We have limited storage space in the shop. If a client leaves gear here for a month or more without communicating with us we may resell it, salvage it for parts or throw it away.
Deposits, Minimums, and Exam Time
We take a $50 non-refundable deposit at the time a piece is dropped off. This covers up to 30 minutes of exam or work on a project. Sometimes an exam takes more then 30 minutes. In that case, once an exam is complete, the client receives an estimate. The estimate includes the exam time as the first line, as well as any needed or suggested work as additional line items. The client only pays for the exam time beyond the deposit if they go forward with the estimate. If the estimate is approved the deposit is credited towards the final bill.
Certain items require exam time that can far exceed the $50 deposit we collect. We charge a $200 deposit on cassette players, reel to reels, and hi-fi consoles.
For hi-fi consoles in particular, our policies have changed as of November, 2021:
- We only work on the electronics; it is the customer’s responsibility to remove these components from the cabinet and bring them to our shop, as we do not have the space to store large cabinets.
- We do not work on console turntables, as they are not usually serviceable enough for us to guarantee the quality of our work. As mentioned above, we do refurbish all other electronic components.
- If the speakers need service, they also need to be removed from the cabinet if we are to do work on them.
- We require an open-ended commitment of up to $3000 with no estimates. Bench time is billed at our usual shop labor rate of $100/hr.
Exam, diagnosis, and troubleshooting are real labor. Often they are the hardest and longest part of the job. They are valuable services that are worth being compensated for, and comp’ing them makes our business financially unviable.
If work takes longer than was estimated, any labor PAST the estimated time is billed at a 50% discount.
Sometimes, a technician will not be able to diagnose a problem precisely enough to estimate and will instead suggest a series of escalating brute force steps (ie. retouching all solder joints, replace all electrolytic caps, replace all semiconductors, replace all ceramic caps) to fix the problem.
In this case, SAR will provide an estimate for the full brute force approach broken down by section. SAR will make clear that:
- This work would be exploratory and not guaranteed to work
- We will check in with the client before escalating to each next step.
- If the client discontinues the work, or if all work is completed and the problem persists, the customer will be charged for all labor at a 50% discount and all parts at full price. The client may donate the unit to the parts graveyard in trade for any billing beyond the deposit.
Additional Work Needed
Sometimes things don’t work out as we plan. We fix one problem, only to discover another problem. In cases like these, the technician will conduct a new exam and the client will be provided a new estimate to the client (including the additional exam time). If the client declines the work, the work and parts already approved and completed will be billed at normal price.
If a technician finishes estimated work and a problem is not solved, they will give it another exam. If the tech cannot figure out how to fix it, or the cost to fix it would be more than the value of the piece, the unit is considered DNR (DO NOT REPAIR). The client is billed for work already put into the piece minus new exam time at a 50% discount and all parts at full price. The client may donate the unit to the parts graveyard in trade for any billing beyond the deposit.
Quality. Our work is high quality and is guaranteed to last at least a year (but probably a lot longer). If a problem we fixed comes back within a year we will fix it again at no additional cost to you.
Occasionally we will encounter a situation where we can not guarantee the work (excessive corrosion, unfix-able physical damage) we will inform the client that the work is not covered by our guarantee prior to completing the work.
Gear that we refurbish and sell carries a 90 day warranty. If something wrong crops up within that time that is related to our refurb work or something we missed, we will either repair the item or provide a refund.
NOS Tubes Policy
Sometimes, whether by customer request, or because no new tubes are available, we use New Old Stock (NOS) tubes in our work. We order NOS tubes from reliable vendors and do reasonable quality control on them. However, because of their age we cannot warranty them the way we would a new part. This means that if a NOS tube we installed fails, we will not be able to replace it at no cost to the client like we would with a new tube.