Are Warranty Repairs Even Worth It Anymore? offers affiliate links and the money that we make from them helps pays for our content.
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One of the ugly truths of consumer electronics is that stuff breaks. When we’re lucky, a malfunction occurs while the product is still under warranty. But what do those warranties actually cover, practically speaking? The following stories draw from my own personal experiences of how warranty repair in this modern  world currently works. It isn’t quite as simple as it used to be, and sometimes you have to resort to non-traditional channels to get stuff fixed.

All about audiophile warranty repairs
Staying patient and persistent is key to getting what you want out of your warranty repairs

Tale One: The Topping EH5 Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier

I was sufficiently impressed with the pre-release information on the Topping EH5 electrostatic headphone amplifier that I ordered one as soon as it was announced on Apos Audio’s website. After two months of anxiously waiting, my unit arrived. It was among the first batch sent to customers and I was excited to have one in my hand. The component worked fine for about a month, being on 24/7… then one morning it was dead.

I contacted Apos Audio, and after a few emails back and forth that involved sending Apos a copy of my invoice along with a photo of the unit, the company sent me a USPS mailing label to return the Topping EH5 to their California warranty and replacement site. After a week a new EH5 arrived along with a bill for $9.95 for shipping. That outcome was, without question, acceptable and is something that most people likely could live with. This was, in my eyes, a total win. 

Warranty Repairs on the Topping product went well at first
Warranty Repairs on the Topping product went well at first

Tale Two: The Topping A90 Discrete

I reviewed the Topping A90 Discrete recently here at Since then, it had been in my reference, nearfield system serving as a preamplifier and headphone amplifier. As is my way, the Topping A90 Discrete remained on 24/7, nestled between a pair of Topping LA-90 amplifiers and Topping D-90SE DAC. One morning it displayed -5 or -S (impossible to tell from the front panel display’s LED configuration) and no longer responded to the remote control. I turned the component on and off several times, removed it from the system as well as let it sit overnight unplugged. The next day I tried it again and it was still broken. So I contacted Apos Audio’s customer service page on their website and filled out all the information required. After a couple of hours, I received a return email from Bob in customer service. He asked me to “Please try the following troubleshooting steps – Turn the device off, unplug the power cable for one minute, plug the power cable back in, and turn the device back on. Try the device using a different set of cables. Try the device with different input or output devices.” I responded that I had tried all those things, which resulted in quite a bit of silence from Bob. 

Five days later, I resent my last response and also sent a copy of the email chain to my primary connection at Apos and waited on a response from someone. My contact told me he would try to expedite the process. After another five days I received a response from Bob: “I’d like to apologize for the late response. I’ve gone ahead and forwarded your warranty request with our Returns Team for assistance. Please bear with me and kindly wait for an email update as soon as I receive feedback.”

Finally, after another two days the Return Team sent me an email titled “Your return request has been approved,” along with a return postage label. I sent the unit back, and a three days later a new one arrived at my door. While in the end Apos made good on their warranty replacement, I hope that most Apos warranty repair experiences are more like the Topping EH5 replacement than this one. It should not require this amount of effort to be recognized and handled expeditiously by a manufacturer’s warranty system, but this was not my worst recent warranty experience.

Getting a warranty repair on a broken-out-of-the-box monitor was much more complicated
Getting a warranty repair on a broken-out-of-the-box monitor was much more complicated

Tale Three: Alogic Clarity 27-Inch 4K HDR Monitor

Alogic’s 4K monitor garnered glowing reviews from multiple trusted sources, so when my old Samsung monitor needed replacing, I bought one without much concern. My new window-on-the-world arrived in a well-designed box where all the components were isolated and partitioned in a hard-cell foam enclosures inside a sturdy clamshell shipping case. The owner experience was starting off quite nicely. 

I set up the monitor and it looked great except for one nagging issue: there was a one pixel-wide green line running vertically near the center of the screen. Was it awful? No, but it was the sort of thing that once you see it, you can’t unsee. I expected better from a new monitor, so I contacted Alogic’s customer service via their website, explained the problem, and waited for a reply.

