"Shipping damage" = Buyer's remorse?

Duane_the_tub

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Sorry, this is going to be a bit of a rant but I need to vent and after wearing out some poor schmuck on the Reverb chat you guys are my best sounding board/counsel/therapist.

I sold a high-end Custom Shop Strat online, at a great but nonetheless not inexpensive price. The guitar was delivered today, after which I received this message:

Strat3_edit.jpg


Zero visible damage to the shipping box or hard case. Factory pack from Fender with the custom-formed foam ends. All logic tells me that the amount of force needed to sheer off the end of a pot shaft would have absolutely left damage to the shipping box, if not the hard case itself and even possibly other parts of the guitar. It had a very short trip, exactly one state over from Vermont to New York. This guitar was in like-new condition when I packed it up with absolutely zero indication of any issues. In fact, I had just had it set up by my local luthier as a courtesy to the buyer.

Buyer has zero interest in pursuing a local repair totally at my expense, and immediately asked for a return and full refund instead.

All of this leads me to believe that one of the following three things occurred:

A) This guitar came from the Fender Custom Shop with a faulty pot shaft that was essentially just waiting to fail and did so due to normal shifting, etc. during transit.

B) The package sustained some kind of freak drop or fall during transit that exerted tremendous force on just the guitar inside - enough to sheer off a pot shaft - but in such a way that it did no discernible damage to the box, case or rest of the instrument.

C) The buyer got cold feet and damaged the instrument after delivery in order to facilitate a return/refund. Note: Someone else with the same last name (his wife, perhaps?) signed for it.

I don't want to be the paranoid jerk who immediately jumps to the conclusion that it was C. That's obviously a very serious accusation. In 30+ years of buying, selling and shipping guitars I have never seen anything like this. The very possibility that something malicious may have occurred here and will end up costing me a fair bit of money makes my blood boil.

Thoughts?
 
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Duane_the_tub

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If I were the recipient, I'd ask for a discount so I could get the pot replaced. Not a huge deal on a used guitar.

I would as well. I asked what he thought of the guitar otherwise and he says he didn't check it out any further once he saw the broken pot. That whole part is what raised my suspicions in the first place. It's a relatively simple fix that wouldn't cost him a penny.
 

flamesarewicked

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Had I received a guitar like that... I would of just either replaced the pot myself or had the seller help foot the bill for the repair.. definitely not worth returning the guitar. But buyers are out there that would return an item for far far less...
 

mkayers

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That is what totally scares me when I sell and ship gear. I always worry that something will either happen or someone will say it did happen.
 

flamesarewicked

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I sold a pedal one time on there and the buyer said “it didn’t sound right”.. asked for a refund. Instead of arguing with them I refunded... got the pedal back and it sounds fine....

I think it’s great that reverb tries be there to help both buyers and sellers... but people take advantage of it regularly it seems.
 

Duane_the_tub

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Well, I filed a claim with FedEx but even the guy on the phone seemed skeptical that the damage to the guitar occurred during shipping if the shipping box and hard case show no signs of damage. I guess we'll see.

My luthier made the point that the knob itself would have likely cracked if not split apart if it sustained enough force to break the shaft of the pot. He is eager to study the broken shaft once it's returned and said it would be especially interesting to find grip marks from pliers on it.

(This is obviously not helping to quell my paranoia.)
 

jvin248

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...My luthier ... is eager to study the broken shaft once it's returned ...

At least your guitar tech has a sense of humor, at your expense.

That kind of shaft break happens when import/domestic knobs/pots are mixed, or indexed wrong so the notches inside the knob over-compress the split shaft, then someone tries to bend it straight to keep the knob from falling off and that single flex cycle cracks it off.

If the buyer is paying shipping back then ok, and the guitar is in otherwise good shape when it returns you're ok. Keep watch for shenanigans though.

.
 

coldengray

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I can’t imagine going through the hassle of returning a guitar just for a broken pot shaft. That is a very simple fix. The guy absolutely broke it to facilitate a refund. Buyers remorse 100%...wife probably busted him for buying a new guitar.
 

judson

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i shipped an Agile LP in a case, packed well, the buyer opens it up, 3 way switch is snapped off . he first claims i shipped it that way, then he hunts around the case and finds the tip with the metal still in it.....

lucky i gave him a credit of $25 and he was good with that....not my fault but i didnt want the guitar back...

i dread every one i ship that somethiing is goign to happen...that was the only time something got damaged, im lucky so far but eventually it happens...sucks but ship enough of them and it can get worse
 

Duane_the_tub

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So I made a few puposefully vague comments via message and he immediately took the bait that I was accusing him of something shady and got very defensive. Strike one.

I then called him, and his excuse was that he often flips gear and doesn't want to have to explain "aftermarket parts" to a potential buyer. As soon as I started steering the conversation toward how great of a guitar it was and the possibility of him keeping it, he suddenly had to go "deal with his kids" and hung up. Strike two.

