Cowtown Guitars - Buyer Beware

RevWillie

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I'm posting this in the Vintage Les Paul area because it involves a vintage guitar - if it needs to be moved, please move it.

About a month ago I saw a ‘50s Fender on Reverb that caught my eye because it was very lightweight: 6.5 pounds. I have been on a ‘lightweight guitar binge’ recently and this one was exceptional because most are over 7 pounds. I decided to make an offer.

The seller was Cowtown Guitars of Las Vegas, famous – infamous? – for their appearances on the TV show Pawn Stars. The owner/boss of Cowtown is Jesse Amoroso.

Within minutes of receiving notice from Reverb that my offer was accepted, I got a message through Reverb from Cowtown telling me all of their bank wiring info. I have done many guitar deals with reputable dealers using bank wires so I thought it would be no problem to wire the money the next day in the hopes that the guitar could be shipped ASAP.

In addition to the photos I got the night of my offer’s acceptance, I got a call from Jesse a day or so later giving me an in-hand description of the guitar and a promise that if it couldn’t be shipped to arrive before the weekend it would go out 2nd Day Air the next week. I stressed to him that the only reason I was interested in this guitar was the 6.5 pound weight advertised in his Reverb ad – he assured me that he had weighed it several times on his UPS shipping scale and it was indeed 6.5 pounds. I also asked for 48 hour approval in case there was some reason I didn’t want to keep the guitar, and he said yes to 24 hour approval.

There was a UPS snafu but I finally got the guitar the following week late on Wednesday afternoon.

I immediately called Jesse to tell him it had arrived and mentioned a couple of fairly minor issues: not set up, so totally dried up that the razor-sharp fret ends protruded from both sides of the whole neck - unplayable, and more wear than showed in his photos. Jesse offered to pay my luthier to do a total setup.

I called Jesse an hour later and told him there was a problem: the guitar was not 6.5 pounds, it was nearly ¾ of a pound more! 7 pounds 3+ ounces made this guitar just ‘average lightweight’. I told Jesse that I wanted to send the guitar back for a refund. He said “No, just keep it a few days and see if you like it.” I replied “What about the 24 hour approval period?” He said “Don’t worry about that – just keep it a couple of days and see if you like it.”

I sent an email to Cowtown the next day telling them that I would be returning the guitar and I needed a shipping address and any other shipping details for the return of the guitar.

Thus began 3 weeks of leaving messages for Jesse and getting excuses for why he hadn’t contacted me. I called the store, emailed the store, emailed Jesse, and called Jesse and left a voicemail. No response - apparently Jesse is the only person capable of arranging a return. I spoke to Roxie, co-owner of Cowtown on the phone Dec. 22nd and she said I would have to talk to Jesse; she wondered why I hadn't shipped it already and I told her I had been trying for weeks to get a confirmed shipping address and acknowledgement that I was returning the guitar for refund. She said Jesse would contact me after the 28th.

When there was no phone call forthcoming, I got Reverb involved and within hours I got an email from Cowtown refusing return of the guitar based on weight, don’t ship as it will not be accepted, and their scales are accurate as they’ve never had UPS question them.

The next morning I went to the Post Office (7 pounds 2.8 ounces on their scale) and UPS (7 pounds 3.3 ounces on their scale). I informed Reverb that 5 scales (with photos) have confirmed the weight I reported – NOT what the guitar was advertised as.

What Cowtown did:

- misrepresented the weight of the guitar (probably never weighed it)

- doubled-down on the weight story to keep the sale moving forward

- promised a return period

- ceased all communications with Jesse because he is the only one that can do things regarding returns; no Jesse, no return, ever

- later claimed that I had had the guitar too long, so no return

It almost looks as if they delayed everything because on their website it states that you must get verbal/telephone approval and a Return Authorization within 24 hours. If Jesse is the only person that can do this, and he doesn’t get on the phone or contact you , you’re screwed.

So, I never could have returned the guitar because Jesse wouldn’t verbally give me a Return Authorization – if I had shipped it, it just would have been refused at the store.

