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Update on Guitar Center's used prices - no discount

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Direct Box Rox, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    So I posted about a month ago asking if GC negotiates on used gear. Multiple people have said they've never once bought their item for the price as marked. Here's what just happened to me a few minutes ago;

    I had my eye on a used bass for $1499.99. And I know that they've had it AT LEAST 30 days (but who knows - could have been there for 3 mos for all I know). So if you're like me, you get bombarded daily - all year long with "Labor Day Sale! Presidents Day Sale! Christmas Sale! Memorial Day Sale! 4th of July Sale! blah blah blah etc. etc." along with "Save 10%! Save 25%!" blah blah. So I call the local store that the instrument was at and asked for a manager. I explained how I see these "coupons" all year and would like to buy the bass I saw & asked "how much wiggle room is there regarding the price?" - without hesitation, the manager says "All our gear is fair market value and we do not negotiate whatsoever - the price is the price." So there was no "Umm, let me see what I can do - hold on for a minute...." blah blah. He just said it matter of factly without even hesitating. I confirmed by saying "Well, then that's it - you're saying it's $1499.99 and there won't even be a discussion about even the smallest 5 or 10% discount?" He responded with "if you want to put it like that - then yes." I said thank you and hung up.

    The price in an of itself was good but I figured since it'd been collecting dust for over a month that he'd entertain 10% or even an 8% discount.

    So for those that have negotiated on used gear from GC - I tip my hat to you - because I was stonewalled hard. And not that it mattered - but as soon as he picked up the phone he sounded like a dick. There was no friendliness or anything. He was very blaze (blah-zay) and his tone of voice reflected that of "I could care less what your trying to buy - we don't negotiate."

    BTW - I had my credit card out and was ready to pull the trigger right then & there. I also went home & ordered the bass online. I figured if I'm not getting any type of discount then I might as well just buy it online.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  2. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    This is pretty much my experience. I have found their policies--across all the stores I have communicated with--are quite rigid. They will not consider any discount on used gear unless it has sat in their store for a certain amount of time (I don't remember the interval which makes it clear that it turned me off). And the same goes for shipping. Many times i have called stores in other states because I was ready to but at their price but simply found their shipping to be prohibitively expensive (i.e. the shipping killed the deal for me). But no. No budging on the price.

    And if one understands how little they pay for used gear and how much they ask for that gear, one feels even worse about their lack of willingness to negotiate.

    That shipping issue is particularly frustrating to me. Think about it; a very large biz like them does a lot of shipping. Every day. New products. Used products. Shipping stuff all day long. The fact that they will not negotiate on that makes it clear that they are foolishly missing out on sales. This all is even more frustrating because over the years I HAVE bought new and used gear and spent no small amount of money with them (because they either had something unique or I needed something quickly or on a Sunday). Don't you think they would check the sales history for the customer before saying "no?" Wouldn't they want to reward someone who HAS bought gear from them?

    Now I want to be clear that I believe that a business should feel free to do whatever they want to do. I simply feel that they do not understand the business landscape and thus, make it clear they don't want my business.

    My local indie store has gladly worked with me since the late 70's They have my allegiance because they treat me incredibly well. Some of the sales guys there have been there from my first visit. I have bought most of my gear from them. Keys, basses, electrics, acoustics, recording gear, speakers, mixers...they have treated me well, been open to negotiation, and made me feel like a friend.

    I have never been treated that way at GC.
    I bought a pack of strings for one of my 12-strings from them the other night because I needed them and they are on my way home. They only had one option and I paid about twice what they should be.

    I really am not trying to slag them or brag about how much I buy. It is all about logic. It is all about the music. I live for music so I spend most of my money on gear. It is their choice as to how easy they make it for potential customers to spend their money and it is their choice as to how they train their employees and how they treat people. Again, they are free to do whatever they want. But as a businessman I don't grade them very highly. And so I exercise my freedom to spend where I feel welcomed.
  3. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    Yeah, same experience here in recent times.
    Rock on.
  4. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    It's funny how they won't budge even a nickel on used gear - yet when they have their annual meeting with their FedEx/UPS rep - the first order of business is GC seeing how much of a discount they can negotiate. I'd like to see GC's reaction if the UPS rep said "We don't give discounts anymore. The listed rates are the rates. If you don't like it, call our competitor."

