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Astell & Kern - Bad Service?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

Listen I recognize Astell & Kern gear seems to be generally well liked, but I am starting to think they are dodging me at this point to prevent a product return.  I'm hoping someone on here might have a contact to figure out WTF is going on.  I also have filed a dispute with AmEx.


May 11th - Ordered the AK Jr as it showed in stock that morning

May 11th PM - Changed my mind and sent email to only support option listed on A&K / Iriver US website (support.inc@iriver.com) to cancel the order because I wanted to go with the AK 100 II instead due to WiFi feature.  

May 12th - Ordered the AK 100 II off Amazon (you can check my post history too and see I posted in that thread last week)

May 13th - Still no response so sent a second email to support.inc@iriver.com requesting order cancel.

~May 15th - Iriver charge fell off "pending" on my Amex so assumed they cancelled and just didn't email me back.

May 22nd - Suddenly get email stating order shipped while I was out on holiday

May 27th - Sent email to support.inc@iriver.com again explaining situation and asking if I should refuse delivery of order or request info on how to return

May 28th - Still no response.  Attempt to refuse delivery with UPS, but someone or something scratched return address off package so UPS wouldn't do a refusal.

May 28th - Sent additional emails this time to webmaster@iriver.com, support@iriver.com, and support.inc@iriver.com - this time around I was a touch upset in emails.

May 29th - Still no response.  Filed claim with AmEx.


I also found this phone number for IRiver US via the IRiver Global website for a guy named Owen Kwon and have called many times and nobody ever picks up these numbers:




So here I am sitting with an AK Jr I cancelled weeks ago and no way to return it.  This whole situation is very odd to me so much so that I returned the AK 100 II yesterday too.  For starters a support situation requiring warranty work is quite worrisome, and second I'm questioning the integrity of the company at this point.


Anyone have advice on how one might get ahold of them via some means I haven't tried yet?

post #2 of 37
If someone scratched the return address off, that's definitely dodgy, and I reckon the credit claim is probably the best way to go for now.
post #3 of 37
Originally Posted by NawiLlih View Post

If someone scratched the return address off, that's definitely dodgy, and I reckon the credit claim is probably the best way to go for now.

I hope many others read this. The consumer doesn't deserve this kind of behavior!


By the way, you should have refused the package...it is not your responsibility until you accept it....

post #4 of 37

Honestly, I do feel your pain but do we have to have these threads with 'get even' titles when a member is dissatisfied. We all know that AK isn't scamming anyone.


For future reference for others.


No one can make you sign for a package. It can always be tracked and returned. If you're there when delivered and it doesn't need a sig, it can also be refused. It's unfortunate that you and/or your driver weren't aware. Return address isn't required as it's got tracking and nobody intentionally removed some of the label. Maybe some mice with little foil hats.


The phone number is huge on the bottom of every product page from A&K's US sales site where it gets ordered from. Obviously doesn't matter if no one picks up but it couldn't be more available.


It's unfortunate that you've done the right things in terms of contact and aren't getting satisfaction. There's a bunch of HiFi shows this time of year and they're probably short staffed by the folks that handle some of this. It's no excuse as it's their responsibility to manage their business professionally and they've had plenty of time and instances to respond. You're justified in being upset and letting us know about a poor customer service experience but when it seems retaliatory, it carries less weight, at least for me.


I'd email support with a specific request. A RMA for a new sealed AK JR return. Include all your receipt info, a copy of same and CC the card company if you decide to go that route. They will then have something concrete to reference and follow up on if needed.


Good luck and I hope this goes smoothly from here on. Let us know how it gets resolved.

Edited by goodvibes - 5/31/15 at 6:21am
post #5 of 37
I think Goodvibes has pretty much summed it up, but there are a couple things I would add.

Firstly, dealing with a company or manufacturer is just inherently difficult. Direct customer sales is usually not a strong point and Sony is another good case in point. They have a confusing web site (confusing to me anyway) and direct consumer sales is not their primary purpose. Dealing with Amazon or Crutchfield or other customer focused sellers is far better as you see from your own experience with Amazon.

