How many of you do a home comparison and then return it to the store?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by EdNichols, May 19, 2003.

  1. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    I know the best way to really tell which receiver, speaker, component, etc. sounds the best is to take it home and do an "A/B" test. Was just wondering how you guys did that. Did you compare more than two at a time maybe an A/B/C test? I suppose the ultimate would be to test every brand you are interested in at the same time. But is that realistic to expect? If you did a comparison knowing you would be taking one or more of the "losers" back, what kind of flack did you get once you returned the stuff? Did you get something, buy something else, only to take it back and get something else? Was just wondering what kind of experiences you have had and how much you were able to "bend the rules" to be able to compare what you were interested in at home.
     
  2. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    To make a long story short...I needed 2 receivers, one basic and one better. This was at Circuit City, which just happened to be the most convenient for me.
    First trip- I picked out a NIB Kenwood VR-6050. It was $299 but I talked them down to $249 because that's what the online store had them for. I then chose an H/K AVR-320 open-box marked down to $399.
    Second trip- About a week later I was passing by so I walked in again and noticed they had an open-box Kenwood 6050 for $209 and an open-box H/K 520 marked down to $499, so I took both of those home. I figured if I didn't keep them both I'd exchange the new Kenwood for the open-box Kenwood and save $50.
    Third trip- Decided to keep the H/K 320 over the 520 so I took the 520 back. Noticed they had an Onkyo TX-DS797 open-box marked down to $609. Talked them down to $569 and took that home.
    Fourth trip- Took the original Kenwood 6050 back.
    Fifth trip- Had decided to keep the Onkyo so I took the H/K 320 back.
    Sixth trip- Felt guilty cause I had spent more than I had told the wife, so I took the Onkyo back. I eventually got what I have now from ebay for $389 so I saved $230 or so over the Onkyo and got basically the same thing.
    Bottom line is that I brought 5 different receivers home...2 Kenwoods, 2 H/Ks and an Onkyo....and only kept the one Kenwood. Did I feel a little uncomfortable returning so many??? Yes, however:
    1. It is THEIR policy that allows me to do this.
    2. I am making a purchase that I'm going to have to live with for possibly a very long time.
    3. They're not losing any money off of this.

    To my relief there seemed to be different people working at the desk when I made the returns. I agree that I would have felt a little funny going back to the same person 4 times, but that's a feeling I felt I shouldn't have had in the first place. It's their policy and there's no way they can give you any hassle about it. Besides, they've got plenty of my business in the past.
    In my case , each return was dealt with in a very polite manner with no hassle at all, which is a credit to Circuit City
     
  3. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    I took home the Onkyo 595 on closeout form Bose (90 day trial). I took home the HK520 from CCity for $650 open box for a 30 day trial.

    Tough decision here. Ended up with the Pioneer 45 TX. Took the others back.

    There was no doubt a huge difference between the 3 receivers.

    Glad I did it but I'll bet CCity doesn't like it.

    Mike
     
  4. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    Audio gear often sounds different in various rooms, so an in-home demo is very valuable.

    If you deal regularly with a local shop who specializes in high-end gear, they will likely give you whatever you need for in-home trial. If you're a really good customer, they will come to your home and do an optimal setup for your demo. Sure you pay more when you do buy... but this is one of the benefits of dealing with this type of shop.

    As an example, a friend of mine bought all his gear from a high end shop in Phoenix. They let him take any gear he wanted, including speakers, to Tucson (150 miles away) and try out for a weekend. Later, they also gave him full trade-in credit for upgrades. He ended up spending $50K-60K over the course of a few years -and he felt is was worth every penny...
     
  5. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    To add to my post , why not ask for an open-box item or two to demo if possible. You'd still have to pay up front, but it eases the concern about returns since they don't have to discount the returned item.
     
  6. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    Rarely does it become an issue, but I had a customer start w/ an Onkyo 500 move to the 600 move to the 800 move to the HK 525 and then move to the Onkyo 800 but would not accept his previous return from 4 days ago at a discount. He wanted a new one. I told the manager and he told the guy who I had informed that what he was doing wasn't right. The manager told him politley "we didn't need his business." It took 3 months to sell off just "his" Open Box Receivers.
     
  7. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Adil,

    Well that customer is just plain Ignorant! I have
    dealt with customers in the past, by not so politely telling
    them that I did not want thier buisness.

    Sometimes you just have to put a stop to that sort of thing
    or you wind up being the one that gets taken advantage of.

    Home demo's are one thing, but taking home 15 different
    recievers and returning them all and then demanding a sealed
    box unit... Like I said.. Ignorant! (Ok the 15 number
    is fictitious.. But I had customers who would literaly do
    that.. No I didn't work in AV Sales..)
     
