Denon's Questionable Warranty

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam.Gonsman, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. Adam.Gonsman

    Adam.Gonsman Stunt Coordinator

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    I skimmed the archives and I'm not sure I saw any discussion of this. And apoligize if this thread belongs in another forum.

    Just how enforceable is Denon's shady policy on non-authorized purchases? Has anyone tried challenging it? I mean the only mention of it at all that I've seen is on their website. The fact that I can buy a unit sealed from the factory (from an authorized dealer or not) is an indication to me that the unit is new and covered by any standard warranty. This is common sense regaurdless of brand or type of purchase. Is there any sort of legal precedent that makes it my responsibility to contact the manufacturer prior to purchasing their product to make sure the warranty is valid and the dealer authorized? Or is the fact that I'm purchasing a factory sealed unit enough to reasonably indicate the validity of any warranty which might be mentioned on the box or the documentation inside?

    Of course by posting here I guess I'm ruining my possibility at this defense, but what about Joe Consumer who reads a review of a Denon unit in a magazine and just searches the web for the best price? Can he be held responsible for the fact that he didn't even know of this policy and was functioning under normal presumption that if you buy a manufacturer's product new, they warrant it?

    I just don't see how they can get away with this [much longer].
     
  2. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    I don't know the answer,but this is a very good point.I would say this issue has not made it to court.If you buy new in box,it should be covered,after all Denon sold it,unless it was stolen,still that's denon's problem.
     
  3. TomH

    TomH Second Unit

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    Yes warrany coverage on new factory sealed products is "common sense" to just about everyone except Denon and some of their "authorized" dealers. It is also common sense to most that contracts between the manufacturer and dealers designed to limit competition, control marketing, and fix prices are a sleazy business practice and of no benefit to the consumer. Using the denial of warranty tactic as a hammer on unsuspecting consumers is certainly unethical. The worst part is that there is more Denon product available from unauthorized dealers than from "authorized" ones. If Denon expects their archaic distribution model to have any credibility at all they must shut down the massive distribution to unauthorized dealers. One problem, they cannot afford to lose half of their sales. Hopefully someone will challenge them. Until then, as a matter of principle, I simply will not consider their products.
     
  4. Adam.Gonsman

    Adam.Gonsman Stunt Coordinator

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    Tom,
    Very well stated. My feelings exactly. I was just wondering cause like so many here I was considering a 3803. And a lot of people have voiced opinions of discontent about the policy. Maybe if enough people raise a fuss Denon will wake up. But in the mean time, like you, I'm looking to other brands and models for my needs. (especially after a visit to tweeter today [​IMG] )
     
  5. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Actually, the Denon warranty has been discussed more than once on this forum. Here's a link to the last discussion which was held in December:
    Denon Warranty
     
  6. Adam.Gonsman

    Adam.Gonsman Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, lots of creative ways to get close to the non-authorized prices. But my concern is whether or not it's worth all the hassle or if you're safe to just buy from a non-authorized dealer as long as you're willing to complain enough if you need service. I guess what I'm saying is instead of looking for ways to get the good prices and stay "authorized" is it possible to just buy the thing where we want from who we want and blow this stupid warranty crap out of the water?

    I guess either way it's a moot point for me now, I just committed to a new Yamaha RX-V3300 after going to look at a Denon 3803 today so I've got a while before I need to care about Denon and their stupid warranty again. But a lot of people on here are snapping up Denons left and right and it might simplify a lot of lives if we could do anything about this policy.
     
  7. Alan_MD

    Alan_MD Extra

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    I agree it is a questionable policy. Denon's authorized dealer policy seems to be a strategy to decrease competition, shirk responsibilty for their product and fix prices. That may not be their stated intention at all, but it is my perception.
    I was really ready to buy the 3803, and found at least one online dealer with a good deal that claimed it would honor the warranty despite not being an authorized dealer. I think some of the fun of buying is at least perceiving that you got a good deal. But it felt like too much work. So count me as one customer Denon lost because of their warranty policy.
    I ended up really liking the Marantz models, especially the 7300, but as this was going to be a "starter" receiver for me, I bought an Outlaw 1050 just because of a good ratio of features : service : price. I can afford a more expensive receiver, but I am very happy with the 1050. And by not spending so much, I am allowing room for the expected case of upgradeitis. [​IMG]
     
  8. Chip_Slattery

    Chip_Slattery Stunt Coordinator

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    There's really nothing "questionable" or "shady" about Denon's policy. It's THEIR policy and affects nothing but THEIR products. It's called free enterprise. They are very up-front about the policy on their website and I'm sure their authorized distributors would be more than happy to point out the warranty situation. The beef should be with the non-authorized dealers who don't point out that they are selling an unwarranted product.

