Guitar Center selling floor models online as new

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by farren, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. farren


    Jul 12, 2016
    A couple months back I was in the market for an Ibanez SR5005 (I'm still in the market for an SR5005 despite buying a brand new one two months ago, but that nightmare has its own thread elsewhere). I shopped around online and inquired for pics of every SR5005 I knew to be in stock. Guitar Center had two at the time (they now have the same two and one additional). They list their serial number and their location and you can choose which one to add to your cart. I first took the store names and called both stores where sales people were kind enough take photos of each bass and text them to me.

    The SR5005 in California was photographed on a glass case with tags and pickup plastic still attached--truly new and fresh out of the hardshell. The one in Pennsylvania was photographed hanging from the wall right next to a <$500 bass. Judging by the very early serial number, it had been hanging there for months. No tags, no pickup plastic, and while the resolution was low, it appeared to be dusty. It's still available on the website and is likely still hanging there.

    Had I randomly ordered one from GC online, I would have had a 50% chance of paying $2300 plus tax for a floor model which has been handled by who knows how many people. I know that, with GC's return policy, you can never count on something there truly being new, but leaving an Ibanez Prestige out on the floor for some time and selling it as though it were new is nonetheless not cool.

    The lesson? Beware expensive instruments ordered via Guitar Center's website, or at least call the specific store where it's in stock first for more details.
  2. Guitar Center isn't a warehouse. Now, Musicians Friend IS and they are under the same corporate umbrella, so they DO share inventory. Actually, I kinda doubt Guitar Center tasks their stores to ship NEW items to online customers, so if you ordered online, you'd probably get one from the warehouse - UNLESS they're not in stock in the warehouse, then you could in theory end up with a floor model.

    In any case, if you are ordering from a physical store, I would expect them to sell floor models. If you walk in to GC, they have the prices on the items - same prices as online - and they sell stuff off the floor. Sometimes you can ask that they get a new one "from in back" - if they have any others.
    Gluvhand likes this.
  3. Ghastly


    Oct 18, 2015
    I've ordered new a couple times. Not from GC though. I just put in the order through the shop. Within a month or two I had my new instrument. I would unbox it there and inspect it. I'm pleased with how smoothly it goes and have the confidence of having a new item.
  4. farren


    Jul 12, 2016
    Did you check the link? They only have three SR5005s in stock right now, and you select the specific one you want to order by serial number and location. Try it. If you select the Pennsylvania bass, you get a floor model, and if you select La Mesa, you get one that was only removed from the case to be photographed, but without research (i.e. calling the individual stores as I did) most customers won't realize that. As for floor models when you're physically in the store, depending on the manager, they can often be had for a large discount. No negotiating for discounts online where you can end up paying full price for what is essentially a program car.

    They do ship from individual stores in cases like this. What other conclusion can be drawn based on my experience?

    Ghastly, that sounds like the typical experience of the authorized dealer ordering a brand new instrument from the national distributor upon customer request. That's what I ended up doing. Unfortunately, I couldn't check the bass at the store before taking it home as I had to order it from several hundred miles away. That's how I ended up with a "brand new" splintered bass.

    Edit: I emailed customer service. Got a mostly boilerplate reply, but they thanked me for alerting them to the problem and claimed they would not sell the Plythmouth Meeting bass as new. It's still listed for the time being.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016