    The bass I bought has no type of case and is strung with flatwounds. The deal I was thinking of which would have been sweet is 8% or 10% off - and just throw in a new set of strings for me. You don't even have to install them - I'll do it myself. But since the guy wouldn't budge on the sales price I didn't even mention the strings. I hope this bass is worth it and lives up to the hype.
  5. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    Now, to be fair, there ARE some folks (quite a few) here on the boards that seem to be quite happy with the service they have received. :)

    I encourage them to pipe up and post.
  6. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    I'm going to go with "it depends". On many things. Not all of which may make sense to the customer, myself included.

    The bass in my avatar came from GC several years ago. It was mislabeled to begin with, which was fine by me, and when I called the store before pulling the trigger I asked the employee a very specific question, to which his answer was "no". Well, the bass arrived, and sure enough the answer to my question should've been "yes". I called the store back, asked for the manager, politely explained the situation and got a nice discount on an already good price.

    However, when I was buying my (since sold) Gibson Les Paul Special (guitar, not a bass) in my local store where I've bought, sold and traded in a decent amount of gear altogether they wouldn't go down one red cent on it. The price was reasonable to begin with, so I shrugged my shoulders and paid. No regrets then or now.

    I've also attempted to negotiate a purchase of another old Gibson bass online - of which the additional pictures showed a major flaw which would've cost easily $500 + to set straight - and was offered a whopping $100 discount. Now, I didn't expect them to go down all the way, but a slightly bigger discount would've netted them a sale then and there.

    I did manage to get minor (5-10%) discounts on other used gear in my local store on a couple of occasions, but that's not something that I ever count on going in.

    On the bright side, on two occasions that I ended up returning an item (one brand new and one used) the experience was so painless that it's not even funny.

    So while the some of GC's policies do leave me shaking my head my overall experience with them has been positive. Granted, I don't buy 50 guitars/amps a year so I present an *extremely* small and statistically irrelevant sample of their customer base, but I've been pretty pleased with them generally speaking.

    Obviously, YMMV.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    Indiedog likes this.
  7. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    I'm surprised to read they didn't offer store to store shipping (for free) and pass the shipping savings on to their customer.
  8. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    I suspect (but have no data proving it) that if you’re at the store that has the gear you’re interested in, in person, they would be more likely to haggle. Cash and carry, no packing and shipping.
    BwanaDust, wncBass, ruju and 4 others like this.
  9. Something I've done in the past is: hand them a business card with my offer on the back. Tell them to call me if they want to sell it. Say thanks for their time, and leave. And yes, this only works face to face. No phone, no email, etc.

    You never know if they'll change their minds.
  10. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Either way, they won because I bought the bass. Would have been an extra good deal if some type of gig bag was included as well as some fresh strings. I'm just looking forward to getting it and now I'm in the process of looking for an amp.
    SactoBass likes this.
  11. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    That approach worked for me, albeit a good number of years ago, and well before the internet allowed for much in the way of shopping alternatives or price research.

    Dropping by a local GC during my lunch hour, I spotted a used Ashbory on the wall. It must have come in fairly recently, because it didn't have a tag on it. I asked the young guy on the sales floor how much they were asking for it, but he said he didn't know. He asked someone else on staff, but they didn't know either. He then said, apologetically, "Sorry, my manager's out at lunch, so I don't know what to tell you."

    Figuring there was nothing to be gained without a gamble, I said, "Tell you what: I'm at lunch too, and I've got to go. But I'll give you $100 cash for it, out the door, right now."

    The kid froze for a second, then looked to the other staffer. Staffer #2 looked at the tiny little rubber-stringed bass in my hands, looked back at the kid, shrugged, and said, "Sell it." They did, and that's how I got my Ashbory.

    I've occasionally wondered if the same thing could happen now. I kinda doubt it.
  12. redstrand


    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    They used to, made buying stuff easier
    Clark Dark likes this.
  13. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    Used prices are fixed for 90 days and then they may (or may not) lower the price. It's a one-off item and if you don't buy it, someone else will. The biggest thing they have going for them is a decent used selection that can be shipped to your closest store and then you can try and return if it's not your thing. Be aware that the return period is shorter for vintage gear, just a few days.
    Machiavelli and Direct Box Rox like this.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    That has not been my experience with GC when it comes to used gear. Somebody else may have had better success however.
  15. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    There is one thing wrong with your tactic of buying it over the phone.

