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Old 01-27-2019, 05:10 PM
Wild Fiddler Wild Fiddler is offline
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Default “Return Denied” on Trial Guitar… Questions, Conclusions & Photos

OP from the earlier discussion back again. The original thread had so many responses, it seemed best to start a new one. If you want to read the initial thread, it’s here: https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=534936

Some details were left out of the earlier discussion in order to keep the posts brief and discreet. I still had hopes of working things out with the dealer. I also wanted to see the reported scratches with my own eyes.

A SHORT RECAP
The “Return Denied” concerns a new Martin 00-17 authentic 1931. I was hoping it would be easy for me to switch between this Martin and my Froggy Bottom H-12. But the Martin’s 1 7/8 inch nut was just too wide for me to adjust to, hence the attempted return.

As some of you guessed, the dealer involved is Maury’s Music. Maury had cautioned me that this 00-17 has unusually thin finish, and to exercise extra caution playing it. No worries, I thought. I play professionally on a 200 year old violin, and am accustomed to being very careful with delicate instruments.

Accordingly I wore sweat pants and a sweat shirt while playing the guitar (no zippers, belts or watch straps), and no finger picks. When packing it up for return, I saw no scratches. Despite the precautions, when Maury received the guitar, he sent me an email saying “Return Denied.” He included photos of what he said were scratches on the upper treble bout, and extending into the finish off the pick guard, which he said voided the return.

So I called to ask how he checks for marks and scratches. He said he uses two examination rooms and three different kinds of lights. They include natural daylight under a skylight, a bright LED, and also some kind of fluorescent lighting. Maury made it clear he would not take the guitar back, even if I offered a re-stocking fee. No compromises. No exceptions.

THE GUITAR COMES BACK A SECOND TIME
The guitar was returned to me a couple days ago. After letting it acclimate, here’s what I found. Under the best daylight, if I held the guitar just right, a few inches from my face, I could see faint marks, right where Maury’s photos showed them. Under normal light, they were almost invisible.

I noticed the finish of the guitar had a slight cloudy haze in various places, including the areas in the photos. I lightly rubbed a soft cotton cloth over these areas. No polish or compound, just one or two wipes, the way you would to remove a few fingerprints. And that was all it took to remove the “scratches.” My guess is the marks were in the hazing, not in the finish. If the light is just right, I do see faint scratches on the plastic pick guard, possibly from fingernails. Hard to imagine any dealer would refuse a guitar under these conditions.

Am posting photos at bottom of page. Maury’s are the darker ones. Mine from today are the lighter ones.

FINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH DEALER
I let Maury know there do not appear to be ANY finish scratches and requested a phone call next week to resolve the matter. He emailed back in part as follows: “Nothing more to discuss by email or phone. Consider your Maury’s Music account permanently closed.”

WHAT TO CONCLUDE?
There were many thoughtful posts in the original thread. Thanks for those. Here are my thoughts and questions.

1) Common Ground. We are all in this together, dealers, players and collectors alike. We all want good shops and luthiers to stay in business, and for wonderful guitars to be available for musicians.

2) Trial Period. Clearly a dealer has every right to protect himself from those who would abuse their return policy. But a player also expects a “trial period” to be just that: a chance to try a guitar in good faith. If a dealer sets the bar impossibly high for a return, what is a player to do?

3) We need to decide what we value most. Maybe a collector most wants to know the latest guitar acquisition is untouched. How untouched are we talking? Maybe a player actually prefers a guitar that is broken in a little. Does the player expect a discount for that? Do we want dealers to make instruments accessible, or keep them behind glass? Do we want the lowest possible prices, or the highest level of service?

Probably we can’t have it both ways. Maybe we travel further to real shops? And possibly order less stuff on line?

I may explore filing a dispute claim with my credit card company. If you all have any more thoughts or advice, I’m all ears!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Maury 3.jpg (19.2 KB, 899 views)
File Type: jpg Maury 1.jpg (27.5 KB, 894 views)
File Type: jpg Maury 2.jpg (19.5 KB, 893 views)
File Type: jpg WF 1.jpg (47.6 KB, 890 views)
File Type: jpg WF 2.jpg (42.4 KB, 881 views)
File Type: jpg WF 3.jpg (40.8 KB, 883 views)

Last edited by Kerbie; 01-27-2019 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Removed details
  #2  
Old 01-27-2019, 05:20 PM
tadol tadol is offline
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That’s insane - I’d go to the credit card company and dispute. I’d never do business with them again -
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:34 PM
Pkdawg Pkdawg is offline
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I honestly can’t tell in the pics if it’s light glare or a smudge or anything.

Here is a video of Maury’s playing that model with no special wardrobe. Maybe they caused the issue playing it themselves? https://youtu.be/EUKcO63WH8Q

Were there any before photos that they shared with you like Sweetwarer does?

