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About Kingsley Company: Be aware of parts cannibalization before buying


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Kingsley Company is the former/terminated official Singapore distributor of REL Acoustics, PS Audio and some other fine, high-end brands of audio-video equipment.  The shop is located on the fourth floor of The Adelphi, a shopping mall with many specialist av/hi-fi retailers.

 

After having had their services as official agent terminated, Kingsley still has some old stocks of the brands it used to represent, including display units such as those in the shop windows.  The pricing on some of these items is attractive (supposedly "below cost"). 

 

However, prospective buyers should be aware that Kingsley admits to having a longstanding practice of opening up and cannibalizing display units--and other inventory--to remove parts for use as spares in units brought by customers for servicing.  This is done supposedly to shorten service turnaround time (i.e., no need to wait for the spares to come in from the manufacturer before performing repairs).  Then, when the spares arrive, they are soldered into the cannibalized units.

 

Unfortunately, I did not know this questionable practice at the time I bought an amplifier off Kingsley's shop window last November. 

 

Perhaps I focused too much on simply ensuring the last unit/display set was covered by a manufacturer warranty, and I let down my guard when told it was.  (Moreover, I had previously bought bought both discontinued, 'last unit' and latest model--I am the first SG owner of the REL Strata V sub, bought in 2004 when Kingsley was still the official distributor--items from Kingsley, with pleasant results.)

 

Anyway, to cut the story short, I bought the amp; it worked fine for about three weeks.  Then one channel started dropping out, and a few days later the unit failed entirely.  I brought it to the new official agent for servicing, and was quickly advised that there was extensive unsoldering/resoldering work done with damage to the PCBs, with many parts having been swapped. 

 

After seeing the tampering with my own eyes, I went to confront the Kingsley employee who had sold me the unit.  This was when I learned about Kingsley's cannibalization practice.

 

I was emphatically admonished that all the original parts taken were replaced with spares from the manufacturer, and that these should be even better as they were newer than the unit itself.  Thus, everything was 'all original' (i.e., not non-manufacturer fakes) and there was no need to advise me of this.

 

Obviously I was upset, and said I would not have bought the display unit at any price had I known it had been opened up and cannibalized.  In reply, I was told with a smirk it was my fault for not asking the right questions prior to paying.  I was also told cannibalization is common practice among official service agents, with the new official agent likely among them (the new official distributor flatly rejected this assertion).

 

When I demanded a full refund, I was told none would be given (the Kingsley invoice states "The return or exchange of goods will not be entertained" in small print), but I was offered an exchange for other inventory on hand.  Naturally, I asked the shop assistant which items in the store had not been raided for parts, but he could not tell me which with a straight face.

 

So, if you are like me and not keen on paying money (however much or little) for tampered/cannibalized hi-fi equipment, you'll probably want to steer clear of Kingsley, and ask questions to cover this angle when buying equipment (from anyone) in the future.  At any rate, particularly when dealing with unscrupulous establishments and their employees, truly, caveat emptor.

 

- Mark (who next time will hopefully not get suckered again)

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i have two pics of the circuit board where the problem first showed.  can some kind fellow forum member please show me how to post a pic?  alternatively, i can email it for to someone to post.

 

unfortunately, i can't take any more pics of the other boards because the amp is all packed up ready to be picked up by dhl (by late friday) for transport back to the manufacturer, who has very graciously agreed to replace all the tampered boards (i'll still be outta pocket $xxx for the shipping charge back to the manufacturer though, and Kingsley says this is all my problem and none of their concern).

 

boy what a hassle.

 

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thank you for the link.  i've got to log off and sleep now, but i'll certainly post the pics by this weekend.

 

by the way, aside from xtremeplace and echoloft (though the forums of the latter don't seem to be working properly on my pc), are there any other places/fora that reach s'pore a/v enthusiasts?

 

i'd like to spread the word about this merchant and practice so others don't fall into the same pool of grief.

 

i had two face-to-face discussions with kingsley, and a phone conversation in between.  the last discussion was recorded (before i left the kingsley guy said he knew i was packing, but he sure still said pretty egregious things).  i'm sure i'll find this incident funny years from now, but for now i'm rather steamed (i could barely restrain myself punching the weasel last wednesday, haha).

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thank you for the link.  i've got to log off and sleep now, but i'll certainly post the pics by this weekend.

 

by the way, aside from xtremeplace and echoloft (though the forums of the latter don't seem to be working properly on my pc), are there any other places/fora that reach s'pore a/v enthusiasts?

 

i'd like to spread the word about this merchant and practice so others don't fall into the same pool of grief.

 

i had two face-to-face discussions with kingsley, and a phone conversation in between.  the last discussion was recorded (before i left the kingsley guy said he knew i was packing, but he sure still said pretty egregious things).  i'm sure i'll find this incident funny years from now, but for now i'm rather steamed (i could barely restrain myself punching the weasel last wednesday, haha).

 

Sorry to hear of ur bad experience. If u have friends or friends' friends who are lawyers, u should consult them on possible options.

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wad an ass they are.. to pass off cannibalized sets as new is so unethical and they way they respond to u shows how lousy their CS are. We should start a blacklists of those shops and make make them go busted.  ;D

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i have two pics of the circuit board where the problem first showed.  can some kind fellow forum member please show me how to post a pic?  alternatively, i can email it for to someone to post.

 

unfortunately, i can't take any more pics of the other boards because the amp is all packed up ready to be picked up by dhl (by late friday) for transport back to the manufacturer, who has very graciously agreed to replace all the tampered boards (i'll still be outta pocket $xxx for the shipping charge back to the manufacturer though, and Kingsley says this is all my problem and none of their concern).

 

boy what a hassle.

 

 

I can understand how u feel. i had the same experience when buying a CD player from one of the shop in Adelphi using a UK brand name. bought a CD player at a slightly lower price as i was told that was the last set, being a demo piece in the shop. barely 3 months later, the laser starts giving problem. sent back the player and was shocked that the shop owner told me that the player was tampered by me and that the warranty was void. no one in his right mind would do this to a player which is under warranty. i suspect that cd player was actually a trade-in from his customer which done the mod. since they are the agent for this uk player, naturally they can sell it as 'demo' set easily. the shop owner claimed that the tube inside the player was changed to one that is not suppose to be the original tube to use. and the output capacitor has been changed too. so i asked what is the problem causing the player unable to read. he told me that it is one of the chip on the cd transport got burned... and replacing the chip plus workmanship is $300. he told me since i bought the player from shop direct, so $300 is cheap, a special price. if bought from 2nd hand market, will be at least $500-600. so i LAN LAN.....pay $300.....then another 4 months later, the problem came back. this time round, i sold it cheaply to a 2nd hand dealer as a faulty set.

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Guest ruzhyo

I can understand how u feel. i had the same experience when buying a CD player from one of the shop in Adelphi using a UK brand name. bought a CD player at a slightly lower price as i was told that was the last set, being a demo piece in the shop. barely 3 months later, the laser starts giving problem. sent back the player and was shocked that the shop owner told me that the player was tampered by me and that the warranty was void. no one in his right mind would do this to a player which is under warranty. i suspect that cd player was actually a trade-in from his customer which done the mod. since they are the agent for this uk player, naturally they can sell it as 'demo' set easily. the shop owner claimed that the tube inside the player was changed to one that is not suppose to be the original tube to use. and the output capacitor has been changed too. so i asked what is the problem causing the player unable to read. he told me that it is one of the chip on the cd transport got burned... and replacing the chip plus workmanship is $300. he told me since i bought the player from shop direct, so $300 is cheap, a special price. if bought from 2nd hand market, will be at least $500-600. so i LAN LAN.....pay $300.....then another 4 months later, the problem came back. this time round, i sold it cheaply to a 2nd hand dealer as a faulty set.

 

Wah, looks like many smelly type of dealers.

 

Hope all who kena burn expose the scam going on.

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I can understand how u feel. i had the same experience when buying a CD player from one of the shop in Adelphi using a UK brand name. bought a CD player at a slightly lower price as i was told that was the last set, being a demo piece in the shop. barely 3 months later, the laser starts giving problem. sent back the player and was shocked that the shop owner told me that the player was tampered by me and that the warranty was void. no one in his right mind would do this to a player which is under warranty. i suspect that cd player was actually a trade-in from his customer which done the mod. since they are the agent for this uk player, naturally they can sell it as 'demo' set easily. the shop owner claimed that the tube inside the player was changed to one that is not suppose to be the original tube to use. and the output capacitor has been changed too. so i asked what is the problem causing the player unable to read. he told me that it is one of the chip on the cd transport got burned... and replacing the chip plus workmanship is $300. he told me since i bought the player from shop direct, so $300 is cheap, a special price. if bought from 2nd hand market, will be at least $500-600. so i LAN LAN.....pay $300.....then another 4 months later, the problem came back. this time round, i sold it cheaply to a 2nd hand dealer as a faulty set.

 

"Frankenstein-ed" product  :o

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Can post some pic?

 

I am considering getting the PS Audio Power Plant Premire from them. The display set cost only S$2K. If it is in good working condition, it is a good deal.

 

Any suggestion, how we can check?

 

clitang, you're still considering getting anything from kingsley after reading my tale of woe and hearing what kingsley does to its inventory?  your appetite for risk scares the bejeezus outta me  ;D

 

are you by chance looking at the black ps audio ppp on the top shelf of a window display, the one with the original protective tape still on the indicator window?  when mikhail of kingsley offered to do an exchange but not refund, my sights first zeroed in on that black ppp (price was identical to my ps audio amp's, and boy does it look pristine!).  but when i asked i was told that unit had already been opened up for parts, so that was the end of my interest.  (for that matter, he could not tell me what in the store had not been cracked open.)  fwiw, if i were you i would not even bother trying to check; just run away!  :o

 

you also have to define 'good working condition' because i tested the amp before i paid, and it played fine in-store.  in fact it was fine in my home--for three weeks.  per kingsley, it was in good condition when i bought it; hence, now that there's a problem i'm told, "you want warranty?  you go ps audio!"

 

- mark

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i have some experience same you guys psaudio product, but im not fortunate coz they never bother when i complain coz my is display product so sad. and some more one of the repair guy shorty one make noise i just walked away i dont one any trouble

 

 

well, i'm going to do what i can to make sure nobody else gets hoodwinked by kingsley

 

my original plan was to take kingsley to small claims tribunal and get a full refund. but then i talked to the ps audio vp of sales & marketing, and was told they would 'make things right' if i would send the unit to them.  so right now my amp is in some dhl facility on the way to colorado, usa. 

 

(the other option i was offered was ps audio would arrange for the sg official agent to fix it foc [technically the warranty should be void as the unit was cannibalized].  but as i had already inconvenienced the new agent enough over a unit sold by their terminated predecessor [hmm, no prizes for guessing why they lost the agency], i chose to send the amp stateside.  btw, yes, i think ps audio's product is that good.) 

 

now i'm considering whether it's worth my time & effort to take kingsley to small claims tribunal to try recovering the dhl shipping cost i've paid.  too bad i can't recover costs/damages for all the grief and hassle (not insignificant!) i've been put through.

 

one nice thing i'm learning, however, is that ps audio's customer support beats that of any of their competitors.  i'm presently saving up to buy a ps audio perfectwave dac with the not-yet-launched nas bridge ...from the authorized agent, of course.  :D

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I believe Kingsley is not the only dealer doing this. There are many electronics retailers that are also cannibalising the more expensive parts inside the components they sell and substitute them with inferior quality parts. They do this so as to sell the more expensive parts back to the manufacturers or their "Contacts" to make additional profits or cover their operating cost.

 

This is especially so for those dealers at SLS where they have the know-how and contacts for such goods and it seems that it is an industry practice for most of the retailers there to do such things. No wonder they have a reputation for selling fake or inferior goods so next time when you see an electronics product selling for a good bargain, do bear this in mind, especially at SLS.

 

In my opinion, it is better to pay a bit more and buy from authorise agents and get a peace of mind.

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this first pic is a top view shot of the gain stage (volume) circuit board of the amplifier unit i bought from kingsley.  note that this is a ps audio gcc-100, which is a dual mono design.  thus, the light green circuit board on the left should, in the original state, look exactly like the black box on the right of the pic.

 

 

the pic below is the bottom view of the same gain stage circuit board.  it may not be too clear on this page but you can see the poor desoldering/resoldering work done on the mounting points of the gain cell topside, with damage to the pcb.  in addition, note the cheap, generic-looking resistors bridging to the rca input terminals in what seems a jury-rigged modification, toward the top right of the pic.

 

 

seeing the tampered gain cell explains the loss of sound in one channel a few days before the unit failed entirely.  too bad the amp's been sent back to the manufacturer for repair, so i can't get pics of the other sections of this unit kingsley cannibalized (e.g. power supplies and power amps---tampering was extensive).

 

mikhail of kingsley offered to 'repair' my unit so it would sound again, telling me the kingsley repairman was among the best and most experienced in singapore.  but seeing the poor workmanship, stripped parts, and cheap mods in the pics above ...uh, i don't think so.

 

when confronted kingsley admits they strip their inventory for repair parts, and that this has been going on for 'a long time' now.  so if you're one of the others who've found out your kingsley-sourced units were tampered/cannibalized, either because it failed and you brought it for servicing by the authorized representatives, or because you simply opened up your unit to check and saw the surprise mods/damage, you probably should share your story.

 

let's spread the word and help make sure kingsley cheats nobody else.

 

- mark

 

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thanks hoodwinked for the effort to put up pics, although it cannot be seen clearly the tampered area.

 

yup, sorry it can be tough to see; you'll need to scroll right and left.  there's a scroll bar at the bottom of the post above. 

 

it was either that or reduce the size of the pics (which would make the tampering too small to see).  if anyone's interested, pm me your email add and i'll forward you the pics.

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we have same xperienced bro. this is a very bad xperience for PSAUDIO product.

 

hca2 ...is this the ps audio amp model you have?  like my gcc, that's a sweet one---if untampered.  *sigh*

 

indeed, kingsley seems to have been a very bad experience for ps audio the company ...it's the logical way to explain why they terminated kingsley (my talk with the ps audio vp of sales & marketing was an eye-opener---regarding both kingsley's foul practices and ps audio's first class support). 

 

and when you add to that termination by other brands such as rel acoustics---is kingsley still an agent in good standing of conrad johnson and sunfire?---the pattern is apparent.

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