• Report: #347257

Complaint Review: Guitar Center

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  • Submitted: Thu, July 03, 2008
  • Updated: Thu, November 22, 2012

  • Reported By:Maryland/Washington suburbs Maryland
Guitar Center
12401 Twinbrook Pkwy Rockville, Maryland U.S.A.

Guitar Center Store After order and deposit taken I was told that my order could be slipped thru but mngt did not want to let me shop there. Rockville Maryland

*Consumer Suggestion: loyal GC customer

*Consumer Suggestion: Observation

*Consumer Suggestion: Observation

*Consumer Suggestion: Observation

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Read the back

*Consumer Comment: Abuse of "satisfaction guaranteed"

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: two cents from an ex-employee with NO loyalty

*Consumer Suggestion: GIVE YOUR CASH TO SOMEONE WHO VALUES YOU

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I have been a loyal customer at "Guitar Center" for the past year approx. 2007-now 2008 and have spent about $14,000-$19,000 there at that store location during that time.

I have bought and returned instruments according to their 30/30 Satisfaction Guarantee. In a nut shell if "For any reason the customer is Not satisfied neither are they (Guitar Center). Simply return the item within 30 days of original purchase for ANY reason in original condition and you will be given a full refund." I did this a few times because of lack of quality discovered after bringing a guitar home and having it a few days. Most returns were within 2-5 days of original purchase. Quality is expected by me when I pay for a quality instrument / I do not deny I am picky, but if you were spending $3000 - $10,000 for a Guitar wouldn't you be???

Now the final straw:
I placed an order for a $6000 Martin Acoustic Authentic model that was going to take 3 months to get in and I payed 1/2 the total price as deposit on the order on the guitar thru a salesman. He told me at that time that if I was not satisfied I was covered by the 30/30 satisfaction guarantee and was assured yes I was able to return it if it did not meet my satisfaction.

I called the store later that same day to inquire about a color option and again ask the same salesman if the Guarantee concerning return would apply and his story CHANGED to, "It depends on what saleman you deal with because the chain did not want to deal with me anymore, but he could slip my guitar order thru and I deserved another chance????? Slip it thru????? Another Chance???? I immediately went to the store and got a refund on my deposit and cancelled the order. They acted as if they were doing me a favor by ordering me a $6000 guitar that they would make a sizeable commission on.

Why should my guitar for $6000.00 (NOT PEANUTS) be slipped thru???? Also I was told, "because I returned to many items that they did not want to do business with me anymore???????????? A $6000+ guitar order, OK and be slipped thru????

I was told by the Acoustic Guitar Mngr. that it was inappropriate of the saleman who said that to me regardless of weather or not it was true???????
I was told it was not good business practice to ever say that to a customer as per Acoustic Mngr. at the store.

So, after sending a complaint thru e-mail to the home office explaining the same situation as told here I have been told by Acoustic Mngr. at that store that I can come to the store and purchase what I want.

GEE, THANKS A BUNCH!!!!!

I have been in the store 2 times since the incident and do not feel comfortable. If they do not like to back up their 30/30 Satisfaction Guarantee and don't want to do business with a musician that buys $3000-$10,000 dollar guitars well, what does that say about that chain, Guitar Center?? I only want what I pay for and for $3000-$10,000 a guitar what would you expect???

Why offer the Guarantee??
Why should I have been made to feel like I did something wrong ??? I have since been told that returns hurt the stores numbers, (Sales to returns ratio) I am now suppose to interpret what that means and am I suppose to be concerned about thneir numbers. It reflects lack of meeting my needs by the store nothing I have done. If I return an Instrument should the store not understand I only want what I pay for??????

Is this really a customer satisfaction guarantee or just a smoke screen to instill an unjust feeling of security of the 30/30 guarantee???

How can I feel good about spending hard earned money at Guitar Center when I am made to feel punished for using the return policy they brag of offering 100% satisfaction as long as it looks good for them??? Is Guitar Center concerned about their numbers or my satisfaction?? I now DO NOT feel my satisfaction is important to Guitar Center, and DO NOT feel as if my business is wanted by GUITAR CENTER. It seems that because of my use of their guarantee does not reflect well on their retail bottom line I am not an optimal customer!!! Acoustic Mngr. apologized to me but the damage is really done, (made to feel as if I did something wrong by wanting a quality instrument for my money), wouldn't you feel that way?? Thanks For Listening.

