Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Customer Service - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Customer Service - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

post #1 of 275
Thread Starter 

Among others, I own a PS1000 from Grado and an LCD2 from Audeze and have had warranty dealings with both companies.  I thought it would be useful to the Head-Fi community to hear of my different experiences dealing with these two companies.

 

Grado is an established company.

 

Audeze is a new company.

 

As established and new companies typically have very different corporate cultures, it was no surprise for me to experience differences between Grado and Audeze and their respective treatment of customers with product manufacturing problems/defects.

 

Their warranties are quite similar.  Each warrants the products identified above for 1 year and each requires that shipping be paid by the customer to the company, while the company pays for return shipping of warranted products.

 

I owned the PS1000 and LCD2 for about the same length of time - a couple of months.  I used the PS1000 for a few hours and the right driver failed nearly totally while the left driver seemed to be failing.  I used the LCD2 for a couple dozen hours and the right driver failed completely.  I treated both units with respect and care, recognizing that each was, in its own way, a mechanical work of art.  I contacted Grado and Audeze about the problems with their products.  There, the similarities ended.

 

After contacting Grado, I send the unit back to Brooklyn at my expense, as instructed by their employee answering the telephone and as required by their warranty.  While the unit was in Brooklyn, I told about my PS1000 problems to a sponsor of this forum with whom I'm working to recable my headphones for balanced use.  It turned out that he and Grado knew each other well and adding his balanced mods to the Grado would preserve the Grado warranty.  Therefore, by arrangement between Grado and this man, he sent his cables and Furutech XLR terminators to Grado for them to install while they were making the warranty repair on the driver(s).  A few weeks later, without having received a tracking number or notice of shipment, the PS1000 arrived at my door, no signature required.  I was surprised by the lack of signature requirement and disappointed in the failure to communicate a tracking number or notice of shipment as I could have been out of town and the unit, left at my front door, could have been stolen.  While hypothetical, the possibility is not far fetched.

 

Nonetheless, I was excited at receiving the PS1000 and tested them that evening, after my wife returned home from work (so she could enjoy them too).  From HDTracks, I had recently downloaded a 96/24 version of The Moody Blues' "Days of Future Passed" album and had been enjoying it with my other headphones and on my 11.2 speaker system.  I decided to start the test with "This Afternoon".  Upon the first note starting to play, the PS1000 emitted noises that I would describe as the electronic equivalent of a porcine castration without anesthesia.  My wife heard the squealing from across two rooms.  I tried other songs but ultimately concluded that the PS1000 repairs had not been done or had not been done properly.  Were they even tested before sending to me?  Who knows.  These were the same noises I described when sending in the unit for warranty repairs.

 

By arrangement with Grado and at the request of the forum sponsor who provided the cable mod to Grado for them to install (which Grado did), I sent the headphones first to him to rule out his cables.  This was a formality because the problem existed before his cables ever entered the equation.  Upon receipt, he concluded that the right driver had totally failed, didn't test the left driver, his cables were not the problem, and he then sent the unit to Brooklyn (at his expense) to have it repaired as it should have been in the first instance.

 

The PS1000 was finally repaired and then, again without notice, returned not to me, but to the man who provided Grado with the cable mods for them to install.  He sent the unit to me the same day.  I offered to reimburse him for the costs of shipping the unit to me but he refused my offer (Grado already refused his request to pay for his shipping costs).

 

Upon receipt of the finally working unit, I e-mailed Grado a copy of the $31.83 UPS receipt for the second shipment (the shipment required because Grado didn't repair the unit property when they first had it).  I was ultimately told that no reimbursement would be forthcoming.  It appears to be Grado's policy that the customer will ALWAYS pay shipping to them, even when they don't properly make repairs requiring reshipment to fix the same problem.  

 

Now on to Audeze.  Upon failure of the LCD2 right driver, I e-mailed them and promptly received an e-mail apology concerning the failure and a promise to send pre-paid shipping labels to me later that night to return the defective unit.  There was a problem with the e-mail and I didn't receive it.  So I telephoned Audeze and Sankar, while driving home, answered the telephone and told me he'd take care of it upon arriving home.  15 minutes later, the shipping labels were in my mailbox.  The very next day, before receiving the defective unit, I received notice of shipment of the replacement unit.  It arrived two days later at my home and I was waiting for it because I knew it was coming.

