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#2292812 - 06/21/14 12:50 AM Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation
Savante Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/14
Posts: 89
Loc: deep in the woods
A word of acknowledgement is certainly due to the personnel at Kawai USA, especially Alan Palmer, for over-the-top excellent customer service.

A couple months ago I purchased a Kawai MP11. It is the fifth Kawai piano I've bought and enjoyed. I have come to love the MP11 very much. I play it for hours every day. I have written elsewhere on this forum a little about my appreciation of this fine instrument. This post is about Kawai's outstanding customer service.

My romance with the MP11 got off to a rocky start. Shortly after receiving the unit, I found that a key was sticking. I could see that it was binding on the key slip. It looked like it would be easy to remove the key slip and free up the key, so I did this. Oops! I accidentally disconnected the headphone jack and couldn't get it back together. It was already late on a Friday afternoon, but I called Kawai USA technical support. I got Alan Palmer, who connected me with Juan Escobar. Both Alan and Juan stayed at work late on a Friday in order to get me back up and running. Juan patiently walked me through the procedure for putting my unit back together properly. No more sticking key and the headphone jack working just fine.

I play the piano in a wide variety of styles, including some that require retuning the keyboard to play in just intonation. The Kawai MP11 allows this, but I was not particularly happy with a number of limitations in the implementation of the User Temperaments. I initiated an extensive series of communications with Alan about these issues, hoping it might be possible to address some of them through updates to the operating system. Alan was incredibly patient and attentive to all my concerns, even though we both readily acknowledged that my issues would affect only a very small minority of MP11 users. Alan hung in with me, and made numerous communications with Kawai Japan, asking that my requests be implemented.

There was a lot of back and forth -- between Alan and me, and between Alan and Kawai Japan. This involved a lot of time and attention on Alan's part because communication with the team in Japan is a bit awkward due to the language barrier. There were times when I was ready to give up, but Alan persisted. In the end, I got three major OS updates -- 1.062, 1.064, and 1.065 -- which fully addressed all my issues and gave me all the capabilities I had asked for.

All of this amounted to Kawai going to great lengths to customize my instrument, even though the particular customizations I sought would not be of interest to most users. I am amazed and delighted that Kawai was willing to go several extra miles in order to satisfy my needs. This is incredibly outstanding customer service, which one rarely ever sees from any company these days.

In summary, Kawai not only makes the best digital pianos you will find anywhere, but they work overtime to make sure the piano works optimally for you. I was already a great fan of Kawai pianos. Now they have won my heart for life! Thank you, Alan and Kawai!

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#2292845 - 06/21/14 04:25 AM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Savante, thank you very much for you kind words.

This post has made my day.

James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2292886 - 06/21/14 08:48 AM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 157
Loc: Venezuela
I agree. Kawai is excellent on customer service in USA.
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2292887 - 06/21/14 08:49 AM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11966
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
This has been my experience as well when I have been in contact with Alan. Kawai has hired some people who are obviously passionate about what they do (James, you too!) and are allowed/encouraged to act on that passion. It is refreshing to see this level of customer service in a large company.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2292898 - 06/21/14 09:13 AM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Marko in Boston Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/12
Posts: 889
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts
I too have had outstanding service from Kawai and Kawai dealer. They were extremely attentive and took care of my issue immediately and without hesitation. Further more, I got a follow up call to make sure I was pleased and everything was working fine. Exceptional folks and post sale service on ever angle. (and I second what Morodiene says; "James, you too!")

I look forward to my next purchase with Kawai, AP or DP as I still don't have a permanent piano for home yet.
_________________________
KAWAI ES7 | ROLAND RD-800 | TRAYNOR K4 | YAMAHA STAGEPAS 400i | PRESONUS ERIS 5 & T10 | SHURE SRH1540 | SENNHEISER HD380 | K&M OMEGA

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#2292974 - 06/21/14 12:43 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Marko in Boston]
ADWyatt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/13
Posts: 91
To get the best appraisal of a particular company, you should look at the acid as well as the sugar. Here's the acid.

On the day I purchased my Kawai CN34, I immediately noticed that one of the keys wasn't playing properly, with the key feeling as if it had a tuft of hair stuck on one of the sensors. I wasn't overly concerned about it, and thought that it would eventually work itself out. This went on for about six months, until I determined that the problem wasn't temporary or a matter of bad technique on my part.

