Those of you who know a little bit about me are aware I’m a bit of an audio nut. My headphones cost more than most peoples computers. So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that I’d be looking at stereo equipment during the busiest shopping day of the year. And so I was. This particular spree I had decided to look at new Pre/Pro’s and some amps to go in the livingroom of my new home. I looked over the Denon offerings and the McIntosh offerings before finally settling on the PR-SC5509 from Onkyo.

onkyo-pr-sc5509

It had everything I wanted. Network connectivity. The ability to play in all my favorite formats (like FLAC), the ability to interface with my favorite streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. All the inputs and outputs I could want. There was just one problem… well 5 actually. Here is how Onkyo lost me as a customer in just 5 easy steps:

1) Intentionally creating artificial barriers to entry

Onkyo in their infinite wisdom has elected to exclude the US from their newer gear. If you live in Europe or Japan you can have a PR-SC5509 with a swipe of a credit card or a click of a button. Unfortunately if you live in the U.S. you are forced to only select from their older offerings. This appears to be the case with a lot of their different equipment lines. Apparently Onkyo considers the U.S. market to be second rate customers not worthy of access to their newest stuff until much later than the rest of the world. You can imagine how I feel about this.

2) Mystery and Magic

When I asked the Onkyo EU team if they were aware why this product was unavailable in the U.S. or if they knew when we’d have access to it I was first met with no answer at all. After a few days they informed me that they had forwarded the request to the US team. The US team tweeted me this:

“@KrisRoadruck @ONKYO_EU Unfortunately, this product is available in Europe but not in USA. Follow us @Onkyo_USA”

Yep thats right. Several days after I asked “whats up with that” their primary response was just to regurgitate what I already knew. No attempt to actually answer my question at all. Then they had the audacity to request that I follow them.

3) Repeated non-answers

After receiving this tweet I informed them that I was already quite aware that it wasnt available in the U.S. which was the whole reason I posed the question in the first place. I again asked for either a reason it wasn’t available or even better when it WOULD be available. To that I received:

“@KrisRoadruck We don’t have that information, but continue to follow us for future info.”

As you can see.. again no attempt to answer my question and continued attempts to get me to follow an account that is clearly not worth following due to inability to actually get info to customers. I told them as much, that I had no intention of following them as they were not a valuable resource. And here we go again:

“@KrisRoadruck please follow us so we can send you a private message with more info, thank you.”

Oh look I might be getting somewhere! Hmm.. seems to get somewhere I have to go somewhere:

 

“Sorry Kris this info is still too long for a PM, we have a forum and we will post your question w/ answer on there. http://t.co/gnwUb6n

4) Run around

So you had me follow you to dm me a message telling me to go somewhere else… ooo.. kay?

So I go to the forum, register bla bla. I can’t create a topic. So they make one:

http://onkyoproductsupport.forumotion.com/t84-twitter-question-pr-sc5509

And for all of this what do I get?

“Hi Kris,
We apologies that you were not happy with our answer. There seems to be a miss understanding. Your original question went to Onkyo Europe which is run by someone else in Europe. We don’t check their twitter very often. However, your question was sent by Europe to the president of our company and he sent it our way. Unfortunately, we weren’t here because of the Thanksgiving Holiday. As soon as your question was brought to my attention I answered it. We honestly don’t have the information at this time, but if you continue to follow us or like us on Facebook we always post about new and coming products. Thank you for being an Onkyo Customer!”

Basically a longer version of “we don’t know but hey follow us on twitter and facebook!”.

5) No way to respond

Yep thats right. This forum will not allow me to reply. Says I don’t have permission even though Im registered and my account is verified and activated. They also never followed me back via twitter so I can’t respond via DM either.

I would have loved for this post to be a great review of my brand new Onkyo Processor/pre-amp. But instead its a post about why I’ll not be buying anything from Onkyo ever again. This is probably one of the best examples of “You’re Doing It Wrong!” I’ve ever seen. If you are going to sell premium electronics, you know the kind that costs thousands of dollars, probably besides quality of product your number 1 priority should be customer service. Not many people shell out thousands of bucks for a stereo so when you encounter the few that can both afford your product AND want to actually buy it… prehaps you could you know… help them do that?

Looks like I’ll be going with Denon for my new rig.