Audio Aero Capitole II with no serial numbers?

I"m kinda' concerned about something going on here, and I think people should be aware of possible illegal goings-on. There are people selling Audio Aero Capitole MkII CD players at big discounts, with lame reasons for why they are getting rid of them so fast. It seems obvious that they got hold of them through irregular channels and are flipping them immediately for a profit, by-passing the dealers, etc.
One guy says that the players are from Europe, with no serial numbers (?!?!?!?!?)and therefore no Warranty.
Like, I want to buy a player like that with no Warranty and probably no good will from the distributor or dealers here to help me out?!? How do I know that the player isn't stolen, and will be confiscated if I do take it to a place that knows how to fix it that has connections to Audio Aero?
BUYER BEWARE people!!!!
Golden, it seems unlikely that a player would leave the manufacturer w/out a serial number. Probably the number was taken off; or these are rejects (but how did they leave the factory?). There are worse possibilities... Thanks for the warning!
There have been a number of private
individuals,questionable dealers who have NOTHING
to do with the product, trying to sell these
players,ie for a friend,financial
reasons,personal problems,ect.The bottom line is
ANYONE who would fork out 6k(the ususal
discounted price by these individuals) or less
for a player(knowing very well the warranties are
on transferable) really should have their head
examined.ANY player that comes from a non
authorized dealer here,is up the creek with no
paddle.Though probably one of the best players
around,there have been some serious issues with
some of earlier players;.There is absolutely NO
WAY Audio Aero would release any player without a
serial #.Before buying get a serial # and email
Audio Aero Globe Audio to verify wether it is a
legitimate piece.
Hmmmm... Sattothestars. That's interesting. I know you are an AA dealer... Regarding your statement:
ANY player that comes from a non authorized dealer here,is up the creek with no paddle.
Here is a little story to show how some companies and dealers deal with this type of thing vs. how it seems Audio Aero and its dealer network takes care of their customers.

One time I purchased a Krell 300CD cd player which was in a sealed box - from Ebay.

When the player arrived, the first thing I noticed was the CD player didn't sit flat. It rested on three of the four feet. When I called Krell they asked for the serial number. I looked and DAMN it was gone. I told Krell and they said, that's okay...there should be one on the box - I looked on the box and the serial was marked out with a magic marker pen.

Krell said that's okay too...Just pack it up and take it to your nearest dealer who can ship the unit to us. We will fix or replace the unit, add a new serial number, and start the warranty period from the day you first called us.

Now.. how is that for service?

It seems that some companies still care about the customer.
I've got news - regardless of how the products were obtained, putting a customer up a creek without a paddle is bad service, and bad business.

And to cast a contrast on what you said earlier, anyone who would pay 6,000 --> 8,000 for a CD player from a dealer network who is more concerend about their piece of the pie than the customer base needs to have their head examined.
I am a AA capitole owner. I am very happy with the
product. My MKII was purchased from Jtinn and couldn't be
happier with the service he has provided. On the other hand
I was recently contacted by one of these gray market dealers
offering me a new in wooden crate MKII for 6000. No thanks
I could just see the reply you would get the first you had
a problem. My MKII is working beautifully.
I've got to agree with BWhite. I haven't been into "high end" audio for long, and I'm honestly shocked at how some manufacturers treat customers that spend THOUSANDS on audio equipment. We're talking money that could be used as downpayments on REAL ESTATE, CARS, and MAJOR life purchases. All that money for CD players and Amps, etc, from companies that supply mediocre or poor customer service??

And this makes me all the more appreciative of companies like BWhite mentioned, Krell as an example, or BAT, or VAC.