I called Kawai's technical support and they responded quickly and courteously, working with me to make as sure as possible that there was indeed a problem with my unit. When they decided that a technician would have to come to my house, they told me they would call me to schedule an appointment day.

A year passed and nothing happened. It was a year in which I constantly called and emailed the company, all to no avail. When I threatened legal action, with the intent to file for interstate fraud, Alan Palmer became directly involved and offered to let me trade in my current CN34 for a brand-new CN34. My dealer let me use the full value of a new CN34 to apply to the purchase of a new CA65.

Amusingly perhaps, the CA65 itself had a minor problem, although it was nothing that prevented the piano from playing properly. The light flickers on and off constantly, and besides the fact that it's distracting, I have to assume that it will eventually stop working completely. A Kawai tech support specialist told me that it was almost certainly a wire that came loose during transportation, and it simply needed to be reattached; he would call me when an appointment could be scheduled.

I've been waiting now for about a month and a half. And because it probably isn't worth getting upset over, I will keep on waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

And waiting.

Now, who do you think I'm going to buy my next digital piano from? If you guessed Kawai, please feel free to sign yourself in to the nearest mental institution.

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#2293023 - 06/21/14 02:36 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
bernpiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/17/13
Posts: 9
I am normally too lazy to post positive responses on customer service, but I too had been in touch with Alan at Kawai some time ago inquiring about the company's digital pianos. I found him to be extremely friendly, and he actually spoke with me extensively, trying to give me the pros and cons of various options and really listening to my needs, rather than trying to rush me off the phone. Our conversation lasted for over an hour, and this was simply a call expressing interest in the products. It was definitely one of the most pleasant customer service experiences I ever had.

Savante, kudos to you for giving some well-deserved praise to a very knowledgeable and helpful individual.

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#2293024 - 06/21/14 02:37 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: ADWyatt]
Dutch Dhamma Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/06/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Netherlands
Originally Posted By: ADWyatt
To get the best appraisal of a particular company, you should look at the acid as well as the sugar. Here's the acid.

Hereís my sugar Šnd some acid. A few years ago I felt a strong desire to start learning to play the piano. As an absolute beginner I could have started with an entry-level digital piano, but I thought why not start with the best digital piano (in a certain price range) there is? Half way quitting the plan to learning to play would be also quite costly, so I thought that would also be a good stimulus to continue. After looking at Korg, Yamaha, Roland etcetera, I ended my search when I found the Kawai CA 95. I was absolutely amazed by the sound, touch, look and so on. (Ií am still in love).
My first CA 95 came with a loud humming transformer. Kawai Germany could not fix it, took the piano back and delivered another brand new one. That CA 95 came also with a humming transformer, although a little less loud, but still very annoying. Besides that, there where problems with the GrandFeel keyboard. During playing, several keys where banging loudly against each other and making a really bad clicking noise. (Those problems and the solution I described already in another thread). It took me all together several months of frustration, but the problems where solved to my satisfaction. Kawai Germany and my Kawai Dealer Aad Veldhuis in Amsterdam did a great job to help me. O.K. above was a mix of sugar and acid. Now a little more acid smile The factory quality control of Kawai is in my perception bad. They really need to work on this. Humming transformers, clicking keys of the GrandFeel keyboard, should be and can be detected before a CA 95 leaves the factory. But they donít take care enough of this quality control business. Then the excellent Kawai service people need to run the fire out of their shoes to fix all this things, but it should not be necessary. And it harms their business! There are people who bought a Kawai digital and where confronted with the bad effects of the lack of quality control of Kawai and they decided to step over to another brand. And thatís a damn shame. As stated before Ií am still in love with my CA 95, start even making progress in piano playing, but really hope that Kawai takes the above things seriously and better their factory quality control.
Greetings,
Dhamma
_________________________
Learning to play piano on a Kawai CA 95-SB / Sennheiser HD 600

"Music in the soul can be heard by the universe".
Lao Tzu

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#2293126 - 06/21/14 06:23 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: ADWyatt]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11966
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ADWyatt
To get the best appraisal of a particular company, you should look at the acid as well as the sugar. Here's the acid.

On the day I purchased my Kawai CN34, I immediately noticed that one of the keys wasn't playing properly, with the key feeling as if it had a tuft of hair stuck on one of the sensors. I wasn't overly concerned about it, and thought that it would eventually work itself out. This went on for about six months, until I determined that the problem wasn't temporary or a matter of bad technique on my part.

