Fee for home audition

I am in the market for a music server/streamer. I was discussing with one of the authorized dealers for a streamer. He had a demo unit and was willing to bring to my home for an hour and let me try. He is located around 10-15 minutes from my home. He wants to charge 5% for home demo. Is this the industry standard? I am not meaning to disparage anyone so not going to name the dealer. I am just trying to see what the standard practice is. 


Gents, I’ll comment once again that the dealer, being in the business, should possess the knowledge (including people skills) to make it go right in MOST situations. I’ll also state once again that I wasn’t there. Therefore, I don’t know the dialog, body language, etc. to accurately judge one way, or the other. We’re trying to assess whether a charge for home demos is "standard", and think there may be circumstances where this could be warrantied. The following comments are going to contain a lot of "IFs". That is intentional because those factors would have to be present (in my view) to justify a charge for a home demo. Again, I am looking from the perspective of the proprietor with an investment in storefront, demo rooms, inventory, rent, etc. -- plus my (or other staffer’s) time investment.

IF the customer begins asking about "deals", it could be a red flag. There is a tactful way to begin a conversation about this topic. And, the wrong way. It very possible for the dealer to get the impression that, yes, they ARE going to buy the piece. They are just not going to but it from them. This is purely subjective by the dealer and could be based on past experience of bad outcomes. This being the case, why would the dealer hand over a piece of delicate gear to aid a customer in making a buying decision who has a low prospect of buying from them? In this case, the dealer WAS willing to provide a service for the customer. He just wanted to get a fair price (and, I think it WAS fair) for providing the service. Quick math: A "typical" business of this type needs to produce around $250 per hour of gross profit to pay the bills. This is varies by dealer, but provides a number to work with. The process of tearing down a piece of equipment from display, boxing it, transporting it, unboxing it, setting it up, etc. will consume at least an hour and a half of the dealer’s time. So, BEST CASE is the dealer will lose 2 1/2 hours of time x $250 = $750. At best, this would be a break even for the dealer given his departure from other business activities for that time period.

Asking for a refund if you don’t like it can also make a dealer very nervous. "Open box",and "B-stock" items have a tangible cost to the dealer. They can not be LEGALLY sold as "new in carton" and therefore must be discounted. Some manufactures provide "inventory balances" or "stock adjustment" benefits. Open goods will cost the dealer around 15%. In the case of the Grimm, this would be a pretty large number. Also, inventory can be "moved sideways" to other dealers who need inventory at times. The dealer would also take a hit in this situation. ALL of the risk falls on the dealer in this case. None on the consumer. Unless the dealer misrepresented some aspect of the product, it would be reasonable for the consumer to take some responsibly or risk in THEIR decisionmaking.

Body language. IF the customer is cold, disconnected, won’t make eye contact, or hesitant to share personal information, they COULD be signs of "something just isn’t right here." The dealer would act accordingly, and hold things close to the vest.

I am not suggeting that ANY of these situtations were present in the OPs interaction with the dealer. I am just providing some sets of circumstances where a charge for a home demo would be a reasonable computation.

So who is this Dealer? I have doubts that a dealer you dont personally know packed up and shipped a $12,500 player to you. I would like to call them and ask.

I have run my own business for 23 years. IMO, this dealer is likely using the fee as a way to weed out customer’s who don’t have the means or intent to buy something this expensive or if the streamer requires set up for the customer by the store or re-configuration once back in the store - or a bit of both. The part I don’t understand is the 1 hour limit, unless the store is open 7 days a week. There is no way to truly demo a high end nuanced product in 1 hour - which would be even less after set up. The owners must not like home demos and be of the mind set of listen in the store if you if you like it, buy it, if you don’t then don’t buy it. People buy $100,000 cars after a 20 minute test drive. I personally would not do the demo because 1 hour is not long enough. I would buy a 1 thousand streamer though and pay the $50 for a day's demo.

@dznutz No one will ship expensive stuff to random strangers. I did give my credit card and authorized a hold of the full purchase price. If I like it I send it back and get a new one shipped. If not, I send it back and pay only for shipping. I like it so far. I am still waiting for the AES cable before deciding. PM me if are really interested, I can hook you up