Sarasota Avionics Reviews

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Overpromise & underdeliver then Kirk tries to charge you more!!

Sarasota Avionics - Overpromise & underdeliver then Kirk tries to charge you more!!
At Sun N Fun in April 2019, Kirk, the president of Sarasota Avionics, sold me an $100k avionics package for my Epic and represented his team would build me a complete wiring harness within a few weeks of my order, which my A&P/IA and fabricator would install. I stressed that I needed a timely turn around on the wire harness build due to the fact the plane is used every week for business and we had a limited window for it to be down during the summer. A few weeks after they received payment for the equipment they had not even started fabricating the wire harness. Kirk sent an email stating “it’s very confusing”. I quickly responded to all senior members of the company and stated that “building a wire harness isn’t rocket science so if it’s confusing, please refund my money and I will go to another shop”. Kirk backpedalled and said it was complex but they would make it happen. I reinforced my deadline and stated they could build one stage of the harness for the 4 screen G3x system and then provide the second stage of the harness for the 5th back up G3x system a week or so later AS LONG AS THEY MET MY DEADLINE. We asked them to ship the avionics components to us for my fabricator to fit in the custom carbon fiber panel we built, which they did. Then they told us we had to return all the avionics so they could wire everything up on the bench with the wire harness to make sure it all works before we installed the harness, representing they always do that. So we spent a day driving the equipment to them (UPS wanted over $1200 due to insurance costs and number of boxes). Kirk missed my deadline which caused me to have to charter a King Air to fly my family back from vacation in the islands. They sent a harness that was missing the terminal connectors on half the terminals, had insufficient length for one of the magnetometers (they said just splice more on to it which causes a magnetic anomaly error) and the wire harness was clearly never tested by them and was useless as it was delivered. Kirk sent out a contractor to try to figure out the problems with the harness and he spent a couple days trying to fix it with only partial success (neither transponder was working the day the contractor left and I had to fly to KATL with a mode C exception to pick up my business partner). They didn’t wire in audio out from G3X for audio alerts, didn’t wire my XM into audio panel, didn’t wire auto trim motors and didn’t wire com flip flop switches. My autopilot totally fails if you lose PFD 1 (entire system is designed for many redundancies but they have wired the harness wrong so we have no redundancy) and we can’t get the used satellite phone they sold us to work after 8 calls to Garmin. The system has one entire G3X system with ADC and AHRS for additional redundancy to the main 4 screen G3X and it has continual red X’s For airspeed and attitude due to a wiring issue. My IA has spent over 130 hrs troubleshooting problems with the wire harness, finding countless pins on the terminals they did install that were not properly crimped etc, Yesterday I had my IA fly the plane to Venice FL for them to get the GTS800 working and add wiring to connect the audio from the G3X autopilot to the audio panel. Kirk said they had already gone above and beyond for us and would need to charge us extra for fixing it. When my IA (a retired sheriff) mentioned that I was very frustrated and looking at their online reviews he got really irate then flipped him the middle finger and said F _ _ _ Y _ _ and stormed off. They invoiced me $10,000 more than his estimate for building the wiring harness, which we promptly paid months ago, and now it’s clear they have no intention of ever finishing the job. These guys over represented their capabilities, over promised delivery dates, and use hostile tactics with their customers. I spent $100k with a promise of an early June completion date and its now 2 months later and Kirk is washing his hands and not taking responsibility for their shoddy work. I picked Sarasota over the competition WRONGFULLY believing I would get better service and a high quality build along with their premium price. Instead, I got screwed by these guys and now I’m going to have to have another shop fix everything they Screwed up or just didn’t include (like wiring an autopilot disengage wire for the control yoke - SERIOUSLY the President of Sarasota Avionics feels that an AP disconnect button on the yoke isn’t included in a “comprehensive wiring harness” for a turboprop airplane??? Fortunately, we have extensive photos of the wire harness issues along with countless texts with Sarasota and their contractor so my in-house counsel believes we will recover many of the additional costs we are going to incur trying to get this right... but we will never get back the lost time or be free of the stress this shady operation has caused us. There’s a reason this company isn’t BBB accredited!
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1 comment
#1729795

These guys are crooks

ID
#1617497 Review #1617497 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
Venice, Florida
Cons
  • Hostile towards unhappy customers
Reason of review
Bad quality
Loss
$31732
Preferred solution
Stop screwing over customers
New Reviewer

JUST AWSOME!!!!!!

i took my plane to have the ADSB update done. During my 3 hour flight home, multiple avionics started failing in the plane and i had to fly completely vfr. Obviously, i was livid and called Ryan at Sarasota avionics and expressed my frustrations. We went back and forth over a few days, and he contacted Cirrus and came to the conclusion that my MCU130 had gone bad. I had a difficult time believing this since i dont believe in coincidences (I turned over to him a perfectly good working airplane.) Nevertheless, we both agreed that i would purchase an MCU unit from cirrus and that he would fly to me with his chief mechanic, Dan, and install it. If it wasn't the unit, he would reimburse me for it and it was not cheap!! Conversely, if it was, that I would cover his costs of flying to me. Well, he kept his word and promptly flew to my airport and changed the unit, (which was the problem, by the way). When I asked him for the bill for his time flying to me, he refused to bill me. He said that he was frustrated too by having a customer not be happy with their services and that they were all about good customer service and building relationships. Nevertheless, i paid his fuel out of decency (it was the right thing to do), and took him and his chief mechanic to lunch before they departed back to tampa.. My experience started unfavorable, and ended up over the top favorable. These folks understand customer service! They went above what I ever would have expected. I will be taking my plane to them, not only for avionics but for annuals and such, as long as I have my plane!! I can confortably, hands down refer anyone to them without any reservations!!!! What a class act!!! Im still shocked by their customer service... and I just cannot say enough positive things about, him, his chief, Dan, and the company!!! Raul
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ID
#1615186 Review #1615186 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
Wetumpka, Alabama
Reason of review
Reliable warranty

*** poor customer treatment

I would select a lower rating if I could. They advertise specific used merchandise and will not give you a price until you ask several times and then they say they will not sell you ones they advertise because the do recommend you buying it. Then they insult you for questioning why the adverse what they will not even sell.
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1 comment
#1687050

We are not sure who this customer is, but apologize for the experience that they had. It is true that we do require customers to request pricing on certain used items, because pricing and availability can change frequently.

Our sales staff are trained to ask questions to make sure that the customer is getting the right equipment for their aircraft.

If the particular item this customer was requesting was not a good solution, we would certainly recommend something else instead. This is not meant as an insult, but unfortunately that is how it was taken in this case.

ID
#1455826 Review #1455826 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
Kerrville, Texas
Reason of review
Poor customer service
New Reviewer

A pleasant buying experience.

I recently purchased over $8000 of avionics from Sarasota Avionics and I am extremely pleased with the process. I approached them with a competitors quote (the lowest pricing I had found so far) and they were able to beat the quote by $200 and also had all the items in stock. Some of the items where on backorder up to a month with the competitor. I worked with Shawn through email and found him to be pleasant to work with and extremely professional. I know people usually don't leave reviews unless they receive bad service so I wanted to make sure to leave my experience for others since I could not be happier. I will be recommending Sarasota to anyone that I discuss avionics with in the general aviation community.
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ID
#1103860 Review #1103860 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Service
Sarasota Avionics Customer Care
Pros
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent customer service
Reason of review
Good customer service
New Reviewer

Lost over $20,000 on SARASOTA AVIONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC.

