Local News

Unauthorized Stereo Sale Anything But Music To Customer's Ears

Posted September 11, 2003 10:35 a.m. EDT

— We buy certain brands because of reputation, personal experience and the warranty. For a company to honor a warranty, the product typically needs to be purchased from a store authorized to sell the brand.

If a store has the brand on display, you would presume it is authorized to sell the product. A Wake County man found that that is not always the case.

When Mike Rich paid Sound Station and Security $1,456 to install an Alpine receiver, an MTX amplifier and speakers in his pickup truck, everything was fine until he opened the receiver box.

"I didn't have a manual. No warranty card. There was nothing in the box," he said.

Rich said the serial number on the box was gone and the amplifier did not have a box at all. He did some checking and found out the receiver is 2 years old and the amplifier was discontinued 3 years earlier.

The real problem: Sound Station and Security is not authorized to sell Alpine.

Rich was concerned that if anything went wrong, Alpine would not cover it under warranty. When he called Sound Station and Security, Rich said the employee he spoke with admitted the business is not authorized and said the serial number and manuals may be gone because they sell them at flea markets.

"All of this stuff started coming together. It was really like freaking me out a little bit," Rich said.

Rich told the employee he wanted the stereo out of his truck and his money back. When he met with owner Waiel Mohammad, things did not go as planned.

"He 'Didn't want to lose me as a customer.' He said please let him find something else. He can't give me a refund. It's against policy. Let me find something else. We're not Alpine dealers, but if you tell me what the new model is, I'll get one for you," Rich said of Mohammad's responses.

After that, Rich called Five on Your Side.

Mohammad told Five On Your Side that even though he is not authorized to sell Alpine, his distributor is. He said he "didn't know" the receiver did not have a serial number nor how old the amplifier was. He refunded all but $185 of Rich's money for labor.

Rich said he glad to get back the $1,270 and already has a new sound system.

"I am greatly relieved, because I know I couldn't have done this on my own," Rich said.

After talking with Five On Your Side, an Alpine spokeswoman said she was very interested and said is investigating.