Could-care-less Manufacturers and Authorized Dealers Bash

This thread is for everybody who wanna fan out their frustration on manufacturers who don’t care about supporting their products.

I get that they love you to pay full retail and brand new thru their dealer network. But then again, what do they care if I am willing to pay full repair cost for out-of-warranty and/or non-warranty repair?

(please, real personal experience only ... what happened to your friend doesn’t count)


My top 3, in any order ....

1) MBL
Got an 110v MBL from Canuck Audiomart Canada. Somehow an AudioTekne power cord toasted it (if you happen to use LossLess active cables with MBL, watch out too). Sent it to my local tech guy. Got ZERO cooperation from MBL with no schematics. Sent it to an ex-Krell repairman’s shop in Connecticut who services MBL too. Got ZERO cooperation from MBL neither. OK, I shipped it to MBL service center (in Los Angeles) MBL America couldn’t get a schematic to fix that from Germany neither. Had to ship it (again!) to MBL Germany to have it fixed.

2) Jeff Rowland
Got an pair of Model 1 - one of them stopped making sound for absolutely no reason. Sent it to the local authorized Rowland service center. That shop in Verona NJ (email me if you want the name) let it sat for 2 weeks, then charged me $95 "inspection fee" then told me to take it away. They said Jeff Rowland refused to send them the schematics needed for the repair. Contacted Jeff Rowland via emails. Got the 5th amendment treatment. Lost my shirts to sell them as-is.

3) Rotel
Once upon a time, stepped into an authorized Rotel dealer showroom and drove away an brand new Rotel receiver, even thought the dealer refused to demo it ("oh it’s too much effort to connect one for you when we have stuff a zillion times more expensive for demo for our big spenders"). What an insult. Anyway, once the unit was unpacked and then plugged-in, sparks abound, smoke came out. Totally dead. Talked to the dealer (email me if you wanna know that place in Summit NJ) - blamed that I don’t know how to plug the unit in (really????). Want me to ship it to the service center instead (which I recall, at that time, only in Japan). I argued and threaten dispute with credit card company - they didn’t care, just waved the receipt with fine print saying ’cannot be held responsible for misuse’. I lucked out since I didn’t fill out the warranty form and an Japanese member happened to like to buy one (it was considerably cheaper in USA than in Japan) and he was going to Japan. I gave him $200 discount and he was happy (he told me Rotel gave him a new once he moved to Japan).

Not a good idea for a thread...I put money on it getting removed by the end of the day.
I had a broken cartridge lead and asked manufacturer for a tone-arm rewire. They said "can't help you, Bub". I will never be their customer again.
Yes, not a good site for bashing audio related firms. This topic will work better in the many audio forums on Facebook.  
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The expression is “I couldn’t care less”. The way you are using it means roughly that the manufacturers care a lot and could care less, but don’t. I get your point though and I lost a lot of money to a smaller audio outfit that made crappy gear, and tried to tell me it was my fault, or my faultly AC and a list of other excuses. They just made poor gear.... and did not want to admit it.
Contacted Jeff Rowland via emails. Got the 5th amendment treatment.
I assume you meant the 5th degree.  I would be interested in Rowland's answer as to why they have authorized repair centers if they don't support them?  In any event, my experience with Rowland has been excellent.

Thanks for your wonderful and insightful talk on proper grammar.  :-)

I couldn't care less != I could care less.

Google them.  Both are valid, but 'I could care less' is a more impolite, disrespectful way of saying "move on".

On the contrary - Steve McCormack is wonderful.  So is Krell, in my experience.   
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No bad personal experience. I just anticipate that this is going to be worse and worse. Anything outside warranty, and maybe even within it.
Wow your in a world of audio hurt.I had Rowland always got great service from Jeff.
I had a Rowland preamp or amp (don't fully remember- had both) go bad....Rowland sent me  (about 3 inch by 3 inch) potted circuit, and a tool to extract the old one.....worked like a charm then sold it.
just recently sent an Ayre amp to them for a look-see....they replaced caps, and other stuff.....sounds much better than new
Buy American
I have had very good service with ESS Labs, Magnepan, and Parasound.   JVC required help from the bureau of electrical and appliance repair or CA BEAR as it is called.
I couldn't care less != I could care less.

