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Musician’s Friend and GC team up to sell floor models as new…

Golem

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,068
This is not the first time I've heard a story like this about MF. I pretty much only buy STOTD type stuff from them.
 

Adagietto

Pending
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,261
OK, may be old news to some but I recently ran into this for the first time. I ordered and paid for a “new” QSC K10.2 From MF. It arrived, in a large floppy cardboard box that was barely holding together. Inside was the speaker wrapped in bubble wrap, no QSC box, no power cable, and none of the cards, manual, etc…

So I called MF. It turns out that “in stock” now just means if it exists anywhere in the MF/GC universe they sell it as new and send it From wherever. They don’t tell you about it up front. In my case, the GC gang that packed it up clearly didn’t give a crap about getting it to me safely and with all pieces that would come with a new one.

Technically, if the authorized dealer hasn’t sold it previously, it’s “new”. But y’all know what things look like on the floor of many GCs.

Now, I’m not opposed to buying a floor model but they should tell the buyer upfront and discount it.

I returned it. I did test it out and they did send me a power cable, but it was a little beat up and when cranked up the power cut out.

Just be aware if you choose to order from MF you may run into this.
This happened to me a couple of months ago and I started a thread about it. I ordered a new bass from MF and got a floor model from GC with a crack in the neck pocket. They would not let me return it to my local GC (10 minutes away), but did provide a return label.

I don't buy much from MF, but this was a Reverend that is in short supply. Fortunately I found one at a reputable dealer and am quite happy with it.
 

JDB2

Member
Messages
17
What's the relationship between MF and GC?
Essentially the same company. I don’t know the details of how they have the corporate formalities worked out (eg common ownership of two corporations) but for practical purposes they are one company that (usually) presents two different faces to the consumer.
 

JasonE

Member
Messages
551
This seems to be more common these days. I plan on staying away from them when buying things online.

Sweetwater has also done this to me. And for the small shops that don't have stacks of new equipment waiting to ship, it's likely to happen regularly. A great store return policy solves the problem.
This really surprises me. I have never received a used or floor model from Sweetwater.

Because MF reps will give you a discount if you call and ask, Sweetwater almost never, and with MF you earn quite a few points on each purchase. Plus, if you don't like an item, I've heard you can return it directly to guitar center, while with Sweetwater they make you pay for return shipping.

But if money is no object, I agree, Sweetwater is the way to go.
I have been able to get Sweetwater to discount prices in the past. However, it seems that is getting harder to do with them. They have missed out on a few sales with me lately because they wouldn't come down on the price. I found the items for less money on Reverb from other reputable shops and purchased there and saved money. It is kind of sad to me.

I usually give Sweetwater a shot at a sale. The only way to get them to discount items recently is to have a legit price from another shop and they will match that at times. I don't like that game. I would rather buy it from the shop that gave me the better price instead of using them to get Sweetwater to do what they used to do for you in the past.
 

Tachymetres

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
512
This seems to be more common these days. I plan on staying away from them when buying things online.



This really surprises me. I have never received a used or floor model from Sweetwater.



I have been able to get Sweetwater to discount prices in the past. However, it seems that is getting harder to do with them. They have missed out on a few sales with me lately because they wouldn't come down on the price. I found the items for less money on Reverb from other reputable shops and purchased there and saved money. It is kind of sad to me.

I usually give Sweetwater a shot at a sale. The only way to get them to discount items recently is to have a legit price from another shop and they will match that at times. I don't like that game. I would rather buy it from the shop that gave me the better price instead of using them to get Sweetwater to do what they used to do for you in the past.
To their credit, they made things right but it did happen although it was in 2011. Maybe they've changed their practices but I haven't shopped with them since.
 

diogoguitar

Member
Messages
559
Mom and pop shop have done this for a long time. Why is this a big deal?

of course dinged floor models with missing case candies should be discounted, but if it looks and feels like new, what is the problem?
 

ixnay

Member
Messages
4,525
Mom and pop shop have done this for a long time. Why is this a big deal?

of course dinged floor models with missing case candies should be discounted, but if it looks and feels like new, what is the problem?
The biggest problems are probably expectations and lack of disclosure. People have been buying online from MF for decades and expect they will get a new, in box item, since that is the way it has worked for a long time. it would probably help if MF has some kind of disclaimer at checkout that said the item may or may not ship from a GC store.
 

smallbutmighty

I do my own stunts.
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,565
What's the relationship between MF and GC?
I interviewed at MF probably 15 years ago. Had dinner with the owner and spent an entire day at the facility. At that time they were a wholly-owned subsidiary. There was no sharing of inventory or facilities at that time. It seems they have been more fully absorbed/assimilated since then.
 
