Potential legal/ethical question re: buying "new" equipment and receiving open box

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dave Mack, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Hey guys, I'm a bit bummed today. I ordered a vox tonelab SE guitar FX pedalboard from Manny's Music in NYC and the unit came today and it was CLEARLY an open box item. The packaging inside was torn, the board itself had scratches and (what clearly gave it away), smudgy fingerprints ALL over it. I have bought numerous musical instruments from them over the years when I lived in manhattan without a problem but I now live 3000 miles away! What would be simply annoying if I still lived in NYC would be very easily made right by going back to the store but from here it's a pain in the arse. Because of the time difference I couldn't even call to complain about this as the store was closed. I also placed my order over the phone, (I had store credit there from a previous transaction and I just added the balance over the phone and the unit came today without even a copy of the transaction, meaning no receipt either!) so I have no email record or copy of the invoice. I had trouble with a specific VOX amp in the past that had a bad track record and that's why I traded it back in for credit. The fact that this item appears to be open box worries me as someone must have returned it and I have no idea why. And I have no idea how long someone even used it if they did trade it in, sell it or return it to the store.

    So what can I do? Just return it and demand an unopened one? They could easily say that this WAS a New in box one and it's kinda hard to argue your point when you are not right there with said item in person. Should I ask for some $ back as if it had been sold open box and just keep my fingers crossed as to potential problems down the road?

    Legally do I even have a leg to stand on? (Damin would be of GREAT help if he stumbles into this thread!) And ethically, what should THEY do on their end to make it right considering I am a long term customer and this was a $500 + tax purchase.


    Thanks to anyone who offers some advice, insight and who bothered to read all this!

    [​IMG] dave
     
  2. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    New and open box are NOT the same thing, AFAIK open box can NOT be sold as "new", and may not even qualify for warranty service, so your first course of action should be contacting the store and complaining about it. They should either offer a discount or ship you a new unit paying for return freight.

    It could be an honest mistake, in which case they will rectify it, but if they argue that it was new, when it wasn't, I would end my business dealings with them and take every opportunity to let others know about how you were treated.

    Rock on!
     
  3. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Thanks Jeff,

    I wonder if they figured because it was going 3000 miles that one would be less likely to call them on it than if they picked it up in store. Whoever repacked it tried their damndest to make it look like it hadn't been opened already but the scratches and smudgy fingerprints were a clear giveaway. Also the box that the power supply came in was pretty creased and mangled indicating that whoever had pre-owned it hadn't taken that much care about opening THAT part of the packaging. Would taking photos of the unit be advisable? Of course they could turn around and say that I could have left the smudy prints and scratched it and boinked the inner packaging. I have always found that complaining in a store in a LOUD voice in front of other potential customers, (worked like a charm at Jennifer Convertibles on the upper west side when I had a warranty issue) usually gets the best and quickest results. But being 3000 miles away is tricky.
    I don't even know if the thing works or not as I put it right back in the box when I saw it so as to minimize any usage on my part. If the guy apologizes for their, "mistake" and offers me some $$$ back as if it WAS open box I should try it out, yes?


    [​IMG] d
     
  4. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Photos can't hurt. It's too bad you didn't pay for this with a credit card, as that would have given you some more leverage if the store gets difficult.

    I wouldn't do anything with it until you have talked with the store, give them the benefit of the doubt and see what happens. The unit should have a serial number which should prove whether it was sold or not, but it could also have been a floor demo, which is even worse.

    What is it about music stores that attracts dishonest people? When you finally find a good one, stick with them, even if it means paying a bit more for stuff. Good service, and being able to trust your sales guy/gal are worth it.
     
  5. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Thanks again, Jeff. I DID find the purchase invoice. It was tucked into the shipping order pouch on the side of the box. I did end up using my debit mastercard on the phone to give them the balance but I don't know if that will help. I will give them a call in a minute. Wish me luck. Thanks for the help.


    I hear you about the music store thing. Manny's Music was bought by Sam Ash years ago and they are a pretty big company. I haven't had a problem with them before but have noticed that if you return an item with all the packing materials within 5 days they will either give you a refund or store credit. I did that once when I bought a cheaper Yamaha Keyboard and after 3 days decided I wanted to spend more $ to get a proper synthesizer. They took back the Yamaha with NO questions and gave me the full credit price toward the synth. Maybe they simply repackaged that as well? And I looked over the invoice/receipt and nowhere on it does it mention merchandise as being "new".


    [​IMG] dmack
     
  6. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    The store I deal with has a thirty day satisfaction policy, and will refund the entire amount, but they won't try to sell you a returned item as new. I used to routinely take home instruments to try out in my own space with my own gear. My pro audio guys also had a similar policy, knowing thta the odds were in their favor for me keeping stuff if it was already on the premises, and I had a good chance to work with it.

    I've only been to Manny's once in the late 1980s, and didn't really spend too much time there. If the staff works on commission, it's not too surprising if they aren't always above board, which is why I like Long & McQuade, they are paid straight salary. Sales are good for the staff, but don't affect their earnings, so they are less inclined to push product, and let the customer make up their own minds. It also helps when you have staff who know what they are selling, unlike the majority of these stores who hire musicians at base per hour wages. I agree that distance dealing makes things a lot more complicated
     
  7. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Good news. I talked to the guitar manager and he profusely apologized, admitted it might have been a "resealed" item meaning someone took it home, didn't like it or whatever and it had been reboxed. He said he didn't know. He's ensuring me he will send a "Factory Sealed One" and he will make sure first and I'll just hand the other one to the FedEx guy in a clean "swap." Overall I'm relieved but apparently selling returned gear is kosher in this store, and maybe even sam ash the parent company.

    Thanks again for the advice!

    Cheers! dmack
     
  8. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    That happened to me once when I bought a Pod 2.0 from my local Guitar Center. Got half way home, started opening the box at a red light and found the power supply had obviously been unwrapped before. Plus the software CD was missing. Anyway, got an exchange, but stopped going to the store. I do 95% of my gear purchasing online now.

    American Musical Supply has outstanding service and will price match any website. I tend to stay away from Musician's Friend when I can, as they've f'ed up a few of my past orders, including sending me an entirely different bass when I ordered a Music Man Stingray 5 from them. I can see messing up on accessories, but when you have an order for a $1400 bass, I think you should double check it. [​IMG]
     
  9. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Good to hear you got that cleared up. Mistakes happen, but how they are handled is what separates the good stores from the bad. There is no problem selling used gear, as long as it is sold as used.

    I haven't heard much good about Guitar Centre, I know they lost their Rickenbacker dealership due to their practice of selling cases seperately (they come with the guitars) and a slew of warranty issues. Their eBay presence (gcrep***) usually means overpriced guitars.

    I'm dealing with a transaction nightmare on eBay from a store in Florida, who listed one product, then took well over a week to ship an inferior one in packaging that was completely inappropriate, so the item was damaged in transit. Turns out they don't even stock the items they sell, and apparently have no idea what they are selling, despite photos and model numbers in their auctions that don't match what they ship. It's been a month and a half and I still don't have my item, so complaints have been opened, yada yada. I'm hoping they had enough sense to pad the replacement shipment so it isn't destroyed, and that they at least shipped the right freaking product this time. We'll see.
     
  10. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Hi Andrew, thanks for the 2 cents! I have used Guiyar Center b4 and they are pretty close. I had to do this transaction across the country as I still had store credit back from when I lived in NYC. No more....

    [​IMG]
     

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