After a week of silence from Alogic, I reconnected with their website and sent a second customer service request. Once more the inquiry was met with silence. I was beginning to get mildly perturbed.

Two months later, programmatic ads for Alogic and Clarity products started to appear on my Facebook feed. Whenever I saw an Alogic ad I would add a comment that “Buying an Alogic product is just like buying used” (meaning no warranty support).

One day, out of the blue, I was Facebook messaged by Alogic after one of my comments inquiring as to what my issues were. I explained the problem and they put me in contact with their customer support Help Desk. 

At first Alogic wanted me to send back my monitor before they would release a replacement. My response to that was, “That will not work for me. Here is what I want: I want to do it like Apple does. I will pay you for another monitor. Send me the new monitor. I will pack the defective on in the packaging and then you can have it picked up. When you receive it, you can credit me for the payment of the second monitor. That is how Apple does it. That is the way to do it and not leave the customer without a monitor.”

The email I received back said, “We understand your concern. We will provide you with an advance replacement of the Clarity Monitor. There is one small request, please send us detailed images of the monitor from all sides for warranty and replacement procedure. We are already readying the fresh unit dispatch, but these are needed urgently.” I sent them the pictures, and two weeks later a new monitor arrived. I swapped monitors, made sure the new one had no lines, packed the defective monitor in the box I just received, fished the return label out of the shipping pouch, applied it, and gave it to the next mail-carrier I saw. Repair completed, but did I really have to be such a nuisance to get support?

Repairs on vintage audio gear is a whole other process that we are covering in a future  article here on
Repairs on vintage audio gear is a whole other process that we are covering in a future article here on

Never Forget That When It Comes to Consumer Electronics Warranty Repairs, Persistence Always Wins

My takeaway from my recent warranty repair experiences is that there is no substitute for relentless persistence. If you do not get the level of support that is needed to solve your warranty repair issues, the solution is to become a squeaky wheel. Email the company again and again. Call the company again and again. And if you get no satisfaction, a last resort is you can become the troll who always adds negative comments to all the ads or discussions about the manufacturer’s products. If you are a big enough pain in the ass, you will get a response. I draw inspiration from a story about the writer Harlan Ellison, who when a publisher did not respond to his multiple requests that cigarette ads be removed from his paperback reissues (as per his contract), he kept at it with letters, phone calls (this was an era that was pre-Internet), and eventually mailed a dead possum to the publisher. That finally got results.

While I don’t recommend sending dead marsupials to consumer electronics manufacturers, I do suggest that you stay all over them if you don’t get your fair value. Your ability to write a non-hyperbolic review (or two or three or four) that comes packing a well-earned one-star ranking will get their attention. Not every company views customer service like Apple or Lexus. Value the ones who do and hold the ones that are looking to dump questionably reliable product into the marketplace accountable. You will win either way. 

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Ross Warren

Your experiences are enlightening. I note that in each case your device was NOT actually repaired but rather, replaced, since you were under warranty. I would hazard a guess that trying to get out of warranty devices repaired would be even more of a crapshoot. This is one reason I’m not so keen on buying ChiFi products, even those highly regarded like Denafrips or Holo May. Many says they have good warranty support, but what about after the warranty expires? Spending $1000 to $2000 on a DAC might not be much to some people, but it is to me, and I’d expect to get 10 years life out of one, even if say it needed repair in year five. Even buying from more local vendors in that regard is no panacea. It’s like we consumers are just rolling the dice and hoping we get lucky.

Mike Rubin

At least Topping maintains a US-based customer service facility, unlike many other non-US vendors. When my Topping D90 (original version) bricked while under warranty, I received a new unit without fuss or delay as an advanced replacement.

Other overseas manufacturer products are much more of a crapshoot. Not all have a US presence of any sort. When you buy these products, you do need to treat them as “used,” as you suggested. Even if the manufacturer has English speakers on its staff, the sheer distance of the vendor from the US makes support either uneconomical or even impossible to obtain.