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Bluefugue

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
402
This happened to me a couple years ago. I received a guitar which was either a floor model or returned. There was a chip out of the headstock and no trem bar. I haven’t ordered from them since and likely will nit in the future.
 

Sobbincat

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
962
From what I see Sweetwater is more expensive on average than GC. They seldom cut the price and make you pay for returns. And on top of that they try to be all chummy to make more sales. I don't want to be bothered.

Guitar center is okay. Lots of selection, okay pricing. Call and ask and get lied to. Return it to a local GC if it's unacceptable. No salesman will call. Easy. Buying on line is a crap shoot in most all circumstances. With the liberal return policy GC has your back.

And some times you can get lucky. Like a supposedly "scratch and dent" AER Compact 60-4, with an oak cabinet, a $1500 amp with tax, for $900 delivered to my door. And I got $45 in store points. Complete, in the box, not a scratch on it anywhere. Pristine.
 

motokev

Member
Messages
5,453
A few years back when Carvin was around, I ordered a custom guitar.
They sent me a guitar with the same specs but it look like someone took a ice-pick to it.
 

Tiger Ted

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
745
Musicians Friend was originally a chain that also did mail order. They had retail locations all over the country. They were bought out by Guitar Center who converted or closed the MF branded storefronts. During the acquisition there was a stipulation that GC would not buy any of the higher end stock of MF that was in the stores. So they were dumping high end merchandise at fire sale prices.

I snatched up a Cunetto Mary Kaye Strat from the Fender Custom Shop for ..... $750!
 

Whizzinby

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,644
Ive seen more than a few people mention paying return shipping for Sweetwater orders. Ive returned 4-5 things with them over the last two years (Pedals, amps, guitars) and never once had to cover shipping costs.

Also, as I think has been mentioned, a problem of course is the grey area for the liberal return policy GC offers. If they are accepting returns for 30-45 days “no questions asked” then it inevitably creates a difficult spot for resale. If they have to turn it around and sell for less, then they’ll either stop offering liberal returns, or people will get lightly used gear. So it’s sort of a pick your own poison situation. Get everything brand new out of the box, in exchange for eating the risk of not liking it. Or accept that GC isn’t going to take a loss on returned gear, and repurpose it.

Which is not to say that GC’s customer feedback couldn’t be miles better in terms of telling customers what they are getting (new in box, floor model, return as new) but Ive never had those sort of difficulties with SW relaying exactly what they are selling. But, via GC you do have the great option of just shipping to the store, examining, and returning on the spot if there are issues.

With 0% gear cards and liberal return policies, there is a zero-risk, zero skin in the game opportunity for users to churn gear with impunity. That has to shake out one way or the other.
 

kelsodeez

Member
Messages
94
I bought a new strat from musicians friend that had a ton of issues, most notably, clear coat lifting and a stripped truss rod. I returned it to my local guitar center and they took it back no problem because the issues were so glaring. Went into the same guitar center a week later and there it was hanging on the wall with a price tag for full retail. Unreal
 

ADF

Member
Messages
135
Had the same thing happen with MF; it was only a pedal so I kept it, but I haven't bought from them since. And I've spent quite a bit elsewhere!

In the pandemic, they were the only place with the pedal in stock. The box was completely unraveled, and it wasn't sealed in any way.
 

tubekingsley

Member
Messages
3,567
The shared inventory thing they used to try very hard to hide. Most things came (and still come from) from their shared warehouse, rather from actual Guitar Centers. But they could always dip into actual GC store inventory if need be.

being able to do returns at GC for MF purchases is newish.
It must be a brand new policy, to return MF to GC
 

tubekingsley

Member
Messages
3,567
I've never purchased anything that was listed as new, that didn't arrive new. Recently, I've purchased some open box items, that were a really good deal, and were in good as new condition. If they sent me a previously opened/used item, as new, I would be furious, so I'm glad I'm now aware of the potential for this to happen
 




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