I like that Pioneer offers perhaps the best sound quality at lower price points, but their lack of flexibility on authorized dealers is somewhat appalling.
Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, Harmon Kardon and even Marantz all list Amazon as an authorized dealer. Pioneer used to authorize Amazon, but for some reason yanked them from their authorized dealers list, and Pioneer employees don't even know why.
Onkyo, Yamaha and Harmon Kardon also authorize Fry's, but Pioneer does not. Maybe this is because Fry's will match Amazon direct prices. What is it about Amazon that's so bad? They're actually one of the more trustworthy vendors on the net.
It's ironic that they no doubt built up their reputation largely based on volume of sales over the years through such vendors. It probably wouldn't take very long to tear that all down via a stupid marketing decision a few of their higher ups made.
Pioneer can't really afford to rest on their laurels. While they do offer good bang for buck on sound quality and features at low price points, they also have one of the least intuitive and user friendly menus, remotes and displays in the biz, and their presets are so echo laden they're pretty much useless.
So be careful when just looking for dealers vs authorized dealers. According to Pioneer, if the vendor isn't on their list, you get no warranty coverage. Pretty draconian if you ask me, since they're choosing to omit some of the better vendors out there. It would be a real biatch to buy an Elite receiver, only to find instead of a two year warranty, you get shafted by the manufacturer, even if buying it from a vendor most of their competition authorizes.
Edited by Hi Def Fan - 9/20/12 at 4:43pm