Unjustly Embarrassed
Maryland/Washington suburbs, Maryland
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/03/2008 02:17 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Guitar-Center/Rockville-Maryland-20852/Guitar-Center-Store-After-order-and-deposit-taken-I-was-told-that-my-order-could-be-slippe-347257. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 8Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

loyal GC customer

AUTHOR: hammy - (United States of America)

As much as I detest GC.
I have to agree with their attitude, in principle, if not in practise. I love my my boys at Sam Ash Cinci. (better than GC, in my opinion), and they take care of fussy patrons like us. However, there is a LIMIT to their pampering. In my opinion, if you are returning stuff all the time, you either haven't done your research, or you don't know what you want. For them, it is hard to help someone that seems unsure and treats a music store as a rental/learning center.
S.A. in Cinci lets everyone play whatever, whenever. i think they have lessons too. They treat me well and I have returned many things. They have encouraged me to ; sit down, play, listen, relax, enjoy, and find something that is doing what I like.
We all have to keep in mind that actual PEOPLE (with lives, bills, & family) work at these places.
We can't treat them like they are disposable. When they get refunds/returns, it comes out of their pockets! It really does! EVERY TIME!

We don't buy cars on a whim, do we? We usually actually talk to friends, maybe read a little?
We don't just buy one, dick around with it half-assed, and return it and ask for another, do we?

Very few people buy a car saying "I don't know anything about cars, except I want a red one! "
and then:
(a week later) "Hello, I didn't like this red car, I would like to return it and get another red car"

Some of these purchases may cost as much as a car for some of these salespeople. When we take it lightly is when they stop respecting us.

P.S.

I deal with Sam Ash all the time! I am sure GC has these same type of good guys as well.
I know that I can go to Carl in P.A., or Gerald in Recording, or talk to "Westy" (the GM, that has been there since S.A. -day one). They always take care of me, and more importantly, if they don't know the answer to a question I have, they will call another PRO that knows the answer!

Carl gave my his home number just in case I had a question or problem at a gig. I did once, eight months later, and he showed up 15 minutes later with cables that saved my gig. He didn't charge me a thing.

People like that are hard to find.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Observation

AUTHOR: Pinklady - (U.S.A.)

I worked for several years in another major music center in the DC area, and noticed that there were always pseudo-musicians who seemed to be looking for the perfect instrument to make themselves sound better. They were constantly returning or exchanging instruments and then would gripe about restocking fees. The store always let people try out the instruments for a good amount of time, and they knew exactly what they were getting by the time they left the store. But it was always the same people who kept coming back to return things. And yes, the salesmen do lose time and money trying to work with this type of customer. Sometimes the customer has to look at himself to see where the real problem is.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Observation

AUTHOR: Pinklady - (U.S.A.)

I worked for several years in another major music center in the DC area, and noticed that there were always pseudo-musicians who seemed to be looking for the perfect instrument to make themselves sound better. They were constantly returning or exchanging instruments and then would gripe about restocking fees. The store always let people try out the instruments for a good amount of time, and they knew exactly what they were getting by the time they left the store. But it was always the same people who kept coming back to return things. And yes, the salesmen do lose time and money trying to work with this type of customer. Sometimes the customer has to look at himself to see where the real problem is.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

Observation

AUTHOR: Pinklady - (U.S.A.)

I worked for several years in another major music center in the DC area, and noticed that there were always pseudo-musicians who seemed to be looking for the perfect instrument to make themselves sound better. They were constantly returning or exchanging instruments and then would gripe about restocking fees. The store always let people try out the instruments for a good amount of time, and they knew exactly what they were getting by the time they left the store. But it was always the same people who kept coming back to return things. And yes, the salesmen do lose time and money trying to work with this type of customer. Sometimes the customer has to look at himself to see where the real problem is.
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Read the back

AUTHOR: Respectthelion - (U.S.A.)

On the negative side, most of your questions could have been answered by reading the back of your receipt vs. listening to an employee. Also if your spending that kind of money it sounds like you seriously need a "guy" in the store. If you were constantly working with the same guy this probably wouldn't have happened. But you sound like the typical GC high roller stereotype. Strolling in the store saying you spent 10's of thousands of dollars on a yearly basis.
Questions to ask youself:

Why isn't the snake of the store always taking care of you? You know the greedy guy that recognizes all the people who spend money and tries to get in your wallet every time your there?

Why does GC say they don't want to do business with you? Generally a greedy corp wants your money and business.

What i could potentially see is your a chronic returner. Special ordering lots of high priced slow moving guitars, not liking them, then returning them. This hurts the stores inventory and they lose product that would turn faster because inventory dollars are being held up.

