Sound Advice, an audio and video retail fixture in South Florida, is dead — again.
The Boca Raton store of the current incarnation closed in early 2017; Pinecrest was shuttered around the middle of October 2017; the last remaining store in Fort Lauderdale closed in the summer of 2018. Their website is 404, their phone number is disconnected. I’m not shedding any tears.
One year ago today, on August 28, 2017, I purchased a PrimaLuna Prologue integrated amplifier, on sale, at their Pinecrest store on South Dixie Highway. The salesman told me that it would take anywhere from two to three weeks to receive it from the manufacturer. Hurricane Irma made landfall on September 10, 2017 and that brought with it almost a week without power and the usual post-hurricane cleanup. The week after Irma I called them to find out the status of my order and they informed me they had not heard from the manufacturer as to when the amplifier was going to be shipped but were going to make urgent calls to find out. On September 26, around the four-week mark, and obviously to soothe my distress (if not to shut me up), they gave me a loaner amp.
Over the next two weeks I asked them every couple of days where my amp was. Finally, on October 9, six weeks to the day I had purchased the amp, and having had quite enough, I called them and told them in no uncertain terms, that I was calling the manufacturer’s distributor, Upscale Audio, to find out just what the hell was going on.
Well, I found out.
Sound Advice, the once reputable audio store, a store that had represented some of the best brands in high-end audio and video, was not only no longer an authorized dealer for PrimaLuna, but had been cut off from any further purchases for non-payment. An executive at Upscale Audio confirmed to me by telephone that no order had ever been received by them for my amp. Six weeks they strung me along.
These were the most deceitful and dishonest audio salesmen I’ve dealt with in forty plus years of buying gear. They lied to my face with a big smile about having ordered my amp when they had never ordered it — nor ever intended to! They should hang their heads in shame; they should never work in the industry again. Despicable. I came very close to contacting the State Attorney to file a claim for criminal fraud.
(Upscale Audio sold me the amp direct at the same sale price. A very classy move on their part that I’ll always appreciate.)
On October 11 I returned the loaner and got a partial refund of $500. The manager refused to give me a full refund of my purchase price at the store due to “company policy.” About eight days after I received my partial refund, the Pinecrest store was shuttered by the Miami-Dade County sheriff, apparently for nonpayment of rent. A nice final touch!
I had to wait another 12 days for the rest of my money, finally receiving the remaining portion of my refund on October 23, only after several less than friendly calls to the Fort Lauderdale main store.
The day I received the first portion of my refund I prophetically told the store manager, who shall remain nameless, “When this company goes belly up remember this transaction because you’ll be at fault for it as well.”
A sad and ignominious end…