Warning: Buyer beware at Guitar Center

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassranger45, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Sorry if this is beating a dead horse, but wanted to make sure that others are aware of some of the things Guitar Center is getting away with.
    My latest bass, a 5-string Yamaha BB435 was bought from Guitar Center on May 27th 2019.
    I am still fixing the things wrong with this bass:
    1) Broken upper strap screw. The broken piece being below the surface of the wood. So (someone?) just drilled a new hole in the back of the guitar body instead of extracting and repairing at the correct location.
    2) 2 broken tuners. They function but are rattle and buzz monsters.
    3) Bent shaft on one of the volume pots.
    4) Neck tension set such that action is waaaay too low. i know this may be nitpicking but this is a major chain that should be held to a higher standard by it's own management but also by it's customer bass. (If we as consumers just accept anything "these guys try to get away with" then we deserve to be treated with disrespect).
    5) The nut on this bass must have been replaced by someone ( a total dimwit) who built it themselves. I refuse to believe that Yamaha made this nut to have such obviously unequal string spacing.

    When I called to inquire about the bass before buying it online ( my main mistake)
    the sales rep at the Indiana #57 store assured me it was in good playable condition and the only thing wrong with it was that the action might be a tad bit low. He also stated that he had played it just the night before. So, based on his report, I bought it.
    I could return the bass for a refund and I'd only be out the shipping cost. But, I'd have to drive round trip 280 miles to my closest Guitar Center. Then I'd still have to find another bass. I'll take my lumps on this one, and fix everything myself as a lesson to myself and perhaps others possibly considering an online purchase from GC.
    Bottom line is this:
    Do NOT trust Guitar Center to give disclosure, be forthcoming, or honest in the condition of their used equipment.
  2. Was it used? What did you pay for it? Places like Guitar Center really don't inspect the used inventory very closely. When I was in sales, we tried to price our used gear in line with condition, but that doesn't always satisfy a buyer. Unfortunately, that's a problem when you're buying sight unseen. If it's new, you should be able to return it to them under a manufacturer's warranty, but that whole thing about the strap screw tells me this is a used piece. I'm sorry this happened to you :(
  3. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the heads up. Sorry for your experience. Buying used instruments can be a challenging endeavor online. While GC has a pretty big inventory to choose from, I think there are many other smaller online retailers that I would frequent first.

    I hope you can get the bass you bought to a playability that works for you.
    TolerancEJ and LBS-bass like this.
  4. Thanks for the comforting words. Definitely will get this (new to me first 5-stringer) going and soon.
    What online used gear sellers would you recommend?
  5. Jonithen


    Dec 3, 2012
    Seacoast NH
    A 560 mile round trip for a drop off would get me more in the mood to deal with return shipping cost if they email me a shipping label. It'd be worth it in time and gas to me. Not sure what your total out of pocket is.

    Wow man. Good luck whatever you end up doing.

    For what it's worth I've had really good luck here, and pretty OK luck using Reverb. Would recommend getting as much photos as possible to back you up if you ever end up with another "not-as-described" situation.
    LBS-bass likes this.
  6. Just return it if it's that bad. You're under no obligation to keep it.
  7. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    At our big national chain in Canada, you're describing the NEW instruments.
  8. Oh wow! That is very bad to hear about: that Canadians are getting it worse than us with GC. Makes one wonder how they can stay in business?
  9. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Yes, for the most part guitar center does nothing to used gear that comes in. Plus 3/4 of the sales reps I've talked to either know nothin (especially about basses), or will just lie to get the sale (I'm not sure which but the results are the same). I'm only 10 min from my local GC so returning is not a problem. They've alway refunded the shipping they charged me when I buy online if there are functional problems. I bought a $1800 bass that a rep told me was great and only had light surface scratches. When I got it I could tell immediately that it had been poorly refinished, there was finish stuck in the hard-to-sand spots, and the "light surface scratches" Were, in fact, deep sanding scratches and gouges from the re-fin. On top of that I plugged it in to find it hummed uncontrollably.

