"High end" store snobbery

Our county lies in a fairly remote part of the country.Our major city of 100,000 has one "high end" shop so to speak.

I visited them yesterday.The store has limited selection of decent  stuff-a few McIntosh amps.Marantz.Paradigm ,Focal,Sonus faber etc.No Wilsons or Bel Canto category.

I asked then if they take trade ins-I want to upgrade my one year old Yamaha RX4 AVR,worth $500 retail.

They said they only take high end components for trade i.e.McIntosh etc.

After that conversation, the 3 store employees pretty will ignored my presence and I continued browsing their meagre inventory.


Lo and behold!

In a corner I spotted about 30 items-old Pioneer,Yamaha amps and even an equalizer from the 1970s.Prices ranged from $75 to $500.


I asked :"what are these"

response from employee:"oh, those are items we are familiar with as they were swapped out for upgraded gear by our customers."


Thanks for tolerating my rant...






It happens. Typically, I would never go back. 

If you are really interested in audio, then a trip to a major city can be really worth it. Call and explain where you are in the process and what you like. Then they should make sure they have time for you. Take your partner for dinner and a mu vie or something. 



Where are you located? I would certainly seek out a better Audio shop. A 1-shop town is no good.


Happy Listening!

You can play smarter and present your Yamaha near the end of the trade leaving little space for them to think. Anyway bad service, but they are not the only ones, and it is strange for a smaller city.

Jaf and Pet:

The place is in Bellingham WA.

One shop for "X" product is the norm here.No competition.


Anyway,I'll check out Seattle,seems like there are some very decent shop shop there.



So they have more low end inventory than they need.  They should have worded it that way.

I can sympathize with your disappointment, but and it’s a BIG “BUT” ,..IMO there is another a couple of key factors that drove their choice that they declined to share with you,

Simply put, the vast majority of audio dealers simply don’t take in trades on AVRs …with the rare occasional one being the rare and very VERY high-end $$$$ units that are mint and less than two years old. These high-end $$$$ ones are the rare 3 or 5 year warranty units.

The 99% of limited one year warranty units and pricepoint units swamp the market in terms of numbers ,,,we all know that. It’s a major impediment to dealer accepting AVR trades. AVRs are viewed as not LT customer investments , they are viewed as ST use units that are replaced by new tweaks or unit failure , which ever comes first . …. ergo substantive disposables that’s the arena of the big-box stores that they don’t compete in.

Q why?
A let me explain

The AVR OEM mfgs won’t service any units out of warranty , which translates quickly into an absence of available parts . AVR HDMI boards ( especially out of China ) are nortorious for common failure . Also, go and get a qualified pro tech to service one yourself  these days —— good luck with that too. They refuse them now and refuse to get dragged into Frankenstein-ing repair parts.

. Dealers don’t want the taint of a pissed off customer complaint who suffers the problem of a comparatively failure that renders the resold AVR to a status of a boat anchor.

- OEM AVR mfgs annually come out with their latest flavour with its tweaks =

(a);they now only carry THOSE parts FOR WARRANTY…. Full,stop

( b) the latest and greatest tweaks …that’s the current customer interests arena … not the resale market thats a real tough sell. Hence, obsolescence in AVRs is huge, ( HINT: think bobsled to hell …) because of this consumer scent for the latest and greatest features AND the comparatively short useful life of an AVR.

(C) The pre-owned 2-channel audio market is MUCH different in that it has a niche for “vintage” units appealing to the nostalgia fan cohort …however it’s absent/nada / zippo, for AVRs = they mostly get banished to the local Craigslist marketplace . The dealer sees minimal profit and much trouble in for them keeping slow moving (if at all ) for sub-$$$$ AVRs in their inventory .

- A final cold hard fact is that the $$$ of what you propose to buy is ALWAYS a finsl tipping point determining factor on ANY dealer trade in …full stop.


Most dealers will politely tell you upfront that they never take in 99+% AVRs for all the reasons above .

IMO your dealer , could have and should have, been more polished and attentive to you in delivering that very common marketplace reality check message.to you.
Their message to decline your AVR would have been the same, but with a much better form …your post suggests a very poor form on their part

carry on …


Breaking news!!! The stores are for profit. Not charities.


And if you want to sell your receiver, there are places to do so, such as eBay or Craigslist

Their message to decline your AVR would have been the same, but with a much better form …your post suggests a very poor form on their part

Agreed on this. No need for them to be a jerk, even when figuring out there is zero profit opportunity. Being polite, gentle, and having compassion, goes a long way


Post removed 

I live in a seasonal seaside community with 20 million dollar homes but there are no good audio stores. You need to go to a city- where the money comes from. 

