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What would you do in this situation?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mettec, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. mettec


    Aug 22, 2005
    I posted a thread on this a few weeks ago but I now have all the details that I needed so here it goes. I have a SWR SM-900 (Pre-Fender Red Logo) amp that has been in a local authorized repair shop for 3 months now. After the shop making numerous calls to SWR, replacing various parts, and having all the shop techs look at my amp they have come to a dead end and are not able to solve the problem or repair my amp. So here are my options.

    1.The repair shop talked to the old head tech from SWR and he thinks he can fix it but it would cost me anywhere from $350 - $550 plus shipping to have this guy fix my amp depending on what needs to be replaced.

    2. I can pickup my amp at the repair shop for $150 (Labor cost) with nothing fixed.

    3. I can give the amp to the shop and pay nothing so they can use the amp for some spare parts.

    Keep in mind that the amp is out of warranty and this is the second repair shop that I have tried. I would like to know what everybody here would do? Should I pay the money for repair or just go get a new amp. I am highly looking into a Genz Benz GBE750, SWR 750X, or Ampeg.
  2. I'd pay the 150 to get it back, then list it on ebay as a non working amp for a DIY'er to fix.

    That way you might get a little cash out of it.
    On the other hand, it might not be worth 150 as a fixerupper.

    I'm sorry you're in this situation.
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    To get a working amp, you are going to pay a bit either way. I'd say, get it back, sell it on the bay for what it is, and then spend that and whatever else you need to to find a used amp like what you really want anyways.
  4. ghindman


    Feb 10, 2006
    Giving it to the shop is essentially selling it for $150, and I doubt you would get more than that for a non-working amp on Ebay, plus you have to go through the hassle of shipping.

    If it were me, I'd give it to the shop and walk away.
  5. gwx014


    Dec 22, 2005
    Yeah, I'd give it to the shop and get a new amp.
  6. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    If it were me, I would be politely asking the tech's why you are paying for them to fix an amp if they have not fixed it. I can understand a basic diagnosis fee, but charging $150 for unneccessary repairs is a bit excessive. The only way I would agree with those fees are if they called for permission to do the work and stated up front that we THINK this might be the problem and that this repair MIGHT correct it, but we are not sure.
  7. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    Right, the question is did you agree to pay $150 for them to look at it? My tech charges I think $30-50 just to look at something, which I pay upfront, and if it's gonna be any more he calls first....
  8. ajb


    Mar 20, 2005
    I agree completely with Kael. You went to the repair shop for a specific service: the repair of your amp. They frankly admitted to you -- after three months, no less! -- that they don't have a clue what's wrong with the amp. They've got some gall charging you $150 now. I understand that a basic diagnostic fee might be imposed, but come on.

    I wouldn't pay any more than $30, frankly. They were the ones who communicated with SWR or whoever about obtaining parts and at all times they were in control of how long the whole process was going to take. Like Kael said, if they thought the process was going nowhere they should have called you. It seems ridiculous to me (and bad business) to now tell you, "hey, we did our best, but after three months we have no idea what's wrong with your amp. Pony up $150." That's B.S.

    Give em 30 bucks and get your amp back, and then sell it as a fixer. A lot of bass players I know have had reliability issues with SWR. Cut your losses and be done with it.
  9. ajb


    Mar 20, 2005
    Oh yeah, one small thing I disagree with Kael about: Assuming they didn't call you first to give you an ETA, I wouldn't be polite about it. There's nothing polite about what they're trying to do you: Taking 150 bucks off of you for nothing.

    But that's just me.
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    You could try directly contacting SWR and letting them know the situation. They might help, or they might want to review if that shop should remain an "authorized" service center.
  11. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    Mettec, my opinion is that the repair shop is trying to scam you.
    I am unable to figure out an amp cannot be repaired either way, since it is electricity and electronics. And SWR, even being under control of Fender now, are able to supply ANY spare part needed for repair.

