As long as PS Audio competes with their dealers, it will be hard for them to keep dealers interested in representing their audio products. This is especially true of dealers like me, who love and use the products, but have trouble selling it, in large part due to the inherent conflict in internet sales.
Some people follow their moral compass and buy from the dealer that demonstrates the product to them, but many do not and when a dealer is competing with a manufacturer who is offering returns, I see no good answer for how to deal with this problem.
As an example, a couple years ago I had local guy, who is a Psychologist that lives 30 minutes from here ,call me wanting to compare the PS Audio DAC with one he bought from another manufacturer that had a 10 day return policy. I told him I would do this, but stipulated that if he liked the PS Audio DAC better, he would agree to purchase it from me and I offered him a 10% discount. His reply was he could get a better price elsewhere, but he would really appreciate me driving my DAC over to him to compare. Obnoxious behavior and I said nope!!
So, we all must do what we must do.
We wouldn’t need laws if everyone did the right thing. Unfortunately, people justify all kinds of behavior that’s socially unacceptable: greed, selfishness, every-man-for-himself, self-aggrandizing at the expense of others.
We make laws and rules to even the playing field—then those same people spend their days figuring out how to work around them. An endless circular battle that benefits politicians and lawyers but not many others.
When companies conspired to fix prices of essential products governments used restraint of trade laws to even the playing field. Which loosely led to MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Pricing), and MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) rules being enacted in the consumer’s best interest.
Which then brings us to the essence of this post. PS Audio dealers. A longtime complaint is when customers go to a dealer to audition products then buy online at a lower price. The dealer spends their time and energy yet don’t get the sale. There are, of course, numerous times when the dealer doesn’t deserve the sale. I’ve gone to places that didn’t earn my business and, in fact, did their utmost to be butts to me. But, that’s rare. Most dealers are honest hard working folk.
We all want to do the right thing. Most of us believe that is what we’re doing. Always. We don’t take pleasure in doing the wrong thing.
This dynamic is a tough one. At PS we handle direct sales by freely shipping products to customers so they can try it in their homes at their leisure. We then pay to have it shipped back if it’s not working out. There are no hard feelings on our part if they are returned. And, that’s one solution to a thorny problem—one not practical for most dealers.
I wish I had a magic wand solution. The only advice I can offer is to appeal to people’s inner compass. Does what you’re doing feel right? Honest? If so, fine. Follow your moral compass.