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?
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.
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.

And that's how it should be-- for every one.
I've had no problems in my past dealings. But, I still feel for the guy who got the short thrift.

I agree with your sympathies, but I just find it so difficult to fully comprehend what happened. If the writer would have just sent the Typhoon to VPI in Cliffwood, NJ with a letter enclosed (VPI does not really care about RA numbers) addressed to Mike or Harry, I absolutely believe they would have fixed it without charge regardless of warranty lapse.

In my experience with parents (I am a Science, Math, Physics teacher) who come in to see me full of indignation as to their children’s grades, it is invariably an issue of failed communication. Once everyone in the room is on the same page and dialogue is established, parent-teacher relationship improves, students perform better, and all parties are happier.

I am convinced that the individual who initiated this thread and VPI were like ships passing in the night…there was a breakdown in communication…understanding.

Despite all that has been said; setting aside all the accusations and words that have been hurled back and forth; I believe that VPI will fix the Typhoon and return it fully tested within a timely framework.

My over two and a half decade experience with VPI leads me to the inevitable conclusion that, though eccentric at times, VPI stands by their products and customers. Given the opportunity to perform the work in house, VPI Mike will fix the Typhoon and stand by those repairs.

I am naive enough to believe that if I had ever sent that 25 year old HW-17(f) back to Mike for service, he would have cured it of its ills and returned without charge.

What can I say? Teachers are believers.