Advice and Guidance

I recently requested a home Demo from a HiFi Audio manufacturer (no names mentioned) but NOT Naim.

And they arranged and paid for the shipping of the Demo unit to my home and also the return shipping.

At no point did they mention that there would be any charge for the shipping or handling until I had returned the item and requested a full refund of my security deposit (which was half retail) at which point they said they would deduct £50.00 for shipping and handling.

I mentioned to them that they had not previously mentioned any charges but they continue to believe that they are right.

I just wondered what is the general consensus from forum members.

Of course I have my own thoughts on the matter but will reserve them until I’ve heard what other people think as I don’t want to bias the debate.

A not unreasonable charge but it should have been specified up front.


Legally it should have been mentioned upfront and, I believe they are therefore not entitled to charge you, though perhaps if there are any lawyers reading this they can advise better. However, in practical terms your ability to reclaim the £50 may depend on what proof you have - if just unrecorded verbal then possibly tough, but if emails with the wording either saying or implying there is no cost to you then it should be easy to pursue should it come to that.

As for reasonable, I think it is reasonable for you to pay the return (i.e. half the total round trip postage cost), i did just that once - and had to pay the full cost of two expensive items as my deposit. But all went smoothly and I now have one of the items.

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It sounded like they accommodated your request and I would pay the 50 pounds. It may have been an honest mistake by the vendor or yourself regarding the charge for shipping and handling. You may even find the service useful in the future if you are not working with a local dealer who can accommodate home demo gear where you can pick up and drop off.

What would have been your cost to go pick up and return?


Did you ask who paid the shipping charge if the item wasn’t kept?
If yes, then they’re out of order. If no, I’m sorry to say you should have.
Unless you’re a regular, trusted customer, only charging you half the retail value to audition was pretty good IMO.

I agreed a similar arrangement with Tom Tom Audio to audition an nDAC, that £50 would be deducted if I returned it to cover carrriage, packing etc. and this was very clear upfront. The situation didn’t arise as I kept the nDAC but £50 seemed reasonable given that I live nowhere near that particular dealer.


Doesn’t sound right but to avoid hassle pay it and take you business somewhere else.

Breakdown of trust so who knows what else might go wrong if you buy there.

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Hi, it was a Demo unit so not something I could keep.

If they’d ask me to pay for shipping or for half the shipping costs I would of been able to make an informed decision if I wanted to pay this but by not NOT mentioning this to me I wasn’t able to make this choice.

£50.00 isn’t a lot of money but it’s the principal.

It has become more than a simple matter as they have made some unpleasant personal comments to me in emails so this has now become rather more than about £50.00.

I wonder if the distance selling regulations prohibit this in any event - though I am not a lawyer so anything I say may be unreliable :crazy_face: Might be worth doing a quick google?

But the lack of communication is poor form


It’s one of those really - you’ve assumed there would be no charge and they’ve assumed you knew you’d have to pay.
Naughty of them not to say, yet can’t help thinking it was remiss of you not to ask. I’m sure a good few of us would have fallen into the same trap and be equally peeved.
It does sound like they’re showing their true colours in the emails though so I’m on your side.

Lots of good points made. I sympathise entirely, I dislike when things aren’t clear, then they become so albeit with someone else’s interpretation!

The way I’m starting to look at things these days, as I grow a bit older, and my time starts to look a bit more precious; £50 and principals are one thing, the opportunity cost of the time spent arguing with idiots (they’ll just bring you down to their level, then beat you with experience) another. Might be better just to pay it and move on?

There are also more serious principals at stake in the world around us. And I’m not belittling yours in any way, personal insults are not really acceptable. I’d pay it, write to the owner, and/or component manufacturer about the poor experience, then chuck a charity a secret vengeance payment :wink:

Very best of luck whatever you decide!


Just to make it clear all my interactions have been with the owner of this business.

I did wonder, there’s always the component manufacturer, an email to both about it might get somewhere.

Do you think you’ll buy the component?

Moral stance versus legal position versus common sense and practicality then.

This is something I expect to do maybe twice this year as I audition integrated amps which are not available within 200 miles. It’s a significant amount of money even if it were for purchase but when it’s for home demo and I’m doing it twice then obviously I want to make sure that when I put 90% down I’m getting 90% back to put towards the next demo and indeed the final purchase. With that in mind and some months ahead of action I have scoured both web sites of the companies involved and I’m clear on the terms. It is inexplicable (to me) why that would not be the very first thing to do given the monies involved. If I remain unclear on any aspect then I’ll be phoning up and asking or using their contact forms to ask.

Even before doing that it makes sense to me that, whilst I’m putting down a 4 figure sum, the company is sending a product they can ill afford to have lost or damaged to a complete stranger. All concerned have zero control over transit so it makes sense that shipping costs would be shared 50/50. Frankly I’d be suspicious of any company not saying that up front and I’d be asking questions before going any further.

Legally, none of the above is relevant. Legally the position is clear cut. Spell out the terms up front or it’s unenforceable.

However, what is the real cost of enforcing this “right”? Self-evidently if you are correct and the company nowhere spells these terms out then at the very least I would politely be suggesting they amend their web site. Other than that the cost of trying to obtain £50 back will be far in excess of £50 and will likely see word get around dealers that you are not necessarily a customer they want.

I can well understand how such things can escalate into a war of words. It won’t be the first or last time that happens but ultimately this strikes me as a scenario in which you learn the lesson; take the hit and move on as only you lose otherwise.


As an ex City lawyer (commercial litigation partner in a worldwide law firm), I think that you would be best just to say goodbye to the £50, walk away, and spend the money to buy your new gear somewhere else where you can build a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

I know who will walk away from this unpleasantness on the better side of the doings.

This is not legal advice, by any manner of means, but life’s too short to scrw about with fckwits!


I agree with @graham55 - there may not be much natural justice in walking away- but life’s too short to fight over something like this. In addition they have your money and therefore hold the trump card.
In the true British way- vote with your feet and take your custom elsewhere.

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Also agree, I’d pay and move on, for £50 it’s clearly not about the dealer making a profit out of this issue. If they have offended you personally then, they will be loosing your business.Far more of a loss than the £50 and likely a sign of their stupidity.
Better off with another dealer.
Good luck in any case.

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This is the best $50 you could have ever spent. If they treat you like this over very little $$, can you imagine what they would be like with a major issue.


It sounds like it is a manufacturer, not a dealer. I would pay and then tell us who it is so we can all avoid!


I wouldn’t publish names here, as we don’t want to force our esteemed Moderator to have to start deleting stuff. It’s just not the sort of washing-of-dirty-linen-in-public that Naim or Mr Dane need!