Hi Silent Starter,
The exact same thing happened to me this morning. My Bose Wave radio has the same model # AWR1-1W (sticker C9543). All the lights went on and the radio won’t respond to pushing any buttons. I unplugged it for an hour...no change. I changed the 3 AA batteries...no change. My remote did nothing but the battery is old and I never use it so I plan on getting a replacement battery today if I can locate one on a Sunday. In terms of service history, I had to bring mine in for a “cleaning” at least 10 years ago when it went dark. I thought the same thing then about the operator’s quote (very specific amount like $93 or something) to repair it without examining it first. It made me think this was happening to other customers so I wondered why Bose wasn’t issuing a recall for their customers instead of charging us. Anyway, I was hoping you could advise me on what to do. How did you resolve this?
The way I finally resolved my issues was to bite the bullet and submit the unit for service. And I paid for it. In considering the various options, my wife and I concluded (it was really in her study) that no other comparable devices fitted her needs as well as a Bose Wave unit. There were cheaper alternatives and more comprehensive ones but we decided to stay with the Bose format. I took the unit to the Bose retail store in the Time Warner building in Manhattan (most convenient location to us) because I was not sure if it was operator error, an easy software reset or something more serious and was met by a very sympathetic and understanding sales rep. He tested the unit and confirmed my evaluation that it was a Bose problem. He called Bose HQ and talked to a customer service rep who was also very good. After discussing the matter with the in-store rep, she laid out my options. I elected to send it back and have it serviced for, I think, about $130. While I have seen chat on being able to wangle a discount out of Bose on that number, I didn't bother. The in-store rep took the device and handled all the packing and shipping which I really appreciated. They quoted me a turnaround time of, I think, 3-4 weeks but if came back in under two weeks. With it was a listing of the four major parts that had been replaced. I am not technically proficient in this field so I don't really know what the parts were but they all seemed like a big deal; probably most of the electronic circuitry (the speakers, etc., all seemed fine beforehand). I had also turned in the remote control but that was not returned to me. When I got on the phone to Bose customer service to point that out, they quickly sent out a new one gratis without hesitation or question.
As it turns out, I also had an older (+/- 23 years) Bose Wave radio that had turned belly-up years ago and was now relegated to deep storage awaiting a Second Coming. I had taken that into the Bose store at the same time and was told that it was completely out of warranty (it was essentially a white doorstop brick) but that Bose would give me a 30% credit on a new purchase replacement, in-store or on the net. I elected to buy one there and then on that basis and walked out the store with a brand-new one and a still not-insignificant hit to my credit card. So, now we have three Bose Wave radios (including the one we have that hasn't died yet).
In conclusion, I am happy with both repair transaction and the replacement of the older one, although I fully appreciate that being very personal value choice. Yes, I am unhappy that both my Wave radios did not last longer and it does seem to be a common fault in the product line but I don't know what to do about that. I have a KLH radio of about the same size that is more than fifty years old and still going strong although it neither sounds as good nor in any way can be considered modern. Philosophical rant NOT to follow.
What works best for you is a personal choice. If the cost is manageable, I would go for it. That is the worst of it. Bose seems to do a very thorough job and there may be more wrong with your unit than you can appreciate. I know that some posters have speculated that there is some minor software glich that Bose can fix with a master reboot or something. Based on my experience, I do not think that is the case. I feel I got physical value for money on the repairs and in no way feel ripped off by this experience. If I was "ripped off," it was when I bought the thing in the first place which only had a functional half-life of ten years but I did not know that at the time and there is nothing I can do about that now. If I get another ten years out of the repaired unit, it will have served its purpose. And my new replacement Bose Wave radio probably has a greater functional half-life than do I, but I made that wager when bought the replacement.
If convenient to you, I would also recommend taking the unit into a Bose retail store. That way, someone knowledgeable can check it out with no downside and intermediate with Bose customer service, if appropriate.