Arrogance is in every industry just shop elsewhere. The used market is alive and well here and on US Audiomart. With some research and risk you can do well.


Good luck on your journey!

One thing about this that comes to mind is that if they're the only audio dealer in town you don't have to worry about competition. They have less reason to treat people well if they don't want to. One reason they might be loath to take trade ins is that they have comparable used equipment in stock and its not moving. For someone in your situation an audio show would be a good alternative because it's ethical showrooming. You could listen to a lot of stuff, figure out what you like and then buy it online - or even used. That wouldn't solve your trade-in problem, but it would seem a solid state AVR would be pretty easy to ship and thus selling it yourself might make you more than you'd make in trade.

Your item  would maybe get a $200 trade in never trad in at a store , actually

craids list would be ideal that .depending how much you have to spend there are dealers that will ship on trial especially for dacs .

Take a nice 1 1/2 hour drive to see Domenic at Hawthorne Stereo in Seattle.

They also may not want your trade so sell it on US Audiomart.

Become a real cash buyer.

@jeffseight     A real cash buyer.

Yes!   Real cash buyers can negotiate discounts on expensive gear if they don't fog the deal by offering to sell their item.  For the dealer that just kills the deal as he has to get rid of the part exchange item that probably doesn't match his market profile or his customers' requirements.

Horses for courses.  Sell your used gear on Audiomart, eBay etc etc.


I completely agree with the “be a real cash buyer” advice above. Sell your receiver yourself. Probably the best place being your local Craigslist.

I have found this to be true (sell your used audio gear yourself, not trade in) not just with audio, but also with cars. I have been better off selling my old car to CarMax for cash (they make it very easy), then buy the new car outright with the dealership, as now I am focusing on one single deal (buying a new car), rather than two deals at the same time (trading in my old car AND buying the new one)

Agree with what AKG-CA said in above post.

Personal experience with a famous dealer in Delware ,who accepted Mcintosh and AR in trade in but refused AVRs

Something worth $500 retail?  At best, they may offer $200 on a trade.

Hardly worth the effort.  Maybe they didn't want to insult you with their offer?  Their cables probably go for more.

Just give the unit to your niece, nephew, or use it as a shop or garage unit.

We don't have a lot of choice in stores locally here either, so I feel your pain.

If you live in the northwest, go to definitive in Seattle, very good if not 1 of the best in the nation. If you want to deal with a store with new and used gear, check out echohifi.com in Portland. Have done quite a bit of business with them over 20+ years. 



Thank You for the follow up. Never act in fear about "calling out" an Audio shop.

Now, take a trek into Seattle. Very good Audio shops there.


Happy Listening!

I have changed from buying new to pretty much happy with my system now, and it was built with components I wasn't willing to prioritize at new prices.

The few times I did try trading in, salesmen explained they could take the trade, but as they are in business, they need to take it at an amount they can profit on, since it'll be in stock for some time.

They advised me to sell it myself- I'd be getting more for it than they would pay.

It worked out fine.

I assume you are talking about Reference Media in Bellingham. You are 90 miles away from some good stores: Definitive Audio, Seattle Hi-Fi, Audio Connection, Hawthorne Stereo, Olson’s, Tune HiFi and if you travel to Portland: Echo Audio, Pearl Audio/Video, StereoTypes, Audio Specialties, Chelsea Audio/Video, The True Audiophile.

From the store stand point. Yes vintage 2channel audio gear can hold up and be relevant for years. The technology does change, but the basic premise of the equipment does not. AV gear is for the most part out dated and left with limited use after two years. I have a pioneer av paid $1000 for it. It is 7-1 new is now 11-1, does not process 4k or Dolby atmos, only one hdmi out, this is just the short list of what tech has left it a relic. Yes it does still work and we still enjoy it but I have to be very creative and run three individual remotes to get the very limited most out of it. If you went into the store with a vintage 2 channel integrated or separates there would be a better chance.

I will assume to that dealer, you were a tire kicker.  That is why we have the Listening Room in northern New Jersey.  You get to hear reference components, learn about what makes something sound the way it does, bring your own gear to hear how they compare, and enjoy spending time listening to music as long as you want to. We enjoy meeting new people and showing off!

Happy Listening.  

I know how you feel. There's one 'high end' store in my city and a scattering of a few more 50-100 miles away. The one in my city has always been a cold place to visit---dark rooms, dusty most of the time and snobby (why, I don't know). I have visited them on several occasions hoping for a different experience and giving them the benefit of the doubt. But I always leave disappointed. So, I drove to the other places (one was about 55 miles and the other about 98 miles away) and couldn't have been happier with my experience. I dropped some good money and helped support some good stores. If only the one in my town would do the same.

