RE: the Slee loaner program, when I did it I did not receive a faulty or "abused" loaner unit. The U.S. loan coordinator is a retired engineer and is on hand to assist should any problems occur. He wouldn't intentionally send out a bad unit. If he couldn't resolve something, G.S. customer service would step in. I have not dealt with the U.K. loan coordinator but I would assume that he is a stand up guy as well as plenty of folks have dealt with him and given positive feedback. Many people I know that are satisfied customers did the loaner program first and had no complaints. Even if someone did not like their G.S. loaner and decided to buy something else or stick with what they have, then the loaner program did its job. To date I have only seen two people complain that they couldn't get a G.S. to work in their system and in both cases it was likely down to user error or other equipment the person owned. By "work" I mean the unit did not perform as intended, not whether someone subjectively liked the product or not. RE: the lower end G.S. models like the Communicator and the Graham Amp, I have not heard them but doubt they are anything as bad as some folks might lead you to believe. The fact is most of the phono preamps on the market today are reasonably well designed and have decent measurements on the test bench. There are a few that don't at a various price points and I would probably stay away from those. A quick Google search should let you know what is what. Anything with very inaccurate RIAA EQ and very high levels of distortion are probably things to stay away from. Even something very cheap like an ART DJ Pre does fine on the test bench. Certain wacky designs from boutique companies may not. RE: return policies, in the U.S. stores like Crutchfield and Music Direct have the most generous I've seen. I'm not sure about UK retail outlets, OP would have to look into that.