Bongo Bowed Neck Woes - Reverb seller won't honor refund

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TimBosby, Jan 20, 2022.

  1. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    So, I figured I'd come here and I probably owe penance since I bought something on Reverb instead of the Sacred Grounds of Talkbass.

    I bought a 2014 Neptune Blue Bongo 4-string in mid December. You know the one. Mahogany body in translucent blue. NON-PAINTED neck in gorgeous flamed maple. Got a great deal. Seller seemed reputable and described the bass as "mint." Responded promptly, sent pictures, etc.

    Received the bass December 22. First things first, it was NOT mint. I mean, it was in very good shape, but I could count on two hands the number of small marks, scratches, etc. He gave me a great deal and seemed nice so I didn't say anything. But to me, "mint" means basically brand new. Anyway, I also noticed the action was high. I mentioned this to him in an e-mail but didn't make a big deal out of it, as I figured he was a slapper. I am definitely NOT a slapper and prefer low action. I always put new strings on used basses anyway so I figured I'd have my local tech set it up and throw the strings on for me. I took it to my tech a few days after getting it, maybe a week at most. Tech said it would take about a week and now it's been two weeks or more so I emailed him this afternoon and I got this reply:

    "Hi Tim!

    Sorry for the delay. I've been meaning to reach out to you. The bongo has a significant upward ramp on the end of the fingerboard, which means I can't really get the strings as low as I'd like without significant buzzing. The truss rod adjustment helps some, but it creates backbow on the nut-end of the neck but retains the upward bow at the bridge end.

    I can re-level and dress the frets to help address this problem, but it probably still won't be perfect because of the degree of the S-bow. It would be about $110 for the fretwork and setup if you'd like to go that route.

    Otherwise, I do currently have it set up as best as possible with the DR strings and no fretwork, so you can check it out in its current state before you make a decision.

    Just let me know what you think. Thanks!"

    Now this is a tech I trust - he's a pro and does great work. I owe him about $50 for a basic setup but I told him no way on the fret work because I am not sinking more money into the bass (unrelated: I ordered a custom pickguard and I have it but that's my own dumb decision that I'll eat.)

    Anyway I politely reached out to the seller and submitted a refund request with a detailed explanation and copy of my tech's e-mail. Seller denied the request. He said: "Hey Tim, Thanks for reaching out. As I recall the bass worked just fine for me. So, unfortunately I can’t give you the refund/return at this point. I’m so sorry."

    So I have escalated this with Reverb customer service to see if they can do anything. I don't know if they can. I feel like this should have been disclosed. I mean it's a ski jump for cryin' out loud. Old G&Ls get them all the time and Talkbass members know all about them and rightly disclose them before selling anything (usually.) I am shocked that a 2014 EBMM bass had this problem but I guess it could happen to anything. In any case, he did not disclose it. I don't think it was malicious but I am getting a "well it's not my problem you found something I should have disclosed" vibe from him. In any case, I feel like the right thing for him to do is to refund me my money and get the bass repaired by EBMM customer service. As I recall, EBMM is very good about repairing their products and usually it's free of charge, even for second, third, fourth owners.

    Anyway, anyone had any luck with Reverb refunds like this? Anyone had a Bowed Bongo?
    Appreciate any insight :) (Pictures below of the bass)

    bongo2.jpg bongo.jpg bongofront.jpg bongo back 3.jpg bongo back 2.jpg bongo back 1.jpg
  2. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I've never had to request a refund, but from what I've heard Reverb is likely to side with you. Stinks, sure is a nice looking bass.
  3. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Can you take some pics of the bowing issue?
  4. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Maybe? I figured that would be hard to photo. In any case, it's still at my tech. I can pick it up any time but he still has it because I was mulling over whether to have him keep and fret level. At this point it seems dumb to sink money into fret leveling if that won't fully fix it. Here I am, thinking EBMM necks are some of the best around... I mean, they're usually FINE.... :rollno:
    Bright Midnight likes this.
  5. sleddogn


    Sep 8, 2013
    Love My Dogs
    Usually the buyer has lots of success there, but the timeline is not your friend. That could be a problem. Its not the sellers fault its taken multi weeks to find this out, good luck, hope it works out for you.
    roccobass, tubatodd, ColdEye and 8 others like this.
  6. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Don't feel like you have to. It's instructive for us TB'ers to know what to look for when buying. I had a similar issue on an 80's Ibanez.

    Just because a bass appears to be in good or even "great" condition, that doesn't mean great ownership.

    IF your appeal fails, is there a remote chance of Ernie Ball offering help? I'd ask them. They have a fanatical desire for build quality, reliability. May be worth a shout out. By 'help', I mean, any assistance of value they may offer.

