When trying to figure out if a product will be a good value or not, the warrantee period is probably the best indicator of what it is actually worth. We only sell equipment from companies that provide proper warrantees, but this was not always the case.
We all know about the “knock off” bags, watches, designer labels. What you probably don’t know is that the majority of electronic systems contractors use “no name / knock off” equipment in order to offer a lower price. The TV and audio video receiver may both be brand names you recognize, but the accessories / wire / connectors and miscellaneous bits that make a system work are not likely brands you have heard of, and you have little chance of knowing if you are getting value or not. We all know the phrase “you get what you pay for” but when the equipment in question is hidden from view it is difficult or impossible for customers to make informed decisions.
One of our favourite speaker brands is Bowers and Wilkins. They went so far as to replace speakers at no charge when a customer’s amplifier blew them up. We can buy no-name in-ceiling speakers for less than $ 20. each. They come with no warrantee, no guarantee of performance and if something does go wrong you are on your own.
About 10 years ago we were talked into providing for a home builder some really inexpensive speakers. A year or so later there was a water leak and the home owner came in wanting a speaker repaired. I had to explain that the builder insisted on the lowest possible price so we supplied the cheapest possible products; there are no spare parts so he had no choice but to buy brand new speakers. This was the last time we ever sold a “no name” product as I never want to have to explain that to anyone again. We sold him speakers at our cost by the way.
No one is inconvenienced much when their $ 20.00 watch breaks after a short period but a house-wide music or TV system is another matter. Good, reliable cables and connectors adds significantly to the cost of a system as does proper surge protection, but a system is only as good as the sum of its parts.
See our Facebook page for more examples of what happens when you use “no name” connectors and parts. This company did not even bother supplying a $ 3.00 enclosure for the circuit board, while charging over $ 45,000. for this “smart home” system.
Since most electronics are made overseas, parts are hard to come by and take a long time to arrive – 6 to 8 weeks is the norm. You will probably agree Mercedes makes a fine car, but look around the back and there are dozen or more guys fixing them. Everything breaks eventually, and when it does you need a real company backing you up. Most audio video integration companies don’t even have a service person; our service manager is Kieran Armstrong-Rach, with years of experience and the resources and authority to get things dealt with ASAP.
Our best and favorite manufacturerpartners have good warrantees, replacement parts stored in the US, with properly staffed service departments (Crestron has over 300 technical support people), to take care of you ASAP. They are not usually the lowest cost, but they are absolutely the best value. We take the same approach.
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