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Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » Archive: 2006 » Archive through July 16, 2006 » Long Distance Purchases « Previous Next »

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Username: phylo

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 2:50 pm:   Edit Post

Looking for some advice here. How does one go about safely buying a $1000+ instrument from someone who is 3000 mi away? Does PayPal offer any level of protection? Some 'best practices' from those that have experience would be greatly appreciated.
Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 561
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 4:22 pm:   Edit Post

I've purchased most of my instruments this way. I've only dealt with reputable businesses who shipped my Basses with international carriers like UPS & FEDEX. They added an insurance charge to the shipment for the value of the instrument. These are people who ship regularly and know how to properly prepare and package an instrument for shipment. Bottom line: know who you're buying from.

Good luck,

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 847
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 5:17 pm:   Edit Post

If you're talking about EBay, I ONLY do it one of two ways:

1) I feel reasonably safe ONLY if it's a business, with an address, storefront, in the phone book, etc., with LOTS of feedback. If I can't call long distance information and get a number, call them to check with no mention of the auction, etc., if they're NOT listed as a dealer on manufacturer's dealer list and so forth, PASS. Just PASS.

2) I ONLY buy from an individual IF it's within driving distance where I can go there, meet face to face and see the article in question.

Otherwise, it's a crap game I'm not willing to ante up for.

When I found the last of my 3-Yamaha set, the buyer happened to live in Knoxville, TN, a really pretty 2 hour drive from Nashville. Met for lunch, made a friend, I got the bass, he got the cash, came home happy. But I would have NEVER just sent the money and hoped to see UPS in a week or so. Ain't happenin'!!

If it's not EBay, I do a lot of the same homework as in Number 1 to check out a business before I EVER send the money.

Rami put it in a nutshell: KNOW who you're buying from.

Actually I always try to buy within a 3 or 400 mile radius: GREAT excuse for a little day trip.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 738
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 5:29 pm:   Edit Post

I use PayPal (with a credit card) for ebay stuff and have never (knock on wood) been burned. I don't bid unless they've got at least a handful of good feedback (and I read them all), no negative feedback, and they intelligently answer a question or two about what they're selling. If worse comes to worst, I can probably have the credit card folks go after them, or the paypal folks can do it. I've bought everything from a 12-string bass to my wife's *new* (old) motorcycle on ebay and think it's not a bad way to do business if you're a little vigilant.

If you are buds with a music store type person, you might be able to get them to have one of their compatriots on the area of the instrument handle the transaction for you. I haven't done this, but I've had a friend of mine offer to do it for me a time or two.

After having typed all of the above, my preference is to touch the instrument before committing and walking out with it after I pay. With something like an Alembic, though, I would more inclined to trust the seller *if* he knows something about the instrument and the company, and harbours at least a little bit of regret about having to part with it.

Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 1160
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 6:28 pm:   Edit Post

yes make sure you check feedback thoroughly esp the negs- sometimes they are bogus...
use the credit card to back up the paypal instead of a debit card or checking acct
i have bought basses 3 times this much and have never gotten burned
insist on ups- they the best
even had a $1500-68 gibson eb2d destroyed by dhl and the seller gave an instant refund
Advanced Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 294
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 6:40 pm:   Edit Post

Plane tickets are cheap insurance, in my opinion.
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 477
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 11:30 am:   Edit Post

I agree there with you big red. I bought my orion guitar on ebay. It was sold by a store in Germany.
I checked them out by international directory enquiries and checked also on the net and found they had been trading for over a decade.

Like you I rang them anonymously then later again to discuss the sale of the guitar. we agreed an off-line price and i paid by Western Union.

For the price of the guitar, well over $1000 it was not a risk I would take lightly for a private sale unless I could go and collect in person.
Username: hankster

Post Number: 41
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 4:26 am:   Edit Post

I bought my SJ on ebay from an individual seller. It scared the bejeebers out of me, but the price was good and it turned out fine. In terms of checking out the seller, I ensured that the seller's feedback was positive; spoke to him directly, and learned where he was and where he worked; checked various directories to make sure that the business he worked for really existed and was where he said it was, doing what he said it did; called him at that business and got connected, so I made sure he was giving me straight goods on that; and then kept my fingers crossed. He was in a business which shipped goods all the time, so I had some confidence in his packing and choice of shippers. He was a terrific fellow and it was a good experience. It was nervewracking, though.

Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1416
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 9:22 am:   Edit Post

I've bought many guitars off of ebay with little problem. As mentioned before, always check feedback CAREFULLY. What type of items has the person dealt with before? Look for phony feedback (placed by newbies who themselves have little or no feedback - usually buddies of the seller, or the seller himself, building him up). Asking questions is a good idea. Also, I ask for specific pictures ("can you send me a pic of the back of the headstock, the pickguard, the heel of the neck, lower left bout, etc") If the seller is legit they can do this. If they lifted pics from another site, they can't. Also, ask for an inspection period. Agree on a period of time (usually about 48 hours) after delivery that you have an opportunity to inspect the instrument and return it if not satisfied. As for payment, except in VERY unusual situations, if the buyer doesn't take paypal I'll pass. One time I made an exception was when I bought my 1976 Series I guitar on eBay. The most I've paid for an instrument through eBay - about $2500 - and the buyer didn't take paypal. I sent off postal money orders and held my breath. A little scary, but everything worked out fine.

Bill, tgo
Username: paulman

Post Number: 42
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 12:41 pm:   Edit Post

I remember my first ebay purchase. It was a 91 Twin Reissue. When it arrived it was slightly UPSed but the buyer was kick ass, sent me a new mid pot, and cash to cover the repair.

Ever since then I have bought and sold musical instruments (including purchasing a Casio PG-380 Synth guitar like BW's) and have never been screwed. The most important thing I would suggest (as others have) is feedback, and check the previous items sold or bought, and also THOSE people's feedback.

My latest ebay find is http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7422622695&sspagename=ADME:L:AAQ:US:1 . After checking the feedback as described, I could not hit Buy It Now fast enough. Just the FX-1 would have been a great price, but damn I could not pass it up. Ebay is a great tool if you do the research. "nuff said"

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