Conrad Johnson Repair Issues

The Post I Never Dreamed I’d Write
About two weeks ago I sent my beloved Conrad Johnson Premier-17 back to
the Conrad Johnson factory for repair because it stopped making any sound whatsoever. It apparently blew some internal component.
I soon received an email acknowledging receipt of the unit and an estimated bill
of about $523.00 not including parts.
On 10/14/2016 I got a phone message telling me the preamp was fixed & total charges were $579.00.
I called a few days ago to give my credit card info to pay for the repairs. The CJ
employee told me that “we also need to tell you that the unit was damaged during
shipping & the damages are not repairable because it involves damage to the structure of the unit & those metal parts are no longer available." The damage was not mentioned until that point.
Photos showed the actual frame of the preamp was twisted & bent. It looked like it had been dropped off a two story building without the box.
The repair manager felt it would be pointless to file an insurance claim because
they would automatically deny any claim where the box was not damaged & refused to assist me with any insurance issues.
The CJ phone rep assured me that Mr. Johnson, the owner, would call me that afternoon but he never did.
I did get a call from the repair employee who said they just want to
get my payment information & send my preamp to me.
I shipped U.S. Post Office & insured for $2000.00.
I’m shocked to have this happen with this company. I've had several pieces of equipment repaired by them with great service.
I would appreciate any advice. I'm a little shaken & confused.
I’m really shocked that this would happen with a company of this stature.
I've stayed with this brand over the years because of their reliability & reputation for integrity.
It really doesn’t look like shipping damage to me.Shouldn’t they at least be willing to
assist with insurance issues?
This is one of the more unpleasant customer service experiences I've had in a while.

That doesn’t sound right. Did they tell you why they didn’t tell you about the damage upon receiving the unit. If not, why not. That should have been the first topic of conversation. You mean to tell me they would give a repair estimate on a mangled unit, did the repairs needed to a mangled unit, and are just now getting around to tell you it was mangled! I would speak with someone higher up.
Here's what i would do:
1. Get unit back the way it is damaged back from CJ factory
2. Make pictures and arrange the credit card dispute to refund $579 due to the damage done;
3. Initiate USPS claim $2000.

You get back total of $2,579 which is good enough for new preamp.

1.  No way should they (or probably could they) have repaired the unit if it was in the physical condition you described.  Call back and ask for the customer service manager or the owner.  Send them a link to this thread. 
2.  It seems highly unlikely that could have occurred without damage to the shipping box.  Do they still have the original box?  If not, why not?
3.  They should have called you immediately upon receipt to report the damage.  There is such a thing as concealed damage, although I highly doubt that is the case here.  My guess (totally a guess) is that someone at CJ dropped it (or ran it over with a fork lift!). 
4.   Definitely dispute the charge through your cc. 
5.  The good news is that while very slow, USPS is generally good on claims.  Although I highly doubt they were responsible, they may pay.
Don't accept it back.

They should have contacted you immediately about the damages.

And I'm completely shocked CJ would do this, I've dealt with them before and they were the very model of professionalism.


So, you're now being asked to pay for repairs to a unit that cannot be repaired due to structural damage? Clearly, the damage occurred after it arrived at CJ, and likely after it was repaired initially and was being staged for shipment. As swampwalker suggested, "someone at CJ dropped it (or ran over it with a forklift)," probably the latter. In any case, get a hold of someone with some stripes at CJ to make it right for you with a replacement preamp (a current model!). Unbelievable story!
Pereza - 
Based on your account it IS outrageous.  Some good input from others...especially Swampwalker's #1..."send a link to this thread".  I don't have much to add other than to comment the more A'gon members that do reply to your post, the more weight it should carry.  To that end, I hope others register their support here and that CJ steps up with an honorable resolution.  "Shaken and confused"?  I get it.  Would feel the same way.  "We fixed your pre-amp.  That'll be $579.  Oh, by the way, we couldn't fix your pre-amp it is FUBAR."   Damaged in shipping?  Yeah, maybe in THEIR shipping dept. on it's way back.  Obviously, there'll be a great deal of interest in how this plays out.  So please update as things progress.  Good luck to you.
What is going on with this service manager? It starts and ends with him and he CLEARLY is not doing the right thing and handling this situation in any way a professional manner, it is Jeff, right?. Outrageous indeed!
Please don't be one of those super-passive customers who give them weeks or months to reply to you. The reported behavior is completely unacceptable and deserves a commitment to fast resolution without any need for a drawn out response. Start out at the top of CJ and don't take no for an answer. 
Under no circumstances should you pay without getting a satisfactory solution agreed to first. That agreement shouldn't result in you paying for more than you bargained for for repair and shouldn't result in you getting last than an item in the condition it was shipped to them.
No reasonable CJ employee would order repair on a FUBAR piece without discussing with customer first. They have a responsibility to report damage as soon as the piece was received at CJ.  Something smells very fishy! Cheers,
I shipped a guitar amp to the manufacturer for an update and it was dropped on its corner by UPS…bent the metal frame corner. It was sent back to me by UPS in the same packaging (!) and I unbent it and it works fine. UPS was an insane pain in the a-- and refused to pay for the damage, so my little amp will live with a bent corner and I’ll pack such things much better in the future, but in YOUR case Conrad Johnson risks damage to their reputation and I’d be friggin’ relentless in your quest for the truth! It seems clear from what’s been described that they’re attempting to dodge their own mistake, and that’s just lame. Go get ’em!
there's simpler way:

1. Give a call to the main CJ office and explain the problem.
2. Request an identical unit sent for free
3. If declined, than PURCHASE new unit from CJ directly
4. Do not accept old unit and initiate credit card dispute to bring back full amount paid for new unit.

I concur w/ the panel here. I never thought that I would read a post like yours?

First- Much Thanks! for your intial post. It is imperative (this is a textbook example) to post both positive and negative experiences when dealing w/ these companies. Dealers/ retailers as well. Luckily for you, Conrad Johnson has been in business for a long time. More of a challenge would exist if you were talking to a newer, less prominent company or start-up.

I am a big CJ fan and have a vested interest in your situation as well.
I want you to keep me posted, even if, you send me a PM.

PLease list all people at C-J that you have conversed and had dealings.
Hopefully, this sort of issue will get elevated to Mr. Conrad and/or Mr. Johnson as well.
Totally agree with the collective outrage expressed here.  I have dealt with cj repair services before with fine results.  Someone at cj screwed up big time and is not coming clean about it.  Don't put up with that!!  You're in an impossibly stupid position.  Yes, you deserve a fully functioning non-FUBAR unit or present production unit of commensurate quality.

I sent my Vandersteen model 3 speakers from here (PA) to Vandersteen (CA) and the UPS fork lift operator DID damage one of the speakers.  Vandersteen notified me of the incident, filed the claim with UPS, sent me a UPS receipt for the cost for Vandersteen to fix my speakers and all was well.  That's obviously the way such incidents should be dealt with.  

I also agree with swampwalker.  I would also mention that if the situation is resolved satisfactorily that you will post that here to to try and rehabilitate cj's tarnished image.

I truly empathize with you.  I would be ungodly upset if in your situation!
I was a c-j dealer for many years.  They are a wonderful company.  Of course, we are only hearing one side of the story, but I tend to agree with the others that something is going on.

Call and ask for either Bill or Lew and tell them the story.  I'm sure they will take care of it.  Some of the best people in the business.
Thanks one & all for your advice & concern. It’s every Audiogoner’s worst nightmare.
I really don't want this to  be a bashing episode because I love this Company & their equipment. They've given me thousands of hours of beautiful music.
I was heartened by the tone of the responses. I was a little concerned that people would be hesitant to speak ill of an industry giant like CJ.
I've tried to stick to the facts & not let my emotions intrude.
The fact they didn’t tell me until the very last minute is beyond suspect.
There were several phone & email messages back & forth & nothing
was mentioned. 
I was ready to read off my credit card# when she sort of whispered
“oh by the way”. It was all verbal. Nothing in writing.
The requested repair consisted of replacing a blown power capacitor.
I had the same repair done in 2006.
Without going into the gory details of the bill the hourly labor
charge has gone up over 600% since 2006. I’m not complaining
about that, I’m happy to pay whatever it takes to get it fixed.
The repair manager told me the unit “works fine” & he doesn’t
think the resale value will be diminished. You can’t see the
damage from the front.
I wish I could post the photos. It’s horrible.
On the Audiogon grading scale I think it would be a one.
It makes me sad to think of my “friend” being traumatized that way.
It was obviously subjected to some serious force.
I feel pretty powerless now. There doesn’t seem to be any way around
the front line of phone numbers & I’m reluctant to give them my
payment info until they’ve acknowledged in writing
what they say has happened.
I'll keep you posted.


Since you were told that Mr. Johnson was going to call you, and he never did, just firmly request a reschedule of that call. I'll bet 2 minutes of conversation with him will be all that's required to get the ball rolling and for you to get satisfaction.
I wish you luck. 
Lots of good advise from the folks at this site.  Please keep us up to date on your progress.  I really hope you get this issue resolved to your satisfaction.
Quit referring to CJ great and best reputation from others and worry about yourself only to be fair.
If you want response FAST call SALES department first like you want to purchase a new unit than start asking tough questions to whoever picks up the phone. I always know that it’s BEST shortcut to get to the conversation. You can even start asking technical details of the unit that you want to get instead of your FUBAR and if sales person doesn’t find an answer, one will connect you to either specialist or the owner himself.

...and yes, labor to replace large power capacitor should not be over $100. so part is $50 + labor $100 (a-bit over an hour job) should be $150 and not $579.xx

That's the second time you suggested a new unit. They don't have it, and they told him they don't even have a new chassis for his unit.
roxy54 They HAVE new units 100%! It's a MANUFACTURER dontcha getit?. Check their web site -- all you see is bunch of brand new preamps and amps for sake! They can replace his old one with newer model or simply do full complete overhaul from step 0 till step 100 each and every cubic mil including full bench test. They just simply refuse it according to OP notes. For $579.xx they can build few, but only needed one. 

I'm really taken back. I too have had excellent customer service from c-j for some minor repairs in the past. If things are as reported, and though surprised, I'm not suggesting that they are or are not, I can't help but believe that c-j will do the smart thing and not compromise decades of good will over this.

If the guys in charge, like Mr. Johnson are made aware, I'm sure it will be taken care of.

Czarivey, I understand that they have lots of preamps new, but the OP wants his preamp, as it was, in good condition, and they say they don't have the chassis, get it?

They told you that the Post Office would automatically deny the claim because the box was intact? That's not how it works. They would have to present the unit with the original paperwork to their local Post Office and the clerk would have to make an assessment as to how well the item was packed. That's standard procedure. Perhaps they don't want to  do that. If a claim is denied there are several levels of appeal up to and including a consumer advocate at Postal HQ.
Insist that a claim be filed. You are not being given reliable information.
I get it, but the fact that they can't find chassis isn't excuse. MAKE IT dammit. Rebuild from scratch from the beginning than -- what'stheproblem?
The problem is most likely, as previously noted by others, that they can't help you file any insurance claim because they damaged the unit. Claims that are denied because the box is intact are denied because the clerk checked "Shock" as cause of damage. That applies to fragile items like ceramics and glass. In the case of a preamp, there's no chance of that. If the unit was bent as you describe and the box was intact it can only be because the unit was damaged after being removed from the shipping box. That needs to be pressed home. I'm a Postmaster and I've repaired Conrad Johnson amps and preamps. That's likely a unique perspective here. They may not be able or willing to fabricate a chassis for an older unit. Nonetheless, they are responsible for taking care of you. They can't charge you to "Repair" a unit that is bent all out of shape. That's not reasonable.
The poster that mentioned talking to your credit card people is right. That's a good start but will only get you back what you've been charged. I'm sure a chat with Bill Johnson would cure things. You're being stonewalled by a lower level lackey. Get a boss. A big boss.
Wow good thing I read this, I was about to make a trip to a dealer to purchase a C-J amp.

They're not going to re-fabricate a chassis for you. The amount of work that goes into fabrication is going to be far more costly than just giving you a new unit.

I'd say they owe you a new preamp, period.

Unless this is coming from the very top of the company (which I doubt), I have a feeling someone at a low level messed up and is trying to cover his or her tracks. I also have a feeling someone is getting fired.

Sounds sleazy on CJ's part.  They should have told you about the shipping damage when you called to pay for the repairs. Also, if they received the pre-amp and the exterior was seriously damaged, why did they not call you before doing the repair??  Did they expect you to place back on your audio rack the repaired pre-amp in its twisted condition. 

 I can only conclude that after they received it, and IF IT  was not showing damage, that this damaged occurred after they received it.  Could be something fell on the pre-amp while it awaited repair,or while on the service bench. 

You need to recoup the repairs charges and the USPS transit insurance money. Just make sure you have all documentation and photos of the damaged pre-amp before making the claim.  USPS is a foundering bureaucracy

"I can only conclude that after they received it, and IF IT  was not showing damage, that this damaged occurred after they received it. You need to recoup the repairs charges and the USPS transit insurance money." Why would the USPS be responsible if the damage happened at CJ?   
You're not the only one with this type of CJ story.  The good news is there are many other good manufacutrers with far better support and products.  It looks like you now have an opportunity to discover them.  Once burned - lesson learned.  Let us know what you end up with.
Hah, Roger makes good speakers, but the Coda electronics, such a world apart from CJ. Not better or worse, but the chocolaty midrange and liquid treble of the CJ’s are nothing like the mid/treble of the Coda gear I’ve heard.

