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problem with recently bought rickenbacker, should i ask for a return?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by UnderDogbassist, May 11, 2011.

  1. i recently bought a 1981 mapleglo 4001 bass on ebay, and even though i'm not shy about buying my basses online (5 of my last 6 bass purchases have been from online, the majority have turned out great, but ended up selling them in the end), this time i think i got something that is along the lines of what most people warn me about. this is the description:

    MUST SELL! my '81 Rickenbacker 4001 Bass. This beautiful Natural finish bass has been played on many rock and pop records i have produced that you may have heard on the radio, and it sounds and plays amazing. in great shape, considering the miles it's seen. never dropped or refinished. no broken headstocks or anything like that. hate to see it go, but i don't use her anymore. PLEASE, if you are a grownup still living with your parents, sitting with your guitar in your bedroom and so bored that you feel the need to ask me a million senseless questions that i don't have time to answer DO NOT BID. serious players and buyers only need to bid. I don't have that kind of time, and my eBay history speaks for itself.


    oh.. this comes with a brand new hardshell case!


    it doesnt talk about the finish problems, which even there are some big ones (all on the back, so the audience can't see them) they are NOT the reason that i am here.

    there are four problems that i am concerned about

    1. when i plugged in the bass, it seems that that the jack is loose or something, (the nut seems fine) because when i plug it in and try to move with the bass, or play it while sitting, the jack makes noises, not unlike the sound you get when you plug in your bass while your amp and volume is on.

    2. when i pulled the bass out, 2 of the labels on the knobs fell off, and stayed off.

    3. i don't know about this one, but when i plugged the bass in and played, it only plays through the neck pickup, no bridge.

    i messaged him about these 3 problems, and his reply was that the 4001's work differently and if i use a mono guitar cable and only 1 amp, that i could only play out of 1 pickup. i personally have never heard of this, and i did a search on the internet, and it seems it's a non-existant topic.

    the fourth problem, and honestly this is the one which i think will be the key to getting my return/buyer protection is that the case that the bass came in is far from BRAND NEW, like it says the description. the case, i am not kidding, looks older than the rick, it's beatem up, taped up, and the worst part is, 2 of the 3 clamps/latches/whatever are broken, and they've been literally broken off. and what remains of them is taped up.

    this is one beautiful bass, and i really hoped it would play the same, but it's just not working out for me. do you think i should ask for a return, even though the actual auction said no returns accepted. i don't know what to do with this, and i don't want to sell it someone else, because then hed just end up coming after me. should i talk to ebay to look into buyer protection? i mean even though it's a technicality, i can still probably get somewhere with the case argument, because technically it's not as described.what do you guys think?

    EDIT: also, do you buy his reasoning for why the bass only plays through one pickup?

  2. Return it. I don't know what you paid, but I'm guessing you probably could have bought a new 4003 for the same money. The electronics issues are reason enough, the HSC is icing on the cake. Dispute it in paypal.
  3. There should be two output jacks on the guitar. One is labeled "Standard" and the other labeled "Ric-O-Sound". If you plug a mono cable in the the "Standard" jack, you should absolutely have both pickups.

    I hate to say it, but the whole thing seems pretty sketchy. I'd consider returning it if possible.
  4. that's exactly what i thought, i knew that from my previous 4003, but i was unsure if 4001 was any different, but i had a good idea that it wasn't.

    how should i return it, should i just tell him "look, there's too many things wrong with this whole thing, i'd like to return it" and if he says no contact paypal and ebay? I haven't mentioned the case yet, or even messaged him back, just making sure i have this whole thing planned out before i screw up and make it unreturnable.
  5. ianmatth