I've been dealing with Kevin Hayes, the owner of VAC, calling several times over the past couple of weeks to talk about the VAC 70/70 Renaissance amp. I told him flat out that I'll be buying it used, and he has still taken a lot of time to talk about the amp, the tubes, matching a preamp, and any other thing I felt like I needed to talk about. He always ends the call telling me to please call back if I should need anything else or have any other questions. THIS is the kind of company that I am going to support, and yes, probably buy something new from him one day, whether it be my tubes, or a new preamp, or whatever. It makes a all the difference in the world.
Bwhite.It has nothing to do with being an AA dealer.All I am saying is,I would not even consider buying a piece that expensive without some sort of protection,ie a warrantee.VAC,Krell,are very good examples of customer service.Each company has a policy,and Globe Audio has suberb custoomer service for those who have purchased from their dealer network.Many companies do not pass on the warrantee on past the original owner and have superb customer service.
To bwhite and Dennis the menace:
Hi guys. I think you're missing the point here. NOBODY said that Audio Aero won't look after people who buy used players. There's a difference between buying USED and buying NEW players through the GRAY MARKET!!!
I have talked to people who bought a used Capitole MK.I or II from a legitimate source, and Globe Audio Marketing in Canada/USA honoured any remaining warranty. So, of course Audio Aero cares about people who bought their products, new or used, in an honourable way.
Why would they care about you if you did an end-run around the retailer/distributor network to buy from some jerk who imported them from another jerk in Europe who is disobeying the dealer network policy?!?
I agree with satothestars and bwhite. Customers should be treated well. Likewise customers must show some intelligence. It's just like cars ... I can buy certified pre-owned, pay a bit over the odds, and sleep easy at night, or I can take a risk and maybe save some money, buying from "joe's cars". You pay your money and take your choice, but you can't have it all ways.
Heya Folks,

My theory is that a manufacturer should take care of ALL it's products it produces. It should not neglect ANY of it's products whether bought on the NEW, GREY, or USED market.

This support helps EVERYONE.
1-It helps the consumer of all products that are bought.
2-It helps the dealers because it keeps the resale of products HIGH. Contrary to popular belief, dealers do make money off of selling used and demo equipment. Look at Jeff's Sound Values.
3-It helps keep their product value high on the used market which causes many people to THINK a minute before buying the product used. If the difference between buying a new or used product is not a whole lot, many people will buy it NEW.
4-It helps the Manufacturer because people want to buy your products.

The big thing manufacturers can do is to make the BEST possible product they can for the money, and control their distribution as well as they can. PS Audio does a very good job of this. They make a great product, and PS Audio gear retains a lot of value on the used market. They also support their products. I find that it seems too many manufacturers mark their products up way too much at the retail level. I know 2 channel may be in decline, but HT is not. There is still money to be made for the company that prices their products agressively (with the best band for the buck).

There are certain products one just does not find used much. These tend to be the serious quality products that people just do not sell once they have them in their system (see LAMM amps)... However, you then get people that go through components like water... heh heh heh.

My 2 cents.

Sattothestars - I wasn't trying to "bag" on you or dealers. I hope you take my comments with a grain of salt. I am simply a bit irritated with a local dealer who told my friend that they wouldn't help him unless he purchased something. I think they know he shops on Audiogon so they put up a road block. This gives me a sick feeling in my stomach.

Golden_ears - I don't think I am missing the point at all. Buying used is okay - there HAS to be a secondary market for this type of gear. IF there wasn't, no-one would spend this much on audio. Its when a customer gets screwed by someone on the gray market that IS a problem for both the consumer (guy who got screwed) and the company (the group who helps to create the situation in the first place). This is a global economy - free market and there are opportunists from foreign countries who want to sell into the US market. Any manufacturer who sells its products to these opportunists is creating a portion of the mess.

Then there is the problem of stolen goods which a COMPANY AND DEALER NETWORK SHOULD BY ALL MEANS ADDRESS!! Ignoring a unit without a serial number and telling the poor sap who purchased it that they are out of luck does bad things for everyone. It prevents YOU from getting your unit back in the off chance it was stolen and it prevents the poor guy who got suckered into buying it from having service.