 

Unfortunately, the replacement unit was damaged in shipping.  I took photos of the damage and sent them to Audeze.  A short time later, I received an e-mail from Alex expressing his sorrow at the trouble I was experiencing and assuring me another replacement would be promptly sent.  It took a day or two to get that going (I now understand Alex and Sankar were dealing with many other driver failures) but the 2nd replacement LCD2 was on its way within a couple of days and I received notice and a tracking number for that shipment too.  I knew the unit had arrived at my home because I received notice from the carrier of its delivery and knew when it was coming. I wasted no time getting back home to retrieve the unit.  I immediately inspected and tested it.  So far, it has been fine and was in perfect condition upon arrival.  Audeze paid for the return of the first replacement that was damaged in shipment and allowed me to receive and inspect the 2nd replacement before returning the damaged unit.

 

As the driver failure appeared to have been a more general problem, I can't say that Audeze would again pay for return shipping but the difference between Grado and Audeze in corporate cultures, communications and implementation of policies was greatly apparent to me.

 

Although disappointed that such fine and expensive headphones would fail after only brief use, my responses to these two outcomes and differences in treatment was very different.  I thanked Grado for their reply (which I had to first request) but added that I felt their decision to not reimburse me for the costs of the second shipment didn't "seem right to me".  I told Audeze to please make sure to advise me of future products. 


Edited by ricmiclaw - 6/5/11 at 10:36pm
post #2 of 275

what a difference

 

thanks for sharing these experiences!

post #3 of 275

Yup.  However through my time on here I've read a few stories regarding Grado warranty issues and general attitude.  Currently my RS1 needs repair;  I won't be utilizing the warranty.  

post #4 of 275

Even several years ago Grado always had terrible quality and support issues but Grado fanboys on Head-fi wouldn't hear it. I guess Grado is still counting on the Grado fanboys to back them up and haven't bothered to get their act together.

 

As for Audeze, I'm surprised by their customer support for such a small company.


Edited by wind016 - 6/5/11 at 4:21pm
post #5 of 275

Wow, Grado. This sounds like that horror Ultrasone story awhile back that eventually got resolved. I'm sorry, but I won't even consider a company if I find out the customer service is like this. With something easily replaceable like the SR60i, then I'm fine. But for us audiophiles buying hundred or thousand dollar headphones, it's simply unacceptable. Hopefully, they can get it together in the future, because I would hate to see this happen to another user.

 

Driver failure? Is this the new *thing* that plagues orthos? What about HiFiMAN orthos?

post #6 of 275
That has to be one of the most unlucky stories I've ever head.2 headphones failing within 1 day, and expensive headphones at that, I'm glad you got both fixed, even though there was trouble with the grado manufacturer.
post #7 of 275
Thread Starter 

Incredibly, around the same time as the failure of my LCD2 and PS1000, my HE6 also had a right driver failure (using a different amp).  I was recently informed that a replacement has been ordered from China, tracking information to follow.  I haven't heard anything else from Head Direct about that but I hope to have a replacement in a couple or few weeks.  I understand driver failures in HE6s aren't that uncommon but, other than mine, I have no direct knowledge of that (just hearsay).  We all know now that Audeze was having an issue with their drivers.  The Grado PS1000 I had was bad after so little use that, in retrospect, I consider it practically DOA.

 

I understand why companies often (not always) require customers to pay for initial shipping for warranty work.  They don't know until received whether the item and the problem is warranted.  That's the purpose of "Customer pays shipping to manufacturer" warranty requirements.  What I don't understand is robotic application of such rules to situations where the warranty work was either not performed or was performed inadequately, requiring customer shipment back for the exact same problem.  I didn't mention any names from Grado because I think its behavior bespeaks of a certain attitude that is often bred by long term success and I didn't want to make it personal.  The Grado outcome reminds me of a time. many years ago, when I was stood up several times by the phone company for appointments to fix my home telephones.  They insisted I remain home for the technician that they promised was coming.  Several appointments, all failed to be kept.  Finally, in disgust, I called the phone company and asked "Who can I complain to?".  The answer I received was "We don't have a complaint department; there's no one here to talk to".  In other words, "Too big to even bother caring". The next day I cancelled my telephone service from the phone company and went with the local cable company.  It says much about the phone company when I can say my cable company has been more responsive in customer service.

 

I called this thread "Grado & Audeze" etc., because I wanted to show the comparison in treating customers between people who, IMHO are now resting on an old and established reputation versus the quality of support I received from two (presumably hungry) guys at Audeze.  I don't personally know either Alex or Sankar (Audeze).  Yet I almost felt like they were treating me as if I was one of their friends.  I genuinely felt that they were truly hurt by my experience with their product and wanted to do everything to make me happy.  The issue of paying for the shipping to them never even came up even though their warranty technically requires that the customer pays to ship to them (just like Grado).  Audeze just sent pre-paid shipping labels for me to print.  

