lifetime warranty

Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 66: Taking It To The BBB

My complaint

1. Primary Classification

Guarantee Or Warranty Issues

2. Secondary Classification

Repair Issues

3. Problem:

On 23 April 2008 I shipped from the UK to the offices of Zinky Electronics an electric guitar amplifier made by the Zinky company. The amplifier (a "Superfly" model) had developed an intermittent fault and the Zinky company offers a lifetime warranty on products like this one. Prior to shipping it I had discussed the fault with Bruce Zinky by email and agreed that he would investigate the fault and also perform some upgrade work that the company offered at a fixed price of $100. In addition he would supply - at my cost - a new wooden case. Mr Zinky maintained that due to the complicated design of the amplifier, he was the only person in the world knowledgeable enough to do the repair and upgrade work, so I paid around $200 to ship it to him.
It arrived on 29 April 2008 and work was started. Since then there have been multiple long delays. Sometimes months would go by with no news from Bruce Zinky, until I sent further emails enquiring what was happening. By 27 October 2008 he stated in an email "This has taken so long, I can't charge for the update any more."
However by 11 June 2009 there had been so little progress that I actually offered him a $1000 bounty to finish the work by 31 July. His response was simply "I will finish it, and you will pay nothing." Finally after more emails, on 15 September 2009 I received an email declaring "Should ship tomorrow, no charge." and after yet more chasing up, another email on 19 October 2009 stating that "the chassis is done. I just need to... get it on the way", concluding "I'll do that today.". That was over three months ago and despite five more unanswered emails I have no idea when, or if, Bruce Zinky will return my amplifier.
I have attempted to remain patient and have offered to pay the original agreed costs even after Bruce's "no charge" decision, while my amplifier has languished untouched on his workbench for months at a time.
I have documented the whole history of this issue on my website as a blog. Please visit http://www.dave.st/zinkyblog

Desired outcome:

To have my amplifier shipped back to me in a working state (with a new set of vacuum tubes as agreed). I don't care about the replacement wooden case. I will pay the originally agreed costs for the upgrade work and vacuum tubes. I would like my amp back before the 2-year anniversary of it being delivered to Zinky Electronics.

Receiving no communications from Bruce, on 4 February 2010 I decided to try the Better Business Bureau covering Flagstaff, AZ.

Filing a complaint on-line was not overly complicated, the toughest aspect being the condensing of the whole miserable tale into less than 2030 characters of text.

I received a pro-forma confirmation email straight away, and waited to see what happened... for a surprisingly rapid development, see part 67!

Zinky Blog tags: 

Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 60: No More Action

On 19 October 2009, Bruce was going to "get it on the way" that very day. Didn't happen.

Ten days later, there has still been no response to my question about the silver case.

How can one man take 18 months and still not complete a repair job that has been sat on his bench all that time?

How can one man advertise a Lifetime Warranty and then expect his customers to wait - what? - two years before they get their amp back?

But of course it's not over yet - see part 61.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 51: Food For Thought

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Re: Superfly
Date: 17 May 2009 23:15:29 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

A few links to consider

http://www.zinky.com/superfly.html

whereas

http://www.zinky.com/service.html

and finally:

[URL for austin.craigslist.org listing 1150924407]

...the last paragraph is very reassuring. Do let me know if for some reason the page is not on-line any more, I've saved a copy.

The Superfly amplifier that I shipped to you on April 14 2008 remains my property, which I have been unable to use now for over a year. I have
not asked you to carry out any work on it other than what was previously
agreed by email before I shipped it. Any suggestions of you waiving the
return shipping and upgrade costs have been yours alone, as per your
emails of October 27 2008 and February 5 2009.

It is now two months since you emailed me the two pictures of the amp on
your workbench and over a month since my last telephone call on March
31st. I would be curious to know whether you or Nate have actually touched my amp since the latter date?

David Jackson

Before sending this email I checked the Zinky web site customer service page - it was blank (see picture on left and just for fun, try clicking the link in the email text!).

I also did a web search to see if anyone was offering a Superfly for sale, and I got lucky: there on the well-known CraigsList site was an ad which sang the amp's praises and made much of the Lifetime Warranty provided by Zinky.

For example:

It's truly a work of art and has a lifetime warranty, because Bruce warranties his amps for life.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 2: Early problems

Quote from the Zinky web site Q&A discussion archive

"Our amplifiers are indeed serviceable, but I give 'em a lifetime warranty and I'll do any needed work at no charge, if the need ever comes up. Our warranty is on the AMP, not the buyer." (their capitalisation).

Over the next few days in January 2007 I began to notice a problem when using the Superfly: upon turning it on and plugging in, at first everything was fine, but then the reverb would go silent; no crackles, pops, hum - just an absence of reverb.

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