Why the limit on warranty to subsequent purchasor?

I have been looking into picking up a used high end CD player but I am finding that warranties are not transferrable from the original owner? I don't understand this. Maybe on a $500 unit, but a $5000 unit with no transferrable warranty, it makes me want to run from that manufacturer.
A warranty to an original purchaser is a cost of marketing a new unit. A manufacturer usually doesnt need to offer a warranty to the original buyer's buyer to get the original buyer to buy the unit in the first place. Some, like Bryston, use the long warranty as a marketing ploy to impart the idea of robust quality, but in reality, amps that survive their first few months last a long time.
I agree. I recently purchased an Audio Aero Capitole CD player and I am not happy that the warrenty is not transferrable. I did establish a rapport with the original purchaser(The Gentleman that I bought it from) and I believe that I can loop the thing back through him if I require warrenty work. I have nothing in writing here, just a very good feeling about him. Still, I would hate to have to try it. I purchased a very high-end McIntosh Amp that was only six months old at the same time and I am ecstatic that the warrenty is fully transferable.
No one except those manufacturers know for certain what the reason is.
A shot in the dark guess is past experience has given those manufacturers a financial reason to exclude second/third owners. Perhaps the cost of repairing under transfered warranty the machines of second and third owners is more than they think they will lose on sales to "here today, gone tomorrow" customers who worry about the resale value of no warranty.
After all, the manufacturer only makes money on the first sale.
Plus, that also kills some of the incentive of dealer salesmen to buy at cost and resell as soon as they are allowed. A practice of very many audio salespeople. They get the product at below cost (as if they run demo's at home too) then the salesman only has to promise not to sell it for so many months... Ever notice all the just last years model poping up??? a bunch of those are these types. A non-transferrable warranty might help stifle that sort of profit taking on the part of audio salesmen.
Most people believe this is done to discourage internet sales. I believe this will backfire. Who will but a multi-thousand dollar piece with no transferrable warranty? No matter how much you like the piece, some audiophiles are always changing gear for whatever reason. A transferrable warranty is a big selling point. It is much easier to sell just about anything that has a transferrable warranty...
business here stays on the first place to knock off the used product lovers.
once the product sold new there is a need to sell another new and care less about its used price.
You are paying for the transferrable warranty. The company builds the potential future cost into the price. Many used buyers may not know the warranty is still good, since the manual or card is gone. The company profits more.

Since most gear breaks in the first year, or not at all, the company profit again.

If you want an example, go price a new Dell Computer online. The better the warranty you choose, the more the computer costs. Dell must make a fortune on them, because computers are usually DOA or break within 6 months; or they work until obsolete.
Everyone has suggested very valid reasons why warranties are handled in the manner that they are by many companies. On top of this, i'd like to add that, the more the unit changes hands / is shipped / is hooked & unhooked, etc... the greater the potential for damage that would have to be covered under warranty by the manufacturer. As such, they cut their losses while encouraging those that are truly interested in their product to buy new. Their is NO incentive to them to offer a long warranty as it only costs them money and new sales. While some sales are gained by companies that offer long warranties, i don't think that the warranty itself is the deciding factor in such cases. it might be more frosting on the cake, but i would not buy a product that did not sound as good over one that sounded better simply because of the warranty. Sean
The main reason? A well-known fact to people inside the industry: By not offering a transferable warranty, you discourage resale, and encourage more people to buy new, thus producing more sales for your dealers and for you. Crank 'em out, move 'em, and make more.

