Other Amps

Help with Headstrong customer service


I’ve read a lot of commendable support and praise for smaller, boutique amp builders on this and other forums. That’s a great thing and in general I am sure that support for smaller builders is richly deserved.

However I am compelled to highlight some appalling treatment of me by one such builder who in general seems to have a very positive reputation – Headstrong Amplifiers.

If you make it to the end of my lengthy post I would welcome any advice on how I deal with this situation. That facts are:

  • In March 2019 I paid a $1000 deposit for an amp and was told it would take 5 - 6 weeks to deliver
  • In May I was told the amp was delayed due to getting the right cloth and he wanted the amp “to look and sound perfect”. Oh the irony.
  • When it was eventually finished I was sent a photo of the front of the amp. I asked for a photo of the rear as well...
  • When I received that photo I noticed that the rear plate was not correct.
  • I queried this and was told it would be “a bit of a tussel to swap out” for the correct plate.
  • I told him that for $2800 I’d like the correct plate.
  • I eventually received the amp in August 2019, 22 weeks after I was told it would take 5 - 6 weeks
  • When I received it I could immediately tell there was something wrong with the amp and the controls hung over the grill at the front on one side
  • I contacted Wayne the day I received the amp sending him photos and he put this down to damage in transit, and he recommended an amp technician to make it good
  • I took it to the technician and they told me that the chassis and cabinet were never aligned properly and that this was a fault in construction, not damage in transit
  • The recommended tech said they could not rectify the fault without drilling new holes in the chassis so that it fitted correctly.
  • I relayed this to Wayne and somewhat reluctantly on Wayne’s advice I agreed to get the recommended tech to drill new holes in the chassis so it would properly fit the cabinet
  • When I picked the amp up the second time the chassis had been moved so much that all the controls now stuck out the back of the amp so it could not be put flush against a wall
  • I contacted Wayne again three times to say I wasn’t happy with this situation and that a $2800 amp – to quote him – should be “perfect”
  • He ignored all my messages so I returned the amp to him in December 2019 asking for a refund and explaining why
  • He has continued to ignore all my messages. I have tried emailing him, contacting him on social media, and telephoning.

He has had my money now for almost a full year and the amp was returned over two months ago and he is continuing to blank me.

I’m extremely worried I will never get my money back even though he clearly sent me a faulty product. Fortunately I have an independent witness (that Wayne himself recommended!) to vouch for the amp's faulty construction and I have the whole sorry saga in writing on email.

Have I missed something here? Surely he can’t treat me like this, he is in effect stealing my money from me.

Can anyone advise me as to the best legal course to take...? All I want is my money back. Thanks and sorry for the long post.


Send him a lawyer's letter stating the situation, and include notification of impending prosecution. for fraud.


Yup I think that is the only course of action sadly. Thanks.


Did you pay with a credit or debit card? Perhaps your bank can assist


Yep, take legal action. Then Get Jer @ Delisle or someone from this site to build you what you want.


Dang....really sorry to hear your woes. I bought a Headstrong Lil' King S from a shop in the UK and have only had to contact Wayne to ask a few technical questions...always found him very helpful via email.


Thanks everyone, very helpful. I'm not saying he ordinarily makes bad amps, just that he did in my case and has treated me pretty appallingly ever since and still has my money... maybe i caught him on a bad day or should I say year. I will take legal action.

Incidentally, I have also asked for advice on TDPRI and the Gear Page and this has been far the most civilised and constructive feedback I have received. I got quite a bit of abuse on the other sites so this certainly says something about Gretsch fans that I very much like! Thankyou.


At the very least, it sounds like their customer service lives up to the Company name...


Very strange situation. I have nothing but great experiences with Wayne, and he builds excellent amps - my main amp is a headstrong.


The first plan of attack would be to back charge the credit card but if it's been a year you might be stuck there. The other option would be small claims court. Not sure if the law in your state requires the case be tried in YOUR county or HIS. But if he doesn't show and you get a judgement you still might have a tough time collecting. Most craftsmen wouldn't want you bad-mouthing them online, blogging, writing bad reviews etc...maybe call him and mention that might be your next step. See if he cares at that point. That's about all your options that I know of.


It couldn't hurt to file a report with the Better Business Bureau in Asheville, NC.


Small Claims Court.

Forget about the Better Business Bureau. These days it's all about bad online reviews. Yelp...Google...Facebook....If you really have given up trying to work things out that's your route complaining about the guy.

But I usually recommend only writing a bad review only after you've exhausted possibilities working things out...because you can't remove a review you've posted easily on some sites. I own a glasses shop and a fellow broke his glasses after 6 months. He decided to write a bad review...but we warranty our glasses for a year. If he had just brought the frame in, we would have replaced it for free....but he ran right to the internet without even calling us.

Your big problem is the outrageously long time span between receiving the item and your complaint. You should have back charged your credit card immediately if you had a problem. Most credit card companies have a short timespan where you can back charge.


Send him a link to this thread.


Glad I saw this when I did - Based on recommendations from a few friends, I was about to order a Lil' King Reverb. In my experience, once someone starts treating customers like that, they don't usually stop. Guess I'll keep looking.

Best of luck with your situation. I hope you are able to get it resolved.

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