Wilson Audio paint problems

Hi - am I the only person who has experienced problems with Wislon Audio products? I bought a brand new pair of Sofia 2s and after about 12 months they developed cracking around the top and front edge. This has spread laterally at the top if the speaker. I approached the distributor who offered to take them to a Ferrari paint shop! I called Wilson Audio but the guy I was put through to did not return my calls.

I have since purchased a pair of Duettes on Audiogon. These too have developed a light crack down the side along one of the seams. I love Wilson speakers (I have the centre and sub/sub controller too). I have invested a lot of money in the brand but now feel completely unable to get my problems sorted. Looking on the web, there seems to be a lot about WA's commitment to the client. I just feel I can't get access to it!

Does anyone else have a similar experience or advice?
Never mind the Ferrari paint shop. You bought this speaker new from this dealer. This is a big ticket item the paint job on the damn things should be of the highest quality. I have a feeling you just might have to become a torn in Wilson's side and continue to call until you get him directly on the phone.I would also sit down and have a long talk with this dealer. You sound like a customer that in all regards would be a dealers delight. Shelling out this kind of cash you should be compensated with either a new pair or what ever you feel is fair.
If you only called Wilson once, keep trying until you get through. It sounds like something the warranty should cover, especially given Wilson's emphasis on the finish.
Are your Wilson's no longer warrantied?

The Warranty Period is a period of 90 days from the date of purchase by the original purchaser, or if both of the following two requirements are met, the Warranty Period is a period of five (5) years from the date of purchase by the original purchaser:

Requirement No. 1. No later than 30 days after product delivery to the customer, the customer must have returned the Warranty Registration Form to Wilson Audio;

Requirement No. 2. The product must have been professionally installed by the Wilson Audio dealer that sold the product to the customer.
If you prucahsed the speakers new from a Wilson dealer, he will contact Wilson for you and take care of everything. If he is an authorized Wilson dealer, and fails to do this for you, I would contact Wilson with a complaint. Wilson insists that you go through the dealer for warranty work.
If the Ferrari paint job doesn't come out of your pocket, you're good to go.
the dealer should take the bullet, and replace (they can handle the manufacturer) . its funny that tens-of- thousands-of-dollars mean nothing 'after' the sale.
How about Wilson applying the 'protective plastic' too soon and when new owners remove this film/plastic, it removes the paint. Every dealer that has actually sold any Wilson over the past few years is WELL aware of this problem. Wilson can be a great speaker and company, but they need to check their ego at the door. Something they are horrible at doing.

Their fit and finish used to be top notch, but in the past few years it has changed.

Good luck.

Splaskin: you state to go through a dealer and he fails to do this contact Wilson with a complaint. Missing the point here. Wilson hasn't call this buyer back at all. So I don't have a problem going through a dealer with issues, but this does NOT give Wilson the right to bypass his calls and concerns as a paying customer! They should have proper communications with the end user, regardless. They can still direct him to his dealer, but should still be able to face the music and handle the issue at hand. Customer service is still customer service and in this case - it appears Wilson has not held their own.

GrandSlamm - what are your thoughts being a Wilson employee?
I repainted my Watchdog Subwoofer a custom color. It came out beautiful and could not be happier. Why I say this is that it was done by a good car dealership & the old Wilson Paint was looking dull and had some markings. I great paint job will do the trick. Unless the cabinet itself is cracking and this is a different story.

As a rule, I took out all the drivers and you probably can get the foam from Wilson to replace in front. Their speakers are very well designed and serviceable. Your dealer should help with this.
Wilson audio sophia 2 is an expensive system and to change the paint job becaue you have grown tired of the color is one thing. But for you to have to do it because of a manufacturing defect with the finish is wrong headed. Wilson should make good and have them repainted at his cost and not yours.
The Wilson warranty is disgusting. If the speakers are not INSTALLED by the dealer?? you LOOSE the 5 years and get nothing but 90 days.(what if you move them a few inches?? you gotta call the dealer? nonsense!)
Well, glad I will never buy any Wilson stuff.
Thanks for the heads up on garbage service! Worse because they are so expensive!
Some companies have fantastic service, some suck. Looks like Wilson is another sucker... (or are it's customers the suckers??)
Elizabeth, I wouldn't trash a company's customer service policies based on one post on the internet. I think there are things Krupski is not telling us or leaving us to guess at. Why did he contact the Wilson distributor and not the local dealer? Did he not buy from an authorized dealer? Did he buy used or grey market to save money and now wants to cash in on their customer service?