    Dec 10, 2009
    Passaic, NJ
    I'd think the jack issue could be fixed easily, and the label on the knobs wouldn't be a deal breaker IMO, but a dead bridge pickup is a pretty serious issue, and if he said the case was brand new and it wasn't, that is obviously a problem as well. If he refuses to give you a refund and you paid with a credit card, dispute it with your credit card company, don't even waste your time with paypal. And if you receive payments through paypal, make sure they don't try to give you a partial credit saying the payment was a partial refund (I had this happen to me).
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    You can get 4 new knobs from Rickenbacker or a dealer --->>> $20

    The jack and the bridge pickup problems probably means you need a new Ric-o-sound wiring --->>> $25

    The most expensive problem is the case --->>> $220

    I suspect the bridge pickup is actually still good but if it isn't that will cost $150

    The new 4003 basses are better than the 80s basses, but some prefer the older ones.
  7. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Not wierd at all for an old bass. The surfaces of the jack probably need to be cleaned. Pull the jack and look at the tabs - you'll most likely see glazing on the surfaces where the 800,000 bazillion different cords that have been plugged into and out of it over the years made contact with the tabs. The tabs may also have bent slightly outwards for the same reason and don't contact the jack surfaces as strongly as they used to. You can carefully bend them back by hand so they push on the jack a little stronger. Worst case scenario, replace the jack.
    My 4003 has this same problem and it's the jack. I just haven't ever given it the treatment outlined above to fix it - I rarely ever play it and when I do i only use the bridge PU. I can get the bridge PU by itself by plugging a mono cord into the "rick-o-sound" stereo jack for free so that's normally what I do.
    He's probably thinking of the scenario above where you plug into the Rick-o-sound jack, tho that normally gives you only the bridge PU and not the neck.

    If it were me, I'd just pull the jack plate off and fix or replace the jacks. Check for good solder connections there as well.

  8. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
  9. Antny


    Jan 30, 2011
    New York
    I'd give the seller 2 options;

    1. A 100% refund.
    2. Split the cost of a bass tech to look it over and give an estimate of repairs. Also, have the seller buy you a NEW hsc to replace the crappy one, since that's what was advertised.
  10. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    There is no such thing as "no returns" on ebay. He has to accept it back and give you a full refund.

    Assuming it's this, for the money you paid, there should be no problems. It is a nice looking bass, and most of your issues are easy fixes (assuming the dead pickup is related to the jack). But the case issue is very sketchy. Sounds like he chose to keep that new case and ship you an old one at the last minute.

    Assuming the other issues are minor, at the very least he needs to send you a new case or give you a partial refund. If he's a pain, return it. (I very much don't like the guy's attitude)
  11. UncleMattGuy


    Jan 26, 2011
    Sorry to hear that you were lied to. Here's my $.02-
    IF you got a killer deal and
    IF think you can love the bass
    Then I would glue the knob stickers back on, take it to the local trusted luthier to go over the wiring and setup meanwhile try to deal with the seller about the case. Or go to a hardware store and find some workable latches.
    Sucks that he was dishonest but if it's a bass you love, the hassle and frustration of those disputes is monumental ( especially if it doesn't go your way)
  12. UncleMattGuy


    Jan 26, 2011
    Sorry to double post but I just looked at his ad- what a jerk! It all sounds like BS. If the bass had been played on famous recordings then he would have listed the recordings by name, what a selling point! The rude comments about people living with their parents, lack of disclosure about wiring issues and outright lie about the case certainly warrant negative feedback at the very least.
  13. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Mile High Bassist Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    Agreed. Simply based on the seller's negative wording in the description, I wouldn't have bid at all.
    I would suggest getting a refund - the OP could have a new 4003 from Wildwood for just a bit more than he paid for this, and it would not only come with a new case, it would come with new EVERYTHING, & a warranty to boot!
  14. Augment


    Apr 19, 2011
    Honestly, as mentioned, I wouldn't have bought it for even $500 based on the sellers' attitude. I don't care how many lame mid-80's studio sessions the thing has been used for; I just want to know that what I'm buying is in working condition. If I wanted to buy a 4001 for its "historical" value, I'd wait until Geddy Lee lists one on eBay...