    I've had the opposite experience too, bought a Tobias Toby recently that was great, and a G&L Tribute L2500 that I love. Both used and really good deals.

    You just have to accept that you won't know until it arrives. Sorry to hear about your experience. Hopefully it was a good enough deal to soften having to put a bit more into it.

    How about some pics? (We really like pics :D)
    TolerancEJ, Spidey2112 and pcake like this.
  10. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Here in Seattle we have The Bass Shop. Not a huge inventory but really solid people. I've bought basses online from Chicago Music Exchange, Bass Club Chicago, and Bass Central in Orlando. Each has some very cool basses and they've been great to deal with.

  11. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    If the instrument is defective, and you tell them, you should not have to pay return shipping if it was shipped to you like that. Call them and talk to them.
    BassWaffle, MDBass, Ekulati and 8 others like this.
  12. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i've gotten some really good deals used at guitar center, enough so that when one needed some work, i was okay with that. but it helps that i live within 15 minutes of our closest guitar center, so returns would be easy for me.
  13. PrinceByTor


    May 25, 2019
    Spokane, Wa
    Sorry about your ordeal; that really sucks the big one... personally I've never had a problem with items I've purchased from GC, but I only buy wot they have in-store that I can examine with my own senses. You have to be careful with buying online sight unseen, you're basically buying the proverbial pig in the poke. Personally, I'd send it back or ask for a partial refund for the damage it showed up in, but make sure and take pictures and document each thing that was not disclosed to you.
    As for buying online, (even though they are owned by the same parent company), Musicians Friend is one I've had a lot of luck with, some haven't though. I've heard nothing but good about Reverb.com too. Also, look around for smaller mom and pop music stores; those guys that run them usually know wot they're selling and will give you a good deal.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  14. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    I get the frustration but most things pan out at the end.

    Does GC suck for a lot of its used gear? Yea... but they also have crazy deals too.

    Do the employees say whatever to get the sale? Yea but keep in mind that the sweet deals wouldnt be too sweet if the employees got a livable wage.

    Would it suck for you to drive that far or have to pay return shipping? Yea, but thats likely nothing compared to what you save on cost of living by being that far out so in the end.. Id assume youre still up.
  15. cavemanbass


    Nov 5, 2010
    I use their pick up in store a lot and have mostly gotten stuff in way better shape then I expected - amps as well as basses. Things that were not in line with their description they either credited me some $ or gave a full refund including shipping. Much easier then dealing with eBay or any other online returns. Obviously not for you due to the huge travel but I would guess there are few people on TB in your situation.
    tadawson and milesdavisblue like this.
  16. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Birmingham AL
    GC has a 45 day return policy- get your money back!
  17. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Send it back and post pictures of the issues. Not to be an ass but I have read so many stories here of people that I would not like to have as customers.

    We should have a rule: no pictures no issues
  18. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    Bought a bass from GC online that was nowhere near the described condition. Wood showing in the wrong places with the polyurethane finish flaked off on the body, would not sit well with most buyers, especially when it's not mentioned or shown in the pictures, which are notoriously bad. Tone control is wonky. The price was right. Free relic finish, I guess.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  19. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    The fact that you don’t want to return the bass and you rather fix it yourself , tells me that in your opinion , this bass is not in such a terrible condition.

    Now , the fact that the nearest gc is 280 miles away ??
    PDGood, Aqualung60 and jd56hawk like this.
  20. tlite

    tlite Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2016
    +1 on Calling them.

    You never know what they might be able to do for you. Ask to talk to a manager and be polite. It helps.

    Worst case is you wind up right where you are now after the call. Best case you get some cash back in your pocket for the condition issues, or they cover shipping and get your refund going.

    Many GC employees are decent folks and will want to help out a fellow musician in this situation with a fair resolution.

    Let us know how it works out.
    PDGood, EatS1stBassist, pcake and 3 others like this.