Enquiring minds want to know.
I just want to say a last word about Wilson and your dealer. Since when does the customer have to become a step n fetch? Now lets see the customer puts down 5 figures for a speaker system then notices the paint job is crackling so he removes everything from the speakers then when all is done by the Ferrari paint plant. He then schlep's these things back home again all 300lbs less the drivers then he screw's everything into place{after getting screwed} then refoams all the drivers moves them around while wrenching his back and as all this is going on! Wilson is suntaning himself and drinking a barcardi rum... LOL lol lol ok whos the sucker now?
Perhaps one of the bad things here is that it takes 100 compliments to make a good impression and only one bad statement to ruin all the good things said. Maybe Wilson themselves should chime in?
Like the sign over my wifes desk says, "When I am right, no one remembers. When I am wrong, no one forgets".
Wilson has excellent warranty service. If you have a concern, e-mail the guys on the web site. I always get fast responses to my questions. They will stand behind the speaker if there is a problem under warranty.

Call them back if the dealer did not satisfy you.

I have owned many Wilson speakers since 1992. Sometimes I needed warrnaty service and it was provided with no nonsense.

Last week I went to a Wilson seminar and spoke to Dave Wilson. He is concnerned about his customers and knows that he can't survive if they aren't happy with his products.

He has great respect for his customes.
04-13-09: Schipo
Wilson is suntanning himself and drinking a bacardi rum...
Given that David Wilson is a Mormon, the Bacardi rum scenario is unlikely.
ok so he drinks a Shirley Temple and you still have a wrenched back...happy
I can personally attest to the fact that Wilson Audio has excellent, top-notch customer service. I purchased a pair of black Sophia 2s that were demo units. They were manufactured in 2006 and I bought them in the third quarter or 2007. After about 6 months of ownership I had the same cracks to develop. I contacted Wilson Audio directly to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. I was put in touch with a gentleman named Jerron Marchant. He asked if I could take some photos of the cracks? I wasn't sure that they would show up that well but with some extra lighting and such I was able to capture the flaws. I sent the pictures to his email address and within minutes he called me back, explained to me what the problem was. It wasn't a problem with the paint as I thought, but was a problem with the proprietary cabinet material instead. There were a few isolated cases of a bad batch of that material that they even had isolated within a particular serial number range and some had issues, and some did not. I expected them to repair and repaint them, and they explained to me that they would not have defective speakers out in the market with their name on them and they would build me a brand new set. I was even able to change colors and selected a custom color that they did not offer as an upgrade option. I paid a very reasonable amount for the paint upgrade and they built me a brand new pair of speakers and had them shipped to my dealer and installed in my home inside of two months.

I was anxious and checked up from time to time and Jerron kept me aware of the production start date, process, shipping status and everything. I can not say enough good things about Wilson Audio, their speakers, and their prompt customer service.

I did fulfill all of my warranty obligations by buying from an authorized Wilson dealer, having them do the set up and voicing, and filling out the warranty cards and returning them within the time frame that they required.

If you bought them new, had them deliver and set them up, filled out your warranty paperwork, then I can assure you that they will stand behind your defective speakers and you have no worries. If any of those steps were skipped then I can't make any assurances at all.

I was never put off, never avoided, my calls and/or emails were always answered promptly and with courtesy. I am very, very particular and borderline obsessive/compulsive about most everything, and I know that I was a pest at times, but that never was a problem. I was treated like I had bought ten sets of speakers from them.

I wish you luck and let me know if there is any way I can assist you. I hope for your sake that your speakers meet all the warranty criteria.

I do want to add the fact that I inquired about purchasing the old defective speakers and was politely refused because they wanted them destroyed so that they would not end up out on the market by some unscupulous seller at some time in their life. I know this to be a fact that they had to be destroyed because my sales counselor wanted to purchase them as well and he was refused like myself, even though he was one of Wilson's top salespeople in the country if I am not mistaken.

I don't think it's fair for people to judge a company unfairly for adhering to policies and following their warranty criteria as it is outlined. If someone wants to get a bargain and not go through the normal channels then I appreciate the fact that they want to save money, but you do end up getting what you pay for.