    No manufacturer (of any product) has any obligation to make sure that there is adequate competition in the marketplace, especially for their own product. The single goal of any company is to maximize profits. Why would Denon encourage additional competition between authorized dealers, forcing them to cut prices to compete against each other and ultimately drive down the margins on it's product?

    While it could be argued that lower prices would breed more sales and thus the profits would be gained on the volume, apparently Denon feels they are doing quite well with their current philosophy.

    If Denon sees fit to limit their warranty to authorized sales only then that's their choice. If those authorized channels choose to fix pricing, so be it. Do as Adam did and others have done and vote with your wallet. Don't buy Denon's products.

    I happen to own a 3801 purchased two years ago from an unathorized dealer who assured me that they would cover any warranty related issues. (yeah, right!) This was a choice I made to save some money, and I was certainly putting myself at risk, but I rolled the dice. I was aware of the warranty issue because I ASKED.

    Anyone who purchases a product online for half of what it sells for at their local B&M and doesn't question WHY deserves what they get.

    Caveat emptor.
     
  9. Adam.Gonsman

    Adam.Gonsman Stunt Coordinator

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    Chip,
    Excellent point. As a good red blooded capitalist loving American [​IMG] I agree completely about it being free enterprise and that Denon has a right to set their policy to what they want.
    Also keep in mind it's just a policy they have. It's not a law, it's not an 11th commandment from God, it's a statement they've made. One of the questions I originally posed was if you might get them to honor the warranty on a non-authorized unit if you raised enough fuss or challenged the policy.
    I could state that I have a policy that no one is allowed to post comments that disagree with my owm. But I think there's a snowball's chance in the Sahara that anyone will follow that. Why? Cause I have no recourse against them. I haven't even been on the forum that long let alone have any power (or even any respect) to enforce something like that. Same thing goes for Denon.
    It's just that sometimes we get scared off by big companies with their teams of lawyers and their legalese policies. I question legally whether they really have any recourse to back up such a policy if it were formally challenged. It's just a thought I'm throwing out. I don't really know. I am definately not a lawyer.
    At the same time, I think we have a right to protest it and fight it as consumers if we don't like the policy. But more than any right, I think it's our obligation to discuss this in the open as long as we do protest it. We need to let them know that there are people that are not purchasing their products because of what's going on. Otherwise they're left to misinterpret their sales numbers and draw false conclusions just like the various members of the RIAA have about music piracy with P2P sharing. HTF is a big forum and I'll bet you there are some Denon employed people on here reading this stuff right now.
    I think too it's an interesting gray area you've brought up about it being the seller's responsibility to inform you that they are not authorized and that this will affect your warranty. They definately should inform you if they intend to remain a trusted retailer but I also think that as a manufacturer we should be able to trust Denon to not allow so many unauthorized channels of distribution, which is clearly not the case. Someone stated somewhere (I beleive it was another thread) that there seems to be more Denon merchandise available from non-authorized dealers than from authorized ones. In my opinion, it really does feel this way. To me, this indicates that Denon knows what they are doing. That is, I think it's safe to conclude that they are doing this on purpose for their own ends making all their retailers authorized or not little pawns in their game. This is why personally I still hold them ultimately responsible.
    Chip, I'm not sure if I was more elaborating on what you said or arguing with some of it. But as a whole, I agree with you. Any more thoughts?
     
  10. TomH

    TomH Second Unit

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    Yes, companies are free to state and follow any policy they desire even though it may be illegal, unethical, shady or questionable. However it is usually only a matter of time before they are challenged in court. Price fixing, competition control and avoiding warranty responsibility are not exactly the basis of free enterprise and capitalism. The main issue here is that Denon makes no attempt to limit sales outside of their "authorized" dealer network. Many other manufacturers follow this distribution model and are extremely successful at controlling who sells their product. New, factory sealed Denon product with warranty card can be purchased nearly anywhere. It is not the consumer's problem that Denon refuses to control their distributers and enforce their own policy. It is common sense that they should stand behind their product and honor warranty.
     
  11. Chip_Slattery

    Chip_Slattery Stunt Coordinator

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    Adam,
    I think we agree...[​IMG]
    I definately agree that Denon knows that a good chunk of their product is being moved through unauthorized distributors, but there is enough profit involved to turn a blind eye.
    Want my speculation on why Denon doesn't crack down? I think that at some point the authorized dealers went to Denon and complained that these "grey market" dealers were hurting their sales, and they wanted Denon to do something about it.
    Not wanting to eliminate the money they were making off the unauthorized dealers, Denon instead created their "no warranty unless purchased through an authorized distributor" policy, hoping to steer more sales to their authorized dealers.
    They probably felt that not many people would buy a product knowing that there was no warranty behind it. The problem, as was pointed out earlier in this thread, is that not that many people are aware of the policy, so their purchasing decisions are not influenced by it.
    If I were an authorized dealer for Denon I would certainly want them to crack down on the unauthorized sales as I'm sure it's taking business away from them. However, I don't think it is that much business. One thing to remember is we on this forum make up a very tiny portion of the A/V marketplace. I would venture to guess that the bulk of Denon's products are still being sold through authorized dealers who sell the product at list to the unknowing public.
    As for the legalities of their warranty policy I think they are well within their right to limit warranty coverage to purchases made through authorized distributors. I work for a large plumbing/heating/industrial wholesaler and we are authorized distributors for several products, among them a certian line of warm air furnaces. In order for this manufacturer's warranty to be in effect their units must not only be sold through an authorized distributor, but also installed by an authorized contractor. I have seen on more than one occasion where this issue has come into play and the manufacturer has stuck to their policy. Could it be challenged in court? Hell, anything can be challenged in court, but I think there may be precedents out there for this type of policy.
    Good discussion and I'd be interested to see if this type of policy has ever actually been challenged.
     
  12. Phil Mays

    Phil Mays Second Unit

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    Chip,

    I think you hit it on the head. I participated in a "like" thread recently. I agree that the authorized dealers have a beef.

    However, my contention is that Denon will be sucessful as long as they build quality products that do not require the use of a warranty, say 1%). The day they start making product that passed their quality control and ends up in the consumers hands say with a 5-10% failure rating then their policy will be questioned. I also think you will see their market share shrink considerably if not drastically if they do not address these concerns. Once you loose market share it is almost impossible to make it back (K-Mart). Others learn from your mistakes and do a better job at addressing these itmes of contention.

    I really hope that does not happen to Denon as I really like their products. I have used their warranty in the past and they did an outstanding job fixing the product.
     
  13. BrianAe

    BrianAe Second Unit

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    I thought I remembered hearing that you could get service from DENON as long as your unit comes with a serial number in tact and you register it when you get it.

    I think all can agree that you slip into a much grayer area if you buy a unit with the serial number removed.
     
  14. Brae

    Brae Supporting Actor

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    This could be tested, couldn't it? Only thing it takes is just ONE person to buy a unit online, fill out the warranty card and submit it, and in a couple of weeks pretend to have a problem and see what Denon does.
    If anyone has already gotten up to the last stage without pretending to have a problem then give it a try. Unless of course one really doesn't want to acknowledge they may have a no-warranty product they recently purchased. [​IMG]
     
  15. MichaelMOS

    MichaelMOS Agent

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    how would they know you didn't buy it from an authorized store? Do you have to show them a receipt when you bring it in for service. If it all comes down to what you put on your registration card, why not just put CircuitCity down or something. How would they know?
     
