Your Worst Online Guitar Buying Experience

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Gold_topped, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. Duane_the_tub

    Duane_the_tub Senior Member

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    Bought this LP-295 (uncommon Guitar-of-the-Month from 2008) off EBay from a music shop in Nashville, owned by a former guitarist from a pretty well-known country rock band.
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    Arrives safe and sound, pro packed, and it's just awesome. Super cool and unique guitar, and I'm in love.

    A little over a year later, my phone rings and the guy identifies himself as a Texas Ranger (law enforcement, not baseball). Starts asking me all these questions about the guitar, knows its serial number, says he tracked it down via EBay sales records. Says it's a stolen instrument, legally belongs to an airline pilot from Texas, and that I need to surrender it to local law enforcement immediately and have them ship it back to him.

    Of course I'm skeptical, and I'm sitting there planning what I need to do next to protect myself whether this is a scam or, even more disturbingly, if it's not. I don't have a whole lot of time to think however, as a State Police cruiser appears in my driveway less than 30 minutes later. The trooper has been contacted by the same Texas Ranger, and asks if I have the guitar. I spend a minute or so considering whether to consent to this, but decide I don't have much choice. The trooper checks the serial number and seizes it on the spot. "What about the (several thousand) dollars I paid for it?" I ask, and he tells me I need to take it up with the EBay seller.

    The seller, Mr. Former Rock Star, insists he had no idea it was stolen and that he bought it from a known, reputable reseller. He contacts that guy and is told the guitar was originally pawned in Texas and resold twice before it got to Nashville, creating a long enough chain of ownership that he feels it negates any responsibility on his part. The EBay seller decides this is a great excuse to not refund my money, despite repeated requests by me to do so. EBay refuses to get involved, hiding behind the fact that the sale occurred more than a year prior (they are complete criminals, btw. Totally cowardly throughout our brief interactions).

    The seller is hoping I give up, going so far as to call my bluff on getting lawyers and courts involved. Instead, I get both the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection Agency involved (which costs nothing, and let me tell you their agents were freaking AWESOME). I contend that the seller breached contract by selling me goods he did not legally own. I even suggest to the CPA that his business may be nothing more than a clearinghouse for stolen gear, and I'm told that they can get a warrant, pull every piece of gear he has and if any other single item comes up as stolen, it's a pattern rather than an anomaly and he's out of business.

    Guess what? The seller calls me the next day, totally apologetic, offering a full refund. I could have easily given up and been out a bunch of money, but instead I took it personally and found out there are tremendous resources out there to help the common man not get screwed over.

    But damn, I do miss this guitar....
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  2. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    My worst was a brand new Gibson Memphis ES Les Paul with Bigsby, picked from a big german online store;

    Bigsby was crooked badly at an angle
    Abr 1 was wobbling like crazy when using the Bigsby
    Guitar had no center mahogany block, totally empty shiet, with the bridge screwed straight into the thin top layer
    Tone was like a fart in a can

    [​IMG]

    most expensive POS ever! :rofl:
     
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  3. RedSkwirrell

    RedSkwirrell Senior Member

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    I was going to ask why anyone would buy online, without playing.
    Then I remembered I bought my last one (2010 Ltd) from the catalogue, in-played.
    I'll sit and watch.
    :D
     
  4. Tone deaf

    Tone deaf Senior Member

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    Damn!
     
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  5. Tone deaf

    Tone deaf Senior Member

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    I have bought at least three guitars online (Fender Clapton Blackie, Martin & LP Studio). The first two were from Sam Ash and the Studio was an ebay purchase (back when ebay would still good in the '90s). All three were back in the late '90s and were great transactions. However, every guitar and amp that I have bought since has been via CL and done in person with cash.
     
  6. T22

    T22 Member

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    Purchased a Gibson LP Studio form music 123 back in 2005. The E string came out of the nut within a day. Music 123 were quick to send me a replacement which had exactly the same problem. In the end they went through their whole stock to find me the best one.

    I ended up with a very good guitar which I no longer have unfortunately. Saying that, the second one they sent me played slightly better. I chose the third because I preferred the tone slightly and the nut had a good cut.

    Could have had a Luthier put in a new nut for free under Gibson's guarantee, but was told that could leave a crack in the lacquer, which I wasn't too keen on.

    I wouldn't buy online again unless it was on sale with a good returns policy.

    As an aside the workmanship of the neck, frets and nut of my '16 Studio T is a lot better than the '05.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  7. Fretrattler

    Fretrattler Junior Member

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    I have never had a problem with Sweetwater. I steer clear of other companies because of the post on this site and others that have tales of endless hassles.
     
  8. Phusion974

    Phusion974 Senior Member

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    Had a Les Paul custom shipped to me with a broken neck about 6 years ago. (FedEx was at fault)
    The dealer sent me a brand new replacement from Gibson.
     
  9. redcoats1976

    redcoats1976 Senior Member

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    had this experience with a used ric 330 bought locally face to face.called ric,and they sent me an original type bridge adjustment screw free.didnt even ask if i was the original owner.
     
  10. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    That looks like someone either added a string tree or tried to, or tore an existing one off! Either way that should've been advertised in the sale. Other than that it is a beauty imo!
     
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  11. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Bionic Member Premium Member

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    My cats are not allowed in my music room. And they know to piss in their box. I’m glad you got justification for your case. Cat piss is impossible to ever get rid of.
     
  12. Bobby Mahogany

    Bobby Mahogany Senior Member

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    Did you take it to a luthier?
     
