Eddie Current customer service story

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by thoth, Dec 6, 2019.

?

How much is EC responsible for the lost amp?

  1. < 5%

    40.0%
  2. 25% (give or take)

    23.1%
  3. 50%

    21.5%
  4. 75%

    10.8%
  5. > 95%

    4.6%
  1. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Thoth knowingly passed on insurance. Twice.

    The 2nd time was entirely his fault.

    I would be more sympathetic towards him had it not been for you folks ignoring the fact that it is still entirely Thoth's fault that he shipped the amp back to Craig, from Romania, without insurance.

    Again, Craig had no control over that 2nd shipment.

    While I agree that Craig may be responsible for something, that "something" certainly is NOT $7000 nor is it a whole new amp.

    I don't think you are shitposting but I feel like a lot of you guys are ignoring the facts and just piling on for the sake of piling.

    Again, it is Thoth's fault that the amp was lost. He shipped the amp to Craig without insurance. Nobody instructed nor forced him to do that.
     
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  2. skem

    skem Friend

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    A further thought. I do agree with those who believe to decline outbound insurance is to say, “it’s on me, no matter what.”

    If Craig charged Toth the same shipping rate regardless of insurance, then I’d say Craig pocketed the insurance funds and effectively self insured the package. If Craig refunded Toth the insurance cost, then I’d say Toth agreed to cover the risk and it’s entirely on him.
     
  3. iDesign

    iDesign Almost "Made"

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    It is an unfortunate but preventable situation. This thread is a reminder of why the SBAF community is so valuable because anyone can ask for advice-- and the key is to do it before making a high-risk decision. We have a lot of great members and knowledge here that can save you thousands upfront.
     
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  4. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    In agreement with @Thad E Ginathom and @Koth Ganesh that if you receive boutique electronics with issues from halfway around the world, the first port of call should be to find a local tech to take a look and diagnose the problem. Then maybe the buyer could've suggested Craig cover the cost of repair. EC amps aren't that complex, everything is clearly accessible and on one level once you take the bottom plate off.

    Failing that, the second port of call is to send via courier service with insurance, obviously. Not cheap, but why risk the alternative when dealing with a $3k+ amp?
     
  5. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I don't intend to judge which party was wrong or responsible. Just feeling sorry for Thoth's financial loss. And thanks very much for honest and detailed reporting.

    But just wondering. Suppose the returning amp fully insured, then what could be the (hypothetical) change in this story?

    I am asking this because I have heard NO successful story about USPS reimbursing the loss to the satisfying extent. What I've heard was mostly either denial or 'partial' (politely speaking) reimbursement after super long time and tons of hassles. Is there any member who had more successful stories of usps insurance before?

    Anyway, here are the lessons (in dealing with boutique products) I learned from this thread:

    1. Neither USPS nor possibly all government-run postal offices at all. Maybe Ok if we are fine with the entire loss.
    2. Read as many international transaction trouble threads as possible before sending deposits.
    3. Make it sure about returning and refunding policy (like this case, these may not be well-documented) before sending deposits -- it seems better to discuss what to do if things lost.
     
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  6. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    I've successfully received the full requested amount for broken items on two USPS insurance claims (one of them international), and two FedEx claims. They key is to write detailed reports with photos of the damage, and submit a repair quote. If they deny the claim (their unwritten policy is usually to deny the first time) refuse to accept this. They tend to approve it the second time around.

    Obviously, dealing with the Romanian postal service might be an entirely different headache.
     
  7. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    Craig should have provided a prepaid and insured mailing label if OP received a damaged amp. That's my point and that's why I think that OP deserves a full refund.

    I speak from how the stores and brands I worked with would have handled this issue. And this isn't a hypothetical for me - we've lost $1,000 CIEMs in shipping and we always made sure that customer either got what he order (even if it was on our dime) or gave them a refund. OP shouldn't be required to do research or know about how international shipping works or go through that process.
     
  8. JustAnotherRando

    JustAnotherRando My other bike is a Ferrari

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    Assigned fault aside: I would have thought that any research on this forum would have revealed that EC is a high-risk brand for overseas ownership, the company being essentially one guy with a crotchety reputation. Especially if overseas is a country with complex customs duties or unreliable postal/courier services.

    I write this owning a secondhand Black Widow overseas, having decided that I could swallow the cost of a complete write-off it it ever goes wrong (and this was subsequently confirmed through a terse but polite email from EC).