Sorry, but I think it's a reprehensible and disgusting display of ultimate capitalism, especially on multi-thousand dollars items. I personally wish it would backfire on all of them and make them lose rather than gain sales. Too bad Bryston's products aren't at the cutting edge of sound quality, or I'd support such a company by buying their products. Kudos to them for this integrity and care, lacking from the majority of the others.
At least Bryston as the courage to put its money where its mouth is. Audiophiles have the nastiest habit of reading all sorts of things into all sorts of things. Why not suggest buying Chinese made tube equipment from some overnight sensation cottage industry manufacturer to feel safer? Sean has a valid point: a unit that changes hand is subjected to more stress than a unit in the hands of a single owner. The warranty you are all discussing is the contractual warranty offered by the manufacturer. Depending on the legislation in a given jurisdiction, a person may have some rights against the manufacturer even in the absence of privity of contract. Don't get your hopes up too high, as this may not hold true in many jurisdictions. The perverse nature of contractual warranties is, sometimes, to act as a limit to legal rights someone may otherwise have. Hence, the language found in the warranty's text indicating that a person may have other rights at law. Buying on line BTW is a legal quagmire.
I believe transferable warranties have more to do with the pride that certain manufactures take in their product than anything else. What possible difference could it make to them whether or not it has changed hands? It is highly unlikely than the second owner would have bought a new one anyway because of the often huge difference in price. The used market provides a very useful service to manufacures in that it provides a means for individuals who feel the need to always have the newest models to help pay for the new unit. It also supports the dealers who take trades and make a killing at current trade in values. Everyone wins except those who always buy new and trade up a year or two later.

Another point I would make is some manufactures stand behind their equipment even when it is out of warranty. Pass Labs and Bryston are the best examples I know of. I own a Pass Labs Aleph P that was out of warranty when I bought it. I have had it back for service during which time it was repaired and brought up to the most current revision level at no cost to me. Pass Labs, who does have transferable warranties, has a well deserved reputation for standing behind their product and customer service. Pass will no doubt be around when many others have gone out of business. Their reputation for service and quality sells a lot of product.

Bryston, to my knowledge, has never ever charged for repair regardless of how old a piece is. The fact is, few amps are as reliable as Bryston to begin with. Putting a twenty year transferable warranty on their current product line is a smart move for selling product. As to Kevziek's comment above about Bryston's sound quality, I wonder if he has actually tried an new SST amp in his system. On a price-to-performance level these amps are very much on the cutting edge. I recently purchased a 4B-SST to drive my Aerial 10Ts and its performance in my system is stunning. Even Michael Kelly, the designer of the 10T, told me a few years ago that he was quite impressed with the earlier 4B-ST and the new SST is a significant improvement. I have owned BEL monoblocks, Classe CA400 and CA300, and Roland amps and feel the 4B-SST is the best I've had on these speakers. I think many will not consider Bryston because it does not cost enough to be taken seriously by many elitist audiophiles. Bryston will probably outlive most companies who manufacture audio equipment because they make a great product at a reasonable cost and they stand behind it.
Bryston's sole claim to fame being the warranty (and durability) speaks for itself. Better to have your claim to fame be sound quality.
At least Theta wrote up an explination of their reasoning:


Go to near the end of the web page.

I don't really agree with their reasoning as a transferable warranty will increase the resale value of their equipment. The increased value will make it easier for the original owner to sell and buy new again. Theta claims that because their gear is always upgradeable there is no need for an original owner to have to sell an old unit and purchase a newer on. Unfortunatly that is not always the case.

On the positive side, I have in fact had to deal with Theta on an out of warranty repair and want to say that they treated me very fairly.

I tend to agree with Sean and that's why always prefere local pickups of used components.

Kevziek - a disgusting display of ultimate capitalism? I believe that as a consumer we all have the freedom of choise to pick and choose what we buy. If we don't like the Company's policy, we are free to buy from someone else. The basic premise of business is to make a profit for the owners. There is absolutely nothing disgusting about this. If anyone is that offended by the policy they should vote with their wallets and buy from a company whose policies they like.

Sincerely, Scott - libertarian and proud ultimate capitalist. Caveat emptor!
I sent this email to a manufacturer:


What difference does it make who owns the unit, the original purchaser or a second owner? If you offer a warranty on your product you should honour any repairs needed within the warranty period regardless of who owns it at the time it requires service. Generally speaking quality products shouldn't need any repairs, I have plenty of components that have never required any warantee work. It's not a perfect world and unexpected failures do happen; I've had the misfortune of some of my components needing service either marginally out of warranty or, within warranty but I'm the second (or third) owner. In every case I've never been charged for the repair (although I may have to pay shipping to/from the manufacturer, fair enough). I consider that good customer service, so does other manufacturers you compete with. If I was refused warranty repair within the warranty period because I was not the original owner you can bet I would make sure the high end community knew about it, the !
'net is a powerful communication medium. The "dealer protection" angle you choose to advertise is unacceptable. I wouldn't ask a dealer to be involved in a warranty repair unless I bought it from them, I'm quite happy to absorb the shipping costs as required. Why write? I like to see good companies thrive, you're not doing yourself any favours. Best, Jeff
The consumer who pays nearly retail, if not full retail is the only one who makes any money for the company. The manufacturer is not responsible to the second or third buyer since thay obviously have no relationship.
Companies who go above and beyond this 'origional buyer' warranty are taking a big risk. Most damage to equipment occurs when it is being moved, so second or third owner of a piece are a much higher risk than the one customer who actually paid them anything.
It would be fiscally dangerous to warranty everything after it has changed hands a few times. I'm not sure, but I would guess this business is risky enough the way it is, who wants to take additional risks???
Those Manufacturers are greedy and want you to buy directly from them,if you want piece of mind.
I understand some of the reasoning but as you start increasing the price, other industries allow transferring the warranty. The transfering of the warranty allows people to try a product at a price they can afford. Can you imagine buying a 1 year old Corvette and Chevy says sorry, you have no warranty on that engine. This helps a manufacturer to develop brand loyalty and when the individual can affort to buy new, that brand is on the top of the list.
If I bought a Krell KAV piece with a transferrable warranty, I'd consider the warranty to be an integral part of the purchase. Now that Krell (and others) have "retroactively" dropped their transferrable warranty, I do believe someone will eventually sue over this.
This hobby is like our little private world. This is our version of politics......

It's Miller Time!
It is patently absurd to suggest that the manufacturers are being greedy by not transfering a warranty!
What responsibility does a company have to an individual with whom they have no relationship???
If I sell a piece of gear to another AudiogoNer with the understanding that it will work perfectly, and the buyer in turn sells it to another party. If that product fails do I have a responsibility to the second buyer???
These opinions are typical of the 'welfare' mentality of this country. A person gives not one penny to the manufacturer but expects the manufacturer to loose his own money by perpetually repairing the unit. Will all of us 'hi-enders' be happy when all the manufacturers go out of business, but offer unlimited warranties???
If you want a warranty, buy from the manufacturer or his representative (the retailers).
Again, I say this as a buyer who uses 100% used gear (except for a few cables). I am also a small business owner so I guess that makes me part of the enemy.
Nrchy: I am also a small business owner ( non audio related ) and offer a lifetime warranty on all of the equipment that i sell or service, regardless of who owns said product. I am the only one in my field in the USA that offers such a warranty and i know for certain that this warranty brings a large quantity of business my way. How i know this is that I have never done ANY advertising of ANY type. All of my work comes via word of mouth reference and that is it. As such, i know that offering high quality products / labor combined with an unbeatable warranty can only inspire confidence in customers to recommend me to other potential customers. At the same time, i know that the products that i have sold and / or serviced carry a higher value on the used market due to the fact that the warranty that i offer is transferable.

The point to all of this is that, if the product is well built to begin with and the work is properly performed, the company offering the warranty has nothing to fear. If the product is only offered with a warranty to the original purchaser, the manufacturer is actually warrantying the relationship with the purchaser for that period of time and not the actual product itself. This obviously lowers the confidence level in that product and the resale value that goes with it.

Having said the above, a manufacturer or repair facility would have to be certain that they built a product and / or performed labor that was up to the standards that such a warranty brings with it. This would mean weeding out less than reliable parts / circuitry, ruggedizing construction and maintaining good quality control of labor. As such, i am relatively selective as to what products i sell and offer the above warranty on when performing repairs / modifications to gear that i didn't sell. If i wasn't selective, i would lose my shirt giving away free labor for repairs on products that are built / designed like junk.

I would think that ANY manufacturer / dealer would want to do much the same thing. That is, if they wanted to be both successful and reputable. Like any other industry though, there are products that one can have faith in and others that should not have been manufactured to begin with. As such, i am up-front with my customers / potential customers as to what products qualify or don't qualify. From the information that i provide, they can decide whether or not they want to invest their money into buying that brand as a new item or if hanging onto or repairing a given product is a worthwhile venture. This is the same type of treatment that i look for when dealing with manufacturers and dealers of audio equipment. Even with their input though, only i know my personal tastes and the value that i place on each individual piece of equipment.

