Written by 7:04 am Preamps

Selling Audio Gear – The Customer is Always Right (Mostly)

Part of the Audiophile experience is buying and eventually selling audio gear. Most of the time everything works out, but sometimes things go wrong…



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Recently I sold an AV PRe/Pro on Ebay. I listed it with an
attractive and competitive buy-it-now price and the unit sold in a couple of
hours. The buyer paid via PayPal and I shipped it out the next day. It arrived
safely and the buyer had no issues with installation since it was replacing a
similar unit that had been fried by a lightning hit.

A couple of days after I thought the deal was successfully completed I got an
email from the buyer. On analog sources he was hearing bleed-through from the
FM tuner section. He requested a full refund and I obliged. Fortunately he was
a local buyer, so he dropped the unit off and I refunded his money.

Once I got the unit home I tried to replicate his issues. No
matter what I did to the unit’s analog inputs on my test bench, they were
silent as a grave. So, was there really a problem?

I tried one last thing – hooking up the FM tuner’s antenna
input to my roof antenna – finally I heard the slightest bit of background FM
through other analog inputs – but only when the tuner was tuned to a very strong
signal. With an indoor antenna or no antenna at all the analog inputs were noise-free.

So the buyer WAS right – there was an issue with bleed-through
from pre/pro’s built-in FM tuner, but unless you tried powerful antenna (or
in the buyer’s case his cable/FM system) you’d never experience this problem. I’d
used the pre/pro in various systems for the past year with no issues, but I
never used the FM tuner. If the buyer had been similarly FM-free he’d never
have experienced a problem.

Sometimes even the most perfectly operating piece of gear in
your system can exhibit issues in someone else’s system. So if a buyer comes
back after a couple of days and tells you, “It don’t work right,” refund their
money. Yes, there’s always a chance you’re getting scammed, but better to be
the victim of an occasional cheater than to label a buyer with a legitimate beef,
a liar.

The moral of the story is that when selling a complex piece of
gear, such as a Av Receiver or pre/pro, always be prepared to offer a refund…

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