"I bought this thing online from overseas that you also sell but now it doesn't work and I was wondering if you could help me?"

You would be amazed with how many phone calls start this way. Actually, you probably wouldn't. A quick perusal of these opinion pages shows that we’ve written quite a lot of posts about the perils of trans-shipping and overseas orders. It’s a hot topic right now with the favourable exchange rate bringing the topic to the fore, but it’s not a new phenomenon.

We’ve always had a certain percentage of customers who are happy to take the risk of bringing in a unit from overseas. Invariably when something goes wrong, we, the authorised retailer are the first port of call. We’ve gotten a lot of these calls over the years, and bear in mind we only get a phone call when there is a problem.

We will always try to help people out, as we feel that it's part of our responsibilities to the brands we carry to support their customers, regardless of whether it's our sale or not. But this does hurt our business, as our most valuable resource, time, is unfortunately not cheap. And for every hour we spent trying to help someone who has bought in a unit from overseas, it's an hour less for someone else.

There a numerous reasons why the unit has been bought overseas, not including genuine purchases of people that have moved back to Australia after living overseas. I’m not going to preach the pitfalls, of faulty good, good with the wrong power supplies, the homes that are burnt down that the insurance companies won’t cover...

Instead I prefer to think the reason to buy your gear here is the experience of the audition. Buying hi-fi is a fun process, and the audition should be about finding the right gear for you, not the products with the most ‘likes’.

At the end of the day, we’ve met a lot of interesting customers who have dipped their toe into the trans-shipping waters and got stung. We always want to help and try and turn that bad experience into a good one. But wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to have the bad experience first?