Sorry for so much neg. On the positive. If you spend this kind of money on a yearly basis, you deserve more than guitartarget. Find a cool mom and pop that already stocks what you dig, and buy the owner a drink, make friends, and enjoy the cool gear. Find the home that applies to your taste, not GC. I am by no means a GC advocate. I worked there. But GC will never treat you right. Especially if you the guys in the store saw hits to their sales from you. If you do continue to shop GC, find a different store to go to. Read everything on your receipt. They can add comments to the front that overwrites whatever is on the back of it. I've done this. and it is legally sound. For more info on how to get back at GC there is a home guitar center sucks, would be the best way to search for it. i won't post the link because i don't know if that's ok.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Abuse of "satisfaction guaranteed"

AUTHOR: Ohyea - (U.S.A.)

As an employee at a big box musical retailer, I must say that the "satisfaction guaranteed' policy is something that gets frequently abused. Be it from a DJ trying to get free rentals of lighting gear or dj equipment for a party, to an obsessive guitarist that can't spend 5 minutes inside a store to properly check out a guitar; it's quite rampant.

True, this happens in every level of retail, but when you mix this with a COMMISSION BASED sales environment, you are now playing on a different field.

It's simple...when you buy something from a store, whoever sold it to you gets the commission for it. However, if you RETURN it, they also LOSE the commission. So when you buy a guitar, return it, buy a guitar, return it, etc etc...you are basically making the sales associate waste their time. (not to mention anything that isnt in the EXACT condition it was when it left, including boxes etc....the discount that needs to be attached to that item to sell it, since it cant be sold as NEW...the sales associate loses commission on that as well)

A customer should never be told what you were supposedly told. There is definitely a way to deal with a "problem" customer, or a suspected problem customer. It definitely needs to be done through management, and in a professional manner. At which point you are told that, while we appreciate your business, we cannot allow you to abuse our policy or take up our sales associates time. That's it!

You may or may not have been in the wrong in this...and if you aren't, then yes...they shouldn't have spoken to you as they did. But understand that the policy is there to help you out....NOT to be abused by you. Generally, a GOOD customer that does things like this (spends a lot of money, but goes through a few returns in search of something specific), has a rapport with at least one associate or manager in the store, so that when things like this come up, exceptions can be made.
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#7 UPDATE EX-employee responds

two cents from an ex-employee with NO loyalty

AUTHOR: Zoso59brst - (U.S.A.)

As an former employee of guitar center (sales manager by the time I left), let me first start by saying that there is NO SUCH THING as a sizable commission. It simply does not exist. I will say however, that while the 30/30 guarantee does enable musicians such as you and me to try things out at home, a habitual returner (not saying that you are..) will absolutely reek havoc on not only your sales associate, but the three store level managers above him.

I personally have been in situations where a return has brought me from being able to pay my rent and bills, to owing GC money (I don't now how familiar everyone is with draw vs. commission pay, but your commissions must exceed the hourly pay they give you before you even make a dollar... anything under that amount and you owe them the difference). IE. when a customer returns a piece, a salesperson returns his commission, and managers return their meager bonuses. While frustration over commissions and bonuses absolutely do not excuse rude treatment, hopefully it will help to explain the frustration. 98% of sales associates do not make money. Let me also dispel another common misconception here- almost all guitars and amplifiers do not sell on a high margin.

As far as the 30/30 applying to your special order Martin, technically it doesn't (unless the policy has changed since I left). Special orders are technically non-refundable, reason being that Guitar Center can not send back that item to the manufacturer and now owns it regardless of whether you take it or not.

"...don't want to do business with a musician that buys $3000-$10,000 dollar guitars.." No they don't. 8 out of 10 guitar centers are k-marts. If you want to shop at guitar center for such pieces, you need to find the right sales person who understands and cares about what you are looking for. Don't get me wrong, GC wants your money, but they have made several moves that show that they are fine (in the guitar dept. at least) with making money off of emo playing whining high-schoolers and no longer value the real musician as they once had.

Finally, on a personal note, as a semi-pro guitarist, instructor, and someone who currently has a guitar arsenal 32 deep and over 500 in my gear-lusting career; You should have a VERY good idea the second that instrument hits your hands whether it is worth that kind of money or not. Certainly you should know after playing it for 5-10 minutes. Not to insult ANYONE and no offense intended, but if you can't determine these things about an INSTRUMENT in the store, as a player perhaps you are not ready to be spending such large amounts of money on a guitar. GC is more than happy to set you up in a quiet place and give you as much time as you want to make your decision- whether it be in an office or tucked away in another department or whatever. Take the time to make a wise decision.


thanks
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

GIVE YOUR CASH TO SOMEONE WHO VALUES YOU

AUTHOR: RR - (U.S.A.)

find a small guitar shop that is not corporate owned. I have found Guitar Center over priced. In 20 years I have never bought a guitar for less that 40% off list.

If you find the right shop and you are loyal, they will treat you like family.
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