In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Emotiva’s USP‑1: fail

[my address]
March 1, 2013
Emotiva Audio Corporation
135 SE Parkway Court
Franklin, Tennessee
United States, 37064

Dear Emotiva,

I’ve purchased four pieces of equipment from you over the last three years and have been pleased with most of them. I’m having a problem now with the USP‑1 and the stunningly lacklustre support I received after it failed on me. Let me give you the whole timeline without the technical details so you can understand my disappointment:

June 2011 — I bought a USP‑1.

May 2012 — The USP‑1 failed. It produced no sound but the front panel illumination worked as normal. After talking with Matt and having a look inside, I found a fuse had blown. Matt told me it was a 10a, 250v slow-blow fuse.

I could not find a glass fuse with this rating anywhere in town. With the summer coming on, and my frustration at the trouble of searching with no results, I let it slide for a while.

October 10, 2012 — I wrote back after having to order the fuse by mail. Replacing it did not solve the problem. Vincent told me he wasn’t sure of the next step, but someone would get back to me as soon as possible.

October 21, 2012 — Not having heard anything, I wrote back. Vincent told me he had handed the case over to the lead tech and he’d be getting back to me.

October 24, 2012 — Joe wrote me to confirm the fuse I bought was a 1a, 250v slow-blow, which it was not. Matt gave me the wrong information, which is probably why no electrical/electronic supply house in town had a fuse with that rating.

October 25, 2012 — After installing the 1 amp fuse, I replied to Joe to report that the behaviour of the USP‑1 had not changed.

October 26, 2012 — Joe told me he would be sending me a replacement relay board, and that it should take care of the problem.

November 12, 2012 — I received the board and installed it. My message to Joe reported that there still was no change in behaviour.

November 20, 2012 — I wrote again because I had received no reply. Joe replied that he was still trying to sort out the issue, and that it was ‘perplexing.’

As of today, three months later, I haven’t heard back from Joe. Not a word.

November 22, 2012 — Approaching the problem from a different angle, I wrote to your customer service department with another possible solution. I asked if I could return the USP‑1 for credit, and purchase an XSP‑1 to replace it. I’m sure it was an unusual request, but things were going no-where with fixing the USP‑1 I had.

November 26, 2012 — Nick replied stating that there is no exchange program for pre‑amps. I wasn’t asking about an exchange program but rather trying to suggest a reasonable solution for a badly deteriorating service issue. No such luck. Further, Nick’s message then asked if I’d contacted technical support. Since my message stated that I had in the second sentence, I can only assume that Nick had not bothered to really read what I had said.

And that’s where we stand today.

I worked as a technical support rep for four years and my experience is that a tech support rep would at minimum get a talking-to if they treated a customer this way. Setting the customer’s expectation and then meeting it doesn’t seem to have been on customer service’s or technical support’s radar. I don’t even get the impression that the people I’ve talked too particularly care.

Yes, you’ve got good prices and good gear, but I’ve always been of the opinion that a customer only really sees what a company is made of when things go wrong. I’m sorry to say that this not poor support, but closer to no support. You say all the right words in selling the equipment, but I’d caution anyone against buying from Emotiva because my experience is that they’ll be entirely on their own should the equipment fail.

After all this, you can certainly understand that I’m not convinced that you know what customer service even is. How could you when your support manager thinks it’s perfectly fine to leave a customer with non-functional (and fully paid-for) equipment for three months (and counting) with no communication?

Poor show, Emotiva. Poor show.

I’ve tried working with support. I’ve tried suggesting another solution. I’ve tried waiting. None have taken me any closer to a solution. So now I’m asking, what do you suggest as a solution to this problem?


Rick Pali


[Update: Emotiva replies]


CBC News Network, not cool




  1. Shawn

    That is disgusting. I hope this works out for you.

    • Rick

      Thank you, Shawn. We’ll see. I mailed this letter via Canada Post, so we’ll see what they say. It’s been long enough that I don’t have much hope, but there’s a small chance someone there will do the right thing after seeing the whole mess laid out.

      Still, I’m not holding my breath, but I’ll report any developments.

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