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REVIEW: The Audio Insider

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#1 of 3 OFFLINE   michael-



  • 1 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 19 2012

Posted January 19 2012 - 12:52 PM

A recent experience with The Audio Insider. I personally will never buy from them again after this incident. All times are PST. Fri, 11/18 @ 11:28 AM

Order was received by The Audio Insider for a pair of Swan M200MKII Speakers

Fri, 11/18 @ 3:54 PM

Sent an email to The Audio Insider asking to change the shipping address since I had mistakenly entered the wrong one.

Sat, 11/19 @ 7:27 AM

I receive an email notification that my order status is "Processed"

Sat, 11/19 @ 10:13 AM

Jon Lane sends me an email saying he'll update the address.

Mon, 11/21 @ 2:10 PM

I receive an email notification that my order status is "Shipped"

Mon, 11/21 @ 2:11 PM

I send an email to Jon to make sure the item is being mailed to the correct address.

Mon, 11/21 @ 2:13 PM

Jon sends an email back, "We've instructed the warehouse to use the corrected address." Strange, I thought he had already changed the shipping address on Saturday.

Mon, 11/21 @ 10:54 PM

I send an email to Jon: "Hi, I don’t know what you need me to do -- granted it was my fault to begin with -- but I’ve contacted you twice about changing the shipping address -- once Fri, 11/18 and then again Mon, 11/21. Both times Jon you have said you’d make the change for me and now when I track the package it says the destination is San Marino, CA. What do I need to do here?"

Tue, 11/22 @ 6:38 AM

I receive an email from Jon: "Hi Michael, I instructed the warehouse twice to change the address but according to your finding, apparently it's not been done. I'll call FedEx and make the change myself."

Tue, 11/22 @ 11:30 AM

I receive another email from Jon: "The delivery address has now been changed."

Wed, 11/23 @ 3:02 PM

I sent an email to Jon saying the speakers were still being shipped to the wrong address and asked for a credit on shipping charges.

== I RECEIVE THE SPEAKERS HURRAY! == Thu, 11/24 @ 12:30 PM (It's a pretty loud buzz)

I sent an email to Jon: "Hello, The speaker with the heatsink in the back, when I plug in the power and turn it on, there is a slight buzzing sound. Nothing else is plugged into it, no inputs, no cables, just power. Turning the volume, bass, treble, does not change the volume or pitch of the buzz. What are my options? Thanks. Michael"


Jon sends me an email asking if the buzzing is thorugh the speaker's drivers or is it a mechanical buzzing insde the speakers?

Sat, 11/26 @ 8:29 AM (This is where things get fishy)

Jon sends me an email: "Hi Michael, Let me explain our position on address changes, please, and then you can advise how you see the delivery. First, as fraud-prevention, we have a policy that prevents running address changes. A customer could theoretically use an authorized credit card to clear the authorization service web sellers use and then switch addresses. I waived this for your order but it is actually our usual policy. Second, running changes within FedEx are only sometimes effective - I estimate that fully half of them never occur. FedEx runs a highly automated delivery chain and all changes introduced into this chain are manual, making them very non-standard for them to have to deal with. We did everything we could to change the addredd mid-flight, but FedEx themselves simply could not comply. Lastly, our final policy is that once the product clears our dock it naturally becomes the customer's property. Anything that happens to it from that point is the shippers responsibility, which in this case FedEx agrees to and bears. All this said, I am more than willing to contact FedEx and see if I can get a credit to our corporate account and if so, to pass that credit on to you. Please give us a few days to work this out." Here's why it's fishy. First, the billing/shipping address that was initially used was an old address that isn't even tied to the credit card I used to buy the speakers. Second, he mentions that the final policy is that once the product clears their dock it's out of their hands -- which I agree with. However, I specifically asked him to change the address BEFORE the speakers shipped and he even acknowledges that the address was changed BEFORE the speakers shipped. Finally, I never did hear from him about the credit.

Sat, 11/26 @ 5:29 PM

I sent an email to Jon telling him the buzzing is coming through the speakers.

Sun, 11/27 @ 8:43 AM

Jon responds: "A speaker amplifier's power supply must rectify and filter 120v AC wall voltage to around 24v DC amplifier voltage. Doing so is always a question of degrees: No amount of power supply filtering can perfectly eliminate all 60Hz line "buzz" and a certain residual level will bleed through into the signal. The question is if this buzz is indeed residual or the product of a defect. Since all Swan powered models are 100% quality-checked before shipping, and since power supply failures are virtually unknown of, one wonders what this buzz is; whether a true defect or just a natural operating function of the amplifiers Swan uses. If you like we can check the speakers for normal operation. I can't guarantee we'll find a defect or if this is just how the speakers appear to you the customers. Please let me know and we'll continue to work with you."

