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Ordering online - The landscape is changing

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Marc61, Feb 17, 2019.


  1. Marc61

    Marc61

    Jul 29, 2007
    Greater NY Area
    I always liked Sweetwater and other online vehicles for ordering online but, it seems like the landscape is changing for two reasons. One, they are now collecting sales tax for NY orders. The other, is if you return you have to pay for that "Free Shipping" that got the item to you.

    It's understood, they're not at fault here because they are collecting tax according to law, and it's probably becoming a loser for them to accept returns. My challenge as a consumer though is it makes it difficult to try out instruments. I ordered an inexpensive ABG, now I'm returning it and it's going to cost me $25-30 to have checked it out. I'll probably be spending more time in local shops now. Challenge there is they don't have the product selection online does

    What's a bass player to do?
     
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I gotta say that I'm still dumbfounded that more people aren't buying from Musiciansfriend. IT'S THE SAME EXACT INSTRUMENTS YOU'RE GETTING in these other online stores. I get passionate about this for 2 reasons.

    1. I don't ever want MF to go out of business.
    2. I want to help my fellow bass players.​

    At Musiciansfriend you can pretty much always get 15% off (you just have to be willing to call), PLUS and additional 8% if you join their backstage pass club. That's 23% off. Now with the sales tax thing, that's another 9%!

    I just bought an American Performer Mustang.

    It cost me $938 at Musiciansfriend, after the 15% and 8% Backstage Pass that I'll use to get strings.

    If I bought it at elsewhere it would cost me $1,308.

    I would have to be a complete fool to spend $370 more.

    I don't get it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  3. Marc61

    Marc61

    Jul 29, 2007
    Greater NY Area

    Do they charge for the cost to ship if you return? In other words, they are telling me for a $250 bass it cost them $11.25 for "free shipping. So that if I return it, they deduct that from the credit. A bigger challenge, that I didn't anticipate is that I'm getting quotes of over $90 to return. Although that I think I can work out with Sweetwater. They'll send me a label and I'll pay that cost
     
    LeAndrew Watt likes this.
  4. scuzzy

    scuzzy

    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    I try to buy used and save roughly 75% or so.
     
  5. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    What confounds me is that people think a return policy is there for them to do test drives, it’s not!! You return, you should have to pay for it, period end of story. Abuse of these policies is what drives prices up.
     
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I never got charged for anything I returned. Though I never returned anything unless it was damaged. I buy lots and lot and lots of stuff. I'd say about 10% of what I buy gets sent back or exchanged. The above mentioned Fender came with a dead neck pickup. I returned it, ordered another so I wouldn't have to wait, and got a complete refund on the first.
     
  7. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Never used Sweetwater.
    Never will.
     
    The Nameless, nibs208 and scottm like this.
  8. Marc61

    Marc61

    Jul 29, 2007
    Greater NY Area
    I don't disagree but, how do you know if the product is to your liking without checking it out? In this case, I read extremely positive reviews but, when I got it, seemed nothing like I thought it would be. BTW - their policies basically state no hassle returns. This implies the policy is for ppl to test drive
     
    eJake and eff-clef like this.
  9. baddarryl

    baddarryl Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    Why?
     
    BoydG, Wissen, jerry and 4 others like this.
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Like you, I research before I buy, but I also buy with the understanding that if I simply "don't like" what I bought, or have buyers remorse (that never happens with me :)), I'll pay return shipping. I kinda agree that on a return of a non defective instrument (or any return, if not an exchange) we should be liable for all shipping (to and from). It's the risk I take for the discount I know I'm getting by buying online.


    Do you think an online company should pay shipping for you to test drive a bass?
     
  11. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    No G&L.
    No Reverend.
    Similar choices exist that sell amps, hardware, etc.
    I prefer AMS for various and sundries.
     
    pjbassist likes this.
  12. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I’ll just point out that it would have cost far more to rent it.

    The other option would have been to pay more and support and only buy from your local music store, so you could have a reasonable range of choices close to you, but the pursuit of low price over all other considerations has rendered that a non-viable option for most buyers as those stores are now long gone and nothing’s going to bring them back.

    Pay Sweetwater to “check stuff out” or pay the upcharge at your local store, either way, you will pay.
     
  13. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    California
    I used to work in a music store. Before we started charging a restock fee, we'd get players coming in to "buy" instruments on a Friday afternoon and "return" them on Monday. They did this because they wanted something for a gig that was better than what they had, and this was the way they got a rental instrument for free.

    That's why you pay shipping to get those instruments back to the dealer. That, and the fact that shipping for them is not free, so it's costing them twice the shipping if you decide you don't want the instrument anymore.
     
    searayus1, bozric, StayLow and 37 others like this.
  14. BassJuju

    BassJuju Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Kentucky
    I have often bought things from Sweetwater and was a bit bummed that they started charging sale tax in some way, but in truth, we were supposed to be paying it anyway. I know, very very few ever actually did that. I also kind of went meh, when I had them deduct the shipping from my return, but I understand. It is one of the reasons I like GC. If I have it shipped to the store, there is never a charge and if I don’t take it, they never charge me for the reurn shipping. I have also bought things from Musicians Friend and I like them too. To be fair, they are essentially GC. Anything that can be had at one can be had at the other including discounts and points toward future purchases. I like them all... in truth, if someone runs a customer service oriented business and have the things for which I seek, I am willing to buy it there.
     
    redwingxix likes this.
  15. Marc61

    Marc61

    Jul 29, 2007
    Greater NY Area
    That's my plan going forward, and has been in the past. Challenge is the local stores can only carry so much stuff.
     
  16. Marc61

    Marc61

    Jul 29, 2007
    Greater NY Area

    i have no objection to paying the return shipping. It's that they put a value on the cost to get it to me. That they won't refund when you return.example - $250 instrument with "free shipping" - on the invoice they say the value of free is $11.25. If I return the instrument I get a credit of $239.75
     
  17. HD007

    HD007 Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    Sweetwater has lower shipping costs than someone who ships infrequently. I believe you can get that lower cost if they send you the label. Have you spoken with your sales rep?
     
  18. Marc61

    Marc61

    Jul 29, 2007
    Greater NY Area

    Yes, I'm waiting to hear back from him. I'm not objecting to that. It's the value they put on "free". That I never experienced.
     
  19. Spidey2112

    Spidey2112

    Aug 3, 2016
    Is the item now considered 'used'? If so, there's another hit...
     
  20. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    California
    Yes, it's an open box and has to be discounted.
     

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