Is it really 'new'?

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Is it really 'new'?

Post by 2121TrumbullAve » Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:20 pm

Perhaps someone who has worked at a GC or comparable can chime in here.

Whenever I buy stuff online, I'm always a bit paranoid that what I receive might actually have been previously returned by someone else. I breathe a sigh of relief when the product is in a sealed wrap of somekind, indicating factoy seal. But many products are not.

SO, anybody know what goes on behind the scenes? If something is returned in mint condition, is it automatically a scratch and dent item, or do they sell it again as new?
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Post by YOUR KONG » Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:38 am

Well, I know most of these sites also have a "refurb" section.

Whether the things that were too good for refurb get repackaged is new, well, it could happen.

I can't really recall every thinking about opening shrinkwrap on purchases or not, come to think of it...

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Post by 8th_note » Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:51 am

It could certainly happen but it's probably unlikely, especially if you're buying from a large online retailer. First consider the volume. These places sell thousands of items a month. Only a very small percentage get returned. Second, you would probably notice if the unit had been repackaged because it's pretty hard to duplicate a factory packing job. A repacked item is usually sloppy but a factory packed item is neat and tidy.

Interestingly, the only time I ever got a repacked item was at a physical store, not an online seller. It was Guitar Center and I bought an M-Audio Delta 1010. It was shrink wrapped but it looked suspiciously like a hand shrink, not a factory shrink. When I got it home and opened the box it was obvious immediately that the unit had been a return and then repackaged. The cord was not tied, the unit was not in a bag, etc. The biggest problem, however, was that this was an older unit and it didn't have the free software that I was looking for (Ableton Live). I took the unit back and demanded a current unit with the current software compliment. They were nasty about it (not a hint of an apology) but they gave me fresh factory unit when they realized that I wasn't going to leave without one.

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Post by chovie d » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:11 am

I dont know what goes on behind the scenes but here are two experiences I've had:

Ordered a pedal steel guitar from Musicians Freind. a week after arrival the neck cracked, so i sent it to the manufacturer to repair, got it back a couple weeks later, played it for a week then one of the knee levers failed. The manufacturer told me he would like me to repair the guitar and that he would send me the parts to do so. he said if i returned it to MF, he would just be getting a call from the next person they sold it to a month down the road. I returned the guitar to MF because I was a beginner who just wanted a functional instrument, i didnt want to be a mechanic. Sorry to whoever bought that peice of crap next...

Sort of related. I went and bought a new in box Epi Valve Jr. Amp from Guitar Center. I figured the new improved models had been out for about a year and surely if i bought one it would be the new improved version. Nope, it was the old noisey one. Returned it for the next person to buy.
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Post by 2121TrumbullAve » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:42 am

The 1st 12ay7 i bought had stripped screws on the tube guard, and a loose tube socket. I really doubt it happened at the factory that way. Definitely previously returned. Got it from MF.

A bit OT, but I bought a desktop PC from comp usa a few years ago, and the box appeared to be pretty weathered. The salesman PROMISED me with all his heart it was factory sealed.

The thing was so trashed, you wouldn't believe. optical drives hanging out, faceplate broken off, loose stick of RAM clanking around - someone maliciously destroyed it and returned it that way, and it was never even inspected - just put right back out onto the floor as new.

Of course, it took me 2 hours and much explaining to simply get an even exchange. It's replacement has been a rock solid DAW for 3 years...
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Post by fremitus » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:11 pm

Just a note here. From experience. I work at Sonic Circus. Plenty of the stuff we send out has been opened, usually by us. Why? because we test stuff, even if it's new. Plenty of awesome gear makers still have quality control issues. I don't fault them for it really, unless it's out of hand, but the truth is, it's a lot easier to explain a cut piece of tape then to have to pay shipping a few more times on some $4000 component.

And we listen to a lot of the gear here too, as much as possible really. When I can, I just take pieces to my own studio and demo them for a while, and then they go on the site as demo's or get sold as such, but that is only the case if it's been in use for say a week and not a couple of minutes in the test rack.