FOR ALL - in fact, its only the dealers who loose in this gray/used market thing - the company gets its money. So the SOME dealers band together and as a result, screw the consumer.... They are all upset because they don't get their 50% cut on the merchandice so they throw tizzy fits, stop helping the walk-in customers who buy on Audiogon, and make statements like, "you're up a creek without a paddle" in order to protect their business. I'd do the same thing if I was a dealer.... but... I would also find a way to embrace the global economy.

I'm with Tok20000 on this one.
bwhite said:
"FOR ALL - in fact, its only the dealers who loose(sic) in this gray/used market thing - the company gets its money. So the SOME dealers band together and as a result, screw the consumer.... They are all upset because they don't get their 50% cut on the merchandice(sic) so they throw tizzy fits...."

Oh, so the dealer isn't entitled to make a living? The distributor to dealer mark-ups on high end stuff are puny, compared to clothing, shoes, food, prescription drugs, etc etc.
The distributor and or manufacturer set the retail prices anyway, NOT the dealer. The dealers are advised not to discount past certain levels, not out of greed, but to keep it fair for all of the dealers. If one guy is discounting like crazy and trans-shipping to customers in another dealer's area, not only is that against the rules, it's unfair. If that sort of thing happens too much, then all of the other dealers get pissed-off and drop the line. That's bad for both the manufacturer and the consumers.
So we're back to Mr. Jerk in the gray market, and it still sucks, and people shouldn't be supporting them.
You get what you pay-for, and great product deserves to fetch a fair price. If we all run around trying to knock down the prices by illegal or immoral means, then we all lose.
Peoples' unrealistic expectations of what they think prices should be have destroyed a lot of American and Canadian jobs. Corporations move their manufacturing business to Mexico or the Far East where people get slave wages. The product is shipped back here where people happily pay for their made-in-China shoes (talk about HUGE mark-ups!) and their made-in-Mexico cars, and thereby f*ck their fellow Americans out of their jobs! Mass market electronics, ya, including crap lo-fi audio stuff are in the same class.
"High End" audio product is often made right in here in North America, by Canadians and Americans who employ people here, and the same goes for European product. This kind of audio is an art folks, and it costs money for R&D, quality parts, etc. Oh ya, and it's a luxury we "audiophile" types love to spend our money on. We have to support the good companies if we want them to stay around.
So stop pissing and moaning about the prices, buy it or wait until you can afford it, or yes, buy it used from (a legitimate)someone who is moving-up to something else. Then enjoy it. Cheers!
Golden Ears. Touche' It seems as if you have a great deal of experience and emotion regarding this issue. Perhaps you can explain how some of these "dealership rules" are fair to a consumers?

For instance, if I have a local dealer who sucks I cannot buy from a good (remote) dealer who doesn't suck. What's that all about? What can I as I do? I am between a rock and a hard place. By all means, I want to be fair to the dealers but am I supposed to support a sucky dealer by putting money in his pocket?

IMHO, dealers dig their own graves. IF they provide good customer service then they will be successful. IF they do not, people in those areas will be seeking products elsewhere.

Here is your little quote:

If one guy is discounting like crazy and trans-shipping to customers in another dealer's area, not only is that against the rules, it's unfair. If that sort of thing happens too much, then all of the other dealers get pissed-off and drop the line. That's bad for both the manufacturer and the consumers.