I’m on side that the store is in a much better position to sell this at this point than you and even if they don’t make a big profit from a needing to possibly discount it from some wear and tear it’s the right thing to do on their behalf. You’ll take a hit regardless and that seems unfair to me.

I can guarantee I’ll never buy from Maury’s at this point. Not worth the risk regardless.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:35 PM
Rockysdad Rockysdad is offline
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Well Wild Fiddler, I read the original post & replies as the days went by. I've got to say I amazed at the outcome. I guess when making purchases, we'd better get *everything* in writing and then add in the * how lucky do you feel on this transaction ?*
Sorry you had to go through this experience.
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Last edited by Kerbie; 01-27-2019 at 05:53 PM. Reason: Edited
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:39 PM
ches ches is offline
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Amazing. I’d definitely dispute it with my credit card company.

You just cured me from ever ordering online again. I desperately want to buy a 000/OM, but I won’t take the chance now.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:42 PM
RockyRacc00n RockyRacc00n is offline
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I followed this story with interest from the start, because I had gone through a very similar experience few month back. I knew it was Maury's Music but I held back from saying anything because it sounded like the OP was in the process of trying to work it out.

I thought about telling my story at the time as a lesson learned and a warning to others, but decided not to because it seemed like a fuss, and I didn't want to cause a stir with a sponsor who seemed favored by many here. So I buried it and moved on.

But when I read Wild Fiddler's story, it made me think back and now makes me want to tell my story as well.... Will think about starting a new thread.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:44 PM
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I'll remember this. When I get an OM-21 for my retirement, it won't be from Maury's.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:48 PM
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I appreciate your update.

Last edited by Kerbie; 01-27-2019 at 05:54 PM. Reason: Edited
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:51 PM
MaurysMusic MaurysMusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Fiddler View Post
OP from the earlier discussion back again. The original thread had so many responses, it seemed best to start a new one. If you want to read the initial thread, it’s here: https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=534936

Some details were left out of the earlier discussion in order to keep the posts brief and discreet. I still had hopes of working things out with the dealer. I also wanted to see the reported scratches with my own eyes.

A SHORT RECAP
The “Return Denied” concerns a new Martin 00-17 authentic 1931. I was hoping it would be easy for me to switch between this Martin and my Froggy Bottom H-12. But the Martin’s 1 7/8 inch nut was just too wide for me to adjust to, hence the attempted return.

As some of you guessed, the dealer involved is Maury’s Music. Maury had cautioned me that this 00-17 has unusually thin finish, and to exercise extra caution playing it. No worries, I thought. I play professionally on a 200 year old violin, and am accustomed to being very careful with delicate instruments.
And then I cautioned you, you should worry- that these guitars have a very delicate finish, and I worry that you're not realizing how tricky it is to audition one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Fiddler View Post
Accordingly I wore sweat pants and a sweat shirt while playing the guitar (no zippers, belts or watch straps), and no finger picks. When packing it up for return, I saw no scratches. Despite the precautions, when Maury received the guitar, he sent me an email saying “Return Denied.” He included photos of what he said were scratches on the upper treble bout, and extending into the finish off the pick guard, which he said voided the return.

So I called to ask how he checks for marks and scratches. He said he uses two examination rooms and three different kinds of lights. They include natural daylight under a skylight, a bright LED, and also some kind of fluorescent lighting.
I told you we have 3 kinds of light here in our store; a skylight, LEDceiling lights, and Fluorescent studio lights. We don't have examination rooms per se.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Fiddler View Post
Maury made it clear he would not take the guitar back, even if I offered a re-stocking fee. No compromises. No exceptions.
I made it clear that there are no exceptions when we spoke on the phone both before your order, again during your order - and the STOP paper we included with your guitar made that clear, too. This is not something that should have surprised you after your decision to return it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Fiddler View Post
THE GUITAR COMES BACK A SECOND TIME
The guitar was returned to me a couple days ago. After letting it acclimate, here’s what I found. Under the best daylight, if I held the guitar just right, a few inches from my face, I could see faint marks, right where Maury’s photos showed them. Under normal light, they were almost invisible.

I noticed the finish of the guitar had a slight cloudy haze in various places, including the areas in the photos. I lightly rubbed a soft cotton cloth over these areas. No polish or compound, just one or two wipes, the way you would to remove a few fingerprints. And that was all it took to remove the “scratches.” My guess is the marks were in the hazing, not in the finish.
I disagree, and your photos are not proof that there aren't still scratches on there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Fiddler View Post
If the light is just right, I do see faint scratches on the plastic pick guard, possibly from fingernails. Hard to imagine any dealer would refuse a guitar under these conditions.
How is this hard to believe? I spelled it out for you - twice verbally and once in writing... and you agreed to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Fiddler View Post
Am posting photos at bottom of page. Maury’s are the darker ones. Mine from today are the lighter ones.

FINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH DEALER
I let Maury know there do not appear to be ANY finish scratches and requested a phone call next week to resolve the matter. He emailed back in part as follows: “Nothing more to discuss by email or phone. Consider your Maury’s Music account permanently closed.”
You told me there are no scratches on the finish, there are scracthes on the pickguard, and you're considering contesting the charges with your credit card company. That's what caused me to reply with the message “Nothing more to discuss by email or phone. Consider your Maury’s Music account permanently closed.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Fiddler View Post
WHAT TO CONCLUDE?
There were many thoughtful posts in the original thread. Thanks for those. Here are my thoughts and questions.

1) Common Ground. We are all in this together, dealers, players and collectors alike. We all want good shops and luthiers to stay in business, and for wonderful guitars to be available for musicians.

2) Trial Period. Clearly a dealer has every right to protect himself from those who would abuse their return policy. But a player also expects a “trial period” to be just that: a chance to try a guitar in good faith. If a dealer sets the bar impossibly high for a return, what is a player to do?

3) We need to decide what we value most. Maybe a collector most wants to know the latest guitar acquisition is untouched. How untouched are we talking? Maybe a player actually prefers a guitar that is broken in a little. Does the player expect a discount for that? Do we want dealers to make instruments accessible, or keep them behind glass? Do we want the lowest possible prices, or the highest level of service?

Probably we can’t have it both ways. Maybe we travel further to real shops? And possibly order less stuff on line?

If anyone wants a great deal on a Martin 00-17 authentic 1931, I might be listing it soon in the “For Sale” section of the forum. Prior to that I may explore filing a dispute claim with my credit card company. If you all have any more thoughts or advice, I’m all ears!
Here's the whole story... and much of this reply is a response to what Mr ******* posted in the original thread.

****** called asking for our best price and advice on the 00-17A.* I courteously helped him with his questions & concerns and he asked " what's your return policy if I don't like it?" * I explained that as lenient as we are with timing - we give you 14 days to truly evaluate it - we're equally as strict when it comes to condition.* You MUST keep this in the exact new condition that you receive it. This next part*might*sound cold-hearted, but please hear me out. If you return it, and I can tell you've tried it, I can't accept it in return. I don't mean, abused - but even lightly used. Small scratches will cause me to deny your return.* He said "that's ok - I understand".* I said, now - with Authentics - its that much worse.* These have a very thin finish - they mar easily and when they develop scratches, you can't buff them out. Trying to buff these is futile- the mark doesn't go away and you end up shining the area to a semi-gloss. Its a nightmare.* Authentics are very hard to deal with on a trial - and although I can't tell you I won't send you one with 14-day evaluation - you need to know this is very risky.* You have to be the most careful customer. He said "I'm sure I'm going to love it - let me think about it".

A few days later he called back and wanted to order it.* I reminded him again on the phone, about how fragile these things are, but he said he was ok with it.*

I ran to Martin 6 days later, as soon as I heard word that his new one was ready.* I rushed to get it on that day's FedEx truck after it passed my inspection - but he asked us to hold delivery until after the holidays. We boxed it up, charged his card, and set it aside for him.* During this time, he called and asked about the BR-341, BR-361 and BR-371.* Asked about the differences - aesthetic and tonally.* I explained their traits and he asked if I'd play any/all the BR parlors that I have in stock and touch base with him to discuss the best one, etc.* The next day, I played the 361 and emailed him to share my thoughts, and explain that the 341 and 371 had just sold.*

We shipped both guitars to ***** on the day he requested, and along with the guitars we include what we call a STOP paper.* The first thing you open is a written message begging you to*STOP- please be careful ... before you play this, please note.... and spells out exactly what we talked about on the phone.* If you leave ANY marks on this, it's yours. Please use caution - don't change strings, don't register the warranty, remove rings, belt buckles etc etc. You have to get past that paper to find the guitar. To be continued in a 2nd post...
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Last edited by Basalt Beach; 01-27-2019 at 09:41 PM. Reason: applied multiple quotes - remove ID
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:53 PM
MaurysMusic MaurysMusic is offline
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..continued: FAST FORWARD to a few days ago.* Steve left a voicemail explaining that he was going to keep one of the guitars and return the other. I wanted to email my standard reply (all the pertinent info is already on the return policy page that he read and agreed to) but he insisted we speak on the phone. We chatted by phone and*asked how we can* go about getting the BR warranty in his student's name. He wanted to give it to her instead of returning it. I said we can't - you're the original owner and the warranty isn't transferable.* He asked "what if I give it to her as a gift?" I said that's a good question but you'd need to connect with Saga. I gave him Saga's email and told him to be sure and tell them that I'm the dealer who sold it to you, and that they should reach out to me if they have any questions or if I need to be involved.* Then I asked him - are you returning the 00-17A?* He said yes. I said you're well within the 14-days but*- and forgive me as this is going to sound defensive - but are you SURE it's in the same condition that you received it?* He said I wore very soft clothes and long sleeves and was careful.* I replied "thanks, but have you looked at it in very good lighting at all angles? You need to be so very sure it's clean - remember the conversation we had about these authentics?" he said YES it's clean. I looked.* I repeated myself - because this is not a conversation we want to have when it gets back here and you've already spent money on return shipping - please promise me you're sure.* I'd hate to have to deny your return, but as unfriendly as this sounds - its that much worse after the guitar arrives.* He said it's perfect & I'm willing to ship it today or Monday.* I said if it's all the same to you, Monday might be best.* He shipped it on time and well-packaged.