    [Edited to fix terrible grammar]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  9. fp627

    fp627 Friend

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    I really do feel for OP but IMO based on info here, I think OP is more at fault than EC. I will also say a lot of info is clearly missing here.
    TLDR VERSION:
    EC fault in poor management of case, OP fault in multiple and very preventable bad decisions in a row that led to current predicament

    Based on the info we do have, I think a 40% refund to OP is reasonable b/c that's how much I feel EC is at fault. For reference, I was ultimately responsible for all services and support (amongst other duties) at my previous workplace (also a small company). This included 50-100 shipments a day, many of which were international, by staff I managed. Needless to say at this volume there were some disputes that arose in those years (and all were resolved before reaching this level). Also, I am still looking at 90% likelihood of my next audio purchase being a used EC amp despite this whole thread very clearly indicating noticibly increased risk factor in regards to potential service of amp (granted I'm only about a 2 hour drive away).

    EC at fault:
    - Agreeing to under-declare and under-insure if unwilling to take the potential financial loss of servicing this customer - it looks like customer wasn't sufficiently serviced b/c of potential increased costs/financial loss due to potentially fraudulent claims (from EC perspective) by unknown customer. If risks increase dramatically for international business, get the insurance and if you have to, charge customers more, and disclose upfront or directly communicate why they're being charged, even if this means potential loss of business.
    - Not providing return instructions.
    - Not being more proactive about receiving package if it's well known that USPS messes up at location frequently (I'm assuming this is known).

    - IMO completely separate from the rest of the story, but not disclosing that $100 of the deposit is non-refundable... flat out... this isn't a good business practice. Not to mention I think this may actually be prohibited by CA law in many cases. EDIT: I stand corrected - it is disclosed. Not sure if OP saw this part then.

    OP/Customer at fault:
    - Not asking for more return instructions or working something out with EC beforehand if you were concerned about shipping and costs and instructions - I'm very sorry to say it to bluntly OP, but this is blatantly and negligently stupid on your part. Why didn't you ask?? You even knew you had to ask but you just shipped it anyways?!?
    - Not insuring return shipment to US despite what appears to be prior knowledge that Romanian post is not reliable AND you are already uneasy about no shipping instructions and the service so far. I get you don't want to pay, but see point above. This face x10.
    [​IMG]
    Note: I don't blame you for using USPS given that it's not your job to make sure someone else doesn't screw up at their job, especially if shipping options may be limited in your country. Then again (I assume) you knowingly took these risks in regards to all EC service (hopefully) when you bought a very heavy and very large amp from a boutique manufacturer half way around the world and you also knew in advance that EU socialism taxes that you WILL encounter during shipping are 20%+ (not a political statement - point is socialism and related taxes are prevalent and well known at a societal level in EU).
    - Assuming it is recipient's responsibility to get tracking updates. This should have been managed proactively by both the shipper and recipient. Ex: Give tracking info once shipped (did this happen? If no, why not???????), tracking and checking with EC once you see delivered, etc.

    Just based on the 3 above points I can completely see why some here think OP is 100% at fault. Only reason I say 60% is poor management of situation and mistakes made by EC definitely made this worse and much of this may have been preventable with better management of situation by EC.
    --------------------------------
    IMO proper way to handle... not that EC needs me to spell this out for them or that it's any of my business, but this whole thing was way too avoidable for me to properly restrain myself. Apologies in advance if it sounds like I'm being facetious with EC or OP here:
    EC doesn't have undisclosed non-refundable deposits. EC gets proper packaging material for fragile heavy objects. EC communicates to customer why they will not under-declare and under-insure package on international shipments. If customer refuses, refuse sale, move on (or gamble and be ready to maybe lose $). If customer pays extra, build product. Document working status of heavy fragile product before shipping (or if not willing, be ready to eat some costs when issues inevitably arise). Ship to customer. Customer reports damage. Ask for verification, documentation from customer, and file claim with shipping service using EC prior documentation and customer documentation (process sucks, but part of doing business). Ask if customer has means for local repair if technically possible for product and EC is comfortable with this and give customer a $X refund or the claim money if received quickly to cover this repair. If not, have customer send back with very specific instructions or if customer doesn't seem able, prepare prepaid. Repair and document. Return to customer.
    Notice that no where in here does customer have to do any research on shipping, customer is not out money (aside from possibly some taxes which is beyond a manufacturer IMO), any mistakes after this are clearly on customer, and half or more of the red herring type points that most customers will bring up due to emotion (understandably so after losing several thousand $) will be very obviously irrelevant to any 3rd parties. Bad but no fault decisions such as potential lack of research by customer or terse customer service from mfg, while not ideal, also have nothing to do with issues or fault, etc.
    ---------------------------------
    EDIT: More importantly, I hope EC and OP work something out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  10. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Well, $1000 CIEMs are far less risky than $4000 or $7000 amplifiers. The cost of shipping them is also not $500 for a one-way international shipment. Plus typical CIEM companies are definitely not one-man.

