Stupid Tax

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

~ Martin A. Fischer

Dear Local Used Guitar Store,

On the evening or March 26, 2009, while on our way to a lecture at IPFW, my son and I stopped in to your store to check out the merchandise. While there, we tried out a used Boss DS-1 distortion pedal; my son, who is fairly new at guitar playing, has to play a song for his guitar class and needed the pedal to be able to switch between clean and distortion without fiddling with the knobs on his amplifier. The pedal worked great, sounded good, and the price of $69.00 was doable. Having never bought gear of this type, we were simply browsing for options and looking for advice. Your salesperson was extremely friendly, helpful, and patient with us newbies. Since we were in a bit of a rush, I paid the price and we walked out pleased with our purchase.

Only later, after looking for some information about the pedal online, did I learn that the same exact pedal can be purchased BRAND NEW at Guitar Center for half the price I paid, about $35.00.

Perhaps the pedal had been on your shelf for awhile and the price hadn’t been adjusted to account for current prices. However, while I admit that I should have taken the time to compare prices and look for the best deal, I can’t help but feel that in this instance, I got taken. Your store sells used equipment, so I figured the prices would be at the most equal to, if not much less than, the prices I’d expect to pay for the same equipment purchased brand new. But your price, on this particular item, at nearly double the prices found elsewhere for the same unused item, seems like the very definition of a rip-off.

I do not know the details of your return policy, nor do I feel that returning the item is the right thing to do; I bought a piece of equipment that works fine and does what my son needs it to do, so returning it isn’t fair to you. But I’m wondering . . . would you be willing to return a portion of the money I overpaid for this item? After looking around, $35.00 dollars for a used DS-1 is still not a great deal, but I’m willing to pay that much, just to get rid of this sick feeling in my stomach. Your willingness to agree to refund a portion of the price I paid will go a long way toward confirming for me that you are indeed a top-notch, respectable establishment when it comes to providing quality products at reasonable prices. However, if we cannot agree to some sort of refund, then I can assure you I will never darken your door again. This may not mean much to you; I’m sure you have many faithful customers who shop at your store, so losing any potential business I may bring your way will likely not be all that significant. But after visiting your store a couple times now and having had some very helpful conversations with your staff, I get the feeling that you aren’t the sort of establishment that wants to leave customers feeling disappointed after a sale is complete.

Again, this was my mistake. In no way am I accusing your business of willfully trying to swindle me. After seeing the price for the pedal, I should have taken the time to shop around and compare prices to make sure I was getting the best deal. In this case, I didn’t do that, and the deal I got stunk. Badly. So at this point, after the fact, can we make it right . . .

[photo credit]


14 thoughts on “Stupid Tax

  1. I hate when that happens! So did they make it right?

    1. Not yet. I sent this last Wednesday, via the store’s website, and haven’t heard back. I’m not holding my breath . . .

  2. Remember, Dear Bread People? I wrote to complain on line and got a form letter. I’d make a copy of the ad for the 35 dollar one, with your receipt from their store, and go back and ask for the manager. Do they really want to do business this way or was this an oversight? Give them a way to look like it was a mistake and to come clean with the refund. It is very hard to dismiss you if you are standing right there.

  3. Nicely written complaint letter. I agree going there is generally more effective but there’s something to be said for letting them know even if they choose not to make good. I own a small business and I never want people to go away upset. You know the old adage, if someone had good service they’ll tell 5 people, if they had bad service, they’ll tell 500. Good Luck.

  4. BJ, I loved the letter and am glad you sent it to the store. Hopefully, they will read it by Tuesday.

    It is amazing how a few words concerning a wrong doing said in the proper place can breathe death to a business. I made it a practice to never treat a client wrong. that way I didn’t have to work three times as hard to please the next.

    Glad Ty loves his pedal and new guitar.

  5. Oooh I’m glad that at the very least, you let them know the situation. It does seem that these days, businesses don’t care if they keep customers or not. “The customer is always right.” definitely went out of style long ago. You’d think with the economy the way it is, establishments like this would do whatever they have to in order to keep our patronage. I hope they make it right. Doubt it, but I hope so.

  6. Good luck! Wow!
    Also, you’re reminding me I need to write a thank you letter to one of our local political committees. Only because I wrote a “what the hell” letter and they made everything right. Dig it!

  7. Your ethics and integrity are unbelievable!

    “I do not know the details of your return policy, nor do I feel that returning the item is the right thing to do; I bought a piece of equipment that works fine and does what my son needs it to do, so returning it isn’t fair to you.”

    Wow! I hope they make it right, but it sounds doubtful. I agree a personal visit might help the situation. Good luck. I’m chapped for you!

  8. How frustrating! It would seem that if they are going to ignore your nicely crafted letter on their website that your next step is to visit the store in person. Good luck!

  9. Oh yeah, been there. Ordered some new windows for the house last fall. Waited and waited for them to arrive, but kept being put off with excuses. Finally said “screw it” and went with another company. Faxed in my cancellation. Next day I get a call saying my windows were in. Shit. Ended up splitting the difference in the cost and forking over $700 for nothing. Oh, that still hurts.

  10. Duuuuude. You did get swindled. Very polite letter though.

  11. Here’s hoping you at least get an acknowledgement. I hate it when I waste money–like when I buy a pair of jeans that are too small because I’m “fixin’ to go on a diet.”

  12. I reallyreally want to know how this plays out. Given my own abhorrent experiences with “Customer Service” lately, I don’t hold out much hope. But still I’ve got my fingers crossed for you…

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