My intuition is telling me 100% that this dude got buyer's remorse and is hitting the eject button on the whole transaction. Whether or not he purposefully damaged the guitar is a separate issue, but he clearly doesn't want it regardless.

Chickensh*t.
 

coldengray

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So I made a few puposefully vague comments via message and he immediately took the bait that I was accusing him of something shady and got very defensive. Strike one.

I then called him, and his excuse was that he often flips gear and doesn't want to have to explain "aftermarket parts" to a potential buyer. As soon as I started steering the conversation toward how great of a guitar it was and the possibility of him keeping it, he suddenly had to go "deal with his kids" and hung up. Strike two.

My intuition is telling me 100% that this dude got buyer's remorse and is hitting the eject button on the whole transaction. Whether or not he purposefully damaged the guitar is a separate issue, but he clearly doesn't want it regardless.

Chickensh*t.

Give me a break. “After market parts”?? It’s a pot not a pickup.
 

Duane_the_tub

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Give me a break. “After market parts”?? It’s a pot not a pickup.
Believe me, I would love to - but Reverb sides with the buyer 100% in instances like this. The guy could have come up with any other excuse in the book for a refund and I could have denied it based on my "shop policies." Item not received as advertised, it's an open-and-shut case; they would just hit my PP account for the money and give it to him anyway, regardless of my arguments.

It really is a crummy website with some spineless practices. At this point I should know better than to use it at all.
 

moreles

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Well, best to focus on what you can actually do now rather than what posters say they would have done had they been the buyer, or trying to read minds and hearts of people we don't even know. If the guitar was properly packed as you say, and the recipient makes the claim he has made, then you need to file a claim with the shipping co. They'll want the packing, or at least pictures of the damage and packing, and the recipient will need to provide those to you before he returns the guitar. When you have the guitar in hand, you should be able to determine the cause of the damage and that will guide your next steps. If the recipient did receive the guitar in damaged condition, he is well within his rights to reject it, as we all know that any changed part is a real negative for subsequent buyers. That's why it's important to collect insurance. That's what it's for, and that's the remedy for shipping damage. It could be that the recipient did the damage, but that's between him and the shipping company once you file the claim and they process it. Personally, I'll be i I had the guitar in hand I could determine the cause of the damage fairly conclusively.
 

Roxy13

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Yes, I've heard of the switches snapping off. I think it's possible the guitar can hit a bad bump in the truck or something and they might hit the top of the case and cause that. Could be what happened to that pot as well, who knows?

I think it's crazy to return a guitar over it though. He must not be the type to use a soldering iron, but goodness, asking for a small discount to pay for the repair would be the sensible thing to do.

I try to sell guitars locally first. Once it's in their possession, nothing they do to it is my problem.
 

Duane_the_tub

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@moreles , the first thing I did was file a damage claim with FedEx. The shipment was fully insured. They will likely pick it up straight from the buyer once the claim is processed.

The problem is, he admits the box shows no visible signs of damage. Same with the hard case. Even the rep I spoke with at FedEx customer service said it's difficult to collect on a shipping damage claim in such instances.
 

coldengray

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@moreles , the first thing I did was file a damage claim with FedEx. The shipment was fully insured. They will likely pick it up straight from the buyer once the claim is processed.

The problem is, he admits the box shows no visible signs of damage. Same with the hard case. Even the rep I spoke with at FedEx customer service said it's difficult to collect on a shipping damage claim in such instances.

Be prepared to go to the ends of the earth to get the insurance paid out. They will fight you every step of the way.
 

StudioFan

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Be prepared to go to the ends of the earth to get the insurance paid out. They will fight you every step of the way.

This is the general consensus , not always true .

The damage to the box is what they look for .

A seller and I just got $300 back from u s p s after I received a damaged box and guitar .

You gotta have real damage .

Only took a few pictures and a few days .

One thing is though they send the check to the seller who can then get greedy and try to keep all of the cash and the buyer can’t do shit !
 

Pop1655

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How hard is it to replace a pot in a fender pickguard??? Geez!
I agree with you. Something else is up here.
I agree with others. I don't see this ending well.
 

Duane_the_tub

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How hard is it to replace a pot in a fender pickguard??? Geez!
I agree with you. Something else is up here.
I agree with others. I don't see this ending well.
I have more or less resigned myself to the fact that my FedEx claim is going to be denied, I'm going to eat the shipping cost to and from this clown, then do the repair myself and put the guitar back on the market. Ideally I would raise the selling price a bit to try to recoup my losses from this, but I'm also going to have to disclose the repair and I'm sure potential buyers will try to use that as traction to work the price down.

It's not going to end too badly, but it will be a costly lesson: It sucks doing business on Reverb where there are too many less-than-serious "buyers" and not nearly enough support for sellers. I doubt I'll be listing any higher-end guitars on there again anytime soon, if ever.
 

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