I bought my Naim gear reduced from a UK dealer online, in the (perhaps) millennial naivety that it would be flawless. Since joining this forum, I’ve seen others leverage their great relationships with local dealers to troubleshoot and replace under-performing units.
How does the dealer relationship work? Do you always have to deal with the company you bought from, even if they are hundreds of miles away? What if I’d bought in store and moved across country subsequently? Or what if the dealer closes or ceases their relationship with Naim?
As a shop, I’d resent dealing with a “customer” who’d not spent a penny with me. Likewise as a customer, I’d appreciate dealing with a local company. So how does it work? If my Naim goes pop tomorrow do I go into my nearest dealer or to the Post Office?
Over the years, I have used a number of dealers.
One closed its doors and one ceased trading as a Naim dealer.
The non-Naim dealer continued to be as supportive as he could be.
Subsequently, I bought my HDX via a third party and when I had a small issue with that unit, Naim were first class in getting it sorted.
When I “thought” the HDX was playing up later, a different dealer arranged for it to be collected from me and returned to me. They looked at it for purely the carriage cost and let me know the HDX was simply rebuilding the database, which can take some time, and wasn’t broken at all.
I went on to spend quite a lot of money with that company, so I hope they were happy
However, due to the 4 hour drive each way when I went to audition things, I have recently been using a much more local dealer and, they are bending over backwards to look after me and my older equipment, some of which is about to go in for servicing.
If this local company were to decide to close or stop being Naim agents, it may be I’ll have to look again but, so far, I’ve had great service from everyone I’ve used so far.
All Naim official servicing has to be booked in through a dealer, but my experience has been that they will arrange collection etc. (easy as I have the original packaging) so I’ve not had to nip to the post office.
For me, using a Naim recognised dealer is the best way to go.
Very important to build a relationship with the dealer when buying this gear I think, mine is a local independent, have dealt with the owner for 10 years, get on great, he’ll go the extra mile when buying new kit. Motoring analogy I always try to be on good terms with my local Honda dealer, they know I know what needs to be done when, there’s respect, understanding and a high standard of work
Thanks. In fairness to myself, this wasn’t a ruthless bottom dollar purchase from a company I didn’t know. It was from a dealer I’d used before several times before (online) and they are listed on Naim’s site as a distributor.
I guess I’m realising that whilst I feel comfortable buying online, I prefer a face to face conversation when things go wrong.
Of course fingers crossed we don’t get to that point!
I registered for the 5yr warranty, so presumably I have the option of dealing with Naim direct too.
I’d dearly like to, but I doubt that I’ll be spending enough for them to remember me This, I suppose, is what comes of being at the bottom end of a premium chain.
To leverage you car analogy: I’ve been a Ford ST owner for over 10 years. I’ve a good relationship with my local dealer for servicing, because they are competent, convenient and reasonably priced. I’ll never buy from them because they aren’t competitive, but I’ve still managed to build a relationship over the years. That’s harder to do with hifi, as there isn’t the same ongoing connection (unless things go wrong).
I’ve generally found hifi dealers very supportive, a disaster with my Roksan Artemiz arm left me ringing Roksan for advice, they identified a dealer within about 20 miles, I took the whole deck in, they took off and shipped the arm, then did a great job of setting up the deck before I collected it, excellent and friendly service with no likelihood of follow-on business.
The better dealers, regardless of whether they sell Naim, tend to be owned and staffed by HiFi enthusiasts, and as a result they do generally seem to want to be genuinely helpful. Building a relationship with a dealer may be easy if you are into frequent upgrading, but if upgrading is infrequent, with, say many years between any change, it is not so easy to build a relationship. Then if you move around the country as well, no hope!
You get what you pay for. A good dealer will help you make the right purchase, put in a lot of after service care if required, and generally make the choosing process less expensive long term via expert advice. They are about injecting value to justify a full retail price.
The vast majority of technical issues raised here on the forum can be resolved faster via a dealer. I live 6000 miles from mine and I’ve stuck with. Yes, they were also my boss at one time, but that doesn’t come into it.
I have no problem with getting price deals and having no close relationship. But I expect almost nothing else in return for those purchases either.
In my view there are two ways, perhaps more?, in buying something. If its a CD or a basic item where no real decision is needed you may as well buy it on-line, assuming you know what you want. Not helpful to “bricks and morter” stores but that’s the way it is.
Looking at Naim product distribution, the lower end of the range is in John Lewis and others, but going up the range we are back to Naim dealers only. Some will only supply if you walk in the shop. That seems OK to me and for a £5K product a sensible way to go. Buying and selling should be a “win/win” for both parties.
If you form a relationship with a dealer they get to know your likes etc and that’s only a good thing. They might reduce the price a little but they need to make a living. What’s wrong is to pick their brains and go elsewhere just to save as much as you can. You can then end up the looser.