    His snide comments about "bored" people asking him a million questions sounds like his way of trying to avoid having to admit the thing isn't up to par.

    While most of the electrical problems should likely be easy/cheap fixes, there's no reason it shouldn't have been taken care of BEFORE the guy sold it.

    Personally, I'd return it just for the satisfaction of knowing I didn't give this guy my money.
  15. If I love a guitar or bass, I usually try to negotiate a refund commensurate to the cost of the work required to make things right. You're certainly protected by PayPal and eBay for an item that was inaccurately described, so a full return/refund is always an option if the seller gives you a hard time, but refunding you around $200.00-$250.00 sounds fair.

    I just bought a Fender Coronado on eBay, and the nut had been filed for a lefty, which wasn't revealed fully until after the sale. I negotiated with the seller and he is picking up the cost for my tech to craft and install a new bone nut.

    As others have said, the knob tops and electrical problem are probably relatively cheap simple fixes. The case, not so cheap and simple.

    A great playing bass is a beautiful thing, so, if it is a great player, that would be the tipping point for me. Your seller has 100% feedback and has around 8-10 transactions this year alone, he evidently values eBay and may be flexible.

    Another poster above made a great point: You paid nearly the street value of a newer 4003. Which is a subtle vote for return it and start over.
  16. Randall


    Aug 6, 2009
    I suppose it depends on what you paid for it. Those problems other than the case are easily fixed. For what you would pay in shipping it back you could buy the parts and fix it up. ;)
  17. john grey

    john grey

    Apr 19, 2011
    Oracle, Arizona
    Unquestionably - yes: return it. Only time will disclose any other problems and the likelihood is the longer you take to contact eBay's Resolution Center, the greater chance they will turn down a refund. The faster you move the better.
    This is a "set-up" statement: "in great shape, considering the miles it's seen." This could mean anything. This guy was trying to off this guitar fast. The problems with the plug sound very suspicious - like either it was worked on inappropriately or it was dropped with a jack in place. Dead spots in the neck can take some time to find, serious electronic issues can make a serious wallet hole. This guy doesn't want to answer questions so he acts like he's doing you a favor to talk to you.....that's a set-up. I had a 4001 and did NOT have problems with the pick-ups.

    I wrote about this exact issue with eBay purchases in the Sticky Thread on buying from eBay. The wording was well thought out to pave the way to fight a return! Very bad ethics.
  18. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Unless you got a crazy good deal on it, I agree.
  19. ianmatth


    Dec 10, 2009
    Passaic, NJ
    Hence why I didn't think those were such big deals

    Sometimes that seller on eBay who parts Rics out will have a better deal on a slightly used case. The 2007 4003 body I bought from him was pristine, so I imagine the case that came with it was in great shape as well.

    I don't think a brand new neck pickup would match up well with the neck pickup on his bass, I feel the impedance of the pickups should be pretty close. If he watches eBay he might get lucky like I did and get a great deal on a vintage bridge pickup that matches up better with his neck pickup. He could also get in touch with Sergio for a custom pickup.
  20. thanks for the response guys! i've just recently messaged him about the case, i mentioned that i hope that we can settle the issue, and that if we can't, i'll have to take alternate means (meaning return it, and talk to ebay, bad reveiw the list goes on)

    the pickup has no longer become a problem, for dumb reason all i had to do was give the pickup a little nudge and suddenly it started working again. the jack has become less of a hassle, and the labers aren't that bad.

    the case is what is getting me, like i said, i hope to receive word on what he suggests, i'm gonna let him have one more chance to redeem himself. if he can turn up with a case that at the very least WORKS (dont really care about new at this point) then i will probably be satisfied, and give it to a luthier to make sure everything 100%

    if not, well then, the next place that bass is going is back into the box and i will contact my credit card dealer to sort things out :) thx for the suggestions, and if you have any other tips, then write on.

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