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