 

My feelings about Audeze (Alex and Sankar) can be expressed in one word - "Wow".  These are people who, if I have some spare cash and want to spend it on an audio product they make, they can put me on their list.  That's what their handling of my issues did for me and for themselves.  Grado's handling of my issues also left an impression and I suppose "Wow" could describe that impression too.  But the "Wow" for Grado, in my mind, has a very different meaning than the "Wow" for Audeze.  It's also my opinion that much of American business developed attitudes similar to what I experienced with Grado and the entire nation is now paying a price for it.


Edited by ricmiclaw - 6/5/11 at 11:13pm
post #8 of 275
Thread Starter 

Just to clarify, the LCD2 and PS1000 failed within a close time (1 or 2 weeks, I think) but not on the same day.  The LCD2 and HE6 failed within 2 or 3 days of each other.  Terrible coincidence.  All my other headphones and the replacement LCD2 work fine so it wasn't my equipment, just bad luck.  It happens.

post #9 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

Even several years ago Grado always had terrible quality and support issues but Grado fanboys on Head-fi wouldn't hear it. I guess Grado is still counting on the Grado fanboys to back them up and haven't bothered to get their act together.

 

As for Audeze, I'm surprised by their customer support for such a small company.



It's quite funny how you've referred to the Grado lovers as Grado fan boys.  I've used Grado's service for non-warranty repairs.  They have delivered the headphones back to me exactly when promised and their prices for out-of-warranty repairs is actually quite good.  $45.00 to provide a new cable, drivers as well as installing them and sending them back to me for $45.00.  I, of course, paid for the shipping to get them to Grado.  The beauty of Grado is not what you get from them in the factory box.  The real beauty lies in ability to take their lower-cost headphones, apply some modifications and have a beautiful set of sounding headphones.

 

To the OP:  Thanks for posting this comparison of support.  It is quite appreciated.

post #10 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post





It's quite funny how you've referred to the Grado lovers as Grado fan boys.  I've used Grado's service for non-warranty repairs.  They have delivered the headphones back to me exactly when promised and their prices for out-of-warranty repairs is actually quite good.  $45.00 to provide a new cable, drivers as well as installing them and sending them back to me for $45.00.  I, of course, paid for the shipping to get them to Grado.  The beauty of Grado is not what you get from them in the factory box.  The real beauty lies in ability to take their lower-cost headphones, apply some modifications and have a beautiful set of sounding headphones.

 

To the OP:  Thanks for posting this comparison of support.  It is quite appreciated.


I don't really mean Grado lovers. I mean fanboys. One group is passionate and one group is in denial.

post #11 of 275

I can't say I am surprised by any of this. I personally would never buy a Grado.

post #12 of 275

 

I'm so sick of the term fanboy, so juvenile. Does it really matter that some people are passionate about the products they love? Does it really impact your life that they like a brand you don't? And what are Grado fanboys supposedly in denial about? I've owned two pairs with no problems whatsoever. The build quality and sound are exactly what I personally enjoy and that's all that matters to me. I'm reassured that from what I've read Grado will repair any problems (if any) that arise for a reasonable price even if out of warranty. I love my Grados, I'm building a system around them and someday I may like another brand...no big deal
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post


I don't really mean Grado lovers. I mean fanboys. One group is passionate and one group is in denial.



 

post #13 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricmiclaw View Post

It's also my opinion that much of American business developed attitudes similar to what I experienced with Grado and the entire nation is now paying a price for it.



That's also the case in Europe, in retail most companies haven't got a clue what decent customer service is these days, for example.

 

But at the same time, there's also a proces going on with customer geting more and more aware of things. There are positive consequenses of that, but there's also a growing group who simply demands too much without being reasonable.

post #14 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by detoxguy View PostI'm so sick of the term fanboy, so juvenile. Does it really matter that some people are passionate about the products they love? Does it really impact your life that they like a brand you don't? And what are Grado fanboys supposedly in denial about? I've owned two pairs with no problems whatsoever. The build quality and sound are exactly what I personally enjoy and that's all that matters to me. I'm reassured that from what I've read Grado will repair any problems (if any) that arise for a reasonable price even if out of warranty. I love my Grados, I'm building a system around them and someday I may like another brand...no big deal

 

I don't want to go in detail again. You can use the search. I'm sure you'll find many threads (many of which got locked) about Grado's quality control and service. I, personally, had to replace a Grado SR125i three times. Each time the cable lost connection to the driver within a week or two. For a headphone that costs $150 (the most I spent at the time), it was unacceptable. Sony $5 earbuds had better quality.

post #15 of 275
Ahhh fanboys. The most biased, misleading and useless information comes from their mouths. It's fine if someone likes something, but to preach in denial about anything deserves severe punishment in my view. Same goes for all topics like religion, sexuality and others. Off
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Customer Service - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly