The low down on Trevor Lees Audio

On the 14/02/2008 I purchased a Audiolab 8000 stereo system from Trevor Lees Audio. I dealt with both owners, whom went to great lengths to impress upon me both of the quality of the product and great value for money.

Almost immediately I started to have significant issues with the gear. Over the next 2-3 months I had to return numerous times to the store to obtain replacement units. (I should acknowledge at this point, at each return I was given a new in the box replacement.)

Audiolab Faults within 2 months of purchase

  • CD players transport unit stopped loading. Replacement CD player also started to have loading issues.
  • Amp Units developed a very loud “popping” sound when any switch was used. 2 new replacement units developed this fault.
  • Power Amp Units stopped working.2 new replacement units developed this fault.

When I was dealing with 1 owner, he was happy to exchange each broken unit with a “new in the box” replacement. But when I started to deal with the other, things changed. He simply informed me, that I was only person they knew of, having these issues and I was making a “mountain out of a mole hill.“

On the 17/05/08, after the 5th major fault with the replacement gear, I returned the whole system.

They accepted the goods back. But he refused to provide the refund, stating that he couldn’t provide one. He was downright rude and extremely belligerent in his position. Finally I tried to negotiate another solution with him. But the other brand gear never arrived and he kept trying to push the Audiolab stuff.

After 2 weeks of being given the run around, on the Sat 31/05/08, I demanded the refund from the owner. We had an extremely heated short conversation, which ended when I left the store and yelling ringing in my ears, that I would “…have to go to small claims court if I ever wanted too see my money..”

Consumer Affairs weren’t able to make any headway with the case. The claim was that the sole issue was a faulty fuse, so they could see no reason for a refund. No explanation was given for the “popping” amps, faulty CD players or why 2 brand new power amp’s with less than a month use, would blow a fuse?

I am currently awaiting the VCAT hearing, which will hopefully bring this upsetting and regrettable incident to a close.

18 Responses to “The low down on Trevor Lees Audio”

  1. rothkowitz Says:

    Are you saying he accepted the malfunctioning goods back and no refund was forthcoming??

    In a word – Yes

    after the 5th major breakage, i.e the audiolab stopped working. I contacted the brother, Chris (nice guy, handles the shop front off and on) he said bring it back in “we will sort something out”. but then I got the other owner who took back the goods, but wouldnt have a bar of the refund. he was abusive and rude. I tried to work out another option, but 2 weeks later the “stock still hadnt arrived.. but the new audiolab…” christ I was just getting the run around. thats when I got “if you want our money back, you going to small claims…” screamed at me.

    great customer service from Trevor Lees.. you want your money back, go to small claims.

  2. monkey's audio Says:

    Have you thought of contacting the Australian importer / agent for Audiolab? (assuming this isn’t Trevor Lees Audio ????) Your purchase should be protected by a statutory warranty. Once you’ve got it fixed, if you still don’t like it, flog it off on Fleabay. Problem solved.

    Monkey, nice idea. but it has a couple of problems, I think Trevor Lees Audio is the importer(this statement is incorrect.) and he has had possession of the gear since May.

    As for Fleabay, I have seen the new 8000 series stuff come up. A lot of people seem to be have issues with it, esp blowing fuses. Seems the Manu. aint up to stratch.

  3. monkey's audio Says:

    Then I suggest you take the problem right back to the manufacturer.
    If the importer is also the service agent and they aren’t fixing your gear under warranty, then I’m sure (but not overly confident) they may step in and assist.

    Short of that, your local office of consumer affairs should be assisting you in resolving the matter. However if we are talking about the Victorian state office of consumer affairs I wouldn’t be holding my breath as IMHO they’re next to useless.

    Telephone Trevor Lees Audio and ask to speak with Christopher. Keep your cool. Arrange to go down to the shop when Trevor isn’t likely to be there to pick up your gear or arrange for it to be delivered to your home. Get it fixed elsewhere, retain the tax invoice for the repair and take it from there.

    At the moment you are without a system and out of pocket. Better to get your gear back, flog it off and buy something elsewhere. Then battle it out through consumer affairs if you still want to go down that path.

    Best of luck.


    ? consumer affairs
    That was the first step for me. I actually thought they would do something, but they took months to review the case and then had no powers to do anything about it. The best they could do was to call Trevor up and ask for a refund. The store says “no.” as far as consumer affairs are concerned case closed. I couldnt believe it. It was then up too me to go to vcat?

    ? speak with Christopher
    funny you should say that. it was Chris whom I spoke too, after the amp started popping(2nd time)
    and the cd had load issues (2nd time) . Chris was really good about it all, said “…bring it in and we will see what we can do…” unfortunately thats the last time I have seen Chris and have not dealt with him since. The results speak for themselves.

    ? without system and out of pocket
    thats pretty much the deal. hopefully the website will info some people so they dont make the same mis-takes. Its just such a “nickel and dime” deal for the shop I cant believe I am going through this.

    ? Best of luck.
    thanks for that. I will update the website with the small claims decision, due around the 10/12.

  4. John Says:

    The reason for having a pre=power vs an integrated is immaterial by now as the purchaser no longer has posession of the product.

    If the purchaser was still in possession of it and using it -or even could use it- would be a different story.

    Money paid and NO functional product is absurd.

    What mistake can be made?


    My issue is, that I have been sold a junk product by a dealer, who has refused to provide a refund. I consider this little more than “outright theft”.

    The point of this blog is to inform people of this situation, so they can make a better informed decision, when thinking about doing business with Trevor Lees Audio

  5. monkey's audio Says:

    The OP needs to understand a few things.

    Firstly he is entitled to have the goods repaired to a serviceable state by the service agent for free whilst it is under warranty. This should be done in reasonable time by by the service agent.

    Secondly, if the goods have been repaired and the owner makes the decision not to collect them, the agent may declare the goods as abandoned. Furthermore the agent may charge storage costs or sell the items to recover such costs provided every reasonable effort is made to contact the owner and advise him his goods are available for collection.

    As I said before. Call Christopher and arrange to get your stuff back. Fixed or otherwise, it are useless to you sitting in TL’s shop awaiting your collection.

    ? goods repaired
    argh this was never offered, rather he just replaced the broken units with new one (which broke pretty much straight away.) he also refused to give me a note of exchange.
    ? goods as abandoned
    whoo… nobody told me about this… I cant imagine the goods would be classified as “abandoned”, as I filed a Consumer complaint against Trevor Lees audio that day. Further more no effort has been made to contact me, despite the fact they have my contact details.
    ? Call Christopher
    We have VCAT small claims on 10/12, hopefully the court will find in my favour, if not, it would seem like the best plan b.

  6. monkey's audio Says:

    Well at least by your own admission the defective items were replaced rather than repaired. Most dealers after the magic 30 days (or 90 as may be applicable) will only repair defective goods.

    I can empathise with the fact you are somewhat pissed off by the whole affair and would rather have your money back. Perhaps I’d feel the same if I was in your shoes, but I think it would be at the dealer’s discretion to do that. In this case based on your dialogue I’m of the impression that any possibility of a refund is now out of the question.

    If this a manufacturing defect, what are other Audiolab customers saying about their gear? I would Google for this except I don’t have a vested interest.

    ? replaced rather than repaired
    Yeph each time just straight out with a new in box. but the stuff was under a couple of weeks old and I was dealing with Chris at that stage. As you have suggested, I think this all would have been different with Chris.
    ? magic 30 days
    None of the gear lasted that long before breaking and repair was never mentioned
    ? pissed off by the whole affair
    Massive understatement, If you have ever attempt to return goods, as agreed, only to be abused and belittled in front of a store full of customers, then you might be in my shoes. I entered into this in good faith and have been shafted by Trevor Lees Audio. Only after this do I find out just how few rights I have a consumer and how little I can do about it all. As far as I can see it the guy has sold me junk, then kept the money. How does he get away with it?
    ? possibility of a refund
    See thats at the heart of it, I dont think there was ever a possibility of a refund, as Trevor himself stated to me, a number of times, “nope, cant do that”. I dont think once he got my money this was ever an option for him.
    ? Audiolab customers saying
    I havent seen much about the new gear. Pretty much all of has mentioned bad fuses ( its a good chance the dead power amps were this.) Most of the audiolab stuff around is about buying the old serial’s.

