This is a helpful discussion and is raising my confidence in online buying. Thanks for posting it, Gary.
Thanks Walt. I buy lots of things on line but I was a little apprehensive with the guitar so I decided to share the experience. To tell you the truth Acemate out of Vancouver treated me better than any shop I have dealt with. I don't think I am meant to have a cedar guitar so I am waiting for the Natural Elements to hit the shops, and once I see one, Acemate gets my business. Unfortunately I sold my Coastline S6 Spruce and it gets picked up today. So I am gullless for the foreseeable future.
I can second Acemate. I have not purchased a guitar from them as yet, but Gary has referred me to them and I am very pleased with them. Quick responses. Really easy to deal with. Great pricing. A very good lead. Now he needs to sell Larrivee.
I bought my Seagull on ebay. I first saw it listed on craigslist and made an offer which included me driving to pick it up, my offer was declined. A few days later I saw it on ebay, I knew it was the same one because it had the same pictures and was listed in the same location. Having seen it on cragslist gave me more confidence in the seller. I ended up getting it shipped to me for something like $30 less than I offer I made and I've been very pleased with it.
Having said that there is risk buying on ebay. My friend bought a bass on there and when it arrived the truss rod was broken and he had to fight to get his money back. You really have to research the seller and the guitar as much as possible. I would have no problem buying from musicians friend or any of the other reputable online stores but if I were getting a more expensive one I would want to play it in a store before buying online.
once the seller proves the item is not as described, ebay pays them. There is a formal process, but it works. I know of no one that has not been successful. It's not too often that happens. Thankfully.
The biggest pain is trying to get the seller refund on his/ her own. They are usually not too cooperative UNLESS they are a long time good seller and it was an error in the listing or some minor damage.
Some, just refund it as they don't wish to lose their selling privileges.
One guy who tried to scam me sold me a pair of vintage Tannoy speakers. He indicated they were in excellent shape, but "since they were vintage speakers, they were sold AS IS" When I received them, one worked fine. The other had almost no volume coming out of it. I wrote the seller. He indicated it must have been damaged during shipping. Since it was sold AS IS, too bad. I took it to a repair depot and he indicated the voice coil was blown and the only way it could be blown was mis-use. So it was blown before the seller put it in the box. I made a claim to ebay. (yes it takes a week or two), but they agreed with me. According to the ad, the AS IS condition was that it was working and that it had to work when I received it. I was told by ebay to send them back, when I confirmed to them that they were sent back (I gave them a tracking no), I received a full refund. The same situation occured a few times. As a per centage of the times I used ebay and other internet purchase sites, it was negligible.
If you are purchasing on Craiglist or Kijiji etc. I would only pick something up and inspect it/ test it prior to purchasing as they have NO buyer protection. Sites like ebay have buyer protection. On- line stores like Amazon, musician's friend etc. have a reputation to uphold and you would have rarely any problems. Since their livelyhood depends upon the internet, they are not going to abuse it.
That really worked for you getting it for less.
There is also an internet unit that is a part of the FBI that you can use if you have been scammed on the net. You report it to them and they assist in you getting your funds back. They will sometimes literally knock on the scammers door to get the funds back. I have the details if anyone ever needs it, but it does not happen to often.
Internet, if used properly and safeguards taken is NO different than purchasing in person. At times, better than in person.
Well, of course there are some differences, the main one being you don't get to inspect before you buy, even if you can get a full refund. The advantage of the local shop is holding the merchandise, trying it out, in the case of a guitar, playing and listening and feeling it. Provided they have what you want, naturally.
And another is that it can be very nice to have an in-person relationship with a store. Faces, names, conversations and handshakes all still count in my book. But it's hard to beat the sheer variety and low cost with online businesses.
yes. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.