  8. RichardHOS

    RichardHOS Second Unit

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    I've only done home auditions of speakers. I believe most amplifiers of good build quality and of the same basic design will sound essentially the same, and I buy pre/pro's based on features, reviews, and specs (in that order).

    But for my last pair of speakers I purchased, I listened to six pairs of speakers from four different manufacturers. In two cases I paid a 10% restocking fee (I knew that up front). It was well worth the ~$150 it cost me to know that I was choosing the speaker I would be the most pleased with.
     
  9. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I have done this on several occasions from tweeter but then I have a good relationship with a sales person at Tweeter. I make it clear that I am going to take the piece for in home audition and might return it. We have an understanding. Also I make sure I just take open box and floor models that are on clearance or something so it doesnt cost the salesperson anything for having a new item returned open box. Also in Danbury where I lived for the past 5 yrs there was a store that had an in-home audition program where you could take any floor model home and he would have your creditcard authorized for the sale price of that unit (in case you die in a car accident while taking the unit home). You take the unit home and you have two weeks to return it for full refund. Between these two dealers I have tried equipment made by, B&K, Madrigal, Adcom, ATI, Rotel, Classe, Krell, Parasound, Marantz, Sunfire, NAD, Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, Pio, Sony etc etc (a lot I dont remember). And when ever I buy anything its from these two dealers only. I fully support the local brick and mortar dealers without whose existence this hobby wouldn't be as much fun and perhaps be a nightmare. I never buy anything online above a few hundred $$$.

    My two cents.
     
  10. kevitra

    kevitra Second Unit

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    I have a Denon 3803, Elite 4TX, Rotel 1055 and soon a NAD T762 in my home. I told the Denon and Elite salesperson that I was demoing them at home, and might return them. Both were fine with that. The Denon dealer said 'that is definetly the best thing to do, it is just that most people don't want to spend the time to do it.'

    The Rotel was purchased first, but I had issues with 2 of them so I 'gave up' unless Rotel can fix the problem within a month (popping noises with my satellite receivers).

    The NAD I purchased by phone from an authorized dealer. I can return it, put I'll have to pay shipping. I'm hoping it will be the 'winner' of my matchup.

    Most of my local 'high-end' dealers allow you to take home equipment for the night, or Saturday-Monday since they are closed on Sunday.

    It is a 'hassle', but it is the only way to know if you will really like the piece of equipment, or if it is even a true upgrade.
     
  11. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I sometimes do this, ... accidentally.

    I do as much research as I can *before* a purchase. Mag reviews, here, audioreview, etc. Buy what I think I'm going to be happy with. If I am, I keep it, if not, I move on. I do have a rule though. I will always sell a piece of gear like that on the used market. I don't want to "spoil" my relationship with dealers by doing what the 2nd guy did. I guarentee, he won't get a good deal the next time he goes to that store if they recognize him... [​IMG]
     
  12. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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  13. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i think once or twice is okay. if you're upfront with the salesperson then you've been more than fair.

    any place worth it's salt will understand what your intent is and work with you. if they hassle you go elsewhere.

    if you take a new one home, then return it - then the store *does* lose money since they now have to sell it at a discounted price. i like the idea of taking home an open-box if possible. that's a nice consideration to the business.

    however, ultimately this is for you. as long as you're not an arse about it, you shouldn't feel guilty.
     
  14. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    No, "accidentally" as having done all the research I can, yet still choosing a piece of gear that I end up not being happy with. Like I said, I never use a store's return policy. If you think about it, yeah, it's nice, but if too many people take advantage of it, then the store has to jack up the price of new gear to pay for all the returns they are getting back in. I personally don't buy gear to try it out. I buy gear because I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep it. But doesn't always work out that way. [​IMG]
     
  15. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    If you buy your equipment at a good dealer they should loan you one,or two.There is no need for purchase and return.I don't think cc, bb and the like loan.Thus they get the return treatment.Maybe they should be more interested in a relationship.BUT,its a new guy every month it seems,whats up with that?Maybe they should take a real interest in a/v.If you buy and decide you don't like it,take it back.But if people abuse the policy grocely,that is not fair to anyone,I agree.
     
  16. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I have never bought anything with the intention of just auditioning it and then taking it back.

    I have on several occasions bought an item with every intention of keeping it, been thoroughly dissatisfied with it, and returned it. This has happenned with a couple of RPTVs and 3 receivers in the last 10 years.

    I always have done an exchange rather than gotten a refund, and usually exchange for something more expensive than my original purchase, not because I feel guilty about the exchange but because the item that satisfies me almost always ends up being a bit more expensive than the item I'm returning.
     
  17. Phil_DC

    Phil_DC Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve S said:
     

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