I actually don’t have a very good suggestion if you like CJ but need to switch... << sigh >> AR - new stuff is much better, but not the same.

FWIW, after owning CJ Premier gear years ago, I wound up preferring Rogue for tubed gear, and these days, I find Pass Labs so much more satisfying than CJ gear. 
Ditto for Pass.  Used CJ for more than 20 years.  A total of 6 different pieces.  Now using Pass all the way.
Shocking story. If what you say is true, then the audio community should hear about it. Inexcusable behaviour. Inexcusable.

pereza, my response above was somewhat insensitive given what you are going through.  Best of luck getting things worked out. 
I sent CJ service a link to this thread on October 20.  They are aware of the situation and we should be hearing something from them or the OP soon. As with most controversies there are two sides to the story.  Hopefully we'll soon hear of a resolution to the issue.
If cj did the damage, and are trying to do a cover up, and forcing the purchaser to pay, and screw him over (hopefully a good co wouldnt do this, but its been done to consumers for 100 years)

lets hope a longtime co like cj WILL remedy this situation properly, and find out what really happened. 
I think our OP (pereza) has some issue which he does not want to disclose.  I would recommend that this thread be pulled from the web.

If CJ is blameless, then this thread could be considered as an attack on the reputation of a honest company.

This attack could have an adverse impact on sales.  If there is no update, soon, this thread should be reported

hb2012, I think summary judgement on your part is without merit and unless you know something the rest of us don't, uncalled for at this time.  Why don't you just wait to see the outcome.  CJ is on notice as of Wednesday by hifiman5.  They've had enough time to look into this and post an answer if they so desired.  Do you have experience with CJ?  I do and for the past several years it ain't what it used to be.


As far as this discussion goes, CJ is aware of this post and if there was a scam-attack or later on identified as such, they would chip-in, ID themselves and respond as with other large number of businesses dealing with hi-def home audio/video products. So far the problem being worked on and there's no point speaking of any kind of attack on reputation via web. Just stay tuned and see where it goes.

since we have not heard from the OP about the status of this issue, here is the exact reply I received from CJ this past Tuesday, 10/25.

Hi Phil,

Thanks for all your input and valuable assistance. I am fully aware of all the facts ,and we are anxious to conclude this service incident. I will keep you posted on our progress. I’m sure you and other CJ fans will be interested in our side of the story, including photos of the unit.


Jeff Fischel
General Manager/Senior Technician
conrad-johnson design inc.

I for one look forward to a disclosure of both sides of this issue so we
have context in which to judge the actions of both parties.

Hi all,  I do not know the current management situation as my experience with CJ is over many years. Nothing in the past 3-4  years. 

Has CJ been sold to a third party? 

From my personal experience I have enjoyed CJ gear for many years. PV12a, LS 17, LS 17 II, LS 16, LS 16 II.

All of my Equiptment has been serviced or upgraded over the years. 

I have dropped off some of the gear and have met Jeff F several times as well as Mel, who handles the administrative duties. 

Jeff is very to the point and has always worked on my gear.  His work and his advice has always been excellent. 

Mel sent me some cool posters and works long days.
As far as billing, I have found them equal to Audio Research.

2 great American companies. 

Maybe this helps?

As a long-time owner of multiple Conrad Johnson products, I feel that I have a stake in the outcome of this situation. 
  The Original Poster asserts that he wishes he could post the pictures,  and that he would rate the condition as a One on the Audiogon  condition scale. These assertions, taken together, would seem to imply one of three possibilities: 1) that he currently has possession of the damaged preamp, and thus has or could easily take pictures, 2) that he has received photos of the damaged unit from Conrad Johnson, or 3) that he took pictures of the preamp BEFORE sending it off to Conrad Johnson. 
    The implied assertion that he can not, in fact, post such pictures does not make any sense. He could post pictures in the "Virtual Systems" section of Audiogon, and/or in an ad listing attempting to sell the damaged unit. Although said ad would probably have a low probability of selling the preamp, it would be another possible vehicle to use to display the pictures.
    In my opinion, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark", per   Marcellus to Horatio in the play "Hamlet"! We'll find out soon, hopefully...