I called Kawai's technical support and they responded quickly and courteously, working with me to make as sure as possible that there was indeed a problem with my unit. When they decided that a technician would have to come to my house, they told me they would call me to schedule an appointment day.

A year passed and nothing happened. It was a year in which I constantly called and emailed the company, all to no avail. When I threatened legal action, with the intent to file for interstate fraud, Alan Palmer became directly involved and offered to let me trade in my current CN34 for a brand-new CN34. My dealer let me use the full value of a new CN34 to apply to the purchase of a new CA65.

Amusingly perhaps, the CA65 itself had a minor problem, although it was nothing that prevented the piano from playing properly. The light flickers on and off constantly, and besides the fact that it's distracting, I have to assume that it will eventually stop working completely. A Kawai tech support specialist told me that it was almost certainly a wire that came loose during transportation, and it simply needed to be reattached; he would call me when an appointment could be scheduled.

I've been waiting now for about a month and a half. And because it probably isn't worth getting upset over, I will keep on waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

And waiting.

Now, who do you think I'm going to buy my next digital piano from? If you guessed Kawai, please feel free to sign yourself in to the nearest mental institution.

Why not contact Alan directly about this? Obviously someone is dropping the ball, and it sounds like it's on the technician side of things from my experience (and others) with the company itself. Can't say I blame you for how you feel, I'd be upset too.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2296280 - 06/28/14 07:40 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3050
Loc: Oregon
A little late to the party, here, been busy with the things that life can throw at you all at once! I just wanted to say that Alan is really on the ball. Once he understands that what you're experiencing is a real issue, and not just a noob operating error (RTFM, especially when written by KJ!), he'll do all he can to sort the problem out. I've just written about the little things that affected my MP7(s) over in that thread, and how Alan has been with me the whole way. He's very approachable and doesn't try to use corporate BS to evade responsibility. It makes for a much more relaxed and pleasant experience - even when having to do returns etc. Thanks, Alan!
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2296335 - 06/28/14 10:10 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
+100!

Alan is a legend! wink
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2297284 - 07/01/14 11:12 AM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4417
Loc: San Jose, CA
Well, I have what I guess amounts to a dull story. I have an RX5 and an MP8ii, nothing wrong with either of them; have never had any contact with Kawai customer service. My piano dealer and my tech both say that they are excellent to do business with, especially when it comes to doing anything necessary to make things right for the end-user. Both have entertained me with stories which furnished examples of this.

I would imagine that, no matter how great QC might be at a company which manufactures and ships so many units, that it is inevitable that things go wrong with some percentage of them, even if it is a low number. When each unit has components which run from hundreds of pieces, into the thousands, the likelihood of something going wrong is multiplied by exactly that number. As my piano dealer observed, "Nothing made by human hands is perfect." But a commitment to making things right turns a component failure into a completely different experience.
_________________________
Clef


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#2297444 - 07/01/14 07:37 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Thank you for sharing your dull story Jeff! wink

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2319662 - 08/25/14 12:16 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Digital Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 21
Let me share with you my personal experience with Kawai digital pianos and technical support.

Many Kawai digital pianos have the following defect: There is a clear vibration (or bassy echo) only in the left ear of the headphones (and left speaker) when hitting specific keys; the first key that has this problem is the 2 second F key (the 12th white key starting from the right side of the keyboard).

The tech support team at Kawai USA has acknowledged the existence of this defect (in my unit and their own CL26 unit) as well as expressed the possibility that all CL26 pianos may have this problem. This defect was also found in all CS4 units tested at my Kawai dealer, which is not surprising as those pianos seem to share the same piano sounds. Other Kawai models may or may not have this defect; further testing is required.

It has been over 10 months since I contacted Kawai regarding my defective unit. 10 months later, after countless emails and phone calls, and being told repeatedly that the USA technical team was looking into the issue, I am still waiting for my unit to be repaired/replaced. In fact, Kawai has now stopped responding to my requests that my unit be repaired or replaced (as stated in the warranty!).

This has been my experience with USA Kawai digital pianos and technical support.


Edited by Digital Piano (08/25/14 07:57 PM)

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#2319837 - 08/25/14 09:12 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Hello Digital Piano,

The characteristic you are hearing may have been present on the Kawai EX concert grand sampled for (and therefore replicated in) Kawai's digital instruments.

If this is indeed the case, I don't believe replacing the instrument will rectify the situation.

Please note that the CL26 utilises 'Harmonic Imaging' sound technology, while the CS4 utilises the more advanced 'Progressive Harmonic Imaging' technology. Both systems feature full 88-key piano sampling, however, which perhaps explains why the characteristic you are hearing is present on both models, despite their different specifications.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2319840 - 08/25/14 09:17 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
petes1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 126
Maybe my ears aren't as sensitive as some because I'll be damned if I didn't hear anything of this sort when testing Kawai keys before my purchase. Their main AP's sounded sweet to me making my buying decision very difficult.

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#2319844 - 08/25/14 09:25 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: petes1]
Digital Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 21
The bassy echo is very clear when using headphones. I had many people test the piano sounds (including salespeople and USA Kawai's digital technical team), and they all heard it very loud and clear.


Edited by Digital Piano (08/25/14 09:32 PM)

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#2319846 - 08/25/14 09:32 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Kawai James]
Digital Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 21
Hi Kawai James,

Unlike all the other piano sounds, this echo is present only in the left channel. This is (to me) what makes it a defect, as opposed to a naturally occurring echo present in the grand used for sampling. If it had been present on the Kawai grand, the echo would be heard in both channel (albeit somewhat louder in the left channel, being a low frequency echo). Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Anyway, the main point of this post was about the customer service, which, in my experience, is... unsatisfactory (not to say unprofessional).

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#2319848 - 08/25/14 09:37 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Digital Piano]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: Digital Piano
Anyway, the main point of this post was about the customer service, which, in my experience, is... unsatisfactory (not to say unprofessional).


It's unfortunate that you were not satisfied with Kawai America's customer support.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2319849 - 08/25/14 09:44 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Kawai James]
Digital Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 21
Yes, it is... "unfortunate"... that after clearly acknowledging the existence of this problem, and telling me over and over again that they were looking for a solution (for 10 months), USA Kawai suddenly stopped responding to my emails. It had been agreed that Kawai would replace my piano if a solution was not found after a specific date. And when I did request a replacement (as had been agreed), Kawai suddenly went mute!


Edited by Digital Piano (08/25/14 09:54 PM)

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#2319850 - 08/25/14 09:51 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Digital Piano, as I do not work for Kawai America, it is difficult for me to comment on this particular case.

However, if the engineers explained that the sound character you are hearing was present on the originally sampled instrument, and therefore not something that can be changed, I'm afraid I also do not know what else to suggest.

I shall contact my colleagues in the US and ask them to clarify the situation.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2319855 - 08/25/14 10:02 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Kawai James]
Digital Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 21
Thank you, James, for looking into this, but I am done with Kawai. I just bought a new piano and put my Kawai dp on the used market.

By the way, the technical team never told me that "the sound character I was hearing was present on the originally sampled instrument." They simply acknowledged the existence of this problematic echo in the left channel.


Edited by Digital Piano (08/25/14 10:18 PM)

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#2319858 - 08/25/14 10:04 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Okay, I see.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2319873 - 08/25/14 11:27 PM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Savante]
Abby Pianoman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 117
Loc: Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain
I have yet to find a need to contact Kawai Customer Service for anything.

I have been following with interest the different posts about the problems, (technical, physical or otherwise) that people are encountering with their Kawai Digital Pianos.

My MP11 arrived in perfect condition. No dents, humming, malfunctioning keys, odd echoes, flickering lights, toxic smells, pesticides, etc.

I would asume that this is the norm, rather than me just getting a lucky break.

There was a slight smell of newness probably from the components and packaging which dissapeared after a day or so out the box.
I liked the smell actually. It indicated that I had just received a brand new Instrument.

And I once thought that I heard a booming sound on a key, which I later accredited to my imagination, since I had been reading so much about it on a post.

I don't think Kawai sends different batches, from different factories, to different sides of the pond.

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#2320114 - 08/26/14 09:58 AM Re: Kawai USA customer service - an appreciation [Re: Digital Piano]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11966
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Digital Piano
Yes, it is... "unfortunate"... that after clearly acknowledging the existence of this problem, and telling me over and over again that they were looking for a solution (for 10 months), USA Kawai suddenly stopped responding to my emails. It had been agreed that Kawai would replace my piano if a solution was not found after a specific date. And when I did request a replacement (as had been agreed), Kawai suddenly went mute!


If you have it in writing that it was agreed they would replace the instrument, then I would speak to someone higher up. Ask to speak to the manager of the person you were dealing with and offer to provide them with the correspondence you had with the support team.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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