Another thing. Shipping companies. Love and hate them all. Everyone blames them, and most of the time stuff is damaged in shipping. It's a scary thought really, what goes on from coast to coast, truck to truck, to plane, to rickshaw, to bike messenger to your rack.

So yeah. and returns, hell yes we resell them, but NEVER as new. That's just plain wrong.

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Post by Professor » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:33 pm

There are some laws about such practices, and most businesses are pretty careful about observing them - though they are kind of vague.
If I remember correctly, a returned item can still be sold as "new" as can a demo, display or even a rental/loaner item. An item purchased as manufacturer b-stock, refurb'ed or just plain used has to be sold as such, but it doesn't mean they have to tell you specifically that it's any of those, or that they have to lower the price - just simply that they can't call it "brand new in the box".
Consider other kinds of stores. When was the last time you went to a pawn shop and actually saw gear labelled as "used" and priced at something less than a new or even full MSRP kind of price? They can't call it "new", but they can start the price there and make you have to find the price down.
Or worse, think of clothing stores. How many people tried on that shirt before you bought it? And it doesn't matter if you're at Armani or WalMart, that's just how that industry works. And when people return an item, it's just re-tagged and put on the clearance rack - maybe with a discounted price, but certainly not with any need for explanation.

Personally I would much rather buy a manufacturer re-furb item than a new item. They are generally priced lower, and they have actually gone through considerable testing and quality control where the new unit was probably moved straight from the Chinese cargo ship to a warehouse to the store to the buyer without anyone who gives a damn actually testing the unit.


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Post by willjohnston » Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:53 am

At GC, it really was a per case basis on a lot of things.

First off, no returns on software or vocal microphones.

Most items that are returned will be labeled open box, and a 10% discount is automatically applied.

Certain items I really don't think a big fuss should be made about if it had been returned or not, and if something looks like it wasn't even used (seal on box was broken, but cables and what not inside still wrapped, etc.) i really don't see why it shouldn't be sold as new.

A returned item will carry the same manufacturer warranty and the same store return policy.

If you are purchasing in store, check out the item, if it doesn't meet your standards, appologize for being picky(out of common courtesy) but ask if there are any "sealed" ones or if you really need to and would rather have NIB than a discount on the item, ask them to have one transfered in for you.

As a salesperson, I would always verify if it had been opened or not, find a non-open item when possible, and always ask the customer if they would be alright with the item being open box. Some people prefer it in favor of a discount, and take it to the other extreme: I had many people while I worked at GC ask me if I would give them a deal on a floor model when we had new in box in stock. My response would always be "Why would I sell the floor model at a discount, and in 5 minutes break a new pair out for display that I will later have to sell at a discount again?

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Post by Knights Who Say Neve » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:30 pm

willjohnston wrote:
At GC Most items that are returned will be labeled open box,
HA HA HA HA HA - that's a good one - HA HA HA HA HA
"What you're saying is, unlike all the other writers, if it was really new, you'd know it was new when you heard it, and you'd love it. <b>That's a hell of an assumption</b>". -B. Marsalis

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Post by mingus2112 » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:33 pm

I bought a SM Pro Audio PR8 from Musicians friend that I was convinced was returned. It was 100% functioning, but it had a light scratch on the top, the plastic was a little ripped, and the power cable had no cable tie on it. I emailed them and they had me take pictures of it. After a week, they refunded me 10% so I ended up paying what it would have cost from their "scratch and dent" department.


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Post by Roboburger » Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:22 am

fremitus wrote:Just a note here. From experience. I work at Sonic Circus. {Robo Cuts to the Chase} And we listen to a lot of the gear here too, as much as possible really. When I can, I just take pieces to my own studio and demo them for a while, and then they go on the site as demo's or get sold as such, but that is only the case if it's been in use for say a week and not a couple of minutes in the test rack.
Wait, you listen to gear... as in "Being an informed salesman" listening? Wow! I'll check out your store. I've had a few bad experiences with GC types, but to be fair, I've known a few that I can actually respect. But some of 'em will say "This will add tube warmth" when selling a guitar pick.
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