A here poster has made quite a few accusations and misrepresentations over the course of the last day. My initial reaction was simply to let him vent and not respond. The problem is, someone not knowing us or our focus on customer satisfaction may get an erroneous impression and would certainly not have all the information required to determine if we acted appropriately in this case. So I think a response is in order. (Please pardon what will be a rather lengthy response, but it is required.)
Sometime in January, the OP emailed to say he had purchased a used pair of SongTower RT's in bamboo from the original owner. He wanted us to build a matching center channel with a few upgrades, which we did. When we shipped him the speaker, he emailed to say that the binding post plate on the center channel was silver and the ones on the original SongTowers were black. No problem. We shipped him a replacement black binding post. We didn't ask him to return the original plate and paid for the shipping. It was the right thing to do and he seemed satisfied.
Over the next three months, we exchanged a number of emails and phone calls about all maters audio. These were pleasant conversations and nothing more was mentioned about the binding post plate.
In one of his emails in late May, he expressed some concern about the smoothness of the finish on the center channel. I didn't know if this was overspray we missed in the final inspection (highly unlikely) or what the issue might be. He did not ask for a remedy, but was merely mentioning it. Since he obviously would not mention something if it did not bother him, I told him that if it was a concern, he was welcome to return it and we would re-finish it at no charge. Again, it seemed like the right thing to do.
He emailed to say he would take us up on the offer and shipped the center channel to us. At no time was there a discussion of who would pay the shipping and we were not aware that he felt it was an issue. If the issue had been raised, I seriously doubt we would have quibbled about a $24 charge.
When we received the speaker, we were immediately able to determine that it was not an issue with the finish, but that the underlying bamboo laminations were telegraphing through the finish. This is the first incidence we ran across with this happening across the face of bamboo. I knew it was the issue because I had earlier done a pair of cabinets with laminations that had exhibited this effect. But this was not a laminated cabinet so it was unexpected at that point.
The easiest thing to do at that point would have been to simply spray enough lacquer to level out the surface and return it. But that would not have been the right thing to do as the issue would have re-occurred in very short order. So instead, we sanded off all the finish and sanded down the bamboo to completely flatten out the telegraphing. We then shot 16 coats of sealer and 6 coats of lacquer. This took a more time than simply shooting more lacquer on the cabinet and meant it would take more time than originally estimated. But it was the right thing to do.
At that point, we were so fixated on getting the finish perfect that, on final assembly, we forgot to change the binding post plate to black. It was our mistake and we would be the first to admit it. But our focus at that point was on the quality of the finish.
When the re-finishing job was completed, I explained exactly what had happened. I also explained that while the finish was now perfect, I could not guarantee it would not happen again at some point in the future. There is simply no way to know that. But I did indicate that if it did, we would be happy to build a new cabinet to replace it. At that point, the OP seemed happy with that arrangement and suggested if that ever occurred, perhaps it would be a better idea to build it in standard satin black MDF instead. We said we would be happy to do either cabinet if need be and that if we built a black cabinet, we would refund the cost of the bamboo. He seemed very satisfied and agreed on that plan of attack.
We paid the shipping costs to return the speaker to him. When it arrived, he noted that we forgot to change the binding post plate to black. We offered to send another black plate, but the OP indicated he did not want to remove the screws and re-solder the wires. So I told him that if he wanted to, he could send it back and we would take care of it. That seemed like the only possible solution if he did not want to swap the plate himself. Again, there was no discussion of who would bear the shipping costs. Had there been, it would certainly not been an issue. But we can't address issues we don't know exist.
There were no further conversations about the matter so we assumed things were OK.
Another few months went by with a few pleasant phone conversations and emails on various topics. In one of the calls, the OP mentioned that that he purchased a full set of used home theater speakers made by another vendor that were too good a deal to pass up. He called to ask if bamboo had a huge impact on sound quality since he and a number of his friends thought that the SongTowers sounded better than the speakers he had just purchased. I told him I did not think this was the case and didn't know for certain why the SongTowers sounded better, but perhaps it was a crossover design issue. He also mentioned that the seams of the cabinets on this these newly purchased speakers were showing though (telegraphing). I explained that they were probably built with butt joints and, if so, this could not be avoided (which is why we don't use them). (I don't know why he was conveying his displeasure with someone else's cabinets, but that was part of the conversation.)
During this conversion, he indicated that he and a number of his friends preferred the sound of the SongTowers. But he also noted that he now had a decision to make. Should he keep the SongTowers and SongCenter, or keep the full set of home theater speakers, including surrounds, that he had just got a great deal on?
I told him that I understood the decision he was faced with and that if he decided to sell the SongTowers, we would gladly list them on our Available for Immediate Delivery page to help his sell his speakers. We eventually did this on July 2nd. http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=117961.0
A few weeks later in another pleasant conversation, he informed me that the telegraphing seemed to be re-appearing. Without being asked, I immediately entered a new order into our system for a replacement bamboo cabinet. The OP was not aware of this at the time.
He also told me that he had a few inquiries on the SongTowers, but the potential buyers were not interested in the SongCenter. I told him if the finish was an issue, that he should inform the potential purchaser that we would be more than happy to replace the cabinet if need be. I also told him that may not be necessary if the potential customer had no issue with minor telegraphing (some people would not be concerned if the surface was not completely flat as long as the finish was not affected).
The next day, he emailed to ask if I would be willing to trade in the center channel for a subwoofer. Since it would certainly be easier to sell the SongTowers separately and he would not need the center channel in that case, it made sense. But our margin on subwoofers is extremely slim and I didn't know if a trade-in would work or not. So I asked him how much he was asking for the center channel to see if it a trade-in was workable.
At this point, I received an angry and threatening email saying he was no longer interested in a replacement cabinet or a subwoofer. He demanded that I refund the full purchase price of the center channel plus all associated shipping charges or he would "take other actions."
This seemed like a rather drastic response considering we both agreed on a plan of action (potential cabinet replacement) previously and he seemed perfectly happy with that solution at the time.
I emailed reminding him of our previous agreement and left for the Capital Audiofest.
When I returned, yesterday, I received an email from him saying that I had failed to meet his demands and he had filed a complaint against us with the Better Business Bureau. This was clearly an aggressive and threatening move on his part.
I emailed him again reminding him of our mutual agreement and expressed my concern with his threats and actions at that point. I closed the email saying, " if you want to engage in a reasonable conversation about it, call me."
Ten minutes later, this thread started.
I should point out that never in this entire process did he complain about the performance of the speaker or indicate that the speaker did not serve him well from a performance standpoint over many months of use. Had he not purchased an alternative home theater system, I seriously doubt this thread would exist. And I fully understand that it is easier to threaten a manufacturer's reputation and demand a full refund than to sell a used speaker. But I don't find it reasonable position.
We take customer service and satisfaction VERY seriously. While I am obviously biased, I think it is one of our greatest strengths. Our policy is to go the extra mile even when customers are somewhat unreasonable (yes, they can be from time to time). But I would be the first to admit that I do not respond all that well to threats, intimidation and bullying.
While the OP will obviously respond to this post, I currently have no intention to say anything more on the topic. I have outlined our view of the situation and will leave it at that.