Mfr/Dealer Relationships

Is it just me, or does the whole world of exclusive dealer relationships suck for the customer?

Top gripes include trying to track down a dealer from a mfrs website and finding out they are some "operate out of their home HT consultant" where I can't audition anything.

Or I find out its the one dealer in the DC area I absolutely refuse to deal with.

Or I find out they don't deal the particular line anymore. Or don't carry all of the line.

Or, my most recent experience. I wanted to try out a $5.5K preamp. Figured if it was a bad match, I'll take a bit of a hit and resell it. But, I've got good reasons to think it will work. All I have to do is find someone to take my money, maybe give me a bit of a break because its a no-hassle deal. I spend two weeks calling my "local" dealer, s/he never answered the phone, and I *never* got a call back from numerous voicemails. Thankfully, I was able to find a dealer a state away willing to ask the mfr for "permission" to sell to me in view of the circumstances, but it was still very frustrating. Do mfrs care about how they are perceived as a result of those who represent them?
I'm sure the mfg. cares and your contact with them to give feedback would be thanked and useful.
A few years back I wanted to purchase a certain brand of tuner. All of the dealers I had contacted, both in and out of state informed me that the tuner was no longer manufactured and none could be had. I contacted the manufacturer who informed me that the tuner was still in production, and, IN STOCK, but that I would have to go through my local dealer. No dealer would even order it for me, trying typically to sell me something else that they had in stock, from different manufacturers! I notified the company of the situation and they told me that there was nothing they could do about it, even after I begged them to give me ONE name of someone who would sell it to me! Go figure that one out.
Edesilva manufacturers want to sell gear as bad as you want to buy it. The way a dealers treats a sales rep will not reflect how polite or impolite they are to a customer. You should contact the manufacturer and let them know your experience with the dealer. They really have no way of knowing how their product is being represented to the customer.

Unfortunately there really isn't another good way of selling equipment. Buyers want someone who will service their gear, and offer them the ability to audition something before they buy (not in that order) withou the store these are not possible.

You could do a real service to the manufacturer by letting them know what happened. If it were you, wouldn't you want to know?
Some of your headaches do come from the policies of manufacturers while some come from lazy dealers.

The guys that sell out of their homes are often "trunk slammers" that have no investment in the company. Beware.

Some manufacturers and/or their distributors/importers are easy to work with. YBA, Kimber, Spendor, Parasound, and Von Shweikert come to mind. If you want to demo a product your dealer doesn't happen to have, these companies often have no problem letting the dealer borrow stuff. It does involve the dealer taking time and money to make it happen.

Many manufacturers also hessitate to tell the consumer much about their interactions with dealers to protect the dealers. When orders fall through the cracks, items are backordered, or billing issues arise dealers have to make some sort of excuse to the customer. If a manufacturer contradicts their dealer the dealer has egg on his face.

Manufacturers first priority is selling product.
Dealers are what facilitates manufacturers selling more product.
Dealers have to make money to stay in business.
There is a symbiotic relationship there.

Good manufacturers and good dealers still look out for the customer in hopes of repeat business if and only if the relationship with said customer allows both to make some proffit. If a customer wants a product at the same price it cost the dealer to get it to his door, the dealer has no reason to nurture the relationship. Same can be said of the relationship between manufacturers and dealers. If it is no longer profitable for one or the other what is the point? Sony and Yamaha are two manufacturers that most dealers can probably live without. Pain-in-the-ass dealers are often dropped by manufacturers too.
When I buy from a dealer it is someone who has been in business for several decades, and has substantial stock of items for demo. Of course this is no guarantee that he will be there forever, but it is some indication that he is overall a good outfit. I do not pay dealer price when the dealer does not offer dealer services. Lots of good stuff is available direct from the Mfr and priced accordingly.