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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 7:04 pm
Posts: 125
Location: vancouver, BC, CA
Hi All,
I am hoping you can chime in on what you think is a seller's reasonable "duty".

I encountered a man who was a customer where I work and he was looking for a good amplifier to drive his Martin Logan speakers.
He has been using a NAD 3020.

I mentioned that I was selling my own Classe amplifier (150 matts per channel) and he was very interested. I let him take it home (without paying me for it!) and audition it, and he was going to compare it to another amplifier option.
He got back to me and said he wanted to buy it; and we agreed on a price. He was going to come over a day later to pay me; I told him at that time, please be sure that you are sure about the amp, because I have other plans for this money, and once you pay me the money will be gone.

So the deal is done.
He calls me a few days later and asks if I had known that one channel took a few seconds longer to come on than the other. I replied that I most definitely had not ever experienced such a thing, and I asked some questions about how he had it connected and his other equipment. He said he would double check things in his system.
Maybe a week after that he comes into where I work (he has been a customer previously) and says one channel is now dead. I opened up the amp and a fuse has blown. In the course of conversation with him, I find that he has had the Classe and both of his Martin Logans plugged into the same power outlet. We theorize that maybe having too much current drawn from one outlet may have been the cause of the problems.
He leaves the amp with me to replace the fuse, which I do. And while I have it back I play it for more than a day. everything is working great, as it always was for all the years I owned it.
He comes back and picks it up, and a day later call and tells me it has blown the fuse again. He says he is going to take in his speaker to be looked at to see if something is amiss. He brings me back the amplifier for me to get it working again (presumably by replacing the fuse).

Finally this morning I call him to tell him that I am going to take the Classe over to a good repair shop to have them check it all out to confirm that everything is working. He tells me that the Speaker Clinic has checked out his speaker and found it to be working, but in operation, the impedance drops as low as 1 ohm. They tell him that this can cause problems for many amplifiers.
He wants his money back.
I politely explained that I had dealt with him in good faith, and sold him a fully-working amplifier, that I couldn't have possibly known his speakers would have such a crazy impedance demand, and that as I had forewarned him I didn't have his money anymore (its been spent on plane tickets and hotel bookings for a trip).

I have bought lots of gear over the years, and my expectation has always been that the seller's duty is for the item to be fully working as he claims it is. When I haven't been impressed with a piece or something hasn't worked out well in my system I haven't seen that as the seller's fault; I just sell the (fully-working) item to someone else. I feel like CAM has traditionally been full of people buying something to give it a try, and selling it on if it doesn't match their system well or do what they hoped it would do.

He insists that it is self-evident that I need to give him his money back because the amplifier doesn't work with his speakers, and is indignant at the notion that it would be "not my problem" (to be clear I was tactful enough to NOT use the phrase "not my problem" ) that his speakers don't mate right with this amp.

How do you see this?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:07 am 
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Location: Mono, ON, CA
I think you’ve been more than helpful to the gentleman. When buying something from a private seller To me means no warranty or returns.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:09 am 
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It totally sucks...I would suggest to him that I would be willing to list/sell the amp for him and when/if it sold I pass the money on to him.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:12 am 
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Does your place of work have anything to do with audio or electronics?
Unless you mislead him somehow you went way beyond what the normal sale involves. Maybe he should have done a little homework on his speakers requirements.
Hope this doesn't screw up things at work!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:21 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
From my perspective, you have executed both patience, and diligence on the transaction.

Since only ONE channel is konking out and blowing a fuse, I suspect the problem is not the reactive load of his ML's, but rather some DC offset at the input of the amp from his preamp (is he using his 3020 as the pre-amp ??) or source component if the Classe is an integrated.
Yes, ML's can be hard to drive, especially the older CLS's .. but, I suspect that if he was driving his Logan's with a NAD 3020, we aren't talking about lease breaking volume levels here, and I can't imagine that just one channel on the Classe would poop out if it were a loading issue from the Logan's.

Since you've discovered that the amp runs fine at your place with the replaced fuse,. chances are the problem is in his ancillary gear.. and not with the amp itself.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:27 am 
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Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
trentcanuck, does your workplace sell audio equipment? I ask because it's fairly well-known (at least among enthusiasts I've met) that Martin-Logan speakers present a very hard load to many amps, particularly those that aren't high-current designs.

Maybe this is something you or your workmates could be expected to have known and passed along to this buyer beforehand - or on the flip side of the coin, maybe he as the buyer should have also been aware of his speakers' quirks.

It's harder to parse this situation since you're working at a (potentially) audio-related store, so an argument could possibly be made that you should have known better and advised the buyer accordingly.