    So I think you are holding Craig to unrealistic standards.

    You're basically saying that "if I buy any item over $1000, I should not be required to read the terms or do any research at all".

    I honestly don't think that's how it works. In fact, I've always thought that the opposite is true: if I'm buying anything of sufficiently high value, I should do my research and make absolutely sure that it is what I want, and that I know what to do should problems arise.

    Just for future reference, It is mentioned on the order page on EC's website that deposits are not refundable (except for special circumstances).

    "Placing an order will require a deposit. Upon completion of the amp, final payment is due with shipping costs. Please read the complete order form as deposits are only refundable in special circumstances as deposits go to pay for special order parts."

    Source: http://eddiecurrent.com/order/
     
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  11. RobS

    RobS The Friend formerly known as treboR

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    Craig assumes the risk involved shipping products internationally. That's why there is shipping insurance. If he doesn't want the risk, then he doesn't sell to international customers.

    If I'm in Romania and you agree to ship to my country, it's your responsibility to handle all the shipping involved (except where the customer might need to get involved with customs or retrieving it from their local post office or whatever). But in no way am I responsible for receiving a damaged product.

    From a buyer's perspective, I agree that one should do enough research and have questions answered before purchasing such an expensive item, especially overseas. But that is a completely different issue.

    I don't know man, the first person I'm contacting is the original seller and what can be done. Craig offered to repair it, so there's no need to ask a local tech to diagnose and troubleshoot. And frankly I would be more comfortable having the original manufacturer look at it.

    Honestly the more I read the replies, the more I am in Thoth's corner on this.

    If I was Craig, I would have fully refunded Thoth, knowing the hassle it would be to have it sent back from Romania, and then eat the loss. So the lesson for Craig would be to never sell to international customers again or make sure you are covered by insurance or customers like Thoth are completely responsible for arranging the shipping from California. Whatever steps you need to take extra precaution as a seller to sell to international customers.

    I would be a little more sympathetic to Craig's cause had he tried all he could do to make amends but he didn't. So instead he kept the money for an amplifier Thoth never received in working condition. In my eyes, I consider that theft. After reading Thoth's experience, I would never purchase from Eddie Current even-though I'd never have the money to do so. Why would I do business with such a dishonest seller who has the customer service equivalent of "tough shit"?

    EDIT: Heck why would Craig sell to a Romanian if his claim they have "one the most corrupt Postal systems" is true?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  12. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    I think the only thing Craig is guilty of is a failure to meet CYOA standards. (Cover your own ass.) The moment someone says don't use shipping insurance or declare values, etc., I'd be adding terms to the sale such as "Buyer accepts all shipping risks" and "EC is not responsible for lost/damaged/mistreated shipments". I'd also be asking them if they agree to the additional terms and documenting it somehow before I did jack squat. Actually, I'd probably just tell them to take a long walk off a short pier.
     
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  13. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    100$ extra for packaging seems excessive and smells of pocketing the chance. I sent two packages, amp and psu, 22kg each earlier in the year to Russia near the border to Japan, literally half way around the world. 50$ all in, got me quadruple walled, reinforced, freight quality packaging with all the bubble wrap and peanuts in the world. You could have dropped them from 5 feet without issue.
    Handled by the standard Russian post, arrived fine.

    I agree with @skem, everything after receiving a broken amp is Craig's responsibility, there's no denying initial shipping damage, and it's not the first time this happens so clearly the 100$ packaging charge is a rip off as the protection is not adequate if shipping is a bit rough. One thing remains, did @thoth get a visibly damaged package?

    Also, you guys are way to optimistic on any standard post refunding for internal damage to components without visible package deterioration or clear signs of abuse or the item in pieces.
     