It arrived here a few days later, and we allowed it to acclimate for 24 hours. Upon opening on that ‪Thursday morning‬, I immediately saw a small scratch on the upper bout, and some pickguard scratches that continue on to the top.* Pretty light stuff, but easily noticeable to the human eye and my iPhone camera.

I politely emailed him right away, showing him these images, and "apologized for the inconvenience but we must deny your return. As a courtesy, we will ship this back to you on our dime.* May we ship today or would you like us to wait ‪until Monday‬?"* He emailed back to say wait ‪till Monday‬ and I'd like to give you a call today or tomorrow to discuss.* He didn't call while I was in the office but did call on Friday (my day off) and left a voicemail. Then he emailed me notifying me about this thread & hoped we could discuss some options.

Jan 21- we spoke on the phone for 40 minutes.* He asked me a few times to reconsider, and I politely declined; its unfair to the other customers who follow the policy. Then he asked if I'd take it back and sell it as new, so the next buyer could enjoy the warranty... as that's the only way the warranty can stay attached to the guitar... "as a buyer, I can't sell it with a warranty".* I reminded him that he did exactly that with the BR-361!* He told me he was going to gift it to his student, so I gave him Saga's contact email and suggested he ask them how to ensure that she gets the guitar in her name.* Later, when I read the AGF thread, I learned he*sold*the 361 to her.* I asked why can't you just do that with the 00-17A? He asked if I know the answer to that.* I said I don't.

Fast forward to January 26 ... Steve emailed me to tell me he received the guitar, and found a few light scratches on the pickguard and extending beyond it. *He tried to put words in my mouth about how my “UV light and how we never included pickguard scratches in earlier emails/phone calls”. *I corrected him and reminded him I don’t inspect guitars under UV light and pick guard scratches certainly were among the reasons for the denied return. The last part of his email to me yesterday was the threat of contesting this situation with his credit card company. *That helped me make the decision to close his account and ask him to refrain from contacting me again.*

Steve,*you agreed to our policies before the sale, and during the sale. I went to great lengths to warn you of these specific risks.m with Authentic guitars. * These policies are not negotiable after the fact and it's vehemently unfair to our other customers if I allow you to pressure me into making an exception.* You are incorrect to say these scratches are only visible to a high-res camera. Your have every right to come here with only your side of the story, but it's pretty telling that you failed to tell the forum how you were cautioned 3 times about this guitar's fragile finish when it comes to scratches and subsequent remedies.
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Last edited by MaurysMusic; 01-27-2019 at 06:00 PM.
  #11  
Old 01-27-2019, 06:02 PM
Monsoon1 Monsoon1 is offline
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Maury's was playing hardball, and you're holding a wiffle ball bat.
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:04 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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If this thread is to remain open, everyone must be courteous.
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:05 PM
MaurysMusic MaurysMusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pkdawg View Post
I honestly can’t tell in the pics if it’s light glare or a smudge or anything.

Here is a video of Maury’s playing that model with no special wardrobe. Maybe they caused the issue playing it themselves? https://youtu.be/EUKcO63WH8Q

Were there any before photos that they shared with you like Sweetwarer does?

I’m on side that the store is in a much better position to sell this at this point than you and even if they don’t make a big profit from a needing to possibly discount it from some wear and tear it’s the right thing to do on their behalf. You’ll take a hit regardless and that seems unfair to me.

I can guarantee I’ll never buy from Maury’s at this point. Not worth the risk regardless.
I'm sorry you feel this way but I respect your decision. It's worth mentioning that we picked up a brand new 00-17A at Martin for Steve... the guitar in the video was never in our inventory. I shot that video at the Martin factory.
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  #14  
Old 01-27-2019, 06:07 PM
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The other takeaway is that the most gentle playing of a Martin Authentic causes irreparable damage to the instrument - that’s a hell of a sales point -

Santa Cruz ‘29 series - better in every way - especially builder support -
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:12 PM
MaurysMusic MaurysMusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
I'll remember this. When I get an OM-21 for my retirement, it won't be from Maury's.
I'm truly sorry to hear this, but I respect it.
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