Reverb was little help because I hadn’t followed their rules to the letter (all messages on their site, use their payment methods, etc.).

What I did wrong:

- Trusted a public ‘reputable’ dealer despite the shenanigans reported on the internet about the TV show they appear on.

- Wired money to somebody I hadn’t done business with before, should have used PayPal or something similar

- Didn’t read Cowtown’s Return Policy in sufficient depth beforehand to spot the ‘verbal Return Authorization only’ loophole

- Didn’t GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING

Is the guitar worth what I paid for it? I think so but it certainly is NOT the 6.5 pound guitar I thought I had bought.

Cowtown Guitars – BUYER BEWARE
 

Drew1986

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I agree whole heartily. I have never purchased anything from them. But a coworker of mine purchased a early 60's Melody Maker from them last year. Took forever for them to mail it out to him and when he got it I swear it had a neck break repair. Although the ad mentioned nothing of it...
 

Fiftywattmafia

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Thanks for the post Rev. Terrible that it didn't work out and you didn't get what was advertise. More troubling is how the return (or lack thereof) was handled.

Mark
 

TheX

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Ughhh, I would be beyond pissed off.
 

charveldan

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"Roxie" sounds like a Vegas stripper and Jesse looks like he doesn't bathe and smokes alot of crystal.

I can't think of one thing i like about Las Vegas.
 

D-POLAND

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would it be safe in saying that COW TOWN GUITARS is full of B-- S---!
Who would have figured??

too bad that what's in vegas didn't stay there!!

but to be fair , the git came from an arid environment and it looks like your place of residence is of a more humid nature and could have some water weight that wasn't in vegas!
 

RevWillie

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but to be fair , the git came from an arid environment and it looks like your place of residence is of a more humid nature and could have some water weight that wasn't in vegas!

Oh yeah - it sucked in 11+ ounces of water in 2 hours! LOL :laugh2::laugh2::laugh2:
 

cain

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Scum balls like Jesse make me sick. Life is too,short to be such an asshole. When I hear of one of these assholes I always hope they don't have any kids to influence.
 

reedy

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Hey Rev, that sucks wholeheartedly. I can't understand why people act like this... Thanks for letting the rest of us know. I hope it works out for you.
 

kevinpaul

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This not the first time I heard Cowtown Guitar. A friend was sent the wrong guitar, he went through pretty much the standard run around. The guitar they sent was several hundred dollars more than the one was he ordered. They never took the better guitar off their sales sites. Some one went on to buy it, about three months later. That is when they discovered their stupid mistake. That's went Jessie returned his calls, Bill told this nasty bastard how they stalled him, put him off and told him to keep it. Then the big news Bill told them he sold it and found the guitar he wanted. A few empty threats, then Jessie stopped calling.
 

rockinlespaul

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Sorry to hear of this Rev...hope it gets worked out for you. Sounds like Jesse is a POS to me.
 

Rodmac

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They've Always been dubious dealers. Misrepresentation is their store policy :laugh2:

Just amazes me these stores last as long as they do. Unless you can physically check something......forget it.
 

sws1

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Sorry to hear that. They won't ever get my business.
 

charveldan

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cowtown1.jpg


"Would we lie" ... ?
 

EasyAce

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I've lived in Las Vegas for over eight years. I dealt with Cowtown Guitars once, a few years ago, when buying an amplifier. That was before they moved to their current location and got involved with Pawn Stars. I suspect their involvement with that show has gone to their heads, because before the relocation and their involvement with the show they were actually quite reasonable to deal with---in person, where they couldn't quite think of putting one over on anyone.
 

LenPaul

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I've never seen a vintage guitar so dried up that the fret ends become a finger slice hazard.
That would be enough for me to freak out, if it sucked up lots of moisture after it left Vegas to add extra weight,, you'd have to think it wouldn't have the fret issue.
Best of luck resolving this,,,, the guitar was clearly not fully disclosed.
 

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