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An open letter to Guitar Center- I just had to hang up on a rep he was so rude

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by rogerbmiller, May 15, 2016.

  1. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    Dear Guitar Center,

    As a collector I buy lots of used gear from your store. When I say lots, I mean that since your used gear site launched I have purchased about 200 used basses from you.

    Because I Genuinely appreciate the many folks at GC that treat customers well and work hard to make things happen, I generally choose to keep my bad GC experiences to myself because as plentiful as they have been over the years, I also have had some exceptional dealings with genuinely good folks over there. These are great people who love music and want to do the right thing.

    Well, today I called a store in the South East to inquire about not one but two used basses selling for $1100 each. The experience left me sour and gave me the push I needed to write this open letter to you which is probably long overdue.

    As to my experience today, as usual I called the store to ask a series of questions about the condition of the used gear so that there would be no surprises when and if I boight sight unseen and the axe or axes were to be sent to me in NYC.

    The guy on the line was giving somehwat terse and generally unhelpful answers and finally admits he doesn't even have the bass in his hands. So he goes and grabs it.

    He then starts answering questions but still somewhat vaguely. When disclosing a ding I ask "are you referring to one of them or both of them." He says "one of them" and then admits the other one "was high up on the wall" so he would have to get it later.

    I try proceed with my line of questioning about the one instrument and he basically steers me away from asking any more questions to say "look if this is the bass you are interested in then you won't be disappointed by it."

    Somewhat taken aback by his boldness and lack of cooperation, I explain that it is an expensive item I am inquiring about and The store is asking more than what seems to be the going price so if I am going to pay that price plus tax and shipping sight unseen only to have to lug it back to a NYC store with a bad back because it was not as described, I will actually be very disappointed.

    So he responds by rattling off past prices for which they sold this bass at other stores. I try to get him back on topic but make the mistake of doing so by trying to explain that there are actually numerous configurations of this model so he adapts a bit of a harsh tone with be and says "well maybe I just can't sell this to you because you have your minds made about about what it is worth" and starts to rant at me. So I hung up on him.

    Now just to be clear, he first tried to steer the conversation away from the thorough description of the instrument I requested and I explained that getting such a description is important if I am going to pay their price. I never said I wouldn't pay their price (and today is 10% off used gear anyway). And all the while I was extremely polite and courteous in my tone but that was not reciprocated. So I gave up on this. Way too much work and aggravation for me to spend $1100 or more and still be worried about it because I was not given information I requested.

    But more to the point my dearest Guitar Center, I have literally bought hundreds of used guitars and basses from you over the years and yet whenever I call a store, as a Bonafide and very serious buyer who spends serious money there every year, I am starting over.

    Unless I explain my buying experience to the rep with whom I am speaking I get treated as if I am assumed to be one of those "smoke on the water kids" that lurks in the store all day and never buy anything. Yet I am not that guy. I am actually the guy keeping your company in business. Despite many unsavory transactions ending in me buying an instrument based on a less than accurate item description provided to me.

    So dear GC,
    If you are reading this, I have a few suggestions which I strongly urge you to consider:

    1) Please invest in a CRM system because yours is non-existent. When I call a store other than my name being in your records, a sales rep has no idea who I am or how much I have spent. If they knew, they would likely spend some time with me and that would probably result in a sale because I only call when I want to buy something.

    2) I don't walk into a store and expect the red carpet to be rolled out for me but I do expect my loyalty and frequent and high spending to be rewarded with the courtesy of an accurate item description when requested and by a patient and courteous sales rep if not a knowledgable one. Experience is everything. Ever wonder why the Apple Store has more revenue per square foot than any other electronics store? Go visit an Apple Store and the explanation will be self evident.

    3) Your used gear practices leave a lot to be desired and should be improved and standardized across your stores. Your condition rating system is 100% dependent on the judgment of the listing sales rep and thus meaningless. You should see what is being passed off as "excellent condition." Your item descriptions when actually provided are vague and your pictures are usually limited to one or a few low resolution pictures that give no sense of an instrument's condition. Whip that into shape if you want to keep selling used gear because the average hobbyist does a better and more professional job marketing his or her used gear on eBay, reverb, talkbass, etc. don't believe me? Peruse the classified here at your leisure.

    4) please train your sales people on how to take in and sell/describe used gear. I have had to cancel purchases and return numerous items I did purchase over the years because upon receipt I discovered serious problems with your used gear that should have been identified at your store. These are problems ranging from undisclosed broken truss rods, gutted electronics, cracked head stocks, peeling finishes and numerous other serious defects. At best, I and not your sales reps or managers or repair techs discovered these defects for the first time and at worst these were deliberately passed off to me knowing I would return the instrument and another store would get stuck with it.