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  14. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    Ready for some horror? How I received my Stellaris:
    [​IMG]

    Donald's reply?
    Two options to fix it:
    1. Return the amplifier to me - I’ll have FedEx cover the round trip transportation.
    2. Send you a replacement end cover and you replace it yourself. I will explain how to do it.


    No one can force Craig to refund or make it right, just don't buy from EC because if you need support...shit, creek and paddle. I'm sure his amps are great and all but it's too risky to buy from him international just like it's too risky to ship uninsured.
     
  15. Lasollor

    Lasollor Friend

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    I‘m feeling sorry for Thoth's financial loss too. It could have been me.
    Last year I was torn between the Aficionado and the Stratus. In the end out of fear based on other’s posts about the lack of Craig’s communication, and multiple reports about problems with international shipping from EC I went with the DNA amp.
    It was one of the smoothest transaction and the best customer experience I’ve had in my life.
     
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  16. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    3200 USD is a MEGATON of money for Romanian standards. Craig should have been super cooperative during the whole delivery and troubleshooting process, to be 100% sure the customer is satisfied before assuming the transaction is finite.

    I am very disappointed and will surely warn my friends not to buy from Eddie Current. Good that there are other options out there, such as DNA.
     
  17. JK47

    JK47 The Beer Houdini

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  18. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    Craig is an old dude scraping by. He should be selling these for three times the price and provide actual support. He's trying to score sales here and there and charging too little for his product. It's a bit sad to see his mentality as I'm certain he hasn't baked these costs into his price for amps and most likely can't afford to replace amps easily when stuff goes awry.

    I wish there was a way to help him on the business side of the equation. Maybe a @CEE TEE like person can convince him to license his designs and have them made via a stable supply chain.
     
  19. thoth

    thoth Acquaintance

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    This has become the prevalent sentiment, to varying degrees. If I asked to receive package uninsured, then it must be my fault that I sent it back uninsured. These are separate shippings, why are you mixing them together? If Craig would have asked me to insure, then I would have either insured, or send uninsured at my own risk (honestly don't know what I would have done, I would be torn between the two), but in the 2nd case I'd have nothing to bitch about. I certainly could have sent the amp to Craig insured with full value declared. This would have probably costed me an embarrassment at the customs, and some difficulty to avoid taxes in future, but it was doable.

    No, It's seller's responsibility to clearly communicate the requirements for shipping back. I suspect he didn't, precisely because he didn't wanted to take any responsibility. He should have requested insurance.

    Funny moment in a sea of misery. Don't worry about that.

    Agree.

    Unlikely. There was no visible sign of damage. The amp likely got shaken vigorously but external parts didn't suffer.

    I would gladly do it, but it should have been Craig to propose it. After he asked me a couple of simple questions about voltage marking he then asked to send it back, stating "I'll pay return cost". Clear enough. I asked him if there's a way to avoid shipping back, and he proposed to send a pair of known good tubes instead. I cannot go to a tech on my own. Rapair on your own universally means losing insurance.

    I'm happy to clarify any question.

    Where?

    Yes. This must be my biggest mistake. I should have asked instead of hurry to ship. Honestly my sentiment about insurance was that it's a needless tax for a service that is very safe already. If insurance cost is 1% of declared value, then chance of loss must be less than 1% - too little to worry about. I just didn't consider the insurance point relevant, not lying. Turns out you all agree insurance was the most important point. But I stress again, it was Craig's responsibility to instruct me to ship insured, regardless on how I asked him to ship first time.

    The part about RO post is Craig's words, not mine. Total bullshit from Craig's side in attempt to shift his responsibility. Read those emails again. My impression about RO post is positive.

    No visible damage, as I stated.

    I'm happy for your decision guys. My impression has been exactly opposite. That Craig is an old and not particularly tech-savvy guy who is not present on forums, but is otherwise a serious and trustworthy business. I did read the Judeus debacle for example and it totally weighted in favor of Craig. Too bad I didn't read the same info as you.
     
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  20. elmoe

    elmoe Friend

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    At this point, file a claim with USPS, and mention the price of the amp and that if there is no resolution you will lawyer up. Sometimes lost packages miraculously end up found and delivered months later. I think that's your best bet. It sounds like the amp did make it to California and got lost afterwards so you still have a good chance it's just sitting on a shelf at the local USPS office. Also try to call the local USPS post office, ask to talk to a manager and explain the situation politely. They just might be willing to take a look in the back for you.
     
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