Along with a Topping preamp from Apos, I have in my main system an Okto DAC (from Czech Republic) and an Apollon class D power amplifier (from Slovenia). The support has been decent from Okto (couple of small software issues) and almost nonexistent from Apollon (couple of questions about functionality), but any repairs would require me to send the products back to Europe because the sellers have no facilities here. When I bought these products, I reminded myself that lots of US companies ignore their customers, too, and that, even at new prices, these products deliver more performance than most things I could buy used for the same money. It is a gamble, absolutely.

Within the US, I have had exemplary product support from Sonore, Wyred 4 Sound, and Orb Audio. Each of them has stood behind its products fully, with both Sonore and Orb providing superb assistance even after warranty expiration. Sonore uses advance replacement and Wyred 4 Sound provided prompt turnaround on a product that I sent to it for repair. Hard to imagine you could do much better for post-sale support of all types.

Jerry Del Colliano

Thanks for the comments Mike.

I am very close friends with the guys at Orb and I am SUPER HAPPY to hear that you got excellent service from them. Wired 4 Sound was an old client of mine from my last home theater publication. Great guy. Ahead of the game in the value amp business. WAY AHEAD. I don’t think they are around anymore but I could be wrong.

We like Topping too. We’ve got another DAC from them. We like Amos too. John and his team there are strong on the ball.

With Chi-Fi some of the stuff is SO INEXPENSIVE that if it did break you could just recycle it and be fine right?

Mike Rubin

I think that Wyred 4 Sound still is alive and kicking, although most of the advertising I have received from them in the last year or so has been for little accessory pieces rather than major components.

It’s a shame because their amp line is overdue for a refresh and W4S has been sadly quiet about when that happens. I can state unequivocally that, had W4S updated its integrated amps to the GaN technology that it teased a couple of years ago, I would not have bought a Chinese preamp brand and a Slovenian amp (Class D but not GaN FET).

You can buy the W4S Gen 1 and 2 STi integrateds in the used market for an absolute song. (W4S isn’t stocking new units now.) At their typical prices, I don’t think there are better bargains in the integrated used market.

Michael Chylinski

Nikon Zfc faulty parts, bad engineering!? The dials for ISO, and Shutter Speed stop working after 1.5 yrs and they charge $200 to replace faulty parts. Shouldn’t matter if it’s under warranty if it’s their issue. My used D3200 has had had a well used life and it’s fine.

Steven Stone

Older Nikon DSLRs hold up very well…my D200 still takes excellent photographs when I don’t mind the weight…

Steven Miller

While not broken I recently waited for 4 months for a Arcam PA720. Upon arrival and unpacking I find that the amp shipped with a 3ft. 18 gauge power cord, I have plenty of cords around and replaced it with a better one.
Then I shot off an e-mail to Harmon Luxury Group to chide them about such a cheap cord. The reply I got informed me that the cord had to be short due to EU standards(american plug) and was of sufficient gauge to handle the job. And if I didn’t like the wait time I should take that up with the dealer I got it from.
My reply reminded then Luxury war prominent in there title and my Christmas tree came with a better cord. I also informed them that the dealer would have liked to charge my card sooner rather than later and had nothing to do with the delay.
I received a reply full of apologies and said it is specked with a 14 gauge cord and delay due to supply chain blah blah. After a few days a follow up said they changed the cord without customer service being informed and basically that was the end. The amp works fine and sounds good. I suggested they change their name to Harmon Average Group.

David G Bitting

I recently bought an DAC/AMP from Apos. I hope that this problem does not happen to me. I have bought a number of items from Amazon over the years. I have not had any issues in regard to failure during the warranty period.

Jerry Del Colliano

The Apos guys are pretty good in my experience. I hope you don’t have an issue with them. I bet that you will be OK

Michael Amster

I have to share a very positive experience I just had an issue with my ATI multichannel amplifier. I am lucky that their HQ is near me in SoCal. I called and dropped the out of warranty amp with them. Their repair contact said they would check it our and let me know the total. Within a week I was told I could pick it up and I asked the total. They told me they replaced 2 channels and fixed a bad element of the power supply. They waived all fees. They thanked me for being a customer. I was very happy and the amp was returned in perfect condition.

Jerry Del Colliano

Morris sold that factory space last year thus I am not sure how that would ever work again but that is a good outcome!

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