VPI service problems


Am I the only one having a problem with service from VPI? After buying
a HW-27 Typhoon record cleaning machine from them based on the positive
reviews and recommendations of all the audio mags (not an inexpensive
purchase) and using it carefully and sparingly and enjoying it
immensely, the vacuum motor blew out it's gasket and began leaking like
a sieve. I was disappointed but thought OK stuff happens. Then my real
problems began. To say that their after the sale service is lacking
would be a huge understatement. Emails went unreturned for weeks,
attempts at phoning resulted in many messages left ignored and then
being told that they only respond to email inquiries, which again go
unanswered for weeks! Contacting all of their authorized dealers
doesn't help as no one seems to be able to get or stock the parts and
they tell me that it would take weeks for them to get them as well.
Finally after five months of effort I received my replacement motor
(which cost $240 plus shipping) and now six months later the second
motor has blown it's gasket and is leaking all over the place again and
I am right back to square one. No returned emails for weeks and weeks
and a pricey record cleaning machine ($2200) that is inoperative and
will be down for months and months again. Is their business so good
that they can just ignore their customers? Are the dealers really
unable to help as well? Am I the only one with this problem? Anybody
have any thoughts or ideas on how to help?
128x128dcbluesplayer
I can perhaps understand, why in cases like this, the moderators "moderate" before the posts hit the boards.

The amount of responses are staggering at audio asylum, and after all was said, it appears the jury is still out.

My intentions, were to be a helpful member, and not to hurst anyone's feelings.

As for the comment above, about VPI, I am happy a company like VPI is standing steadfast, trying to keep a company running, without resorting to running south of the border, or to Asia.

So many american iconic companies, take JBL for instance I hear is moving production to mexico soon. I can assume cheaper labor, cheaper products, but not cheaper prices.

Seems to me, a company like Harmon International, is nothing more than a CBS of the 70's, where they took Fender, Rhodes, Rogers, etc, and ran them into the ground.

I'll continue to support VPI in the future with my dollars. They always done me right when I needed their help in the rare occasion. Mark
Let me clarify a few things for everyone. All my statements are factual and accurate descriptions of what has happened. Harry and a couple of his buddies on AudioAsylum are now trying desperately to spin this any way they can to try and cover up his lack of/poor service. I have never met Harry , spoken to him or had any direct contact with him. Not ever, not once. It is certainly not because of a lack of effort on my part. In the course of two service problems I have sent more than a dozen emails and left countless phone messages for him and not had one response, not one. When the HW-27 failed five months ago there was no mention of free warranty repair at all. In fact I was told that I would have to pay for any parts or pay to have it shipped back to them and then pay for any repairs that they performed , so I opted to buy the part needed and do it myself. Now that part has failed again.Never has any free warranty repair work been mentioned. After once again ignoring numerous emails and phone calls, Sheila only responded 18 days afterwords with the following terse email "Use RA # 21236 and enclose a copy of this email with machine. The machine will be thoroughly checked before it is returned to you.Sheila" First you can see that the message is from Sheila not Harry as he claims, second there is no mention of any free warranty coverage being offered. I had to pay last time why would I think that I wouldn't be charged this time? And this response ignored everything that I asked for which was simply to obtain the proper replacement part. After three more emails in three days and numerous more phone calls (all of which went unanswered and unreturned) I finally in desperation turned to the audio websites seeking help from the members. Only when this went public did Harry respond and then not to me directly but by posting on the forum that "he had gone fishing, had brown outs,etc" as a reason for not responding to me initially and saying that "we stand behind everything we make long after the warrantee is done and gone." Well that hasn't been my experience, as I said earlier, Harry wouldn't repair it free last time and you can see by Sheila's only email response to me that there is no mention of any free warranty repair. I think that Harry is being disingenuous in his post. The explanation for not responding in a timely fashion smacks of "my dog ate my homework" I mean come on, fishing trips and brown outs accounting for more that two weeks without a response? (remember that it took him more than a month to respond and send me the part last time, I guess Harry must do a lot of fishing) Offering a free repair only after you have been called out in a public forum? But I think that the most telling part of this whole sordid tale is the simplest one. If Harry was really serious about customer service or actually gave a damn anywhere other than on the public forums he would just pick up the phone and actually call me, himself directly. Or email me, himself directly. I am sure that this could all have been easily solved with just a little communication. But he has chosen not to. Harry could still get in touch with me, I am easy to reach and easy to get along with. I don't want anything for free. I am not out to smear anyone. I have tried endlessly to reach Harry all to no avail. Instead of posting on line he could have just picked up the phone at any time or sent a quick email and fixed this in probably two seconds and I would have been the first to write what a great guy he is and how wonderful his products are. That's what I would have done. I think it's what any good small business owner would have done. I still would love to be able to write that post.
The good news is that with the help of several members the HW-27 is up and running again and it only took me one day to get the part and put it in myself. Kinda neat when the forum actually works and people get together to solve problems instead of bashing each other. I hope Harry reads this and takes the time to actually call me. I would still love to be able write that positive post about VPI.
Dcbluesplayer, I have to say you sound very positive for someone who had to deal with much grief. I'm glad you got your very expensive machine going again. If I were you I'd be done with VPI.
Dcbluesplayer:
I totally support you and your situation. It's not easy for customers of a company with the reputation of VPI to come out and support one who has had negative experience. I've noticed this for years, from "rude", non-friendly responses on the phone ( I guess, Shiela) to different answers to the same question through the years. I'm a 20 year VPI owner, but come on, I don't keep quiet for anyone with this kind of customer service!
As I watched this thread develop, I said to myself that I would not weigh in. Yet, here I am with just a brief overview of my dealings with VPI and the VPI Service Department.

By way of establishing my bona fides, I have been a VPI customer since the mid 1980’s starting off with the HW-19 in the optional piano black with the tall dust cover. That turntable went through all the evolutionary steps through the final HW-19 Mark IV incorporating every upgrade that Harry offered up until the time I sold it to a man in Vermont who, by all accounts, still plays it and loves it.

At the same time back in the 1980's, I also ordered an HW-17(f) RCM. In those early days, the (f) stood for the fan cool option: I believe it is standard now. After 20++ years of trouble free operation, that machine was sold to a vinyl seller on Ebay who uses it daily. According to him, it runs perfectly.

Now, I have an NOS Aires 2 Extended with every upgrade including the JMW 12.7i tonearm, 25 pound SuperPlatter., Single motor/flywheel, HRX Aries Mini Feet, SDS, periphery ring, and center weight/clamp, plus other stuff. VPI Mike helped me along the way with thoughtful suggestions and instruction. All this support is for a turntable that is out of VPI production. Mike and Harry helped me upgrade from the JMW 12.6i to the JMW 12.7i.

I also own an HW-27 Typhoon RCM. As to the Typoon, I have had an issue or two, but those were dealt with immediately and in a friendly manner. My S&H expenses were reimbursed by way of product - brushes, tubes, etc. They also threw in a bunch of extras that were probably used in testing the machine prior to return.

Throughout that entire 27 year span of being a VPI customer, everyone from Sheila, to Harry, to Mike has been wonderful to me. I do admit that it was more fun in the early days to call and actually speak with Harry (sometimes he would just answer the phone, “Hello, VPI.”)

More often than not, Mike is the representative of VPI most of us email or chat with. Frankly, I do not know how he does it. I have received answers from Mike on Sunday mornings.

But, even though times change, this epitome of a family owned business thrives and continues to make analogue bliss attainable to so many of us.

Thank you Sheila, Mike, and Harry.

Christopher