    A customer in front of an employee is far more likely to buy than one on the phone. There is also the whole "reject my offer to my face" anyone can do it over the phone.

    I have never expected to get the best deal from someone over a phone inquiry.
  16. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    What bass was it?

    I've only bought one used bass from guitar center. It was an '88 Warwick Streamer. I want to say I paid $2400 for it. My market research shows that it should probably be priced around $2000. On top of that, the truss rod was broken. I think replacing it cost me $50 and 10 mins of work. I tried to negotiate to no avail. I am so happy with the purchase because I've never seen a similar one in as good of condition and it is my favorite playing bass.

    A couple of things things that come to mind from your post for me:

    I think your experience would be the same or worse with individual sellers posting gear appropriately valued then you asking for them to throw in a gig bag, strings, and take $150 off a $1500 bass.

    I find it odd that you would nickel and dime on some parts of gear then spend twice what you should on strings.

    Finally, I think you meant guitar center couldn't care less.
    matante likes this.
  17. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    I agree. However, I wasn't going to drive or fly 1000 miles to Florida to use my negotiating skills w/ the GC manager. So the next best thing is trying over the phone - which failed. But it's ok because typically this bass is usually $1000 more then what I paid. There are two of them online right now and they are listed at about $2400 (so say $900 more then I paid). So even with getting no discount - I feel like I got a pretty good deal.

    BTW - I like how they say that orders placed before noon typically ship the same day. How'd I know that the day was going to come and go and I would still have no email confirmation saying "Your order has shipped!? I ordered the instrument online at approx 10:30 am. Hopefully it will ship tomorrow.
    Machiavelli likes this.
  18. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    One thing I have found is, if you buy used gear from them with the protection plan, you can return the gear for full refund within the time allotted. The manager may squeal, but they will do it.

    Also, note that on new gear with the protection plan, GC will not honor it until after the manufacturer warranty expires if its something covered in the manufacturer warranty. Sales staff is unlikely to explain that to you when making the purchase.

    I bought the 2-year coverage on a recent purchase, and since the device has some minor flaws not worth messing with a manufacturer warranty return, GC can eat the cost of it a few days after the original warranty expires towards an upgrade, or anything else in the store I might want then.

    So while they may not be friendly to haggling, I do recommend getting the protection plans on anything you can foresee wanting to return or upgrade. It can come in handy, and give you some leverage you otherwise wouldn't have. I suspect that only a relatively small % of people who buy the extended coverages ever use it.
    timplog and Direct Box Rox like this.
  19. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    The price on the protection plans basically say that there is a one in five chance that this is going to blow up. If that's true, I don't want the item. Generally, if it's going to blow up it will do so in the first 30 days or even less. The only protection plan I buy is Apple Care and they've been very good to me with any issues I've had.
    Direct Box Rox likes this.
  20. StatesideRambler


    Jul 1, 2015
    “So I call the local store ...”
    And there is where you first went wrong. When you want to haggle for a price your negotiating horsepower is nil while you’re talking on the phone unless they know you to be a regular customer. Not a big customer? If you want them to believe you’re serious you need to be there to finish the deal carry it out the door. That you feel serious on the phone doesn’t mean anything if they believe (true or not) that you’re on a fishing trip and you probably won’t even come in this month.
    A. It’s a local store; have you bought enough from them that they know who you are and they know that they can take you seriously? Phone inquiries are often time wasters just satisfying curiosity.
    B. Once you’re on the sales floor don’t ASK them what kind of deal they’ll give you. Tell them what your offer is and work from there. They (not GC, not anyone) are not in the business of discounting for no particular reason. Used gear certainly doesn’t fall under the loss leader category.
    C. If you're going to make a discounted offer be sure you know what the gear is worth on the market in the condition that one is in.
    D. The bass was there for a month, that you know of. How long is a long time for gear to hang on the wall before it sells? Maybe that bass has an average of 6 months selling time. At one month they won’t be terribly anxious to move it. Nor at 3 months.

    If you want to get a great deal you need to understand the business better.
    Brad Johnson, wncBass and SactoBass like this.

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