At what point does price stop you from supporting llocal dealers?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by JamieS, May 17, 2003.

  1. JamieS

    JamieS Stunt Coordinator

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    am having a bit of a dilema and don't know if there is a solution but maybe people would share their feelings. All names and numbers have been changed to protect the innocent

    I am moving into a new house and have been given permission by the "finace chairperson" (read wife) to make a home theatre room out of the basement. I already have some equipent from my modest HT in our flat. I will keep my front, center, sub (the rears are going upstairs for my wife) and my DVD. I want to get a RP HDTV, New rear surrounds and a reciever that has both more power, better sound and more features than my current 1603.

    Here is with my problem comes in. I am on a budget with a fairly rigid cap. I want to get THE BEST most satisfying grear I can within that budget. Because we are moving we want to have everything put in before we move everything into the house so a slow upgrade path will be a pain. Old gear in then old gear out, mount new gear move stuff out of the way for TV etc.

    I have a couple local specialty dealers I have dealt with. Both I find are very knowledgable and friendly and have been far with me. I WANT to buy from them. I don't mind spending a little extra for their service BUT with the advent of online retailing even here in Canada pricing is becoming an issue.

    I could buy a model XYZ form my dealer for $1850 tax in or get it online in Canada with warranty for $1500 at my door! That $350 savings would represent nearly 10% of my budget. The dealer just can't match those prices. If it were a difference of $100 I'd just do it but when it starts to be $300 (that would be enough to have a 6.1 vs 5.1 setup) I have to question how much I am willing to compromise my setup to buy localy.

    Sorry if this is long but I am really torn between supporting guys I like, getting great service or getting a (I think) much better collection of equipment that I may be happier with. What would you guys do and how do you feel about how much extra you are willing to spend to support your local guy?
     
  2. JimmyK

    JimmyK Second Unit

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    Jim
    That's a tough one.

    For me, there are many variables involved when making that decision. I consider price, what I'm buying, how easy would a return be, and am I likley to need service. These are some things I consider.

    For example, I had no problem buying my SVS 16-46PC+ online given SVS's reputation and the fact I would have to spend MUCH more for the same performance from the subs at my local dealer.

    On the other hand, when I bought my Tosh 40H80 HDTV, I was not willing to take any risk buying online. It was well worth the extra $200-$300 to get competent local service. As it turned out, I did have a problem that required a service call. Since they have their own excellent service dept, I knew the problem would be fixed by a competent tech rather than by a Tosh drone who had never seen an HDTV before.

    I guess it boils down to comfort level and what risks you are willing to accept.

    JimmyK
     
  3. Pete Jennings

    Pete Jennings Second Unit

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    I was pretty much in the same dilemma, I chose to go local on most of my stuff. I refused to pay the retail price on what I bought though. There is plenty enough markup for the dealer to sweeten the pot by at least 5%. I bought my Mits 65" RPTV, Marantz SR-8200, Marantz DV-6200, B&W 602S2's and B&W LCR6 all locally from the authorized dealer.

    Where I made some of my money back was buying less critical stuff used online. I purchased my rear surrounds (B&W 601S2's) from a guy on AudioReview for $250, they retail for $450. I purchased a Pioneer Elite 301 disk jukebox for $350 from a guy on Audiogon, it retails for $700. I purchased a refurbed Velodyne SPL-1200 from OneCall for $750, it retails for $1200. *All* were in perfect condition.

    The way I look at it is this: The critical stuff like receiver or pre-pro/amp combo, main speakers and video sources I would buy locally. If they break, you want fast service to get them back up and running. Any of the other stuff can be lived without for a period of time without too much agony. [​IMG] Plus, I spent over $6000 at the local dealer. I helped him feed his family and pay local taxes on his sales. He is aware I bought some second-hand stuff, but realizes the bulk of my system was purchased from him. His advice has really been worth the extra $$$ I might have spent. Also, I saved $1000 on the second-hand purchases, enough to help off-set the local dealer prices.

    I see this as win-win for me and the dealer.

    Sorry to be so long winded, but there you have it!

    Good luck!

    Pete
     
  4. Myo K

    Myo K Stunt Coordinator

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    if the online retailer has a good reputation, id get it online, beforehand, id do a lot of research, mainly the bad comments about it, so you can be aware of any defects or problems people may have run into with the component.
    if its minimal id get the component online, 350 dollars is a lot of extra pocket money.
     