That being said, if this was a non-retail transaction, it seems it would be pretty cut and dry, based on your description, that you did everything right as a seller - and that the buyer bears full responsibility for not doing his homework first.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:40 am 
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Location: Cambridge, ON, CA
Tricky situation, but considering he is a customer of your employer I would be the bigger man and give the full refund for return of the amp. I would not want that bad blood spilling into my workplace.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:24 pm 
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Location: scarborough, ON, CA
I agree, I would give him his money back. or, as Voodoo suggested, sell the amp and give him what you get for it. If it's a couple of bucks shy, his loss, he asked too much from you already.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:40 pm 
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Location: Markham, ON, CA
I see this two ways (actually three).

First. You did the right thing by the buyer. You took the amp back replaced the fuse and tested it. Legally you have done more than what was required. Remember, he took the amp back to his place, tested it, liked it and bought it. Your job is done here.

Second. If there is an issue with the amp, take it to a professional to be tested. if it tests OK, then there is nothing wrong with the amp. He owns it. You have now exceeded what should be expected from you and you have gone out of your way to be fair and honest. Again, he owns it.

Three. If there is a fear this guy is going to get psycho and cause problems at your work....well, you might want to see if you can sell the amp for him. But this is HIS AMP, NOT YOURS. This would be more than fair to the buyer. Remember you are not an audio store that has an unconditional warranty on what you sell; he bought a used amp, at a used price; he tested it and liked it. Caveat Emptor when it comes to compatibility.

If he is a CAM member, refer him to this thread. He can see he is being unreasonable.

You appear to be a very reasonable person and have gone above and beyond with this sale; you will also be uncomfortable selling an amp that may have a problem (I am reading between the lines with this statement). Best if you have someone quickly check it over. And the cost of this checkover? Legitimately it is the owner's responsibility (not you). Depending on what they find (or don't) you may choose to negotiate a shared cost.

Or take the other route and tell him politely to take his amp away and move on. Let your boss know that he may show up with a chip on his shoulder...better to be prepared in case he goes psycho.

Sorry you have this to deal with this; you did nothing to deserve this. The buyer is being unreasonable.


Last edited by brownslane on Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:47 pm 
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Location: Comox, BC, CA
There's a great saying -- "do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

I'd say you did things right, but it doesn't look like a happy ending in the future.

I'd do as others suggested and offer to sell it for him and even consider making up the shortfall, but tell him in no uncertain terms the two of you are done. Don't deal with him in the store, in person or here.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:13 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, BC, CA
I don't have much to add, I'm just struck by what a drag this is... I feel for you. It sounds like you've been a really stand-up seller throughout. I imagine way back at the beginning of this you two probably got along alright—you liked & trusted him well enough to lend him the amp, and then you felt moved to help him out when things started to unravel. I don't know the right way forward, but I sure hope you two can resolve it in a way that feels good for both of you.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:02 pm 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I would offer to sell the amp for him on consignment. You know the amp is good. The buyer has to trust you like you did him initially. List the amp for sale and arrange to give him 90% of what he paid. Your time is worth money and make sure you provide a bill of sale sold as is etc..

I suggest this rather that just give the guy a refund since you never implied he would get warranty. You don't know how long it will take to sell the amp. The other option is to suggest he sell it via a dealer on consignment. The dealer will prob want 15-20%.

You let the guy take home the amp because of the circumstances and it was working fine until he used it. From the buyers description of the issue he had with the one channel it makes me wonder if it's a relay issue and DC leakage from the one channel blew the fuse.

Keep in mind that offering a full refund would suggest, in some way that perhaps you knowingly sold a defective amplifier. This was not the case so why shouldn't you be paid for your time required to resell the amp? I removed the comment about the buyer maybe knowing about CAM (thanks Voodoo). Why would the seller tell him about his CAM post..


Last edited by Musicware4u on Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:21 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:11 pm 
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I'm guessing the buyer knows nothing about CAM.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:59 pm 
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Really sorry the deal went squiffy.

It's really nobody's fault. Maybe if you both had known a little more about electrostats and their impedance, you might have been more tentative, taken a more let's-see-if-this-works-before-we-commit approach. But you couldn't have known. And in the end, where's the harm in not knowing ?

It's hard to swallow, but as long as the amp is in the same shape as it was when it left the house, I would consider going back to square one. Refunding the money.

Not because it's anyone's fault — it's not. Not because it's the right thing to do — who's judging ? My guess is simply that this is what will taste sweetest over time. YMMV.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:20 pm 
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Location: Mississauga, ON, CA
The buyer is a ****. Another person who doesn’t want to take responsibility for his decision. Tell your boss what happened - because the guy is going to try to get you fired. Forget about the nonsense about offering to sell the amp on the guy’s behalf. Tell the buyer to go pound salt (feel free to not be so polite). You’ve already gone above and beyond, especially since you let the guy test out the amp at his home before he bought it.


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