy strictly.

No disrespect intended, but that's how I see it.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any organization or individual involved in selling either recordings or audio equipment.

-- Al
Regarding new pressings, I find a lot of them disappointing. Just because the record is 180g doesn't make it an audiophile recording. The term "audiophile" has become the new buzz-word in the record biz meaning it is of higher quality, when in reality it is often just a new reissue.
There are of course new recordings that have been remastered using original sources and do sound good. But I'm sure you know this.

After wasting money on new recordings, I have found a reputable dealer selling new and used originals, but they are pricey. Their grading is accurate and only sell New, Mint, and NM.

Expensive, but so is Soundstage Direct.
What do you mean by the record being sonically a mess? Was it contain pressing defects or did it just not sound good?
I wish you would mention the name of this retailer.A policy is necessary so people do not abuse the return of records they don't like,but the ability to modify that policy under certain circumstances is the hallmark of a great retailer who values your business.This is why I open and play all records immediately upon arrival and make sure it is as it should be.
The above listed link to Audiophileusa is a good example of vinyl price gouging and I know for a fact those guys travel around and buy records out of stores and swap meets and record shows and mark them up,up,up.They should be compensated for their efforts,but those prices are really right out of the classic used car lot mentality of stick it to the consumer.
I guess they have a market for 5.00 $ records priced at 50.00 with a little "white glove" service,it beckons me to encourage you to get out there and hunt for records and eliminate the middleman.
Hope you find the online retailer of your dreams and not the nightmare policy freaks and the vinyl vermin buck squeezers.
They are price gougers, that's why I'll only pay up to $35 for an original LP which is what Soundstage Direct charges for a reissue.

OTOH, there is Loran Records, a small online retailer with some great deals, but are less accurate at rating.
Irvington Music in Oregon is a good choice, I have had great experiences with them, accurate ratings, quick response, easy to deal with. Irvmusic.com
If by "good relationship" you mean a seller that
would accept a return after 4 months - No, I have not.
Part of the reason is that record distributors or labels no longer accept returns or credit the small margin record store. I believe in the past decades, dealers were given up to 20% return privileges.

Now if the dealer takes a return, defective or not, they eat the price of that record. I can understand their position of holding to their return policy.
It's just not smart business not to give you a credit or a refund. What were they thinking? They saved a nickel and lost a dollar. I've had good luck with Acoustic Sounds. Best of Luck
For whatever reason, I'd never purchased the first King Crimson LP.
I finally did at the 2013 T.H.E. show in 'Vegas.
I didn't play it for over 8 months as my Music Hall 7 turntable had a broken cartridge wire and I couldn't get anyone to fix it (including the maker).
I finally played it on my new VPI and it sounded like someone sneezed on it and let it dry. A total mess.
Goes to show you, play new stuff ASAP.
Thank you for the responses and new supplier suggestions. To those who feel that after 4 months to return a record is unacceptable I understand to a point, but as one who has spent a good part of his 45+ years in the business world, it's always a good idea to give a little in order to profit a lot. The company in question chose not to do so. (Happy to share the company name if you email me directly but it's not any that were mentioned). Additionally it's not like I'm a chronic offender of a return policy.

Not only did they choose not to do work with me they didn't make the effort to really explain their position to someone who had so quickly spent a significant amount of money on vinyl and cds. Maybe the explanation wouldn't have changed anything but it would have shown an attempt on their part to possibly work with me or fully explain their dilemma in taking the record back for a credit or exchange. I'm not a "fly by night" buyer of music but a serious buyer of music with a collection that started in the late 1950's.

When I say sonically a mess it was the pressing on side one of Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits that had issues with hums and occasionally a repeated low frequency sound that I found very annoying. The sides 2 through 4 were fine.

What should have been done is to bump the concern from the customer service contact person to ownership/upper management to determine a solution. If I had been in control of the situation I wouldn't have wanted to lose the long term business of such a buyer.