Sun, 11/27 @ 11:14 AM

I send Jon an email: "No this is absolutely a defect. I can hear the buzz clearly when I listen to anything. I've owned many speakers before and none have exhibited this behavior. Please fix the issue at hand, I've been more than patient through our issues."

Sun, 11/27 @ 11:42 AM

Jon emails me: "Please repack the speakers as received and return them to the following address. After they arrive, please notify us by email and include the tracking number. If there is a problem related to manufacture, after inspection we'll refund the comparable costs of shipping by FedEx Ground only. HAS c/o Jon Lane 335 S. Beneva Rd. Ste 1439 Sarasota, FL 34232 Please note that any previous issue was related to the shipper and not ourselves." That last sentence I really don't believe because he tells me the address has been changed before the package goes out. Also, keep in mind this is where he said he'll refund me the comparable costs of shipping by FedEx Ground only!

Sun, 11/27 @ 11:54 AM (I'm getting frustrated)

I send Jon an email: "Please enough with the excuses. I emailed you immediately after I placed the order telling you my address was wrong and you said it would be fixed. I then followed up on Monday and you said it would be fixed. Finally, it shipped and I told you AGAIN for the THIRD time it was wrong. You had two chances to rectify the problem when the speakers were in your possession -- don't blame FedEx they did nothing wrong. Enough with the excuses, own up to the mistakes, fix the issues, and make your customer happy."

Sun, 11/27 @ 12:31 PM (Jon is getting frustrated)

Jon emails me: "Michael, I'm not going to either debate or discuss this any longer. We're a professional company that ships scores of units a day. We know how to do these things. We notified FedEx - in a violation of policy - with your address change. As I've told you, what they did with it after that is out of our control. " Again, he speaks to his policy which is BS in my eyes since I gave him the WRONG billing address when I purchased the speakers. The card should have been declined immediately.

Sun, 11/27 @ 12:48 PM

I send Jon an email: "If security is your concern I suggest you talk to Authorize.net because that address I used has never been my billing address for that card. I will send the speakers back tomorrow. Michael"

Sun, 11/27 @ 2:47 PM (So I'm getting a little snarky)

"Hello Jon, Can you generate a FedEx shipping label for me to print then? Since you ship scores of units a day I am sure your shipping rate is better than mine. I don’t want to end up spending $30 on shipping when you’ll only reimburse me $15. You don’t have to worry about scheduling a pickup I will drop it off at a FedEx location." The originally shipping costs Jon charged me was $18.66. FedEx was quoting me $30+ so I figured his rate must be better than me.

Sun, 11/27 @ 4:06 PM

Jon says: "We need to evaluate the speakers before they can be found to qualify for prepaid freight."

Sun, 11/27 @ 4:23 PM

I email Jon: "Okay, FedEx is quoting me about $30 to ship it back to you, if there is a defect found in the speakers you will reimburse me the shipping charges? I can provide a receipt to confirm the cost."

Mon, 11/28 @ 3:28 PM

I send Jon the FedEx tracking #

Fri, 12/2 @ 2:07 PM

I email Jon asking if he's received the package and whether or not it's been inspected yet.

Mon, 12/5 @ 1:24 PM

Jon: "We're inspecting returns tomorrow and will follow-up asap. Thanks."

Thur, 12/8 @ 11:22 AM

Me: "Hi Jon, It's now Thursday, any updates?

Fri, 12/9 @ 11:12 AM

Jon: "Michael, The speakers were received in proper condition, unpacked, inspected, and benched. Power supply ripple was within spec, and the amplifiers are running on bias. We detected no RF noise in the circuit, and measured (and heard) no DC ripple through the woofers. The speaker runs as designed, and we heard no buzz or hum on the bench when run at our local wall voltage (121vac). I asked that the amplifier board be replaced anyway, to be absolutely certain. Both boards measure identically and both were QC'd by Swan before shipping, one in your set of speakers and the other in our warranty parts reserve. I suspect something is happening in your particular system that may include a ground loop, although if running at idle with no input connected there's no way this can be present. Beyond that I don't know what to say. The speakers have been repacked and were delivered to FedEx Wednesday."

Fri, 12/12 @ 12:27 PM

Me: "Which address did you end up shipping it to?