  5. Robb Roy

    Robb Roy Supporting Actor

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    JamieS,

    Just because a dealer can't move much on one piece doesn't mean he can't move more on another. Since you are looking to buy several pieces of gear, see what he can do for you if you were purchasing them all at once. That $350 could come from a different piece of gear.

    -Robb
     
  6. david stark

    david stark Second Unit

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    i'd prefer to buy at a shop all the time, but savings of $350 are not to be sniffed at. For me it depnds more on if I know what I want. If I know the exact model I want then I'll shop around for the best price, but for me one of the best parts of the buying experience of hi-fi gear is the demoing. I look at reviews to see what sort of kit I should be looking at, but I don't tend to buy from a mags advice.

    So I would prefer to spend $350 more and be sure I got the kit I want, rather than pay $350 less and then 2 months later listen to a friends system that cost the same, but I prefer to mine.

     
  7. Adam.Gonsman

    Adam.Gonsman Stunt Coordinator

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    Jamie,
    For me a lot depends on the attitude of the sales people and the level of personal attention they give your.

    When I first started into home theater at the young age of 19, I wondered into a local shop ready to drop $700 on a receiver. I was in jeans and a tshirt and probably did look like "some dumb kid" just browsing, but they completely ignored me. I wondered around that store for 20 minutes like a kid in a candy shop and never a single "can I help you" or "looking for anything in particular." And I've never gone back there. In the last 4 years (yeah, I'm still just a dumb kid) I've dropped over $7k on sound and video for my theater. I lost 20 minutes of my time in their store. They lost a whole lot more.

    Now I still shop locally. I've bought all my stuff from two dealers one new my home and one near where I went to college, some with reasonable discounts, some for a little more than I would have prefered to pay. But they know me there. Even the sales guys that aren't my own rep that I deal with know me when I come in. They often let me go into a soundroom and dink and demo sometimes for hours without hovering over me cause they know that one, I won't destroy, damage or abuse anything and two, when I show up, it means I'm gonna drop some change in the next week or two.

    At the same time, I'm about ready to give this place near my home the litnus test. I'm looking at a new pair of main speakers in about the next 6 months and I'm going to try for a discount that will cause them pain likened to passing a kidney stone. They've made a pile of money off me so it's time for them to show that they value me as a customer and want me to keep dropping change there for the next 4 years.

    Some things it's just hard to put a price tag on. Lots of us can give you anecdotes about personal service, but in the end you have to decide how much of that price tag is worth personal service and all the benifits that come with it. It can also mean a lot having a local place to return things to if something is wrong with your unit when you get it. You don't have to wait a week or more for RMA and shipping both ways and all sorts of things. You can just take it back to them and tell them you need a new unit and walk home with it.

    It kind of goes back to the whole stink about "is it worth the money to buy from an authorized dealer." I realize that you aren't in this position with your current purchase since you'd get a warranty with the net purchase but it's sort of the same mentality. How much is the peice of mind worth to you for resolving issues and turning problems around quickly? Likely whoever you buy from will give you a unit that works perfectly fine and it won't matter. But what if you need to return it? It sounds like you're on a fairly tight time schedule wanting to get things in with the move.

    I know that doesn't really give you anything more definate than you already asked, but it's some stuff to think about.
     
  8. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    Jamie, Robb's line is probably the best I've read here -- but IMO there's one more thing: maybe your dealer can't come down the full $350 difference, but maybe you could see if you could cut the difference somewhat?

    Ie, go the guy and say (non threateningly!) that "I really like you guys and your service, and I would really like to buy from you guys, but..." and maybe see if you can shave a bit off there.
     
  9. JamieS

    JamieS Stunt Coordinator

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    These are all great points guys. I realize there is no right or wrong answer and it is good to hear other peoples thoughs. It is as much about "feelings" as dollars in this case.

    Great syggestion about making up the difference on "other stuff". I am going to buy a TV, and will of course need some cables and wire tec. If I can get a whole "package" maybe I'll make up some of the differnce. I am really starting to lean to local if I can.
     
  10. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    10% difference. I will pay up to 10% more locally, then I'll go on line. Not including sales tax even.

    One example that really chapped my hide. Bought a Vandersteen V2W sub. Wanted black. In CA, for some reason, Vandersteen has to charge $50 more for some hazardous disposal fee. Anyway, stupid local dealer wanted to charge me list price for a demo sub. (He'd give me the $50 off.) I walked out and got $250 off the price from another dealer in another state. He even shipped it for free. Local guy? Went out of business, the moron.
     
  11. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    Personally, $350 wouldn't sway me from purchasing locally, but that's me.
     

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