I’m not sure why our hobby seems to attract (in certain locales) the occasional indifferent dealer or the occassional hyper-sensitive customer.


When I was younger, there were a fair number of electronic techs who had slowly evolved into stocking new gear for retail sale. Many of those shops were dusty, cluttered and required from the customer the commitment to endear yourself to the typically crusty WWII vet electronics guru. Those are mostly a distant memory but on occasion, they mentored someone to take over that particular business who were satisfied with the status quo. I remember on one occasion years ago when someone brought in a Japanese table radio for repair and he ripped them a new one and told them to get out of his store and to never come back. I aksed him what they had done to offend him and he went on to tell me the story of how he was a radio guy in the Navy and as a POW in WWII he had endured the Bataan forced march.


He just decided when liberated and back home he would never do anything he didn’t want to do ever again. Oh, and he said he had nothing against the Japanese people, he was just offended at the post WWII electronics they built and the people who bought them. LOL.


In short, if you are going to buy “throw away” gear, buy it from the dealer you want to build a relationship with…those shelves you saw were populated with entry level gear they sold to their customers who upgraded. Thats about the only time you can trade in that stuff is from the person who originally told you how good it was…they have to take it in on trade (if they take trades) or risk being viewed as disingenuous.

Personally I've had better experiences with small home based dealers, Yes not as big of selections but I've been able to find what I'm looking for and no hard sell, in fact they have told me NOT to buy things even though I was ready to buy with cash in-hand. Honestly goes a long way and now I'm a repeat customer.

I liked the people at Definitive. Also, for those who condescend the original poster.....you made his point in print.

Its an internet sickness, IMO bash everyone just of 8th sake of it...


My point was they implied " no trade ins on junk"


Meanwhile , they had a corner with 30 old low end items-when I asked them ,what are these? "they were swapped out for new stuff" was the answer.Is that not the same as a trade in?


While the owner of a B&M audio retailer hopefully shares a passion for home audio, they are still trying to make profit from what is a very difficult business model under the best of conditions.  They are competing against a huge increase in direct-sales manufacturers and on-line retailers covering a vast array of different audio products, an explosion of on-line product reviews (from both professional reviewers and owners of the product) that allow buyers to gain in-depth information on just about any product including readily available pricing information, and easily accessible on-line resources and expertise that may very well exceed the expertise of their own sales staff.  

While facing the above, the B&M audio store owner has to somehow cover their costs, including:

  • maintaining inventory 
  • paying a sales force
  • rental of their store space
  • customer satisfaction issues and facilitating repairs
  • insurance and other business costs

To your observation of,

about 30 items-old Pioneer, Yamaha amps and even an equalizer from the 1970s

Why would a business that is trying to make a profit want to add to that pile of 30 pieces of used equipment? 

What some of those retailers could do better, is to help their customers without being snarky when it appears some don't have a lot of money to spend.  Maybe refer customers like you to the store's website, which could have instructions on how to sell gear on-line (for those who are new to it), and having a weekly instructional listening session where a group of prospective customers can show up and listen as a group to gear and hear discussions by the store's sales staff, or hosting other customer-friendly programs.  Being snarky to customers and potential/future customers is never a good business plan.  

If you will be in the Tacoma area I will put in a word for Gig Harbor Audio. I have had very good experiences with them - it's been a nice relaxed atmosphere. You can check their website to see what brands they carry.

High end audio dealers don't deal with trades with old gears that is not high end brand. Yes when you saw those old pioneer on their shelves ? They lied to you. I will feel bad too? Just move on. When you are ready to buy bring your cash or your  credit card see what happen ? I bet the result will be different.

used AVR's probably lose their value faster than any audio component...70's gear seems more popular than ever these days...

To be honest it has nothing to do with their vintage stuff but your trade in period. I don’t know of any smaller audio shops that primarily deal in hi end 2 channel gear that want an AVR used in their shop. AVR’s don’t sell well on the used market. I can not fault them for being honest with, you’re just being picky that they did not want your $200 used AVR. Let’s face it they are there to make money and used AVR’s don’t do that well. Specially a used $500 new product they would have to buy for a hundred bucks to make an hundred off it. They probably didn’t want to insult you with a used price so they chose not to take it in.

Your item  would maybe get a $200 trade in never trad in at a store , actually

craids list would be ideal that .depending how much you have to spend there are dealers that will ship on trial especially for dacs .


Posting under the influence again?


We have 1 and 1/2 high end stores here. The full high end store is a bit snobby, but has always showed me anything they had. The 1/2 shop sells more HT systems and has mostly high Mid Fi, but are as friendly and proud of everything they sell. It’s funny, because Twenty five years ago I bought a couple of pieces of Audio Research stuff from them.  I guess the HT systems draw more people in.  


You live in a college town.  Easy to sell that piece in that market and move on.  Don’t haul it around.

Portland dealers mentioned, Stereotypes Audio and Echo Audio will both provide a much richer retail experience.  Plus…NO SALES TAX!  Stick it to Darth Insley!

Plus, you can eat and drink at Lucky Labrador.  Winner winner chicken dinner.

I've made multiple purchases at both Reference Media and Hawthorne stereo, never had any issues. Truly not surprised that a lower end AVR was not considered as trade material. Don't take it personally. Craigslist and Ebay are full of them. 

I hate audio snobbery...   If I walk into a dealer and I think they are sizing me up or don't think I'm a serious buyer I leave.   Fast.

I value my local dealers, there's only a few left so I try to buy locally.    I was looking at turntables and although I didn't buy a turntable at Natural Sound in Framingham I definitely appreciated the time Mark spent with me.   He demo'd the Rega P3 and it sounded great.   I almost bought it but decided on a Sota

With no Sota dealers near me I did what I rarely do and that's buy online.   That said I thought it was important to visit Natural Sound and buy a cartridge there.    No pressure or snobby attitude there.  

Maan I finally got myself financially solid at my 50’s (I’m guessin it’s finally time) and decided to get G-wagon. As I’ve never lived on credit cards, I wanted to purchase it for cash. The dealerships were declining selling it for cash even when I had more than solid sources of income LOL!!! They get more earnings on crazy bank fees they charge so they weren’t interested at all.

To make long story short, I traveled to Germany and got what I wanted instead. The factory direct purchases for foreigners in Bremen are so AWSOME with greatest time spent there.and in addition ended up with savings for the total purchase including shipping. After all I decided to stay in Germany for another month and get my teeth DONE and saved another pile of bucks on that + undisputed and undefeated german quality!  YaVoll!

My brother who has a lot deeper pocket then I went to get BMW X6 to the dealership and because he was dressed too casual, dealers noted that it’s probably not the car for him.

Many dealers are same here culturally, not only in high-end audio shops.

Good explanation akg_ca. Are you in the hifi business?

Hawthorne Stereo won't want your AVR. They are devoted to 2-channel gear. They also prefer sought after vintage gear over more recent common budget stereo receivers. 

I have owned a few used AVR receivers that I got for a low price but originally sold new for much more. I would only expect to sell an AVR at a fraction of the new cost. Most of them just don't have a good resale value.

It is a shame the Bellingham store was not more considerate of you, Gabe.

Good luck to you!


As I’ve never lived on credit cards, I wanted to purchase it for cash. The dealerships were declining selling it for cash even when I had more than solid sources of income LOL!!! They get more earnings on crazy bank fees they charge so they weren’t interested at all ...

If you're truly paying cash, then there are no bank fees or income check. You pay cash, as with a bank check for the full purchase amount, less trade if any. That's the way I usually buy a car and I've never had a dealer decline.

@cleeds Exactly there are no bank fees that dealers get kick-back from. Therefore dealers try to void selling vehicles for cash today.


Therefore dealers try to void selling vehicles for cash today.

A real dealer, a franchised dealer, is happy to sell for cash. Easy-peasy. It sounds like you’ve been to one of those "Buy Here, Pay Here" places. Those are rip-offs.

If you must finance a car, you're most likely to get a better rate by dealing with the bank directly. That way you avoid the kickbacks you mention.


I could not get better rate, because I’ve never had credit card. Even despite my clear and sound mortgage history, the bank doesn’t give me good rate. Many sleeky dealers start to explain about different pricing bs and different "dealer fees" etc...

You must understand me that hitting one dealership like that I dialed Mercedes Benz customer service to file a complaint and the rep herself advised me to call factory direct and shared her personal experience.

A call to factory direct sales got me a free airfare ticket and hotel stay for a week for the starters just to feel the difference instead of hustle here in our beloved USA.

Back in the day if a salesperson was a jerk I didn't buy from them, that simple. For me the internet replaced Salons years ago.  I have never had a product sound the same in my home as it did in a store.  I was a member here for years and quit.  I re-upped last year.  The people in this forum help is assemble all my system since 2001.  User reviews for me were the way to go, professional reviewers are in it for the money and freebees.