  16. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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  17. Brae

    Brae Supporting Actor

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    MichaelMOS, this can only be tested by the means I've stated. Since I do not know (does anyone?) if Denon, or any other manufacturer for that matter with similar policies, tracks serial numbers, it could be nothing more than a scare tactic.

    Of course, it could also be that the manufacturer may not allow you to submit the product to the authorized repair facility without going through your dealer. But, making the end user go through the dealer can have headaches, too, because people move. So, what happens in cases where someone bought and then moved away from any area dealers?

    In my town there is an authorized repair facility for both Denon and Pioneer (and a lot more, actually), but I've been told they will not accept items for warranty repair without submission of a B&M invoice. Now, does this repair facility verify the B&M sale (i.e. the submitted invoice) or do they simply submit the information to the manufacturer for them to follow up on?

    An authorized repair facility seeking warranty work is probably going to follow whatever policies and procedures in order to get paid for their work. They are not going the jeopardize themselves by accepting a repair assignment under the impression its a covered warranty job and then getting themselves in a hole.

    What I would do in a position is to determine the authorized repair facilities for the product in question. Then, I would contact them saying you need to bring ABC in for a problem you are experience (make it all up). Then, before hanging up the phone, ask them what documentation, if any, they need and act genuinely curious as to what is need for what reason.

    I am willing to bet that its to pass that information along to the manufacturer for purchase verification, as the manufacturer following these hardliner policies is not going to pay the repair facility for work they refuse to warranty. And in my area, the authorized repair facilities include MasterTech, Norman's Electronics, etc.
     
  18. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

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    What are you guys - a bunch of kids for chrissakes??

    Give Denon a call. Tell them you're a moron that thought you were getting a great deal and bought from what you now know is an unauthorized dealer and are worried about warranty service on your unit. Then ask them how you can obtain service in the event the unit fails. Is there a "make-up" charge that will bring you back into the fold? Is there an hourly or one-time charge for Denon service? Can you purchase a warranty from an Authorized Dealer? Then post back with your results. Sheesh!

    Austin
     
  19. Brae

    Brae Supporting Actor

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    We are no more kids than yourself, Austin. [​IMG] Its not our fault that the manufacturer chooses to penalize the consumer because they cannot control their distribution channels. BTW, I doubt that I'd get anywhere in getting specific questions answered without providing them with a serial number, which I cannot--I own Pioneer, not Denon, but still am curious.
    Besides, if we all got out answers from the manufacturer what good would this forum be? [​IMG]
     
  20. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    It is also common sense to most that contracts between the manufacturer and dealers designed to limit competition, control marketing, and fix prices are a sleazy business practice and of no benefit to the consumer. Using the denial of warranty tactic as a hammer on unsuspecting consumers is certainly unethical. The worst part is that there is more Denon product available from unauthorized dealers than from "authorized" ones. If Denon expects their archaic distribution model to have any credibility at all they must shut down the massive distribution to unauthorized dealers. One problem, they cannot afford to lose half of their sales. Hopefully someone will challenge them. Until then, as a matter of principle, I simply will not consider their products.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++
    end quote....................

    I think the practice is no more unethical than going into a retailer to demo equipment that you know can't be sold to you by that retailer at on-line prices without he/she loosing out on the neccesary profit to continue to operate your listening station...but this is not the real point of my response but rather to bring up another reason that I believe Denon is doing this...
    Our service department has been seeing MANY, MANY more Denons lately than other brands we sell and we consistantly turn people away who have brought in denon rcvrs purchased from unauthorized dealers. Denon will not only not repair these units (even for a fee), but are unwilling (from what others in the industry have relayed second hand) to even ship parts for the repair to be done by a third party if an authorized dealer receipt cannot be provided....I believe that this may be worse than we think, I think this started as an attempt to increase sales on "rushed" product during a time of the companies sale to a venture capital firm without incurring liability for problem products.... Upconversion problems in the 3803, DSP switching problems in the lower-end of their line for the last couple of production years, inconsistant amp sound/level on differant channels, second zone failure, dull and weak amp output on some production runs, etc......I won't often recommend their rcvrs anymore on my custom jobs because of the recall potential....It's a shame rewally, I have owned and loved many of their products in the past...hope they get it together....
     

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