Thank you again for the suggestions on other retailers and since leaving this supplier I've already spent a couple of hundred dollars on lps and cds.
Some of these companies on the internet are particularly difficult to break the outside customer service barrier and go up the chain to someone who has a more profound role and interest in protecting customer relations.I see a certain bit of irony here,if this was a bra my wife bought six months ago,wore once and didn't find it comfortable,she would have no problem returning it to almost any retailer on the web.Guys,get your wife on the phone with these guys if you have a problem returning something. Unleash the hounds....!
You should have ordered a new one and then returned the lemon.They would have never known the difference!
Jc: I'm generally in Czarivey's pew on this one, particularly for classic rock records from the 60's and 70's. The original pressings often sound far more lively than the remasters; yes, you have to deal with 'condition,' but as you obviously know, buying new vinyl is no guarantee of pressing quality (leaving aside sonics).
I bought approximately 1,000 records in 2013, most of them used. Happy to provide sources, but often, the issue isn't the dealer, but knowing what pressing to buy. I highly recommend that you dig in to places like the Steve Hoffman forum, which is an enormous resource for rock records of this vintage; you'll see multiple threads with comparisons of various pressings, not all of which are expensive. (In fact, there was a thread comparing sonics of the remaster of Brother in Arms (the two record version) to various earlier pressings.
If I'm buying new pressings, I usually try to buy directly from the source, e.g. if it is Analog Productions, from Acoustic Sounds; from MoFi, directly from MoFi or Music Direct (which now owns MoFi), Music Matters for the Blue Note reissues, etc.
FWIW, I've had very few bad experiences buying used records over the years. New- mixed bag on quality. One of the benefits of 'used' is that many sellers will play grade (visual grading is pretty useless) ; a sealed record, old or new, is a riskier proposition.
Also don't know if you own a good record cleaning machine, but I consider that to be essential, whether the records are new or used. Along with a stock of high quality inner sleeves, to replace the paper or plastic sleeves that often come with new reissues (MoFi, Acoustic Sounds, etc. tend to use high quality inner sleeves; some of the 'standard issue' remasters from major labels, less so).
Note to self- Never buy from or sell to Yogiboy!
Swampwalker,The OP stated that the record was new! So what is the problem with my suggestion? Why should he get stuck with a defective product?
I did it in the past after receiving defective product and return policy expired. I don't think that I or any consumer should suffer from defective merchandise. Manufacturer should and therefore it would make sense to purchase same new and than return same new lemon.
Yogi/Czarivey- If you're willing to be dishonest in a transaction with a retailer how is one to be assured that you would not do same w a consumer. Dishonest is dishonest. Situational ethics is a slippery slope!
Hey Swampwalker, The OP stated that the record was new and he spent over $1000.00 with the company. What is dishonest returning something defective? I presume you would not return anything?
Yogiboy- If I waited until after the stated return period and was denied an exception, I would not order a new one just to be able to return the old one. That, IMO, is dishonest.
Some people just don't think the rules apply to them and have no problem shifting the cost of their own actions onto others.

The OP did not practice due diligence and listen to the disc in a timely fashion, yet he wants to shift the cost of his mistake back onto the seller. The seller can then fold this cost into all future transactions with other buyers. It must be wonderful to not have to pay for your mistakes and not feel the slightest bit of guilt about it.

This post is not directed at the OP, but at those who encourage the OP to engage in dishonest behavior.
Learn to view the bright side:
When defective merchandise returns to manufacturer, one likely will take actions to correct malfunction on future units. Isn't that great and honest to other people?
Manufacturer at the same time benefits for better quality control in one's facility and possibly increases one's profits.
So who will suffer after all and what's indeed wrong or dishonest if no one actually will?
So what's indeed wrong or dishonest if everybody only benefit?
o who will suffer after all and what's indeed wrong or dishonest if no one actually will?
So what's indeed wrong or dishonest if everybody only benefit?
Man, you have taken rationalization to a whole 'nuther level. Lying is not dishonest, it's actually a benefit to the greater good. Whodda thunk it? You must have a job in George Orwell's Ministry of Truth. I guess I need to add you to my mental list of people not to deal with.

Seriously dude, your actions are not only dishonest, they DO hurt someone. The retailer, who, as Justlisten pointed out, has to eat the loss because the record company and/or distributor no longer gives them any credit for returns. Tell me, do you also go into B&M stores for auditions and then order on-line.
I always try not to hurt anyone and make sure it happens. My life goals are always to keep everyone happy. Retailer isn't the one who should get beat -- agree. One also have to make sure that it's not happening by bargaining better contract with distributor and/or manufacturer. One also have to void dealing with distributors as well.
I'm retailer as well...
Some of the responses to my post are very interesting and how anyone chooses to handle their affairs is not something I feel I need to be judgmental about.

I never ever thought of approaching the problem with the defective record in any other way than by politely asking for an exception from this retailer. Under the circumstances the business chose to handle the situation one way and where I would have hoped they would have worked with me they didn't. Therefore I made the choice to remove my future business from them. I guess it's that simple.

I've moved on and ordered from some of the companies suggested by others and for this I appreciate the input. I'm looking forward to the re-issue by Roger Waters "Amused to Death" coming from Soundstage Direct. I've also decided to buy directly from Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab and will continue to search through other suppliers.

As an aside received the first 5 albums from Blue Notes 75th Anniversary re-issue with the next 5 arriving any time. They're pretty good but they used the thinnest of vinyl. I guess I would have thought they would have bumped it to 180gm. Oh well still amazing music.