Who's pissing and moaning?
I started this thread because I was concerned about Audio Aero CD players being improperly imported with their serial numbers removed to hide their origins, and the possible bad effects it could have on people. (I'm not a dealer by the way...)
Some people have used it as an excuse to go on a rant against manufacturer and dealer prices, procedures and rules. There will always be a few exceptions or reasons why rules would not be followed. But that doesn't make the original issue any different. Fair play and good business practices do not constitute pissing and moaning.
Golden ears, good reply. I think we're on the same page.
I have to apologize for my little rant regarding dealers.
golden_Ears .... I am similarly amazed that more people haven't made the connection between going to walmart to buy cheap crap and the fact that almost the only jobs left in the US now are flipping burgers and selling starbucks. I am a UK citizen, and I used to try to buy "made in UK". Now I'm living in the US I try to buy "made in USA", but, like the UK, it's getting harder and harder to do.
People can whine about the government, about the WTO, about multinationals, but in the modern world your usage of your credit card is more important than getting out on voting day.
Ah, I feel better for that. Thanks all for allowing my little rant against the state of the world.
Golden Ears does everyone in this hobby a disservice by lumping everyone who just might have his or her own personal reasons to sell this excellent player on the used market. There are those who do have American warranties and serial numbers but for some reason you have a problem with those also. It has been my experience that most companies with good consumer reputations such as AA will honor the warranty if it came from a legitimate dealer initially.
Mr. Rouse,
Your assertions are false sir.
I know it can a long slog reading all of the postings in a thread, but if you are going to offer an opinion, especially about what somebody has said, you had beter do it.
Please read all of the posts carefully, and you will see that I specifically stated that used components from legitimate sources are fine, and that I knew people that had purchased used Capitoles and had no problems gettting warranty work done.

Mr. white: peace, brother
Mr. Taylor: I'm glad you're feeling better. Keep reading thiose labels!!
How can anyone question the (il)legitimacy of a piece of high end goods with no s/n. Would you knowingly buy a car with no VIN. There is no question that these are not available legitimately and if any dealer, distributor, or manufacturer would provide any support than kudos to them, but they are clearly under no obligation to do so, and could very well try reclaim such goods as assummed to be stolen. I'm not in the high end (or any manufacturing) business, but I am self-employed. I would guess that those of you who think that they should be anywhere but "on their own" with such a unit have never been a business owner. And BTW, I think that Seantaylor is on mark regarding the state of US manufacturing and retailing. buying used is fine, but don't expect to be treated as a retail customer and don't exploit the value added provided by the retailers. Now as to mark up on cables and such, that's another matter. I buy used and on the web and never expect to get retail service. Now if you buy retail and don't get the value-added service, its time to take your $ elsewhere.
Swampwalker I do not think it could have been said any better then you just did!

Swampwalker - good post. However on the last line you state, "Now if you buy retail and don't get the value-added service, its time to take your $ elsewhere." To my understanding, the way dealerships are setup in the US prevents dealers from selling into territories which are not their own.

I doubt many people buy equipment without serial numbers by choice. They are usually tricked into doing so or inadvertently overlook the issue.

Swampwalker wrote: I'm not in the high end (or any manufacturing) business, but I am self-employed. I would guess that those of you who think that they should be anywhere but "on their own" with such a unit have never been a business owner

This comment makes me glad you are NOT a high end manufacturer. If *I* were the manufacturer in question, you bet I would take care of the customer. Also, I would find it very interesting to discover how illegal activities were being conducted using my product. I would even go the extent of designing a system where matching serial numbers are etched into the chassis, main internal component and the rear of the unit.

IF a customer contacted me with a "gray market" problem I would take the unit back immediately because it then becomes a valuable tool in identifying problems within my own manufacturing / distribution process that I as the manufacturer must control.

If I as the "business owner" fail to identify these problems and work to resolve them (instead of ignore them) then I fail all my customers regardless of how they obtained my equipment.
We are the dealer for Audio Aero in the Colorado region and we agree 110% (didn't know that %'s made sense that high, didya? Cause they don't. But anyway... :-) with Bwhite. If someone comes to us with a problem with a gray market player or amp, we will try to help the best we can - both the person with the problem component and Audio Aero with the gray market importing problem (of which there doesn't seem to be much of one beyond that of any other European manufactorer out there that builds small, expensive pieces of equipment). Filing off of serial #s appears to me to involve theft - but I am no detective.