Stewart Power Amps - Terrible Customer Service

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by laklandplayer, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. I sent my World 600 amp back to Stewart on May 6th for warranty repair (it gets plenty of air including a rack fan but was cycling on and off with I suppose, thermal problems).

    Anyway, I called today July, 3rd and the amp is still "in line" waiting to be repaired.. She said that they were really backed up... no ****.

    I got zero apology and they said they would "try" to get it out late next week, which then will make it over two months away for repair.

    Now what does that tell us? Are their amps are so unreliable that they get a lot of them back and can't repair them fast enough?

    The tone in receptionist' voice sort of told me that this terrible turn around time problem is nothing new.

    At any rate, I am very disappointed with their seemingly lack of concern or lack of a simple apology for the inconvenience of not having my power amp.

    This does not instill any confidence in me for Stewart Power Amps.

    Let this experience be a warning to you Stewart amp owners in case you have problems now or in the future.

    Be sure you have a spare amp and don't hold your breath waiting for your repair.
  2. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Makes me glad I went with a QSC;)
  3. Sorry to hear your having problems. From what most the forum says the 2.1 is much better for many reasons. I don't have Stewart I have QSC PLX and am very happy so far. I share you pain, I've had the same treatment with other products.

    The famous words of REN
    "Don't make me want to Kieeeeel You!"
    sort of come to mind.

    good luck

    I love Laklands too! :bassist:
  4. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I can sympathize with your frustration but Stewart is not a huge corporation and they're in business to produce amps not repair them. I do agree if it's under warranty Stewart should give yours priority over non-warranty repairs but I've typically waited 1-1/2 to 2 months for SWR and GK amps to be repaired (almost 3 months for a GK once) and they are much larger companies. It sure beats taking your amp to a local repair shop where they typically repair symptoms and not root causes! Fortunately I've never had to have any of the 2 Stewart amps I've owned repaired.:)
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    What JOME77 said.
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    this is making me rather nervous, cause i do need repair on a noisy transformer in my World 250.

    but any complaint is actually a good complaint. if the same complaint keeps cropping up, a good company will take notice and do their best to fix whatever's disgruntling their customers. so, i give LLplayer the thumbs up.

    still, i just hope i can get my 250 back in time for a few late july gigs. :meh:
  7. Sorry, I disagree JOEME77.

    Company size is absolutely no excuse or criteria for poor turn around or bad customer service.

    ALL companies are certainly in a hurry to sell their products and should be in a reasonable hurry to satisfy their customers if their product fails.

    You don't create sales or repeat customers with bad and / or indifferent customer service.

    The best advertisment for any company is a
    satisfied customer. In general, reading the posts found in Talkbass pretty much proves this.

    I've owned a commercial audio company for over 15 years and was in music retail 10 years before that.

    In that time, I certainly have developed a feel as to what to expect from a company in regard to customer service and repair.

    Sadly, Stewart doesn't even hit the mark.

    I deal with companies, much smaller than Stewart, on a regular basis who do a splendid job in regard to repair and customer service.

    I think Stewart's problems are deeper than just being a small company.
  8. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    If I may...

    It was some time ago, but I needed a repair on my PA-1000, and I had a gig that weekend. I live 2 hours from Stewart in Sacramento, so I called them and asked if I brought it up if I could get a same day repair. They said sure, and fixed it while I waited. My expeiience isn't typical, for sure, but maybe they've changed, and it's not the good ol days anymore at Stewart Electronics. That same PA-1000 has been a real workhorse since then. Wow, I think the thing's over 8 years old.
  9. bbanderson

    bbanderson Guest

    Jun 8, 2003
    Collierville, TN
    I posted a while back that I purchased a used Stewart World 1.2 from a gentleman in FL and it arrived in semi-working condition. I deduced that the problem was in fact the amplifier, and not the preamp (Eden WP-100) and contacted Stewart for repair guidance. They indicated I should send it in. It has been over two weeks since they recieved it and they have not had it on the bench yet. I have been calling regularly, and Neil, the general manager, indicated that he would put a rush on it. It appears that the unit is still under warranty (transferrable warranties can be a good thing) so I am only out $12 shipping. However, I am sitting here with a preamp and cab, and am waiting for at least an idea of what is wrong (it would go into power cycle with an XLR input connection, and the 1/4" input did not work at all).
    It appears the person I bought if from used in in the exact configuration that worked (XLR in, ground lifted on the input, bridge mono). He did offer to cover repair costs.

  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    If you don't mind me asking, was this a Mr Chase? I'm considering buying a mint/new 1.2 from him, and if it's the same guy it's good to know that he's offering to make good.
  11. bbanderson

    bbanderson Guest

    Jun 8, 2003
    Collierville, TN
    Yes, it is Mr. Chase. And he has been extremely good to work with.


  12. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    thanks. It sucks that your unit has a problem, but it's good that he's sticking by what he sold. Also good news for me, although I will make sure he tests the 1/4 in / out before shipping!
  13. Thanks for the tip. I try to avoid buying gear from companies who are clogged with warranty repairs. :meh:
  14. bbanderson

    bbanderson Guest

    Jun 8, 2003
    Collierville, TN
    Well, here is an FYI. I posted about a week and a half ago that Stewart had my World 1.2 in on warranty repair. Remember, I bought it used and they are covering the repair cost, so the warranty transfers, not a very common thing these days. I recieved my power amp several days after I posted, mainly because I kept calling to check on it and they put a rush on it. So, that indicates that they are a very busy company, and may have technicians who are not only repairing amps but putting new ones together. Whenever I call, I either get Neil, the GM, or Faye, not a voice mail. That is another positive.

    Here is a negative: I recieved the power amplifier back and UPS damaged the carton. Somehow, they were able to puncture the new box and bend the rack ear without crushing any other portion of the box. I have a damage claim in, and I am pushing for a replacement, as there is no telling what type of latent damage was done by this injury. So, now I am going to have to wait a little longer to enjoy my power amp (mine works now, but I am a little worried that it won't for long). Also, I am having problems with the preamp, and it has gone back to the manufacturer. Such is the gamble buying used. It is a good thing I have my Raven labs PHA-1. I am running it through the Stewart and then into an Acme Low B2 II, and it sounds very good flat. Anyway, there is an update. Once I get all of the components working I will post a pic of the rig, with my Mike Lull Modern 4.
  15. bben


    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    bbanderson, FWIW, I bought my Stewart World 1.2 used about a year ago, and it came with one of the corner heatsink fins bent. At some point it had been given a real clonk. It has never given me any trouble.
  16. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    I have to disagree.

    I don't mean to slam Stewart or anyone else. I don't know the particulars of this situation or whether this is commonplace or a rare instance with them.

    But any company with this outlook has a major blind spot and needs to see beyond their own needs and start trying to get a feel for what the customer needs. The trouble is, a lot of companies think service is just fixing things. Something broke, okay, send it in, we'll put it on the pile, we'll get around to it and fix it and send it back to you, you'll get it sometime.

    Service is service. It means you do the job, do it right, and do it efficiently with minimal disruption and inconvenience to the customer. We're talking about pro equipment, tools that many customers use to earn a living. You don't hold onto someone's tools for indefinite lengths of time; they need them because they have to put food on the table and pay the rent and stuff like that. A company that can't or refuses to empathize with that, and do what it takes to serve the customer, is shortsighted, IMHO. If you've got a chronic, growing backlog, you've got to assess what's needed to shrink it to no more than a few days turnaround--probably staff up and invest in some more service equipment and tools. If it's a temporary or static backlog, hire tech temps and rent the gear to get that backlog knocked down.

    Furthermore, companies that neglect their service resources almost certainly have little feedback, if any, between the people who design and sell the products and the ones who repair them. Not only is this demoralizing for the service technicians and engineers, but this makes the organization very slow to address production problems or design flaws, and it is unhealthy for both the customer and the long-term outlook of the manufacturer.

    End of rant. ;)
  17. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I'll say it again:

  18. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    That's why I love guys like Jim Bergantino, I needed a part once and called was here in two days....and I live in Hawaii!!!! Great service is a beautiful thing!!
  19. bbanderson

    bbanderson Guest

    Jun 8, 2003
    Collierville, TN
    FWIW, the saga continues: UPS approved the claim and are cutting a check to Stewart. Stewart will send me a new World 1.2 and presumably UPS will pick up the old one and send it to salvage. I agree that service should be top notch, but living in various areas of the country has tought me that customer service stnadards vary greatly with region and company. I will give Stewart credit: they repaired a used piece of equipment as a warranty and it only cost me shipping, where I thought I would have to pay for bench fees and parts. Stewart will ship the new amp when they recieve the check from UPS. They are going to ship it UPS GROUND. Go figure.

  20. After several more calls and finally getting the head guy on the line, they pulled my amp out of the bottom of the pile, fixed it and sent it back a week later.

    No return documentation was packed with the amp nor did they say what they did to repair it or what the cause of the problem was... (good info to have on hand in case of another problem in the future)

    I called them and asked, they told me it was part of the thermal sensor circuit.. blah, blah.. they replaced it and upgraded the amp to current production specs. No test results of the post repair burn in (or if there even was one) were included with the amp either.

    I have not yet had the time to re-rack it and try it out on a gig.. I just hope the repair was a good one and not a rush job from a PO'ed repair tech.

    We'll see....

    Thanks everyone for all of your input and support.