Uber expensive repair at United Radio

Anybody’s experience with United Radio (East Syracuse) as a service center? I will never do business again with these guys. They charged me $1,971 to repair my Classé Audio C-M600 monoblock amp...Forteen hours @$120/hour to replace two 16 pins chipsets...They provided me a discount on their regular hourly rate, which is normally set at $140/hour...
A lot of very good points made by many here.  Very good posts.

As some mentioned, exactly how long does it take to diagnose where exactly the problem is?  That actually takes more time than pretty much anything else.  The OP mentioned two chipsets.  Well, how long did it take to find that the problem was the two chipsets? 

Typically, unless the amp displays error codes like modern cars, the tech has to start in certain sequence and move forward.

For example, disconnect everything from the power supplies and see if the power supplies are actually working.

If so, connect one side of the amp to the power supply, see if it works, then disconnect that side and connect the other.  Slowly bring up the voltage.

These are just small examples. 

Diagnose the protection circuitry, etc.  yep, I hate to tell you but, these take some time.  Unless I knew exactly what the problem originally was, I would take my time and go in sequence.
So, the time spent, actually does make sense to me.

I work on electronics all the time and I also restore classic cars and I work on cars also.

I own and restored a 1983 Volvo 244 Turbo.  It had a low oil pressure reading on the gauge and the idiot light.  Know what the problem was?  wasn't the gauge or wiring, wasn't the oil pump, bearings, etc.  it was a stupid five cents o ring on the oil pickup tube.  yep.  had to drop the oil pan (stupidly difficult on this car), had to move the steering rack and lots of other things to get that oil pan off, remove the oil pump tube.

This took an entire weekend.

So, having worked on (and still to) and repair and upgrade audio equipment, I can tell you that although it took them some time, I can see why it might have.


Big mouth (me)  is back again to shed some additional light. I got charged $140 for the initial troubleshooting. This is their normal hourly rate. My guess is that it took them around 1 hour to identify the problem. This is when they identified the 2 defective chipsets.

So my question is how could you come up with a 14 hours of labor time, if you found the problem in around 1 hour?

The Classé Audio amp is well designed and modular. I opened up the amp cover to give a look at the location of these chipsets. To get access to these 2 chipsets will take an experienced technician a maximum of 1 hour. To unsolder/resolder the 2 chipsets, another hour. To put back the PC board back in place another hour. Testing + warmup + bias adjustments around 2 hours. So around 5 hours of repair time.

How do I know this?  I am a certified telecommunications technician and owned a telecommunications equipment repair facility for 9 years specializing in Cable TV equipment. The gear I repaired included RF amplifiers, line power supplies, spectrum analysers, modulators, frequency processors , satellite receivers, field strength meters, etc. I repaired test gear during those 9 years and never spent more than a day on the most difficult repair tasks.

Why did I not repair my amp myself you may ask? I did not want to get personnaly involved in this repair, since I am retired from the workforce and do not have access to test gear. So this is when I decided to send the equipment to United Audio.

I don't get it, they gave you an estimate, you let them do the work then you say it's too much money. If you didn't like the price of the estimate you shouldn't of had them do the work. 
14 hours is ridiculous. You could build an amp in that time. Everyone wants to cover expenses and make a chunk of change on top. I went through a bathroom remodeling and analyzed the contractor's estimate with him. He couldn't account for $13,000 on a $27,000 and admitted it was payola.