    Bummer. It's a cool looking bass.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
    jlm00013, Bonecat and TimBosby like this.
  7. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    True. I know what you mean. My argument is that I noticed the high action right away, mentioned it to him, and that was the reason that prompted me to take it a tech (and the tech and his shop is of course backed up due to pandemic, short staffing, bad weather here, etc.)

    GodsLove66 and BlueTalon like this.
  8. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Maybe. Their customer service is legendary. I had a GameChanger once that arrived with dead electronics. After posing a question on their forums, Sterling Ball himself popped in and told me who to contact to make it right. They fixed it free of charge, as I recall, even though it had had many owners before me. Then again, I feel like I've documented everything and stated my case, so the seller should be going to Ernie Ball, not me. But we'll see.

  9. muggsy

    muggsy Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2000
    Alexandria, VA
    I have a Bongo from the same run, Neptune blue with roasted neck. No issues on mine and there’s nothing else like it. I know it’s easier to get a refund but I’d suggest checking with EBMM customer service now. If they’ll repair or replace the neck, I’d keep it.
  10. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Possibly. I guess we'll see.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  11. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I had a similar deal on Reverb and they forced the seller to refund and pay for return shipping. Photos are your friend.
  12. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    Beside money issue and no liking with the bass tone, another reason ppl sell their bass because defective found.
    RustfeatherBass, gg22 and TimBosby like this.
  13. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I sincerely hope he didn't know about this and then sell it. I assume not, but maybe I should have lower expectations of people. He DID offer me a great deal, however, so.... :bag:
  14. 2F/2F


    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Best case scenario IMO, if you really want the bass, is a $400 partial refund, and then you have the neck heat treated.

    I do this all the time with a home built jig, since I am a big G&L collector. Haven't ever done it on a Music Man or a flamed maple neck, but it can be quite effective, IME.

    You can also (or instead) have the frets pulled, the board re-leveled and refinished, then have the fret job finished.

    Either way, you should be getting lots of money back.

    I would favor a full refund myself, just to screw up the seller as much as possible. But maybe that's just because I don't see anything so attractive about that particular bass. If you just love it, and have to have it, and can't find it anywhere else, then opt for the repairs.

    FWIW, a similar thing happened to me here on TB, my first (and only) time ever buying a bass here. G&L neck, wildly screwed up, described as straight. There was also an undisclosed re-fret that I had asked about, and a plethora of other problems, like a Fender truss rod nut on the G&L rod. The seller claimed ignorance, but it was impossible that he truly didn't know about the issues, because I asked about them specifically. He gave me $400 back on a $1,000 bass, but I still feel dirty about the whole thing, and like I got screwed in the end. can happen anywhere...and make sure you make a choice that doesn't leave you feeling like I still feel about that transaction.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
  15. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Astoria, NY
    Here's the deal - I've had a similar issue and handled it like this.
    Have your tech produce an official letter from the shop indicating the issues found and cost to resolve. (This may cost you a coupla bucks, just do it.)
    Now you have actual ammo that needs to be resolved. The seller can pay the repair or give you a refund. Whatever he said it was for him doesn't matter vs the condition in which it was received.

    I was able to reverse an ebay determination against me with this info.
    The seller mis-represented the article.

    Go forward from there and it should work for you.
  16. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    To be honest, I never really got the chance to love it. Because the first thing I noticed was that the action was too high for me to comfortably play the way I'm used to, so that's why I took it to the shop. Doh!

    At this point, though, it's kind of tainted by this whole matter so I'll probably take a full refund if I can get one. And then just save up for another custom Drake because they're extremely consistent in quality and playability.

    roccobass, RichSnyder and Reedt2000 like this.
  17. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    That shouldn't be a problem. It's just in an email right now but I'm sure he'd be willing to print it on store letterhead or something and sign it.

    GodsLove66 likes this.
  18. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Highly figured necks are, many times, not the most stable ones. Hope EB can take care of you.
  19. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I had this thought. I've always thought the painted necks on the average Bongo were the one thing I don't care for about them (not a huge fan of painted necks in general.) But maybe they're more functional than super figured oil finished necks. (shrug) Almost all my other basses have roasted maple necks or quartersawn necks, both of which I find to be stable.

  20. chanson

    chanson Supporting Member

    I can tell you from experience, stay in close contact and be persistent with reverb customer support. If they don't side with you initially, cite their policies via their website. And be sure to provide quotes and evidence of the buyer's messages and deception of the bass. I would definitely expect reverb to back you up on this, based on my experiences, but it might take a while to get them and the seller actionable. Good luck!
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