    BTW, what's the symptom of the failure ?
  12. ghindman


    Feb 10, 2006
    You guys are smoking crack - $150 is only 2-3 hours of bench time in a good shop. Why should the shop eat their labor, assuming the time was spent legitimately?

    Yeah, if the attempts at repair were unauthorized by you, and they didn't give you an estimate, then I would start asking some questions. And, as previously noted I've never run across an amp that was unrepairable - especially an SWR that is all modular PCBs.
  13. mettec


    Aug 22, 2005
    The problem was that my volume would cut in half while playing even after a couple of minutes then return for a few minutes then cut out again.
  14. mettec


    Aug 22, 2005
    When the shop first got the amp I was told min $50 after they opened it and tested the amp they had to replace some parts that's when he told me that it would cost about the $150 range. He told me today that they spent 5-6 hours total on the amp but the main reason it took so long was they had to order some parts from SWR which took 2 weeks to get and when they got them it was the wrong parts. So it took 3 more weeks for SWR to send the correct parts which did not solve the problem. Working on it every so often was for that labor charge.
  15. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    I'm against you selling it.

    If you like the 900, get it fixed, because, from what I've seen, you're not going to get diddly for a non-working piece of gear on eBay.

    That's IME, maybe you guys have gotten fixer-uppers to buy into a project amp, but I've never seen it.
  16. mettec


    Aug 22, 2005
    The amp is ok but I was going to change manufactuers this year anyway. I have been a loyal SWR fan for 6 years now and I am looking at Genz Benz with a Berg cabs. I am thinking of paying the $150 and put the amp on ebay as a as-is for parts or someone to fix it themselves. Even if a get a few hundred dollars that money can go towards a new amp.
  17. andertone

    andertone Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Southwest USA

    I've seen this before, they are frustrated and
    want to walk away from your problem.
    Any amp is fixable.

    they are trying to stiff you.
  18. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    As a Certified Electronics Technician with audio/video endorsements and many years at the bench repairing gear, I have to ask, with all due respect:

    Are you sure you're not the one on crack? :)

    You asked the wrong question, and also answered the right one:

    No, the shop shouldn't have to eat their labor if the time was spent legitimately (but see later). However, failing to repair a device that you maintain is fixable and then expecting the customer to fund the shop's failure is what's in question here. It all comes down to whether or not the customer agreed up front to pay that kind of money regardless of whether the problem was fixed.

    I understand about having overhead and needing to eat. I also undrestand about honesty and playing fair with the customer. You have to be willing to win some and lose some. We had to eat the costs on more than one "dog" we repaired which took way more time than it would have been reasonable for the customer to pay. And we had a few over the years that totally stumped us (TVs with intermittent problems that were too infrequent to track down, usually... sometimes obscure parts we couldn't find anywhere). We never charged more than the original check-in/estimate fee (to which the customer had agreed up front).

    And we apologized for not being able to help the customer, to boot.

  19. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    Get it fixed - get a warranty from the repair shop and then either keep it or sell it as "just overhauled by authorized SWR serviceman"
  20. mettec


    Aug 22, 2005
    I believe you are correct. I can only go by what they tell me. This is what I know. All the techs that work at this repair shop have looked at it and non could figure it out. This shop also builds expensive boutique guitar amps and also the main Ampeg, Marshall, etc... authorized repair center. So I would think that they should know what they are doing but that is my guess. The shop also called SWR numorious times and they said that the inside guts of the amp are totally redesigned since Fender bought out SWR. Which meant that the current SWR Factory does not stock parts for the Pre-Fender amps. I find this hard to believe and I can't get a hold of anyone from SWR to confirm that with me. They said that it probably has something to do with the circuit board which are called "Green Boards" and do not fit the same configuration on the chassis as the new ones so I would need a new board but SWR does not stock or make those boards anymore. The former head tech of SWR said he could fix it but it would cost me $350 on the lowend to $550 on the highend which would consist of rebuilding the circuit board assy. That's is what I was told. So in conclusion the shop wants money for their time looking, calling, and testing the amp.