Secondly, you made an impulse purchase which you cancelled within just hours because you apparently hadn't thought it through. That's not a criticism; we all do that but for most of us these are (relatively) expensive purchases so impulse is usually not your friend! I've been there, believe me.
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks for sharing your opinions.  Of course I disagree, but this situation isn't about me personally and I don't think my role as a consumer has been that irrational.  Take care-

Edited by vicegrips - 5/31/15 at 2:29pm
post #7 of 37

I too have found it absolutely impossible to reach A&K.  NONE of the several different email addresses for customer support or for purchases shown on their several sites work. WTF??  And NONE of the several phone numbers they show work either -- they just keep ringing, and ringing, and... I tried calling some 30 times over a one week period and no one ever picked up.  WTF x 2.


Finally, I went to a well-regarded local stereo store which is an A&K dealer and they were kind enough to try the email addresses they had.  And they couldn't get through either. NOTHING. So they called the phone number they had for A&K.  Again, NOTHING (no answer).  And they're an authorized dealer!  WTF x 3.


So, they left a voicemail message for the NE distributor (no one was available at the time) and I later followed up and called the NE distributor. They were very helpful and gave me yet a different phone number for the person at A&K in California.  So I called that phone # and, again, NOTHING.  No one ever picked up, after some 20 calls, so I contacted the NE distributor again and they gave me yet a different phone number.  WTF x 4 or x 5


But, fortunately, at this stage I didn't need to call the latest number since, after all the time that had elapsed, I was able to resolve the issue with my AK240 by myself.


Note that I wasn't the original owner -- I had bought the AK240 from the original owner but it would have been under the original warranty. Still, for a "luxury" product with a price of $2,500 this is abysmal and I was wondering if A&K was supporting their product or if they were even still in business.  I was so annoyed I was ready to throw the damn thing in the river (or iRiver).  I was prepared to contact iRiver in Korea and complain to the president.

Edited by Skyyyeman - 5/31/15 at 3:04pm
post #8 of 37

Definitely not good. Not scamming but not good.

post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

Definitely not good. Not scamming but not good.

I changed the thread title just so we can focus on the issue here more and hopefully opinions of my assessment of the situation less.

post #10 of 37

I like your new thread title and I agree that for the price you are paying, you should be getting better service.

post #11 of 37
But of luck to you, there are a few in the AK240 thread that have had success in contacting them, try posting in the main thread to verify the contact info.
post #12 of 37

Don't throw in the towel yet.  I have gotten very good customer service for a nearly-complete RMA repair on my AK100II (currently shipping back to me, set to arrive tomorrow according to the UPS tracking info), but the key was reaching a human being at the (949) 336-4540/4541 numbers.  Perhaps your call was placed when their office was closed over the weekend?  The North American office is located in California and operates on Pacific Time.

You have a very solid point about their email addresses though.  My first attempt at contact was through the support email and I never received a response.  I was pretty pissed and frustrated about that.  Having shadow email addresses that never get answered is a really bad sign, so like you, I wasn't feeling good about my situation at that point.  I can honestly say however, that the speed, professionalism, and courtesy with which my issue was addressed once I had an actual human being on the line was truly exceptional, and erased the bad feelings about the lack of response from the emails.  

That doesn't completely get them off the hook however--yours is the fourth or fifth story I've seen here in the last few weeks about someone getting complete zero response from the support email address they have posted on their own website.  Someone over there needs to fix that.

Bottom line, I would advise giving the phone numbers another chance during Pacific Time business hours, and I'm sure you will be assisted.

Your precise issue however seems to be that you were unable to reach anyone stop the purchase of the Jr, but you didn't say from whom you bought it.  Direct from IRiver?

post #13 of 37
Thread Starter 

It isn't time of day as I have called those numbers during the day PST many times and all they do is ring and ring.  Yes I also bought directly from Iriver.  

post #14 of 37

My experience wasn't as agonizing as yours: Back a number of months ago, i was interested in one of their products....


called and left message and no response....left one email and no response and decided that whatever i was interested


in was not worth the gamble after a purchase....


Too many good players out there now to even consider their products....

post #15 of 37

Now that I think of it, the first time I called the number, it rang through about six times before I hung up.  Then I tried again fifteen minutes later and it was picked up immediately.  And now just five minutes ago I opened up the return package for my RMA to find a brand-new shrink-wrapped full retail box sent as replacement for the body only that I sent in :)

If I had to guess, I would say that they have a small staff manning the phones, and perhaps you just had bad luck calling in during a break.  I can PM the direct contact info for the rep I have been dealing with if you still can't get through, but I would be surprised if you don't finally reach someone today, now that it's business hours on the left coast.

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