Google them. Both are valid...

The first thing that comes up after that Google search is an excerpt from "101 misused words".
VTL is the worst company I have ever dealt with when it comes to product support. When you call there the owners wife is the only person that will speak to you. She is rude and doesn't speak very good English.
I could have told you that Magnepan is honest and helpful to a fault, as the cliche goes.

Some people in business are intelligent and customer-focused; some are not.

Avoid the ones who are not!
This is a very helpful thread. Although these could be just isolated, one-off experiences, it gives some insight into your future if you purchase from certain manufacturers mentioned. I would not have expected those experiences with well-respected companies like Jeff Rowland, MBL and VTL. Personally, I have had good experience with Krell, and not-as-good with McIntosh.

Several years ago I paid about $5000 for the new 65” 4K XBR model from BestBuy.  It came with an 18 month warranty.  After I had owned the set for approximately 20 months the main circuit board broke.  I was fully prepared to pay for a new circuit board, but they were no longer available!  When I contacted Sony to discuss the issue, they verified the circuit board was no longer available.  When I asked Sony if I could get partial compensation on the purchase of a new Sony TV, they refused!  Fortunately my credit card extended the warranty to 2 years and gave me a full refund.

Prior to this incident I was a major Sony fan since my purchase of their first transistor radio in the mid 1950’s.  The only TV brand that I ever owned was Sony. I had purchased tens of thousands of dollars of Sony Products.

In all fairness to Sony, this was the first time that any of my Sony products needed repair.

Based upon this experience I will never, ever purchase another Sony product.  I am really enjoying my first generation LG OLED TV.

Had the same problem with a 55 inch Samsung HDTV. Got the extended warranty with the store and after many months of problems and many attempted repairs the extended warranty company stated they would no longer attempt to fix it and give me a partial refund. After 4 years that did not allow for enough compensation to get another. Contacted Samsung directly, since their warranty had not paid a dime and explained the problem. To my astonishment they would not do ANYTHING to help. I stated if I tell me story to many people and several shy away from Samsung TVs they have lost those sales, would it not be better to help one customer??? As a result I will never buy a Samsung product and my new HDTV was a LG Oled like you!
BTW The picture quality on the LG is vastly better than that of the Samsung. Given the fact the Samsung would not alway turn on, it was not hard to throw it to the curb.
@hemoncdo - Had same experience with the last of Sony CRT TVs. This was the 30" version of Sony’s Wide-screen WEGA CRTs (150 pounds of glass!). Two weeks after warranty expired, the tuner card gave out. Fortunately, I had an extended warranty and it was fixed for free. The repair shop said the card would have cost $800 or so...
I think it is perfectly appropriate/helpful for members to place a factual account of their interactions with dealers/manufacturers.  Does it influence potential purchases down the road--YOU BET.   Just as important as negative experiences, list the positive ones where someone goes the extra mile.  Those people need our support.
I never had a "bad" experience in many decades. When I needed repairs, those dealers or mfgs stepped up.

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In 40+ years with lots of buying and selling I’ve had my share of equipment problems. Mostly, the manufacturers simply did what they should have, but some went above and beyond… while others IMO fell short.
First the great ones:

MODWRIGHT: infinite patience helping me solve a problem with my MW-modded Sony HAP music server, including sending me power supplies. 

MAKER AUDIO: Received the amp not working, likely due to shipper mishandling. I sent it back and (even though it was bought as last year’s demo) he updated to latest specs at no cost and paid return shipping. 

AURALIC: Sent me new transformers at no cost, even though bought used. 

EXOGAL: sent me a new after-market power cable when the one I was using failed. 

AUDIENCE: Re-terminated all ends when I broke the cable near one end. 

WYWIRES: exchanged my two power cords that weren’t working for pair of interconnects, and then upgraded to next level when they inadvertently took too long to ship. 

TACT AUDIO: Spent many hours on phone helping/teaching me subtleties of using their products. Too bad they went under. 

GIK: Immediately sent replacement product when I complained the finish of something I’d received wasn’t up to snuff, and let me keep the original.


