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…


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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