Richer Sounds Returns Policy On Headphones - Fair Or Unfair?

retrouk

Active Member
Hi everyone, I am looking to get a pair of high end headphones very soon and was looking to purchase them from Richer Sounds on the basis that they are very local to me and usually provide excellent customer service. I phoned my local Richer Sounds store to ask if I could have a demo of a couple of pairs of headphones by a particular high end manufacturer and was told unfortunately due to the pandemic they did not have any pairs on demo at the store. What I was then told is to just order the ones that I like either online or via the telephone and if I was not happy with them, I could simply return them.
Now the first issue with the advice given above is that I would rather have a demo first of the headphones rather than just order them and return if I'm not happy. After all, I'm looking to spend over 1k on a pair.
Secondly the advice given above by the Richard Sounds employee is incorrect as in Richer Sounds terms and conditions with regards to returns, it clearly states that all headphones cannot be returned due to hygiene reasons.
I did a bit more digging with regards to the above point and what I've found out is that Richer Sounds returns policy used to say that no returns will be accepted with regards to in-ear headphones due to hygiene reasons which I can understand to some degree, but not with regards to all headphones which I think is really unfair in my humble opinion.
Even some in-ear headphones are really expensive. Does that mean that if a pair of headphones including in-ear ones are not available to demo, that if you purchase them from Richard Sounds either online, or via the phone that you can't return them unless they are faulty? How is one to know with regards to if they buy a particular pair of headphones that they will like them or not? Surely to even make that choice one needs to be able to have a demo, or be able to order a pair to try and see how they get on with them?
Does that also imply that one can't have a demo of in-ear headphones at Richer Sounds stores anywhere due to hygiene reasons?
I just want to ask what everyone else thinks with regards to this and if perhaps someone from Richer Sounds could please clarify exactly what the position is?
For the time being though I will have to rule out buying any headphones from Richer Sounds which is a shame as I've made lots of purchases from them in the past and always received excellent customer service.
 

Field Marshall Eccles

Active Member
If spending that sort of money on headphones I'd want to be able to try them first. If I couldn't try them in store I certainly wouldn't buy them if I couldn't then return them.
 

aVdub

Distinguished Member
Do headphones at this price point require a bedding in time?
Which if so would make those in store better suited to demo...
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Do headphones at this price point require a bedding in time?
Which if so would make those in store better suited to demo...
Good point.

Yes, I think headphones do need running in from new, though I don't know how long for.

I suppose they are kind of unique in the Hi-Fi world in that they have direct contact with your hair and skin. I mean, you can wear gloves when moving a new amp or speakers around so as not to mark or stain them, but this is impossible with wearing headphones.

What I will say in Richer Sounds' defence: how would you feel if you bought a pair of headphones that you thought were new and unused but actually weren't? Have you seen the state of some people's hair and general hygiene?!

Yes, as a company they should have a demo pair in-store for customers to try before they buy. Don't know if this is feasible across their entire range, but maybe a few at selected price points?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I've bought all my headphones from Richer Sounds and auditioned a great many in their Cardiff store. I did buy my Oppo PM1s from them blind as they were running out of stock after Oppo jumped ship. That was a £1K gamble, that paid off handsomely. The no headphone return policy was in place even then.
 

nvingo

Distinguished Member

hippo99

Distinguished Member
But was that before the pandemic?
Those headphones came out in 2014 & Oppo jumped ship in Apr 2018, so I’m going to say it was before the pandemic as discontinued Oppo stuff was being snapped up & selling out well before Covid happened :)
 

gibbsy

Moderator
But was that before the pandemic?
Yes certainly. Bought the Oppos in 2018. Always fancied a pair and with stock dwindling rapidly I jumped in and ordered them. Didn't tell the missus how much they cost though. I left that to my big mouthed mate. :)
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
Its fair and in line with CCR Regs.

The employee may have made a mistake, it happens.

If you cant get to try them at RS, try somewhere else, or buy them from eBay where as its not their money, they couldnt care if you returned them used to the retailer.

CCR regs dont really cover you if you turn them on or plug them in, it is merely there to cover you to open and inspect as you could in store etc.

Try a different retailer, or get used to buying blind, as is the case with a lot of Hifi.
 

nvingo

Distinguished Member
if you turn them on or plug them in, it is merely there to cover you to open and inspect as you could in store etc.

get used to buying blind, as is the case with a lot of Hifi.
Online clothing retailers allow trying on at home as a concession to purchasing online, of course before the pandemic trying on instore was also an option.
With HiFi items, the performance can be quantified by manufacturers' specifications and reviewers' tests, but for headphones the fit and balance can't - everybody has a different head, hence the OP concerns. I guess with the investment is a similar order of magnitude to buying a car without a test drive to know if you 'fit' it, I'm sure dealers have a more amenable returns policy.
 

Graham27

Well-known Member
I think Richer Sounds policy is pretty fair and sensible. I can see why it doesn’t suit you, and why it’s really frustrating, but I don’t think that makes it unfair.

I wouldn’t buy a pair of headphones that someone else has tried, and whilst I accept I may be a fussy sod, I can’t see how anyone at all would take a pair of in-ears that someone else has tried. Ew o_O
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
Online clothing retailers allow trying on at home as a concession to purchasing online, of course before the pandemic trying on instore was also an option.
With HiFi items, the performance can be quantified by manufacturers' specifications and reviewers' tests, but for headphones the fit and balance can't - everybody has a different head, hence the OP concerns. I guess with the investment is a similar order of magnitude to buying a car without a test drive to know if you 'fit' it, I'm sure dealers have a more amenable returns policy.

Nope, as it is a state of hygiene. One can't return underwear, ear rings, opened food etc, headphones fall into the same category. It's the law.

