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Posted by Ken Kurtis on July 07, 2006 at 15:24:08:

The LDS experience detailed below nothwithstanding, one of the frustrations of many shop owners are divers who are only too willing to use us for info and sizing and then make their purchase on-line or through unauthorized dealers. But when there's a problem, they come running back to the authorized dealer to make things right.

A classic example of this is with the Aqualung/Suunto D9 recall. We've gotten in about a dozen units to be sent back for the software fix. Of those, 9 were purchased through authorized dealers (most of them through us) but 3 were not. 2 of those were bought (new) on eBay and one was purchased as a used/demo unit from on on-line dealer in Canada. Purchase prices ranged from $1000-1100 on a unit whose street price from authorized dealers was/is about $1600.

I find it ironic that as soon as something goes wrong, these people come running to the authorized dealer to make it right. In fact, one of the people has asked me to please call Aqualung and get him to the front of the line because he's diving very soon and wants to make sure he gets his unit back before the dive.

I'm all for saving money and there's no question these guys saved significant dollars. By the same token, the industry makes it pretty clear that if you buy from an unauthorized dealer, don't expect warranty protection. So at what point is it you took a gamble to save money and lost? Should we just take in these units, smile, and have them fixed? Sould we charge a surcharge for these units since we made nothing on them in the first place? It's definitely a sticky wicket.

Thoughts from consumers? Thoughts from retailers?

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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