Mon, 12/12 @ 2:18 AM

Jon: "The address on the return to us"

== I RECEIVED THE SPEAKERS 12/12 == Mon, 12/19 @ 4:40 PM

Me: "Hello Jon, Looks like replacing the amplifier board fixed the issue. I know I’m not crazy and there was noise coming from the speakers that had nothing to do with “being normal.” I’m assuming you’re not going to give me a refund on my shipping costs then?"

Wed, 12/21 @ 11:23 AM

Me: "Hi Jon, Did you receive this message?"

Thur, 01/29 (Writing this) It has almost been one month since I sent the last email to Jon asking for a refund of shipping charges which ended up being $30 or so. I decided to give Jon a call and he was friendly at first until he realized who I was. He told me that it's their policy to NOT pay for shipping charges when it's a warranty issue even though on Sun, 11/27 @ 4:06 PM Jon said he cannot until the speakers are inspected. Honestly, I think I received a defective product because though Jon claims there were no issues, it seemed to miraculously disappear after Jon replaced the components. Absolutely nothing changed on my setup. This wasn't an issue regarding warranty but receiving a defective product. All companies I know upon receiving a defective product will gladly pay for shipping both ways. Jon left it at, "I'm not going to debate with you about this issue. If we paid for all returns, we'd be out of business." Considering all the hassle he put me through regarding shipping address changes, me having to drive a 1.5 hours to pickup up the speakers, and ignoring me for almost a month you'd think he could cover the $30. I think this is an edge case issue that probably doesn't happen very often. It's these edge case issues that really challenges a company to think about how to handle and resolve an issue to make the customer happy. I firmly believe that The Audio Insider and Jon failed. I personally will never buy from Jon again nor will I recommend them to anyone. He obviously is great when things go smoothly but once a really problem arises that isn't typical, his true colors come out. Anyways, that was a very long review and I don't even know if it was valuable or if anyone will agree with me. Thanks, Michael

#2 of 3 OFFLINE   John Matthews

John Matthews


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  • Join Date: Apr 30 2012

Posted April 30 2012 - 11:15 AM

Wow, Sorry to hear that. I almost feel bad complaining after the headache you've put up with (but I will anyway for the sake of anyone who happens to find this on Google). I placed an order for a pair of Swans on a Wednesday, specifically paying for rush, 2-day delivery. Like seemingly 75% of people, I work weekdays and am off weekends... so in the "Instructions/Special Requests" field for shipping, I specifically noted "please waive signature requirement" (the default on FedEx 2-Day). So, I'm set I think. The speakers will either come Friday, and will either be left for me for when I get home, or they'll arrive Saturday since I paid for 2-day shipping. The order goes out on Thursday. I'm sent the shipping info from Audio Insider which not only has "signature confirmation" marked, it says "Deliver Weekday" (note, again, FedEx 2-Day defaults to delivering on Saturday unless you tell them otherwise). So now, despite me having paid extra for 2-Day, it's set to arrive 4 days later... because the Audio Insider specifically overruled Saturday delivery (when I'm home). It's like they don't even want me to have my speakers. Can't have them delivered Saturday when I'm home, can't have them left at my house when I am. So I emailed Jon, who ostensibly said "yeah I see your point, but it's out of my hands. Check with FedEx." Excuse me? I paid for 2-Day and you overruled it. I'm just at a lost for words here about customer service.

#3 of 3 OFFLINE   John Matthews

John Matthews


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  • Join Date: Apr 30 2012

Posted April 30 2012 - 11:24 AM

Oh, and by the way Michael, Jon is full of it. You know how I know? He wrote this to you: "Let me explain our position on address changes, please, and then you can advise how you see the delivery. First, as fraud-prevention, we have a policy that prevents running address changes. A customer could theoretically use an authorized credit card to clear the authorization service web sellers use and then switch addresses. I waived this for your order but it is actually our usual policy." ... Which is pretty funny, because he wrote me an email offering to change my shipping address (right, as though that would help the fact that he overruled Saturday delivery even though that's what I paid for, and didn't follow my other delivery instructions). Here's a screenshot of the email. Note the second paragraph where he says "If we can help in some way, perhaps to reroute the delivery to a more convenient address, please let us know." Also note how there's no mention of any means for rectifying the fact that I paid for 2-Day and they said "nah, we'll actually let you have your speakers in 5 days, and we're going to make it especially hard for you to get them. " Yes Jon, because that's what customers want to do. Pay for fast service, receive slow service, and then drive through LA traffic to go to FedEx several days after they'd been expecting it.