While I cannot totally fault Universal Radio of Reynoldsburg Ohio, I recently had, what some might consider a bad experience.
About three weeks ago I purchased a used Kenwood TM-V7A. The package arrived on time and in great condition. The radio itself was in better condition than I imagined it would be. As promised the package included the mounting bracket and power cord, and a hand microphone.
Unfortunately, the mic that was sent did not fit the radio. So that day I called
Universal Radio and spoke to the used equipment manager, Tony. I explained to Tony that the microphone which was sent did not match or fit the radio. Basically it was a very old Kenwood mobile UHF / VHF style microphone with the DTMF keypad.
After I explained the situation to Tony, he said that Universal would gladly refund all of my money (minus the return shipping and a restocking fee). Well I could not totally fault Universal Policy but at the same time, why would I want to return a perfectly good radio?
So I asked Tony to send me the correct microphone for the radio and I would slip the mic I received into the bag and return it. After some additional dialogue, Tony led me to believe that exchanging the two mics would resolve the problem and that he would send the correct, used MC-53DM or the replacement MC-58DM mic to me.
Needless to say, a week went by and no mic showed up at my door. Earlier in the week I had already become suspicious because I did not receive a tracking number via email as I had many times when purchasing new equipment from Universal Radio.
I finally got Tony back on the line this past Friday afternoon and re-explained the entire situation over. I immediately got an uncomfortable feeling because I now realized that I was simply given lip service during the call of the pervious week.
I asked Tony to please put his manager on the phone. After explaining the whole situation a third time, the manager stated as Tony did that they would gladly provide a refund once the equipment was returned. I again told the manager that I want to keep the radio and simply exchange mics.
The manager went on to explain again that all radios and matching equipment is thoroughly checked out prior to listing equipment for sale and any non-matching or missing items, etc are clearly stated in the listing. Obviously, in my case that was not true.
I made one last bid for the mic exchange and was told that Kenwood no longer makes the MC-53DM mic. I said that was true but I also mentioned to the manager that the MC-58DM mic (the update to the MC-53DM) is listed on one of the Universal’s Web pages.
At that moment, the manager hesitated and then stated that Kenwood had sent a bunch of old mics and they were in a box somewhere. He then told me that he (or one of his employees) would look for the matching mic (I reiterated the model numbers again) in that box and he said that he would contact me either way. (I then verified that their computer records of my account were up to date). I then foolishly took the “either way” statement to mean that I would be contacted even in the event that no matching mic was found.
Well as the saying goes, that was then, and this now. In summary, my personal view on the whole situation is that Universal Radio of Reynoldsburg Ohio has been a very good company to deal with for new equipment over the years; but it’s BUYER BEWARE when purchasing used equipment!
My word of advice is; do not rely on the photo or description of the used equipment as listed on any Web site. My lesson learned here is; even at my old age and even with reputable Ham Radio companies, know exactly what used equipment you expect to receive, item by item, and take the time to go over it in detail with the salesman prior to committing to the purchase. And if you are totally paranoid which I am not, tape the phone conversation.
Since I am curious by nature, for comparative purposes, I visited hamcity.com and found the MC-58DM listed as a new item for sale. Universal Radio’s claim that Kenwood no longer makes the MC-58DM may be true but they are in fact still for sale as new equipment on other ham radio related Web sites.
My opinion is that Universal Radio or any other reputable vendor should not list and/or display radio equipment in one manner and then send the customer parts which were not listed, shown in photos or properly described. Could this be considered a form of bait and switch?