Dropped off my aircraft to get my audio panel issue checked out at Sarasota Avionics. There were several items that had to be addressed and Matt (the Sarasota Branch Manager) assured me to get everything figured out. After the first week passed by and their work pace was already beyond ridiculous and they haven't even started on the actual issue yet, I thought I will give them another week to figure out the issues to ultimately come up with a plan. They had two mechanics working on it and both told me that they are required to remove all my current audio jacks (which are typical for a helicopter) and upgrade to LEMO Bose jacks. Both knew, that my company is OAS carded and each aircraft needs to meet certain minimum standards to stay carded (including audio requirements, so State employees have the option to use their helmets during flights). I asked Matt if he is certain about this upgrade and he assured me on several occasions that I am able to use adapters in the future to keep the helmets operative. After several weeks of work and (which was supposed to take less than five days), I finally received the aircraft back again and we returned it back to service. However, on the first flight already, I had a weird noise in the tail boom and the audio panel was working intermitted and only compatible with BOSE Headsets and NOT a helmet or headset with helicopter jack as they said before. I had to return back to the airport and lost the first contract until we had figured out what the issue was. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw, that the mechanics of Sarasota Avionics left their tools in the tail boom and "apparently" forgot about it. To make matters worse, I have finally seen their *** work and they had drilled holes in the cross-bars inside the tail boom to mount the GDL44 (which btw. is not the correct position per STC!). Once our Mechanic took a look of their work and using proper Maintenance Manuals on his side, we figured out that it is illegal and against all "Standard practices" to drill holes in a tail boom of a helicopter. To give you a ball park figure of how much a tail boom is worth, we're talking about a price of over $100k! We called the FAA and they had sent out one of their FAA investigators down to inspect the work. After the visit of them while having the manufacturer on the phone, we were required to repair the damage based on an engineering drawing, provided to us by the Manufacturer. The costs were in excess of $5,000. Within the same week I received an invoice from Sarasota Avionics of more than $8,000 for their work. I immediately confronted Matt about these issues and findings and he promised us to take care of it right away. ...however, weeks passed by with no update whatsoever. Then, there came another invoice with a reminder of the outstanding bill. This time I took a witness with me and had another conversation with Matt and he assured me to take care of it right away and that I should ignore the invoice and he was very busy the past months. During the wait time we had several jobs to fly, however, with very *** audio and several issues during flights. We were required to purchase 7 new Bose A20 Headsets (approx. $7,000 in value) in order to be able to communicate with passengers during flights. We have had recently a very important state mission to fly which required us to wear helmets during the operations. We had to improvise and use handheld radios with special cords to communicate with each other. It was so embarrassing, that we actually had to cancel the contract due to communication issues and the contracting party cancelled the flight. The state department requested us to get this issue fix immediately prior to any further flights and we were required to contact another Avionics facility in Tampa (Tampa Avionics, Inc.) to fix the issues we had so far. Sarasota Avionics was still not able to come up with a solution and we were stuck with extensive costs we had to pay for a brand new audio panel (GMA 340H) (that was actually approved for this aircraft), as well as "down-grading" to the old helicopter jacks to meet OAS requirements again. Tampa Avionics provided us proof that the Audio panel that was previously installed by Sarasota Avionics is approved for fixed-wing aircraft only and not certified for helicopter. Again, we lost about $3,500 and spent $7,962.40 on repairs to fix their messed-up work. Ironically, a day after Tampa Avionics successfully finished their work in record time, a new employee and now Branch Manager "Larry" (Matt got fired in the meantime!) showed up with an invoice in his hand, asking me to pay the outstanding bill immediately. I explained him the situation and the fact that I'm not going to pay them for this mess. Finally, the owner "Kirk" called and was requesting a meeting with me to discuss the issued that were ongoing for over 8 months now. From the first minute on, he was just rude and unfriendly to me, our pilots and staff. We had setup an appointment on a Monday morning at 9am to meet each other at our office facility. However, I was stuck in traffic and emailed him ahead of time that I will run a bit late. He immediately got aggressive and threatened “to find me” if I don't show up right now and that he has other stuff to do instead of dealing with me. I ignored this message and took my time to the office. When I showed up, I explained him that I would like to keep this conversation professional. I was expecting at least an apology for the past months and the issues we had and thought they may come up with a mutual agreeable solution to get this issue resolved. However, once he started talking for awhile, he clearly got more and more in rage and called me and my wife an "***" and "***", then stepped up in my face and started attacking me. I removed him from my office and his partner called the police. The good thing was, that our premises are video and audio recorded and the entire situation was captured. I advise anyone that needs Avionics work done on his or her aircraft - take the time and make the necessary research! Never pay upfront! And most importantly, don’t believe what they say. Call Garmin to double check their stories! ITS A WARNING TO ANYONE HOW SHADY AND UNPROFESSIONAL THIS COMPANY IS. I have contacted several other clients that got ripped off by Sarasota Avionics in the past and we all agreed to get the FAA involved. I know first hand, that their FAA 145 Certificate is based on the operations in the first floor of their building. The second floor, however, is used to store parts, that don't have legal documentation and the FAA never knew about those illegal practices. It's time that someone steps up and stops that business!
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2 comments
#1625143

This was written by a customer on the field that wanted to get out of paying his bill, so he made up this completely fabricated story, copy and pasted it to as many websites as he could, and essentially said he'd take them all down if we delete the invoice. Perhaps a tactic he's used in the past with other companies?

It would be ridiculous to try and respond to each point since there’s isn’t a shred of truth to it – from his name, to what we were contracted to do, to the FAA claims, etc. Sarasota Avionics has an excellent reputation in the industry that we take great pride in, and Customer Service is our top priority! We hate the fact that this type of post is out there, but we hope that you will look around the internet and see that after 35 years in business this negative post is the exception and not the rule.

We care deeply about our customers and the aircraft that they trust us with every day. If you have questions about any of the details, please feel free to contact us.

#1772872
@PissedConsumer1625143

Oh by the way the guy is in Jail now, he got arrested for stealing and threatening numerous people, he has now gotten kicked out the Sarasota Airport.

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ID
#1009467 Review #1009467 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
Sarasota, Florida
Service
Sarasota Avionics Helicopter Part Replacement
Cons
  • Customer service
  • Quality
Reason of review
Bad quality
Loss
$20000
Preferred solution
Let the company propose a solution

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