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  13. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood Senior Member

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    Bought a Townsend SG, looked like skin off an orange in one area, someone buffed the hell out of it. Sold it full disclosure to a scumbag in Canada, he pulled a trick with Reverb that made me wait 2 months to get paid, & he stiffed me on some of the shipping.
    Bought/traded for a 59 DC junior, headstock repair was bad, was vouched by a well known luthier. I had it repaired properly.
    Currently own an older ES 335, bought it from some BS minister in Texas. The truss rod nut is loose, but fortunately the action is good, & sounds so good its what guys call a "les paul killer".
    One happy ending anyways!
    I hate buying guitars now.
     
  14. stiff fingers

    stiff fingers Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member

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    I purchased a used Epi. 59 standard and it took over a month for the sale to go through. When the seller finally ships he sends an email that he would like more for the shipping charges. BUT! when the guitar arrives the promised burstbuckers aren't there, HC's instead. I think he has already recovered his extra shipping charge.

    The guitar in the photo was a new 2015 trad. bought new. look at the "waist" the burst is way off, also when the bill arrived the discount was not applied. I am ready to send it back, but then I play it. They want this back they can pry it from my cold dead hands. I don't know how to describe the sound, when not plugged in it is a bit louder, but it has something extra, the sound seems to fill the room. much more than any of the other lester's I have, about half a dozen. I am thinking that a pickguard would hide the offset burst.

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  15. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    I've had excellent success here. Great dealings. In addition to some beautiful pieces, I now consider several sellers friends. I never Ebay or Reverb. Had one meet up with a CL guy where he showed up with less than advertised. I should have driven off, but I wanted it. That was handled with a serious afternoon detail job. I can't get how some people don't take care of stuff. No horror stories on product. My only really negative experience was a slow shipper off another forum where they talk about a different brand. Lame excuse after lame excuse. "Dog ate my homework" type lies. I don't like being BS'd and I don't like being lied to. I accept that it's just me being weird, but the transaction sets the stage for the relationship I'll have with the guitar. I was so mad at the slow shipper guy I was never able to bond with what was one of the nicest guitars I've had. I couldn't open the case without being PO'd. Never could shake it. Had to flip it.
     
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  16. rcole_sooner

    rcole_sooner Senior Member

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    I did. About what I thought. He kept it 2 weeks, and it came back no different than I gave it to him. When I pressed him about the neck issue, all he said was give it time. He would not even comment on the neck twist. I was just out $20 for that ... somewhat expected experience. We do not have great guitar/amp techs around here.

    I had given him the history of my attempted truss rod adjustment, and that I had given it plenty of time to take effect. I don't know why he was so vague with the neck issue. Maybe because that would mean I wouldn't spend any more $$ on it? I wasn't going to spend anymore on a tech that did nothing the first time. I can do this stuff myself. I just wanted a sanity check on this one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  17. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Senior Member

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    The only time I had a bad transaction was when I bought a used Peavey amp via Ebay. The pictures looked good, and the seller had good feedback so I bought it.

    I opened the box upon arrival, and I've never had anything that smelled that bad! It was as if the amp was sitting in a wet barn for 20 years. The smell was so bad, the whole house stunk after just a couple hours. Since the amp worked and sounded great, I tried to get rid of the smell. First, I scrubbed the tolex with an ammonia-based floor cleaner, which didn't help. Then, I completely removed the tolex and sanded/varnished the wood frame--it still smelled! Finally, I removed the chassis and sprayed all the electronics with contact cleaner. The noxious odor was still there! I couldn't take it anymore, so I flipped it for a substantial loss. But it was worth it to get the poltergeist out of my house!
     
  18. I Break Things

    I Break Things Senior Member

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    I actually really like that burst. It's unique, and the shading is beautiful.
     
  19. fry

    fry Senior Member

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    I can tell you that if you have a bad purchased from eBay, you are better off to just contact them and try to get it returned for a refund. If you attempt to fix the problem yourself, you automatically lose any protection eBay might offer you, and you are stuck. I bought a tube amp head that wouldn’t make any sound. I was hesitant to try to fix it myself, so I just contacted the buyer about returning it. He was a complete jerk, gave me nothing but trouble. I was still going through the process when I decided to do some troubleshooting. Turned out to be a bad preamp tube, solved it right away. I let him know this, and eBay, tracking our communications, saw that I had change the tube. They contacted me immediately, told me that they could no longer protect me. It turned out fine, the amp worked. All I asked of the seller was $10 for the cost of the replacement tube. He at first refused! Then he said he would only give me the $10 after I give him positive feedback. I said cold day in hell. I contacted eBay and told him that he was holding my money hostage, they actually ended up giving me back the money to cover the tube.
     
  20. fry

    fry Senior Member

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    Not a guitar story, but yet another amp experience that just concluded last night. I put in a bid on a Blackstar HT club 40 on Wednesday evening. Went to bed, woke up the next morning to see that I had won. The amp was basically brand new, perfect condition, and I got it for $280 plus shipping. I’ve been on eBay for 15 years, and failed to see a couple of obvious red flags. The guy’s shipping rate showed just under $45. Secondly, the guy was a complete beginner, only one previous transaction, and that was as a buyer. Hadn’t heard a thing from him until last night, when he contacted me to tell me that he drove it over to FedEx to have it packed and shipped. My, wasn’t he surprised when he found out just exactly how much it was going to cost to have this thing professionally packed and shipped? They told him they were going to have to make a custom box to pack it, and that would be about $100 alone, not including the shipping. He asked me last if I was still interested, considering the substantially higher shipping rate, I said no thanks, I’ll pass. That’s what I get for dealing with a newb. Oh well, I got my money back, no harm done.
     

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