It is not Wilson Audio's fault that a vendor they buy materials from produced a defective lot. That is out of their control as would be an auto manufacturer that buys rack and pinions from a supplier. I have found that the suppliers and manufacturers work hand in hand to correct these unforseen problems if or when they arise.

Good luck and I hope that everything works out for you.

So, AT LAST, someone has been brave enough to come out and say it. Judging by the number of photos of Wilson products that have appeared on Audiogon in the past which point out 'slight nick here', 'chip there' and my own experience with Watt/Puppy 7s, I think paint problems with Wilson products maybe widespread. This is only my surmise but I guess many people are reluctant to discuss the possibility of fragile paint, especially in relation to speakers they own, due to thee way these blemishes drastically depreciate the re-sale value. I would be very interested to find out how many 'hidden' problem paint jobs are out there!
04-13-09: Schipo
ok so he drinks a Shirley Temple and you still have a wrenched back...happy
If the authorized Wilson dealer delivers, installs, voices, and positions the speakers, then you don't have the wrenched back either. Happier.
Paint problems are not widespread Jaynewt. It would appear that you prefer bashing a product you probably cannot afford.
No I am not happy...I don't believe that a customer who spends five figures on a speaker system. Should be burden with the problem of repainting such an expensive unit because of what looks like inferior work.
Vwfast4me, Your story is touching except for one thing.

Wilson should have either found you another brand new pair immediatly or pushed your re-build production ahead of others.
Waiting 2 months is ridiculous!
The OP has still not weighed in on whether he purchased new from an authorized dealer under warranty. That makes all the difference concerning the customer service he can expect. All responses as to what Wilson should do and judgments that they're exhibiting poor customer service is based on assumptions and speculation.
You do realize that warranty, by law, cannot be eliminated or reduced based upon whether or not you send a card in. Manufacturers' often tell you that so that you will send the registration card in, but they can't enforce it. A 2-year warranty is a 2-year warranty, and it doesn't depend on cards.
Woh! I didn't think Audiogon would let me publish this so didn't check until today.

I did buy the speakers from an authorised dealer. That dealer is no longer a Wilson dealer and therefore I couldn't approach via them. I subsequently moved which has added a layer of complication to this story. I got to the stage where I just want to get rid of them and demoed them yesterday to a guy who doesn't mind about the cracks but I'm losing my shirt on the deal. He in fact noticed the crack on the Duettes!!

I will say again, I love Wilson speakers. It's the sound for me. I'm just disappointed with the way my problem has been dealt with and wondered, in general, if anyone else had issues with the finish and cracking.

I will persevere with Wilson and try to contact the guy named in one of the posts. My Sofias were in fact early models so may be in the batch that had some early problems. Thanks to everyone who responded to my problem. Any other advice is very welcome.
Wilson should have either found you another brand new pair immediatly or pushed your re-build production ahead of others.
Waiting 2 months is ridiculous!
Give me a break Ozzy. His "old" speakers worked just fine while he waited, it wasn't like he was doing without.
as a wilson owner, i will admit there are quirks with the finish, most notably the black. i have a black watch center and black wp 7 purchased at different times and both have the spiderweb type marks you see in black auto finishes. i have tried all the recommended techniques by wilson and emailed them to discuss and no success. i also have cashmere beige which have no issues. i did not pursue it with wilson but often think of doing so. i am going to a presentation by dave wilson this week ironically. maybe i will ask him directly.
a previous poster mentioned jerron from wilson and i would like to support his comments. i have had several email exchanges with jerron about a number of topics and he has been first rate.
Thanks Richard. Will do. If you see Dave Wilson, sure have a word.
Brianmgrarcom , Give the man who purchased the defective speakers a break!
The cost of Wilson speakers is very high, thier claim to fame is thier high tech finish!

Are you saying that Wilson Audio with all there dealer network connections could not have found a suitable new replacement quicker than 2 months !

Maybe you have $20,000+ to wait for 2 months for a replacement , but I do not!
We'll simply agree to disagree Ozzy. Remember that he wanted a specific (extra cost) color, something not common. Even if it was common, I can't fathom being outraged as you are; the company gave him brand new speakers, his old speakers worked just fine in the mean time.

Maybe you have $20,000+ to wait for 2 months for a replacement , but I do not!
This makes no sense to me in this situation.

Brianmgrarcom , 2 months is simply too long to make a customer wait for something that was paid for that turned out to be defective.

Perhaps the custom color was an issue, but they also still charged him for that.
Not to be a Wilson fan, but the custom paint color takes time. So it makes sense. I think the Wilson service has always been top notch. Too much negative talk here for no reason. Wilson has some of the best service in the industry and answer phone calls with ease. Unfortunately some other comopanies are having a difficult time and have cut customer service.

They also support their dealer network very strongly. If I had every customer coming to me rather than working with my salespeople I wouldn't be able to give good service. Wilson is doing the right thing. They support their dealers (as few companies do) and deliver top notch service. The only thing is you do pay more for it. For me it is worth it. Unfortunately to many Audigoners are looking for something for nothing.

Also, if you live abroad and don't want to pay for shipping then taking the speakers to a car dealership is a great solution.
Dgad - to be honest, I would pay for the shipping. The thought of dismantling them and takingthem to a paint shop and doing all that stuff is just nuts.
Dgad, Still it seems 2 months for a custom paint job???

Come on. They put his order in the back of the line so they could sell product before getting to his warranty repair.

Did you contact Wilson yourself yet? For me that is the big deal. What did they say to you. Not the dealer or a different dealer.
Ozzy, I appreciate your sentiments and concern that I had to wait a couple of months. As I acknowledged in my earlier post, I really am borderline O/C and I wavered back and forth about whether or not I wanted silver or black trim and ports, and was given a pretty quick build date, as I am sure there were already orders in the system for people that did not have their speakers at all. I did have a perfectly great sounding pair of speakers and was in no hurry. Being totally honest, and to show how accommodating Wilson was, they had already started production on my replacement black speakers when I decided I wanted to change to Macadamia Metallic. In all honesty they should have told me tough luck, your black speakers are already under way, but they graciously told me that would be more than happy to build and paint a set of custom speakers and would surely sell the black ones due to their popularity. Since the Wilson Gloss paint system does not come out of a can of Krylon (no offense to Krylon) and makes automotive paint pale in comparison, it does take a while for the speakers to make it through their production and shipping process. They had to ship them to my dealer which is in Tennessee and set up a date and time to deliver and set them up for me in Kentucky. My sales counselor was out of town at CES or CEDIA or somewhere when they received them and one of the employees at HiFi Buys was kind enough to crack one of the crates to tell me how amazing they looked.

As far as swirl marks, nicks, chips, dings, or anything of that nature, I feel absolutely certain that paint just doesn't fly off of speakers, cars, or anything else with no reason. How can anybody expect any kind of finish to hold up if it is bumped into, knocked around, or whatever? When you hit the paint on a car there is some give with the sheet metal (or fiberglass), but with a material as rigid as M or X material there is no give at all and if the paint is struck it is going to chip or sustains some damage. It's inevitable.

I am not on the Wilson payroll, I have no special ties, or allegiance to the brand. I just think that they offer an incredible product, with incredible sound (according to my ears), and they have treated me very well.

I have yet to see a person being led into a store at gunpoint and forced to buy Wilson Audio speakers. if they are like me, chances are they went in with the intent to buy something totally different but after a good old fashioned A/B test they opted for the Wilsons.

Can anybody here on this forum name any brand or product that hasn't had some kind of problem, recall, or issue of some sort at one time or another? It's not about the company making an error or having a defective product, it's how they go about dealing with the problem at hand. I can't speak for everyone, but I can say that Wilson has exceeded my expectations in every way.
I am not aware of any customers that have contacted Wilson Audio and not received a call back. If you have a finish problem with any Wilson Audio product, we will address it. Please feel free to call or e-mail me and I will personally respond to your concern.
Trent Workman
Wilson Audio Specialties
Thank you.

I owned Sophia II and Duettes. The Sophia II's paint was imaculate. The Duettes I had issues with, as the paint on the external crossovers was very poor. The finish was not smooth. When I questioned it Wilsons response was "the crossovers are not finished to the same level as the actual speakers" I found that crazy for what is a very expensive monitor. I ended up up trading them in for a amp/preamp and dont miss them. Great dynamics, but lacking in texture, tone and emotion. I also got sick of hearing all the negative talk about Wilsons.
Found this old thread searching on a watch center and wanted to chime in....

My Sophia 2's are black and the paint looks like my dogs rear end!

