What To Do?

I started using a new tech earlier this year.  Nice man, seemed very knowledgeable about the vintage amp i took to him for repair.  After I got the piece back from him, another issue occurred, and I took the same amp back to him in early June for repair.  Since early July he has not taken any of my calls or responded to texts/e-mails asking for updates. I've been as firm as i can without being threatening and have offered to come retrieve the item unrepaired. But again, crickets for 4 months.

I spoke with the person who referred him to me, and he said that he's physically fine but just has a lot going on.

I live a little more than an hour away, so tracking him down in person is not a viable option. At this point, what should I do?  I'm thinking that filing a police report is my only option.  Would the police deal with something like this?



If he's been a nice guy calling the cops should be a last resort. If he's only an hour away, it's worth taking a drive to his shop.

Calling the police for an amplifier repair ?


To spare an hour trip ?


To clarify.....he does his tech work as a side venture. Has a shop, but does not keep consistent or regular hours, so going there will be a shot in the dark, which i don't have time to do.  So, I'm not calling the police about the repair, I'd be calling them to recover my property. 

You haven’t been threatening, you’ve sent text messages, emails, and phone calls with no response for the past four months, but have been informed that’s he’s likely dealing with stressors in his life. It seems like you’ve given this tech more than a few opportunities to respond - you’re just not being met half way.

I’m extremely flexible and understanding when dealing with people within our small community. If it were me, and because I know know that he’s dealing with some personal issues, I’d follow Cleeds suggestion of making the hour drive. If he’s not there, you’ve at least shown law enforcement that you’ve done everything you possibly could in attempting to make contact with this tech, and that a police report was truly your last resort. I’m assuming the police report would be made in the jurisdiction of his shop.

Are you in the US? If so:

If you're unwilling to take a drive to see him, send him a USPS certified letter, return receipt requested. Send an identical copy of the letter via First Class mail, noting on each that it is being delivered both ways. (This way, if he doesn't accept the certified notice and retrieve it, he's assumed to have been noticed because of the First Class copy.)

In the letter, summarize your experience in detail.

Then issue a deadline, e.g. "I want to pick up this amplifier from you with 7 days of your receipt of this letter. Should that not be possible, I will take further action."

He'll probably cooperate. If not, you have choices. How much is the amp worth? Small claims court might be a better option that the cops.

If you want to temper with vintage audio, the only way you have now is to become tech on your own...

I should clarify even further.  To my knowledge he only takes appointments to meet him at his shop. I'm sure he's there at other times, but i know he has a full-time day job. So, my chances of seeing him at the shop are very low.  And, of course, I can't make an appointment because he won't return my correspondence.

cleeds' advice is very good, I think.  Problem is, I only have the shop address, and I'm sure he receives no mail there (it's way out in the country, in a metal quonset hut). 

So, he only uses the shop to do his tech work (lots and lots of audio equipment and tvs laying around). It's not a registered business (cash only) and has no name.

The amp would probably bring up to $1,500 if sold on a site like this one.

Have you gotten your friend who recommended him involved.

Does he live any closer? Perhaps your friend could reach him, make an appointment about one of his pieces, then he takes your unit, or you go with him, take your piece.

Have a nice visit with your ex-friend while there.

Register/certified letter first, but be clear in the letter about the next steps, which is small claims court. It It might be a pain for you, but for him it will be a major issue with having two jobs. You can always cancel the small claims court appearance (he cannot) if he gets the amp back to you before the court date, which he will do with the thought of spending most of a business day in court, in which he will lose anyway. And make it clear the claim is for $1,500.00 plus your expenses, not just the repair cost. Most small claims go up to $5,000.00 these days, court costs, your travel and time, etc., your state may be different of course. 

I cannot image the police doing anything in this situation. He really hasn't stolen anything - yet, you gave him the amp and you don't have a specific return date. He could keep it for 5 years, and the police still wouldn't considered it stolen.

@nicholsr Just another idea:  First off, nobody is that busy that they can't spare a minute or two to float you a quick call and/or send you a quick text message providing some sort of information on the status of your repair.