    5) Train your Ops people to pack well. Most of the time a good job is done but I have had numerous used instruments arrive damaged because insufficient packing materials were used as were undersized or delapidated boxes.

    For the record this is not a rant but rather an offer to open up a dialogue with someone at GC corporate should they wish to engage with me. I have the professional experience of building a very large business from the ground up and I also have great passion and knowledge for used guitars (particularly bass guitars). As such I would be glad to share my insights in further detail from one professional to another and believe that if they are taken into consideration both GC and its customers could benefit tremendously.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    TinIndian, TyBo, bdplaid and 7 others like this.
  2. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    Needs an executive summary.
  3. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    I will consider revising when I get to a desktop. I suspect GC doesn't read these anyway.
  4. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    This might get their attention.....
    ....which store?:cool:
  5. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    Yer kidding, right? GC is a corporation. Expect them to treat you as such. You and I may be great GC customers, but the "Smoke On The Water" wankers out-number us 5000 to 1. This ratio is not GC fault. The whole scenario has really no one to blame, it is life as we know it.
  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Dear Customer this is an auto generated response and someone will answer your questions within one or two days in the meantime please browse our excellent used deals on all of your favorite gear.

    - sincerely your sales team
  7. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
  8. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    They actually do read posts where Guitar Center is mentioned. I was told so the the area manager for the store I frequent most in Fort Worth, Texas.
    Since I was not on the phone to hear the conversation, I can't see for sure, but based on your description of the event, I'm thinking it might be a cultural thing. The communication style of New Yorkers irritates Southerners. The converse is also true. Not faulting you or him.
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    1954bassman and Traps82 like this.
  9. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I tied to buy a used Peavey from a GC in PA and the guy I talked to was a serious turd. After several attempts to get some actual info on the bass and him telling me "don't worry man, this bass is the coolest thing i've ever seen", i asked (again) if he could tell me what the overall finish condition was and was told if all i was worried about was the paint i was too stupid to deserve this "ultimate badass bass", i thanked him and hung up.
    rogerbmiller likes this.
  10. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
  11. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Stop shopping there?

    I really don't think Guitar Center gives a damn about any of their customers, their employees or even their business.

    That's the impression that I get anyway. So why should you care about them?
  12. Charlzm

    Charlzm Guest

    Mar 25, 2011
    Being an ex-GC ops employee (who certainly knew how to pack a used instrument for shipping since I did it all the time!), I can say this; even within one store, the variation of the customer experience (based on the salesperson he/she interacts with) can vary wildly.

    At the time I worked there, the bottom line was the bottom line. Nothing else really mattered. If you spend too long on the phone on a "maybe" sale, you might lose out on the kid who's there with his mom that's going to buy his first $100.00 guitar pack.

    I had a bad experience at my local GC recently and complained via their website. I got a couple of "concerned" follow-up emails and then nothing. Because really, the goal of responding to customer complaints is to mark them as "closed", not to address the issue that caused the complaint in the first place.

    And now that they're a heartbeat away from shuttering their stores, I can't see the situation improving.

    I liken walking into a GC to the story of the scorpion and the frog.
  13. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    Sad when you think of how many great little local stores had to shutter their doors when GC came to town.
    Relsom, bdplaid, ptg and 5 others like this.
  14. maxschrek

    maxschrek Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2006
    Chattanooga, TN.
  15. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    So, you want a fancy pants gold card? Actually, you want a complete system created to allow you to receive a fancy pants gold card. Not going to happen.
  16. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    It's good to vent and I think most of us have experienced at least some of what you describe. I also think there is zero chance GC will do any of the things you suggest to improve the buying experience. That would require them to care about the long-term success of their business. I'm pretty sure that is not a consideration at this point.
  17. itsalljustaride


    Sep 23, 2009
    Dominic DeCosa likes this.
  18. BIGEJ2

    BIGEJ2 Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
  19. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    He wants a CRM system rolled out so that stores know they're talking to a high-rolling buyer.
    SteveHeissner likes this.
  20. itsalljustaride


    Sep 23, 2009
    That does not equate to your comparison. Also, it would be a decent business practice, which is why GC probably won't do it. All the guys at my local GC *attempt* to fill in this pretty standard sales practice by asking my name and taking info on the kinds of stuff I tell them I like, but having it in the actual sales system *would* indeed help. It isn't as if this is some kind of crazy thing no business has ever had.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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