I was under the impression the paint would be super nice since Wilson touts the paint as well as the speaker.

Well, they have really bad spider webs! I know about paint, been buffing, waxing, washing and polishing paint since I was 12 YO and there is no excuse for this, even if its black.

Also, when I was moving residence, I noticed a paint run (drip/whatever) that was sanded down, but not all the way! They shot clear right over it and it looked like cheet man! I should have marked it (the sun was shining on it) because now I can't find it.

I too have called wilson. Called about their rules for warranty (I was late sending card in since I wasn't aware of the rules) and during business hours, couldn't reach anyone.

To Elizabeth, the importance of having the dealer install the speakers is very real. They are trained to set the speakers in a certain way. Then after break-in, the dealer comes back and tightens the screws and re-positions them. When my dealer did the re-positioning, it was sounding soooo much better!

Wilsons need to be setup PERFECTLY, otherwise they don't sound as good. So if Joe Shmoe installs the speaker(s) w/out training, the sound is not as good then the "Wilson" speaker is at fault (wrongly so).
I can't believe all this negative vibe about Wilson Audio quality.

Took delivery on a pair of Maxx3's today. They are superbly finished in EVERY way!

The paint is an upgraded metal-flake Macadamia color. I am an exotic car hobbyist and own 3 of them....also, own and fly German-built custom racing sailplanes...and the finish on my new Maxx3's rival the depth of the paint finishes on any of the cars, and also the precision of the sailplane airfoils which have mirror like smooth surfaces that don't distort reflections.

It is obvious how well-finished the external surfaces are because, yes, you can examine the areas that are painted but will not show when fully assembled and compare them to, say, the front and sides of the speaker. While still very good, the surfaces are not quite as perfect. Once fully assembled all you can see are superb, luscious, deep paint finished to perfection!

This is not my first set of Wilson speakers, either....I owned the Maxx2's and they were also superb.

Are you guys just 'dissin a great USA company out of spite or something? If so, suggest you go put a nice Charlie Daniel's CD in and turn up that Boze Wave.

Wilson Audio and their products are fantastic. (in my opinion)

John Bojack
Addendum to my above post.

My Maxx3's arrived perfect except one corner on one of the woofer grilles had a very small tear due to the shipping stress (Wilson ships them attached to the speakers to protect the drivers).

Delivery and setup was on Monday....Wilson had a new grille in my hand by Thursday. Great customer service.

Wow !

I myself have noticed how much negative comments are floating around about Wilson speakers.

Hearing about defective paint is not surprising, transporting will almost guarantee some kind of issue , not to mention the difficulty in preparing and preventing faults that tend to show up months later.

2 months turn around for a painted custom finish would not be considered unusual and is about right as the paint has to cure to make sure there will be no shrinkage that would lead to further cracking before transporting . Also i can see Wilson holding the speaker a bit longer to make sure all was good , before shipping knowing any faults here would be very irritating due to it being a re-do .

A custom color would add time , as WA would not setup just to paint one Pr of speaker, you would naturally do the larger run first .

I would hope the O/P would chime in to let us all know how this ended .

I will definately to my research before I purchase a wilson product.D.
Wilson Audio customer service is outstanding! I've owned Sophia 2s and now Sophia 3s and I couldn't be happier with the built quality, sound, and outstanding support I receive from Wilson. Recently, Wilson put me in touch with a cable manufacture to help me decide on the best cables for my system.
Did Wilson really put you in touch with a cable manufacture company? That is simply above and beyond.
I've heard others complain of paint issues on their Wilson speakers... Wilson knows that their speakers will be shipped...why don't they have a shipping container that will not damage the speaker? I've had my Vandersteens shipped twice across the country, and the finish is as gorgeous as it was when it left the factory.

They really did, because I was having problems getting the local dealer to let me evaluate the cables at home.


Wilson Audio paint problems had nothing to do with shipping. They had a bad batch of glue that was causing problems. I know, because my Sophia IIs developed a slight crack. Wilson went above and beyond what I expected. They arranged to have the speakers picked-up and return to them free of charge. In addition, they allowed me to upgrade to Wilson Sophia IIIs at a very reasonable cost and shipped them free of charge. My dealer of 20 years has told me stories of Wilson going above and beyond many times. No, they aren't for everyone, but from my perspective their customer service is more than commendable.
Thanks for that input, I will avoid them at all cost .