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Guitar Center Screwed Me Again

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rogerbmiller, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    This morning while perusing the GC used website I found a MusicMan USA Sub bass in Blue for a good price so without hesitation, I pulled the trigger and ordered online.

    Immediately after placing the order, as I would expect, the listing on their website changed to read "This Item Is No Longer Available."

    I go about my day only to receive an email later saying "Your Order is Out of Stock."

    GC Sold the bass to someone else. They had the bass listed as abailable, took my CC payment, and later told me they sold it to someone else.

    This has happened to me several times even though once is far too many times.

    There were no other 4 strings in inventory and even if there were, they would not guarantee giving me one at the same price because it is up to each and every store. Which is the line I got the last few times this happened.

    This makes me wonder what is the point of using their website. I am livid and wanted to share this with the world because this is horrible customer service.

    They told me that several people could order the same item online so they take the first one that comes up in the queue.

    We read about them being in financial duress so I wonder if this is a ploy to trap cash.

    Livid! I have bought over 200 used basses from them. You would think they would want to help me figure something out...
    Flaky Tuna, Admiral Akbar and Ellery like this.
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I don't know what happened, but perhaps you were not the only one who was looking to purchase the bass, and they clicked on "submit" before you did.

    What do you expect them to do is someone else in the interwebs beat you to the punch?
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
    dalahorse, fretter, SunnBass and 12 others like this.
  3. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    The strange part is the guy that beat me to the punch bought it the night before. But it was still online and listed as available. It only went "No Longer Available" after I finished the check out process this morning.

    And they admitted there can be numerous orders in the queue. They say they take the first one.

    That is crazy to me (that they can let numerous people buy the same bass).
    Admiral Akbar likes this.
  4. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    Realistically, though, what are the chances of that happening?

    I've had a somewhat similar experience with them recently, the only difference being that I called the store, raised holy hell and ended up getting the bass. Which in turn ended up being not as described, so I still have that fight going on which is why I'm being very low on details here.

    Whatever the case may be, GC's customer service in general leaves an awful lot to be desired in my experience.
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Could it be a scam? Yes. But more likely on a weekend, they were slow updating the website.
  6. Unfortunately, this is how it is. There is no central warehouse you are ordering from - you are buying from a specific store location. And that bass might have been in someone's hands bring tried out when you bought it.

    Not sure when the store gets notified that the bass has been bought online and should be pulled from the floor, but obviously its a very flawed system. And again, one store might be good at doing that while another sucks. Or one employee at one store is good at that and the days he is off, the other guys don't even bother to look.

    It paints a picture of a larger issue - but again, GC is treating their inventory as a whole bucket while it is spread out over all their stores. And their main business isn't selling used gear - so its an afterthought.

    At some point they realized that with all their used instruments at all their locations, it would be easier to sell if they marketed each piece of used gear not just to that store's region, but to the whole USA. Someone had the bright idea of databasing their used inventory and taking pictures and a brief description. They even implemented the ability to purchase the item through their webpage. Unfortunately while that's where the logistics are only starting for online shops like Amazon, GC seems to have stopped there. Once they take payment, its a crapshoot if you'll actually receive the item, if it was even still available (and not sold 2 weeks prior and webpage manually never adjusted), and then what actual condition the item is in.

    I highly doubt a store's POS system is tied in to the entire's company's inventory database - so there's a manual step involved, or many, to go from an online purchase to actually receiving the item.

    Compare that to their new item sales through their webpage. They have a warehouse full of gear, and when you order online, it should update the warehouse quantity and initiate the process of pulling the item for shipment.

    Places like Amazon make it look easy, from a consumer's perspective - but they have a LOT of systems in place to make things run that smoothly. GC does not. Their used gear selection seems like a good idea with no budget to make it work effectively.

    Best bet is to call the store before buying it and try to buy it over the phone. At least then you'll be talking with the person who has the item and the item is in their database. Skip the online queue.
  7. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    It sucks that their website isn't updated with sales and inventory data in real-time, but it isn't all that unusual either.
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Poor business practice on their part in my books. The thing about online ordering systems is that they are handled by a computer. You order online, your order is taken by a computer. There is no reason that the system couldn't immediately mark the item as either "sold" or "pending sale". But that assumes a decent online ordering/stock management system.

    I would say, if you want to be in the game (online sales) then BE IN THE GAME. Half way there is not in the game. I spent 19 years in the computerized transactional world. It's not new. It's not uncharted territory. Get with it. Or get out.
  9. ASQTec

    ASQTec Above Average Supporting Member

    May 2, 2010
    This happened to me recently when I tried to purchase a used SWR cabinet dirt cheap from GC.

    I quicky realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. So I went out and bought some pistachio ice cream and immediately got over it.
  10. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    I reckon reverb is burying GC's used business. Reverb has better customer service and for the most part it's not even their gear being sold!!!!
  11. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    We also don't know if this was an in store sale or what. If it were a new item, you could get a raincheck. It ain't so you can't. This is not like Amazon - it's used gear (so there aren't multiples of the same item), and it is a combination of on line and multiple sites for in person sales.
  12. Anachronism

    Anachronism Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2014
    I doubt it. I think Reverb is mostly taking business from eBay as local guitar stores who had used it to expand their market switch to Reverb.
    MobileHolmes, Joebone and wintremute like this.
  13. Stuff can sell in store before the website updated. This isn't 'bad customer service'. Call the store first to see if it's still available
  14. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    Endorsing artist: Bergantino Audio Systems
    Easy solution, don't buy from them or call store directly.
    bigtone23, Edmang, progrmr and 8 others like this.
  15. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    There is actually very likely a really good reason for it. The website is almost certainly a different system from their inventory and point of sale systems. These backoffice systems are probably legacy systems and likely aren't sized to handle the volume of traffic the website produces.

    Sure, a modern system could probably replace what they have but at a very high price tag.

    For someone who spent two decades around these systems you are trivializing what it would take to get off their current systems. Think about if they had spent all the money to "modernize" even a few years ago. You are talking about at a minimum tens of millions of dollars.

    Amazon is a totally different animal with the amount of resources they apply to the problem. But look at a retailer like Best Buy who appears more modern and is more similar to Guitar Center in the fact that they have numerous distributed retail locations. Even they still have lag when it comes to reflecting store inventory data on their website.
    ak56, ptensioned, TMARK and 2 others like this.
  16. And I can tell you for a fact that the in store system and the online one are two different entities.
    Tbone76, DigitalMan and TMARK like this.
  17. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Yes we do. All of their used gear is for sale in a store. All of it. And no, you don't get rain checks for used gear.
    dalahorse likes this.
  18. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    That means this has to happen all the time. This can't be good business practice. How many disgruntled customers are out there because of this?!
  19. The bolded part is what gets me. I hope you didn't have any issues getting the payment reversed.
    Ox Boris and rogerbmiller like this.
  20. Yeah it happens. You aren't charged until the item ships so it isnt like theyre scamming anyone
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