The not-so-good (surprisingly, mostly cable companies): NORDOST: A Glass Toslink stopped working due to no fault of mine and their response was that they had lots of problems with their Toslink cables so they stopped making them. They offered no compensation and wouldn’t fix it. 

BEL CANTO: Amp died one week out of warranty. Wouldn’t fix it--only offered to sell me a newer model at a discount. REVELATION AUDIO LABS: Took close to a year and filing complaints with state agencies to get product I’d paid for. MIT: An expensive digital cable stopped working and neither the company nor their well-known dealer offered to fix it.



I really like to hear or read about people’s bad or good experience with certain manufacturers or dealers as it will make you cautious and think twice about spending money on certain product or dealer. Keep it coming, this type of review really helps.
Good repair experiences with:

Manley Labs
Thiel Audio

Poor repair experiences with:

conrad johnson

Lamm and Woo Audio could care less, but they don't. I have had excellent service experiences with each. 
The Good: Modwright, GR Research,Verastar, The Upgrade Company, Tekton.
The Not So Good: Odyssey Audio, A couple of repair shops, both local and well known.                                                                                                                                        Good conversations with: Evoke Speakers, Fritz Speakers,Verastar, 
I think all speakers should be sold direct.  The retailers who sell them usually carry one or two low end speakers for a line and you can't demo them anyway.  This is called imagine how they sound by looking at a picture.

Jim Salk with SALK audio told me he is unwilling to sacrifice his quality by manufacturing his speakers with low quality drivers in order to discount his pricing to retailers who end up making all of the money.  How many times do we want to listen to listen to a moderately priced speaker line and have to settle to listen to their lower cost speakers.  In my opinion retailers serve no function.  It is similar to buying shoes.  Would you buy a pair of $300 shoes without first trying them on?  Then all we hear about is how poorly the audiophile industry is doing.  Maybe they should consign their speakers with an agreement to bill retailers for the speakers they put on their floor if not sold withing 6 months.  This would certainly motivate retailers to demo them and to get them sold don't you think?  I still think if audio gear manufactures teamed up together to open high end stores and have manufactures share the cost of the overhead, manufactures would enjoy increased sales.  
Most dealer or retailer store will let you take the speakers home if you purchase them first, and after I don’t know if it’s one week or one month, if you are not satisfied, they will refund your money 100%, again “most” but not all.

Beware of LG.  I bought a LG Plasma TV back around 2005-06.  Bought the 3 year extended warranty.  Two days after the warranty expired, the Plasma TV went dead, sound but no picture.  LG stated since they didn't make Plasma TV anymore, there was nothing they could do .  At the time of purchase, I paid $1500.00 on sale from Best Buy plus another $250.00 for the 3 year warranty.  Never, ever again.  Best Buy felt bad and gave me a credit for the extended warranty.
@  tuberist

Which brands gave you such outstanding service?   We could all benefit from the information.

Thank you
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nothing is bullet proof and or ‘lasts forever’. 

sometimes it just be’s complicated too!

support has to be amenable, immediate, and available with equitiable solutions for its products but mainly for those who have bought into that makers offerings not simply with their dollars but with their confidence. as well.

unfortunately thru the decades I’ve had a fair share of gear go down and the need for its maker’s  intervention. 

overall, I’ve had far more positive EXP with manufacturers than bad ones. some do indeed go beyond the ‘call of duty’ with their service after the sale, or via their support  departments.

makers like Krell, B&W, Phase Technologies, Sound anchor, Cardas, onkyo, Integra, PS Audio, running springs, Elrod, Voodoo Cables, and Dodd Audio (RIP) have all stepped up promptly to address what ever issue when ever one arose.


anthem for example was right on time with rendering assistance on one of their early Processors I had acquired on the used market.  naturaly it was on  me to pay shipping to them, but they paid it coming back to me.

they spent time on the phone and thru mails to remedy the cituation appropriately and timely. 

all the while I was treated witgh the upmost  respect, as if I were the one who bought it new.


B.A.T. prior to being sold was one of the more  accomodating outfit I ever dealt with. Steve and Victor, and at times even Jeff Poor  were quick to step up to the plate for nearly any issues concerning their products despite them being bought new or preowned. 

always, BAT  seemed readily invested into resolving what ever customer event that could crop up all the while conducting themselves professionally and with humility and empathy.

PS Audio has come thru for me more than once in supporting their passive PLCs, sending me new modules for their devices.

actually PSA protected me twice at least as their PLC prevented a direct lightening strike from destroying gear I had plugged into the product.

PSA replaced the dead insert  immediately at no charge. I don’t recall accurately but it may have been beyond the two year warranty coverage as well. dunno for sure.

Butler Audeio is another one that stands out with superior customer service    

upon arrival from a orig owner a pair of the five power channels were out. sending it to Colorado for service, Butler not only repaired the two amps, then tested it for two days, re biased it, and shipped it back to me but this time with a full five year factory warranty as if I had been the orig owner and not its second owner.

of greater note was all of this interactionn took place while   a sudden very serious  health issue had  arisen putting a close family membwer in the hospital under life threatening circumstances.

Shunyata’s Grant Samuels sent along a Shunyata PLC ‘outlet’ and a handful of PCs to introduce me to what and how much PCs aided or influenced the sound.

I’ve been convinced and ever grateful since that event as all by itself it reminds me to ‘keep an open mind’ and that ‘everything matters’.


years ago I had some difficulties getting Bel Canto to respond to some emails and phone calls concerning some technical and upgrade question that took about ten days  for a reply to arrive.  

I thought they had gone out of business but found out later it was simply the terrible weather up in MN which was pointed to as the culprit preventing them from responding..

who knew snow prevented emails and phone calls from being returned?

thor Audio created and produced by Paul Marks remains perhaps my biggest  head scratching moment. 

Thor Audio power was the first SET amps I recall experiencing. it was a Holy Grail moment and urged me to get those pieces ASAP. only the TPA 1000 MK II line stage was the bit that landed in my lap later on.

very well built. incredible sounding. Distinctive esthetic. knok on wood, mine’s still going strong.

Mr. marks was a huge disappointment and veritable disaster for some of the folks who needed or desired updates and or repairs as he simply chose to walk away from the venture entirely one day.

Paul  leftwithout remorse or explanation or the return of monies or equipment to some of his purchasers/owners who sought upgrades. similarly those who commissioned him for new pieces. ended up out in the cold.

I was lucky in that only a bit of operating insights were needed and Mr. marks obliged in a timely fashion. 

truly a sad and serious affair.

Sony? yeah. not so much.  LG? a bit better.

Flat tVs? Good luck. not just from these pages but thru friends locally, fixing TVs seems gone the way of the Do Do Bird. its replace if possible so often repairs are the uncommon event.

it also seems very important on warranties  one finds out who one is askign for what ever level of down the road support and to  who will actually accomplish repairs or replacements.

panasonic for ex., offered an extended service policy which allowed either refurbishing, repairing, or replacement.

That  50 inch plasma is still kicking.  .

replacement rather than repair does look like the trend.

a recent all in one Epson FAX/Copy/scanner/printer began acting up. Epson said throw it into a dumpster and sent out another one.

I wish they had done that with a  Ford F150 I once had.

So many of our products (electronics and beyond) have become disposable.  It's sickening.  All that crap in landfills.  It is good some of us are willing to pay for quality but sadly sometimes you don't even have the choice. A 2k flat screen being dumped because of a blown resistor that cost a fraction of a penny--happens all the time.  Don't even get me going on LED light bulbs.  Same story.  But I digress from the OP's question.
I bought a Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette player from the original owner and it had an upgraded IEC Kimber Kable power cord. The cord had a short if put in a particular position. I called Kimber and they asked me to send it to them. When I contacted them they said they must have made it, but they couldn’t repair it. Instead, they sent me a new replacement cord at no charge.
Fortunately I’ve not had any bad experiences with audio gear that needed repairs. I’m super impressed that McIntosh still makes glass for my 1970’s vintage tuner. 
VTL.....worst "service" ever, if you can even call it that.  Horrible people , Luke and Bea Manley.