Obviously, companies / individuals that are willing to stand behind their products / labor are rare things in the audio industry. As such, i applaud those that do have the pride and conviction to build a product that they have unconditional faith in and will stand behind. Whether or not one likes or prefers those products is a different matter, but one can not deny the amount of respect that such a valiant stance deserves. Sean
Is there any tube equipment with transferable warranty?

Let's suppose that some companies have dropped their transferrable warranty specifically to deter internet sales. The internet is here to stay. I own 4 Pass Aleph pieces. I bought two here on Audiogon from private parties, the other two I purchased from my local Pass dealer.
I know I can call Pass anytime with any questions I have.
The 2 pieces I bought used were no longer available new.
I also own a Rowland Model 2, I bought it used from a friend. I have called Rowland & gotten instant answers & a manual shipped to me free within 24 hours of my last call to them. And this was for another piece (battery power supply) I bought used from a private party.
This is what is called "Good P.R" This is what breeds brand loyalty. This is not about perpetual service. This is about honoring the original terms specifically stated in the warranty, and yes, sometimes going further..
I talked to Richard Vandersteen last time he was in Phoenix. He told me a couple of horror stories about people buying butcherd up speakers on the internet. It is a headache for him!
There are many items I'd buy here on Audiogon that I
won't even consider buying on e:Bay.....
Does a manufacturer owe me anything if I buy a used component of theirs from a private party? How about just treating me like a valued customer?
In the 1970's Jansport mountaineering company offered a lifetime warrenty, no questions asked, on backpack frames sold in Europe, as well as in America. I remember the German firms tried to outlaw the practice as they would have to compete. Kelty backpacks from the 60's can still be traded in for new if they fail. These companies, especially Kelty command great loyalty to this day.

To answer Marakanetz, I believe McIntosh warrenties are all transferrable.

I suppose all would benefit if manufacturers would offer a transferrable warrenty for, say $250.00 transfer fee. They would still be insuring that which they should be insuring anyway. Also, just like circuit city 'extended warrenties' they propably won't be having to honor most of them anyway as the equipment really does not fail in the first few years if it can get past the first year. Everyone wins.
Sean, I don't disagree with anything you said. I don't know what kind of product you carry/sell but I know from my own experience that HiFi gear is somewhat fragile. Having a costomer drop a lawn mower off their trailer is a lot less serious than having a shipping clerk or dock hand toss an amp into a truck, or out the back door.
I think it is comendable that you offer the warranty you do, but you said yourself that you think you are the only one who does. There must be a reason, besides a distinct lack of customer service, that keeps others from offering the same warranty. I as a shopper would prefer to buy from a business man like you, but I would not require others to offer the same service you offer.
I have about $35,000 worth of gear in my listening room, none of which came with a warranty. I don't have a problem with that. I try to get to know the seller a little before buying higher priced equipment to determine if the person has the same attitude towards it as I have. I can't afford to buy damaged goods, but the lack of a warranty has never prevented a potential sale for me.
Sean, I have more respect for you than ever, but I'm still not convinced the maker of fragile electronic equipment has the responsibility to warranty the piece to anyone other than the original buyer.
But I still love you man!!!
i stand corrected. The McIntosh warrenty becomes void upon resale. isuppose I read too much into a great reputation.
McIntosh was purchased by Clarion (the last I heard).
Crown was recently purchased by Harmon International.
Things do change and reputations built up over decades can evaporate when someone bigger purchases a well known company............
You might be right, Daniel. I suppose it might be too much to ask a manufacturer to buy into his own hype. Still, I like the unit and I am glad I bought it......
Sean,Amen. If a product is well built and well designed it doesnt matter if its a second or third owner it should last at least awhile, as the price of high end gear is not cheap.If I shell out $7000 for an amp it should hold up for some time if I give to my brother 4 years down the road it should work for him too.
i have owned krell,cj,and levinson. i have had problems develop in each of these units after the warranty expired. the units were purchased new by me. in each instance the companys mentioned fixed the problem with no attitude or charge for parts or labor. one company charged for return shipping.if these companys choose not to extend the warranty to second or third owners, i don't think this is a reflection of the build quality of the product. i bet im not the only phile who has experienced this form of customer support. can you think of a single consumer product that provides free repair after the warranty expires? philes and the people who make the product's we enjoy are for the most part great people!