  7. bassett Says:

    Audiolad is not distrbuted by TL, but by

    I.A.G. Australia Pty,Ltd [interrnational audio group] unit 30, 398 The Boulevarde, Kirrawee, 2232, NSW
    phone 02 9521 4844 fax 02 9521 4222

  8. Damien Says:

    Sorry to hear you’re having these problems and I totally sympathise – I had a similar nightmare with a Grundig tv I bought from Footscray Audio – they werent the problem – Grundig Australia and their shoddy Europe-focused firmware was. In short, none of the stuff was fit for sale and use in Australia and Grundig Australia were horrific to deal with.

    That said, you’re the first person I’ve ever heard of having a problem with Audiolab – there are plenty of good stories about them out there and I have several friends with Audiolab gear who are very happy. At the end of the day, the product is never the problem – the problem is the retailer and / or manufacturer or distributor when something goes wrong. On the other hand I have to agree with the suggestion for Pioneer.

    I recently bought a 60″ Kuro monitor which had a loud buzzing sound and had to be replaced twice. Sounds like another complaint right? I’m happy to say that it isnt – Pioneer were absolutely superb and I cant recommend them more. They went out of their way to solve the problem and to make sure I was happy – nothing was too much trouble. Now I have a great tv and am totally happy – unlike the Grundig tv sitting in the spare room unused and me telling everyone I meet to give Grundig a miss.

    Good Luck with this – by the way have you posted your story on

  9. scottjnrwah Says:

    Thanks for the luck, with the way consumer law is written in vic, I will need it.
    As for, nope, but consider it done. thanks again.

  10. scottjnrwah Says:

    Thank you very much for that. If it all goes bad at VCAT I guess I will be following them up.

  11. SEC Says:

    Hi mate,
    I hear you. big time ! ..but in defence of TL I have dealt with them for about a decade now& had nothing but excellent service & repair with both Trevor & Chris . I have probably spent over 10 K with them over this period & never encountered this type of problem . They have endlessly offered me products to try @ home with nothing more than a gentlemans agreement . I hope you’re situation ends favourably….& yes there should be some sort of resoloution,, clearly in you’re favour. Good luck… but it should not have got to this….PS Audiolab stuff is all made in China ….. it’s not the kit it used to be….!

    ?..TL – lot of people have had a good expereince and the guy has been in business for oveer 20yrs. he must be doing something right. I just wish i was one of those people.
    ?..situation ends – Well I got a limited refund, but it took almost a year of fighting. I just hope it serves as a lesson to people out there.
    ?.. Audiolab, not the kit it used to be – from my own experience I can only agree.

  12. Adzo Says:

    I think you are blowing things out of proportion.

    Trevor Lees is a temple to the insane world of audio fanatisicm and I am a devout convert! Half the money you pay is for the pleasure of the surreal experience of dealing with (at last count) 4 different Trevor’s at once!

    I actually thoroughly enjoy every experience of shopping there, have only ever ben welcomed with open arms even when the only reason for my visit was to push buttons and kick tyres whilst waiting for the tram.

    I have spent thousands there and never had any problem with equipment purchased.

    When I had taken broken or damaged items there I was always assisted and even driven (in the Maserati) to have the faulty items tested!

    They have assisted in repairing old and faulty items at little or no charge, helped me with nightmarish insurance claims, and overall been nothing but a pleasure to deal with.

    Who wants to visit JB and be assisted by some pimply teenager when you can embrace the whole profound audio experience when you visit Trevor’s?

    Sorry you had your bad experience. By the sounds of things they tried a lot to solve your problem and keep you happy. I think the issues you encountered with getting your $$ back would be similar anywhere – when was the last time you tried to get any $$ back from a shop? At least they gave you replacements instead of jacking you about by ‘assisting you with your claim against the manufacturer’.

    I think it might be time for you to get past your bad experience (that you’d have anywhere), and pull down this blog. Its time to grow past this experience and become an all together well rounded disgruntled consumer!

    Remember, he’s not a multi national oligopoly – he’s just a trader trying to sell shiny noisy boxes to people that share the love.


    By the looks of your comments, youre a Trevor fan with only good things to say. As I have said before, I wish I was you. To answer your comments
    ? are blowing things out of proportion.
    ergh, I took me about a year before I saw my money again from the junk he sold me. I lost most of my sense of “proportion” when I was abused in front of a store full of customers and told I would have to go CA too see my money again.
    ?..surreal experience of dealing with (at last count) 4 different Trevor’s
    it was novel to begin with, but it soon wore thin. When he started picking on customers and throwing them out of the store, that wasnt so surreal or cool. Then It was my turn…
    ?..been welcomed with open arms
    I was too, until I mentioned the word “refund” and then it all went bad. really bad….
    ?…and pull down this blog
    Sorry mate. after all the cr*p I have been through with Trevor, I am determined that people will know it could be them next. Do you really want to be the next punter that Trevor goes sour on?

  13. Paul Rogers Says:

    To those of you you who have had problems at Trevor Lees. Firstly why on earth would you buy an audiolab product???? Surely your ears would tell you somethings missing in the musical chain. Secondly customer service has never been their strong point (ie: long waiting periods for repairs ) but having dealt with these guys over many years i have always overlooked this because its just funny walking into a wacky environment and having a good laugh and usually walking out satisfied with a good deal. They are unique in their approarch to business and god help us if these guys were not around. If you don’t like it walk into Tivoli and have a boring experience. The chose is yours. Roll-on Trev and Chris. Mr Mobile Fidelity

  14. Arthur Says:

    Thanks for letting us know..

    It’s interesting that a friend of mine from Tasmania has also warned me about this store.

    I use to have Audiolab gear ( the 8000 C and 8000 P, as well as the 8000 T tuner) and never had an issue! Of course, this was the ‘true item’ made in the UK. My tuner is still alive and well at 16 y.o and of daily use!

    Anyway, it seems, this is the only meaningful defence the consumer has, post it on the net and in doing so, cause some financial damage for the guilty party.

    I hope your next purchase in audio gear is a pleasant experience, there is out there good, honest merchants.



  15. scottjnrwah Says:

    Cheers for the support. It was an expensive lesson that hopefully others can learn from.
    As for the Audiolab stuff, it would seem the new stuff being built in china is some what less than the original. Its such a shame to see an old respect badge brought out and then “cashed in” on.
    As for Trevor Lees Audio, in my experience your friend should be listened too.

  16. scottjnrwah Says:

    If you have anything in writing try Consumer Affairs, other than that get on too the audio forums and make sure nobody else makes the same mistakes.
    Good luck.

  17. Audiolab fan Says:

    Audiolab inst good quality? Perhaps you can explain why What HiFi magazine gave the new Audiolab CD player 5 starts AND made it Product of the year 2010?

    Every store sells different products so some stores will say negative things about products they dont stock – its un professional but its how some stores do business.

  18. scottjnrwah Says:

    Audiolab fan,
    I dont really know about the new Audiolab stuff, but the old english stuff is serious business. from what I gather its the rept of this stuff that keeps the badge alive.
    As for What HiFi, I find it strange how their best buys list seems to strongly relate to whom runs advertising in their mag.
    Without actually listening to the gear, I couldn’t past comment.
    Would I take another punt on Audiolab? probably not. Would I buy for Trevor Lees Audio? certainly not.

    All I can suggest is head into a good dealer with your own music and take a serious listen. If you like sound and its a good fit, by all means buy it and enjoy.

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