Secondly, the idea of sending written communication via registered mail or the like is a very good idea.  If push comes to shove, this documentation will seal the case in small claims court.  However, if it is accurate that mail is not received at this person's shop, which I doubt, and you do not have his home address, then you could try this:  You could contact the police in the jurisdiction of this guy's repair shop, explain your dilemma and ask if they would be so kind as to give you his home address.  If, for some reason (e.g.  confidentiality/privacy; etc.), the police wouldn't or couldn't share his home address with you, you could ask them or the police in the appropriate jurisdiction to do something called a "wellness check" to make sure this guy is OK.  In the process, they would explain why they were there and why they were checking up on him.  If need be (e.g.  small claims litigation), this police report would be good documentation, as well.

P.S.  Keep track of your expenses in trying to smoke this guy out.  This would also be claimable in small claims.  Good Luck!

small claims is bogus where your lawyer may have unreasonable attorney fees towards the price of the equipment that is extremely questionable and judge would not issue you full refund of attorney fees. it's a game of a chance where you likely will just lose and the odds are not in your favor by very far even if you are 100% right.

spending an hour to drive there might be essential, because you still want to see if the place is even being attended. maybe it's already abandoned and there's an eviction notice or many-many factors merge... In case of eviction notice, you can buy the entire equipment for nearly-NOTHING and make profits

I'd send him a letter with receipt conformation stating date and time when you will be at his place to take your unit back home.


That’s exactly the reason I gave up my vintage gear except speakers. No one left who repairs them as a main business. In 2021 I waited 4 months for a minor repair with communication only when I forced it. No more. Good luck. 


Being persistent on the time you need for something else is a LARGE BURDEN and only works if you are retired.

I don't plan to retire at all. 

"I spoke with the person who referred him to me, and he said that he's physically fine but just has a lot going on."

If this person can tell you that he is fine and just has a lot going on, then it seems to me that he should be able to speak to him on your behalf.






Barts, funny you should say that.....the referrer e-mailed the tech yesterday for me.  No response yet, but I'm hopeful.

If this does go to small claims court, should I cite "Audiophiles vs. Noah Schumacher" as the precedent? 

I had a similar experience with Tascam equipment. But I was able to get it back unrepaired, it is now a boat anchor.

It seems qualified repairman are a scarcity.


Nowdays, when replacement supplies are on less of an availability, repairman should be qualified engineer in order to find proper solutions for repair. That is very frequent case when you have to match parameters, reorganize circuit board for equivalent circuit elements of different shape and size. Fisher 500 repair took GUTS out of me till I figured out how to replace single chassis capacitor bank with the equivalent circuit and fit it in!!! I did that as a hobby, but now it would only be waste of my time unless I retire to work on that full time which is unlikely to happen. 

Also many of those are not alive and their children if any I'm sure were going to the school that only has an illusion of an education. 


Without a competent repairman It is not a good idea to buy vintage as i did ...

One live at 30 minutes from my home ... It is why i picked two Sansui one decade ago almost... 😊



I tried something that worked for me. It was the opposite (couldn’t get a response from a customer).

Write a nice note and print it, free from animosity, grief, etc. Keep it positive. I tried to make mine light, and humorous. No hard feelings. Just want to get your amp back.

Hand deliver it to the known address and tape/attach it to the door in a waterproof packing (zip lock bag, etc). Include a self addressed, stamped envelop containg a form which would include, for example, a time you can meet up with the servicer to retrieve your amp. Leave a blank for an "other" option to be filled in by the servicer. He might be embarrassed/frustrated, doens’t want to come face-to-face with you and may prefer to get a 3rd party involved. Drop if off at a nearby diner/bar/cannabus outlet, for example?

This would represent a good faith effort to take responsibility for the situation and, hopefully, get your amp back.

It that doesnt’ work, see if their is an industrial equipment rental business close to the destination, and take out the front of his building. That should get his attention?

First, peak through the windows and make sure your amp is in the back of the building.


First, peak through the windows and make sure your amp is in the back of the building.


OP have a friend ( if you have a friend that is big and fit even better) call and make an appointment to meet this guy under the pretense he has an amplifier that needs repair. Drive out with this friend and jump out of the car and get you property, if he refuses you have a witness and call the police as it is theft. You asked for your property and he has refused. Also maybe a good idea to go strapped?

Alls well that ends well. The referrer got in touch with the tech, who then called me. Equipment pickup this weekend (and it's repaired, I'm assured). He's a good guy, was very apologetic. Just too much going on in his life. 

i appreciate all the suggestions, even the absurd ones. A little comic relief goes a long way.  

Til the next topic.....

Ahh, glad to hear it!

All's well that ends well and all that kind of business.