I’ve being buying from the one dealer in Sydney since 94. He has allowed me to take stuff home to audition and in the beginning allowed me to pay it off interest free. Known him that long I consider him a friend.
Naim dealers come in all configurations. Happily, we have a dealer who we get on very well with because we both love music first. But regardless of the dealer, Naim don’t just talk the talk, and they don’t expect their dealers to either. If you need after sales service, you’ve got it. No questions no arguments.
Helen and I have received, over the past 20 years or so:
An XPS2 with bald patches on the case finish.
A CDX2 with a loose phono socket.
A 552PS with a banana shaped front panel.
An NDS with a crooked screen.
A 552 which was sent back for strip down and rebuild because it didn’t sound good enough.When it came back, Jason from Naim and Ian, our dealer’s installer came around, broke down the system, resoldered plugs onto our NACA5, rebuilt the system and spent some time with us, listening to it.
Such has been the professionalism and civility of the dealer and Naim when handling these issues, that we never hesitate to go back.
We also received a pair of black B&W802D which has a scratch. It turns out that B&W can walk the walk too. Same dealer, so no surprise that it was handled so well.
As with anything else, it takes time to build relationships, assuming both parties are amenable to doing so. Some customers are terrors and some dealers don’t care. Some dealers and customers just don’t mesh. It happens. This applies universally. First impressions are usually correct.
I live in Bristol but bought my Nova from a dealer in London due to a better trade-in on my Superuniti, when my Nova went up in smoke, Naim agreed to replace it but only through my supplying dealer. As I do not trust to send it via post (my Unitilite was “lost” by DPD) I had to drive to London to pick the replacement up, I asked if I could do it via my local dealer or even drive to Salisbury as it’s closer but they wouldn’t allow it. The supplying dealer was great but it cost me £40 in petrol and half a day of my time.
Hard to build relationships when I only ever upgrade once every 5 years or so don think they know me from Adam. When I have been back to the dealer over my Atom service was ok but nothing stellar. No home demo offered, but he did say a full refund would be given if not happy with it. However I did get my Atom for the original launch price and not what it ending up going up to which was a nice gesture. Not sure I would use them again, but would mean going much further a field.
I have a bit of the tale of two dealers. My local dealer, from whom I bought my original system in 2011 (Nait XS, NDAC, UServe) was never STRONG in Naim and over the years is even less so. It’s not his sweet spot, and he displays very little. And as I understand it, he cannot sell the ND555 as he does not display it (a rule from the distributor??). His sweet spot is Spectral, Moon, dCS and Magico.
So I’ve migrated to a dealer who is 1000 miles away and we work by text, phone, email and parcel delivery. I have home demoed at no risk to me other than shipping costs. He likes engaging in the trade in/trade up business which is perfect for me. And when my ND555 had an issue, he arranged a swap for a new one very quickly.
I still have a very good relationship with my local dealer. He let me home demo 2 pairs of speakers late last year and I bought my Magico A3’s from him. He treats me very well, and I refer others to him, etc. He simply doesn’t keep the Naim on the floor I’d want to hear, so it’s not an issue that I go elsewhere for it.
As others wrote, many dealers are enthusiasts themselves. If you show them your enthusiasm, respect their time, and spend a little money with them if you can, most will help you out with something you didn’t buy from them. Now if you show up with, “Hur hur hur I paid $500 less for this than you wanted to charge me for it,” they SHOULD show you the door when you beg for help.
You can talk to Naim support for advice, but any repair work ir servicing, under warranty or not, is always dealt with via a dealer.
My dealer is signals…
Alistair and Andy are as other dealers should aspire to be …
Enough said …
It’s a 100 mile round trip to Moorgate Acoustics but well worth it.
I have no trust or respect for my local dealer in spite of them being Naim agents for 20+ years so I deal with Tom Tom Audio who are over 100 miles away but always look after me very well. Not all dealers are the same and Naim seem to tolerate some complete tossers - don’t assume they will be good just because they have a Naim franchise.
Have to agree, a delight to visit and buy from.
Depends on the dealer and how frequently you visit them. I have dealt with plenty of dealers who have forgotten me after a month and there is no point in just popping in for a chat because they are not really amenable to that sort of behaviour.
The dealer I currently use isn’t like this at all. It’s somewhere we always visit when we go into town. Even if just to use the facilities or get a beverage - if they are not busy. It’s also how we’ve managed to snap audition so much equipment down the tears. If something new or unusual has come in they are always keen for their more regular visitors to get an ear on it.
In our previous residence we had a local Naim dealer (although we did not use Naim at the time) who sounds more like your Nova dealer. They still got plenty of money off us, but probably not so much over the long term.