Plenty of people buy cars without testing them first, and there are no immediate close skin/open vessel hygiene contact.

Some people prefer to test first, as you do, so find a retailer that has them on demo or abuse the eBay returns system.
 

retrouk

Active Member
Hi, thanks for all your replies. I think it's fair enough that you can't return in-ear headphones due to hygiene issues which was the original Richer Sounds policy, however now they have changed that to all headphones which I really don't understand. Perhaps what they could do instead is allow you to return any non in-ear headphones and if they are not in mint condition when they receive them back, just charge the customer a restocking fee?
Having said that, if one is spending a lot of money on headphones, especially high end ones, a demo is really important imho. All high end manufacturers of headphones should have demo pairs available which retailers like Richer Sounds can borrow should a customer want to demo them. I would not be comfortable parting with over 1k blind and solely relying on reviews. I don't think many other people would either. Just to add that when I'm ready to demo the headphones, I will post in the headphones section as suggested to try and find out where the nearest retailer is who has them available to demo.
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
Hi, thanks for all your replies. I think it's fair enough that you can't return in-ear headphones due to hygiene issues which was the original Richer Sounds policy, however now they have changed that to all headphones which I really don't understand. Perhaps what they could do instead is allow you to return any non in-ear headphones and if they are not in mint condition when they receive them back, just charge the customer a restocking fee?
Having said that, if one is spending a lot of money on headphones, especially high end ones, a demo is really important imho. All high end manufacturers of headphones should have demo pairs available which retailers like Richer Sounds can borrow should a customer want to demo them. I would not be comfortable parting with over 1k blind and solely relying on reviews. I don't think many other people would either. Just to add that when I'm ready to demo the headphones, I will post in the headphones section as suggested to try and find out where the nearest retailer is who has them available to demo.

Restocking charges are not permitted on distance sold items.

I bought a 4k DAC without listening to it as it was impossible to get a demo. It's just the way it is with some products, and you have to choose to take the chance or not. With a DAC though, you can always blag it that you never used it and return it under CCR regs.

I agree with you though that 'everything' should be able to be demo'ed, but in reality, with so many products on the market in would be near impossible, especially for non-specialists such as Richer Sounds. You may find a local Hifi dealer would offer such services.

The website of the brand you want should list the retailers holding the one you want. Or as I said, use eBay and Amazon, who offer returns on headphones.

Returns of any product, instantly lose the buisness the profit on the item as they are then sold as open box, legally they couldnt sell 'used' headphones, and they would also lose the card processing fee, which is around 3% and any postage costs they included in the original purchase.
 

aVdub

Distinguished Member
There must be very simple ways to protect, cover and then clean in store demo over earphones.
 

retrouk

Active Member
Hi thanks for your replies. It's the Focal Celestee and the Focal Clear MG headphones that I'm really interested in having a demo and then hopefully purchasing one of them. I just hope that Richer Sounds will be able to get some demo pairs in of these headphones and then I can have a listen. I know that there will also be independent retailers who also demo and sell Focal headphones, however it might be a bit too far to travel for me at the moment, whereas my local Richer Sounds store is just nearby :)
 

Mr Edwards

Well-known Member
Hi thanks for your replies. It's the Focal Celestee and the Focal Clear MG headphones that I'm really interested in having a demo and then hopefully purchasing one of them. I just hope that Richer Sounds will be able to get some demo pairs in of these headphones and then I can have a listen. I know that there will also be independent retailers who also demo and sell Focal headphones, however it might be a bit too far to travel for me at the moment, whereas my local Richer Sounds store is just nearby :)

Hmmmm...RicherSounds sent me an e-mail today stating the Focal Celeste are in-store for demo...'Try Before You Buy''..... here...... Focal Celestee (Navy Blue)

...and the Focal Clear MG....'Try Before You Buy'..... Focal Clear MG (Chestnut)
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Hmmmm...RicherSounds sent me an e-mail today stating the Focal Celeste are in-store for demo...'Try Before You Buy''..... here...... Focal Celestee (Navy Blue)

...and the Focal Clear MG....'Try Before You Buy'..... Focal Clear MG (Chestnut)
Make sure you demo them from a standalone headphone amp and not directly from a convenient stereo amp. Can make a big difference especially with high end headphones.
 

retrouk

Active Member
Hi everyone, just a quick update. I managed to get a demo of some Focal headphones at my local Richer Sounds store. The staff were really helpful and pleasant. Unfortunately though the Focal headphones were not for me.
 

books02

Novice Member
The distanced selling act takes precident over any in store returns policy. So you absolutely could return them by law, in an ‘as new’ condition if purchased over the phone or online 👍
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
The distanced selling act takes precident over any in store returns policy. So you absolutely could return them by law, in an ‘as new’ condition if purchased over the phone or online 👍

Technically, no. The CCR's allow you to open and handle the item like you would in a store, it dosent actually mean you can use something and then return it because its 'as new'.
 

books02

Novice Member
Technically, no. The CCR's allow you to open and handle the item like you would in a store, it dosent actually mean you can use something and then return it because its 'as new'.
Yes but I’m sure if you are handling it as you would in a store, this would include plugging into to a device to test the sound would it not? Richer sounds are very relaxed and I’m 99% sure they would accept a return within a few days considering the distanced selling act.
 

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Which is the best decade for horror movies?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

What's new on Blu-ray (UK) for Halloween 2021
  • By Mark Costello
  • Published
AVForums Movies Podcast: 20th October 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
PSB announces M4U 8 MKII wireless headphone
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Melco introduces N50-S38 music library
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sony expands 360 Reality Audio to Amazon Music Unlimited
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom