Consumer Complaints and Reviews
Searched online for a keyboard for Christmas Present. Chose Guitar Center for really great looking package deal. Nowhere in the online description did it mention that any part of the package was not in stock. After I placed my order I received an email that the item was back ordered. Hmm. Today (12/3) checked online and see that the keyboard is showing up as in stock so I contact customer service via their chat feature. I soon learned that they had all of the package EXCEPT for a learn to play CD... that item wouldn't be in until Jan 17th!!! So I asked if I could get the rest of my order shipped... I even offered to pick up the CD at a local store when it arrives. No. Won't ship partial order (this even though their email says they may ship separately). So I asked if they would cancel the CD part and ship the rest. NO. They won't do that. Okay fine... You just lost a sale and earned poor reviews! So I've canceled.
The subject says it all! Guitar Center uses Music123 on eBay to farm personal info so that they can directly market their low quality bargain bin crap grade products to you by "junk mailing" etc. Music123 is owned by GC and has a fairly large presence on eBay unfortunately. Only as a last resort and for small cheap items like mic cables or a single set of strings will I buy anything from GC. I have had very disappointing experiences dealing with lazy or incompetent sales reps in GC. On one experience, I was interested in a powered PA speaker. I asked the rep to plug it in so I could test it. He was so ** lazy, he gave me a hard time about plugging in a mixer/cables to test the cabinet! Seriously!!! Do your job you lazy piece of **.
Another time I was interested in a POD HD400 but the dumb ** sales guys couldn't figure out how to demo it! Now it seems like whenever I'm in a GC, you could shoot a canon thru the place and not worry about hitting anyone because the PLACE IS PRETTY MUCH EMPTY! They don't deserve anyone's hard earned money and certainly don't deserve pro musician's business. The writing is on the wall GC. This type of business needs to be in the hands of the smaller retailers with deep knowledge of the product lines. Not a bunch of flunky kids in garage bands waiting to get their big break. You're better off to deal with a reputable company like Chicago Music Exchange or zZounds. Don't order anything from Music123 or you will end up in a gazillion junk mail marketing lists.
SOLD COUNTERFEIT BC RICH INSTRUMENTS!!! After a positive, near 40-year relationship with GC Hollywood, I feel the need to disclose the details of a very disturbing situation. In 1993, A GC customer purchased four BC Rich USA instruments from that location. In or about 2010 or 2011, he returned with them claiming that they were counterfeit (fakes). David **, a decades long employee and one of the sales people who initially sold the instruments, refunded him 10K and took possession of the products. Mr. ** then put them back out for sale in the store. In 2011, I purchased one of them, a 1993 build, BC Rich USA Bich Supreme. He informed me of the history of the first buyer and I insisted on a purchase order copy from GC showing BR Rich itself provided them the guitar in order to avoid any future confusion as to the instrument's legitimacy.
A week or so later, he produced what he claimed was the P.O., I placed in the case and drove home with the instrument... five years ago. The P.O. in fact was simply a copy of the original customer's receipt from 1993. I sold the guitar two days ago in the amount of 2500.00 to a respected dealer who blew up on me a day later over the fact it (and the other three) had been deemed 'fakes' on more than one website. I verified his claims with the actual (still living) makers of all BCR instruments from 1977-current. They (all four instruments) were left over B stock unfinished guitars purchased, then pieced together and finished by Ed Roman Guitars in Nevada.
I have had two days off work, numerous hours invested in finding the truth and over 20 hours of anger and grief dealing with this. Guitar Center is possibly criminally liable as well for knowingly selling counterfeit guitars. A Civil Action is being prepared this evening and I will notify the SPD Detectives on Monday too, at least, report this as a intent to defraud.
When I received the Vocalist Live 4 Vocal Harmonizer Vocal Processor (1) unit I order it didn't come in the box it was showed with, didn't have the booklet it was showed with, and it had a power adapter that was incorrect voltage and amperage. It won't work without the correct power adapter. Connector wasn't even close, called, the guy seemed very helpful. A new power adapter was shipped completely, wrong again.
I called, emailed pictures, and nothing, called and emailed more times, it's a month later and they want me to start the whole complaint process over because they can't find it, even though it's continued on the same email thread. Then they want me to go to my local store which the closest store is two and a half hours away. And to add insult to injury they want me to purchase a 45 day warranty to make sure my purchase will still be covered when or if I ever get the power adapter. Guitar Center sucks big time, this is my last order from them. Do yourself a favor, find another store.
We just want to thank Chris and Guitar Center in Sterling, VA for consistently providing such a nice environment in the store and great customer service. Chris is always willing to help. We had a problem with an input jack, and he fixed it. When there was another issue to be addressed with the same jack, he fixed it without charging us anything. Another time, he helped fix our acoustic electric--I was out of there in ten minutes for less than $10.00. Unbelievable. Chris and his GC staff are honest and are truly more interested in helping than just making a buck. Our new favorite store!! Thank you all.
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Bought a brand new Squier Vintage Modified P bass 2 months ago. My hands are small and the neck is too thick. Went to trade it for a Jazz bass. This bass was $299. The Jazz is $349. Took it into Pasadena GC, they offered me $85!!! It's in new condition! They just lost a customer!!
After problems with purchasing a gift card, this organization was unable to find my order, even though I had purchased it with my credit card. They were exceptionally unhelpful and incompetent. I ended up having to file a dispute with my credit card company to get my money back. I will never ever buy anything from them again.
I have been spending lots of money with GC. I was shopping for a karaoke machine for my wife. I got a call right after I purchased this clearanced item a VocoPro for 129.00. The reg price was 229.00. Saying he didn't have it in stock he was cancelling my order. Not only did he ruined the surprise he really pissed me. I made contact and was told my order was in process and would be there on Friday. I got a call telling me it was a customer return that was not working. I told him, "You need to fix this. You pulled the same crap with the Harbinger personal Pa." Kept advertising one for $149.00 that they never had and talked me into a $229.00 one. It won't ever happened again.
The Guitar Center always puts the drums where they don't belong (In all the stores I've been in)! They get kids and older, that simply always play too loud and the guitar players can't hear whether or not the guitar is worth buying. A terrible set-up to say the least. The powers that be should place drums in a separate room, only to themselves! Just a terrible setup Guitar Center, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Then I have to wait 2 hours on the phone to their main center, and they don't answer complaints. What losers!!!
I have been dealing with GC for a long time and although, the quality of customer service varies slightly from store to store, I have found GC to be, hands down the absolute BEST vendor of Guitar related gear. First, it carries numerous manufacturers' products. Second, if they don't have it in stock, they get it promptly and THIRD their return policy is second to none. I can have a couple of different manufacturers' products simultaneously to AB them in my actual application environment, and then return the one I don't want for a return of my FULL purchase price and there are sufficient bricks-and-mortar stores that it's not an undue burden to this.
I would venture to say that but - for the foregoing, the few thousand dollars I've spent in the past few years would not have been spent... and the enjoyment I have experienced as a direct result would never have occurred. GC has struck a balance between "mass produced" pricing and individual customer attention that I am sure will keep me coming back. Special kudos to Lilly at GC.com and John ** and staff of the West Palm Beach FL store for customer service above and beyond during my most recent flurry of activity.
Bought a Mustang amplifier, after inspection I found a hole in the dashboard so I asked the salesman to replace it. He went back get a another one. Trusting these people will not cheat me, I bought it. When I get home the amp is the one I returned with the hole in the dash. It was too far away for me to return so I just accept I was ripped off. Do not buy with cc or debit. They will rip you off.
I traded & got ripped off when I returned what I purchased after only having it over the weekend. They said they sold my trade. Now I am out my trade & because I lost the discount of 10% for trading in you got my guitar for far less than I would have sold it for. I have complained but all I get back is "See your store." They are the ones who ripped me off! They won't help! This was one bad deal that I will never forget or live down. Right now I have never hated a company more than GC!! I will do all I can to put you out of business. That's my mission!! PS, the manager was a jerk & your policies suck! Goodbye.
I bought an item and couldn't find my credit card at check-out. The next day they called and informed me that the credit card fell out of my wallet. I really thought nothing of it, so the next day I picked it up. I hardly ever used the card, but there was a large online purchase a couple of months later. I could not prove a thing, but I am convinced that the card was compromised by someone working there. Again, I cannot prove a thing. I bought many items there. Not one item I ever purchased came in a box. I asked different sales guys each time why. I was always told that it was a close out item, they don't make it anymore, it's a collector's item. How would I know if this is really a new item?
The shop guru. Every time I went in there some Van Halen/Jimi Hendrix wanna-a-bee would be playing real loud through one of those powerful amps. I plugged in, and sales guy says don't turn it up like I am some beginner that does not deserve to play in the presence of the GC guru. I don't care for hypocrisy in any form. The shop didn't impress me at all because they all sound the same. I could not find a plug anywhere for a small amp. I turn the amp towards me and it slipped down and made a loud noise. A big sales guy come strutting over there and reads me the right act. It was an accident! Maybe they don't keep cables and power supplies in there for a reason.
The wall. Guitar Center makes a lot of money selling cheap guitars, mainly Squire bullets which are strictly for beginners. Any better than that is out of reach unless you are 10 feet tall. Trade-ins are real lousy at this place. I would rather donate the instruments to Goodwill and write it off on my taxes. GC's attitude is that everything that comes through that store is junk. Maybe they are right, but it is not nice to treat your customers as less than talk down from the mountain tops. I have not had good experiences with Guitar Center. I am finished with them. They say "never say never," but this ole' boy will never return to a Guitar Center. I had it with them and their shady practices. Seems like every time I left GC, I departed with a resentment.
This is the absolute worse service I have ever had, I would not ever recommend this company to anyone. I am contacting the Better Business Bureau about this company for all of the lies they have told and how terrible the service was. I ordered a guitar as a gift and it showed it was available to find out I was actually put on back order. Two months later and about 50 calls later with different stories each time I talked with an online rep, I was called to find out Takamine just discontinued shipping them the guitar? I don't think so.
I have been looking for a bass for my son's 18th birthday for weeks. He wanted a fretless, 6-string bass. At 8:50am on Friday April 15th, I found the perfect one on Guitar Center's used equipment page and bought it on the spot. I then called the store to confirm they got the order and talked to the manager who was the only one there because the store wasn't open yet - it didn't open until 10am. She said they would ship it out on Monday. I said no problem. My credit card was charged. On Sunday, I get a call from another guy who claims to be a manager at this Guitar Center who tells me the bass was sold in the store at the same time I placed my order. I told him that couldn't possibly have happened because I ordered the bass before the store was open. I explained this was a very important birthday gift and he needed to call the customer and have them bring it back to the store and ship it to me. He refused. He said they don't do that. It's not store policy.
I told him that since he has no problem calling me and telling me I'm not getting the bass, then he should have no problem calling the OTHER customer and telling them they need to bring it back because it was already sold. I KNOW the store inventory is all computerized. I know that that bass showed it was already sold. To sell it a manager would have had to do an override. What recourse do I have? Can I call a lawyer? I have my phone records showing where I called the store and I have my receipt showing the time the bass was purchased. I just want the bass for my son's birthday. This is the absolute worst treatment I have ever seen. If I don't get this bass, I am calling my attorney.
I placed an order online for pick up in store same day. Two hours later, it show as out of stock. No call, nothing. The email said it would arrive in store for me to pick up in 3-7 days. What happened to in stock, pick up today? I called the customer service for online orders. He switched my order to a different Guitar Center which had the item in stock. Two hours later, same thing. The stores never had any in stock. This is fraud in my opinion. I only ordered from them so I could pick it up the same day. If I had to wait I would have ordered from another place online that offers things like free cables with a purchase. So they scammed me into thinking I could get it today when I couldn't.
None of the three stores in my area ever carry any of the products I'm interested in buying. I also had pro audio experts at the N Olmsted location tell me my mixer was broken because he didn't know what a PFL button does. Pro Audio expert? I don't think so. Do yourself a favor. Don't buy from these guys. They don't have anything in the store you want anyway. They just need to go out of business, so that some local music shops can come back.
Hey guys, I just wanted to let everyone know not to make any purchases from www.guitarcenter.com, especially when it comes to used gear. In the past year and a half, Sam and I have made several purchases on the site, which have gone horribly for us. First Sam purchased a used Les Paul which we then found out was sold in the store the next day before it was shipped to us. A friend, who works at GC explained that this happens a lot, because the salesmen on the floor get commission, so they will sell an item, even if it is awaiting shipment, to make the commission. Sam also made a purchase of a bass recently, which was guaranteed to be delivered in time for Christmas. Guess what? It wasn’t.
I too have had a string of bad experiences with GC. Some time ago, I purchased a used Line POD XT effects processor, which was pictured with an expression pedal; however, the expression pedal did not arrive with the item! Then 8 days ago, I purchased a pack of picks and paid for 4-6 day shipping. The package arrived today, damaged and empty - so no picks for me. To top it all off, I recently got a used squire affinity start, as a backup guitar, and when it arrived, the turner for the high E was broken off. I’m confident that this is due to the fact that there was almost no bubble wrap in the package.
I called GC’s customer service, to discuss these issues and they were less than helpful and refused to send me a replacement tuner. Insisting that I will need to take the guitar to a local store to see what they could do because they don’t sell single tuners. I tried to express the fact that as a parent, student and a full-time worker, I don’t have time to do this. In fact this is the reason why I shop online so much. Still they refused to send me a replacement tuner. Untimely, rather than stress myself out, by having to deal with their subpar customer service, I am going to just order a set of upgrade turners for the strat, from Sam Ash, and move on with my life. I just wanted to make sure all my guitar playing friends were warned about GC.
This is my in-depth review of Guitar Center. They get one star because that is the minimum allowable rating. I must say I hope this company goes under. I also will say that I regret every penny I have given them. Foreword: Guitar and music is a favorite hobby of mine. I work hard to find extra money to buy nice guitars and gear. I have a couple of Music Man Petrucci models currently. I bought them from Sweetwater and Musician's Friend. I must say that SW is great and MF - regardless of connection with Guitar Center, is great as well.
I will make a list of reasons not to choose Guitar Center followed by a couple of reasons to choose them. Don't choose GC:
1.) When I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-13, I ordered about 3,000 dollars worth of gear. I asked over the phone from a base over there if my wife could pick it up from a local store in California. They said it was okay. My poor wife got there and had trouble even getting the gear. She said she was treated with nonchalance and rudeness. Then, they finally agreed to let her get the gear. Luckily she was smart because they tried to give her only two of the six items to sign for. She had to argue and review the receipt before they finally "found" my 1500 dollar amp and other items in the back. If she had signed blindly, I would never have gotten what I paid for.
2.) The employees are FAR from subject-matter experts. They aren't even good salesman. Every single time I go in the store, they know nothing about the products. I routinely have had to step behind the counter to pick out my own strings because the poor guy couldn't locate the set that I pointed to. Guitar Center apparently spends little time training employees. After reading bigger picture evaluations on the company, I can see why the employees hate their jobs. Refer to Forbes' most recent article about Guitar Center's commission drops.
3.) Guitar Center sells used gear for top dollar prices which often is in terrible shape. I once ordered a VHT Pitbull amplifier used from the website. It was listed in excellent condition. I received it, and every single tube needed replacement. Tubes aren't cheap, guys. Aside from this annoyance, the amp was beat up. The tiny pixelated pictures they post for used gear give zero indication of an item's quality.
4.) This con goes for overall poor experience in every Guitar Center store I have visited. The employees universally ignore customers, make you wait, hassle you for returns, etc.
5.) Finally, this store sells guitars and other equipment for "new" prices that have been used. By this, I mean that 20-100 grimy fingers have played the instrument before you buy it for full value PLUS TAX. I will say there is no better feeling than unboxing a fresh guitar bought online. There is no human grease on it, and it will be wrapped in plastic.
Reasons to visit Guitar Center:
1.) If you absolutely need money, you can go sell your used gear there. Just go in, present the gear, and wait. You can expect 1/3 of the new price if the gear is in mint condition, or 1/2 of what it goes for used. I have found either of these calculations to be fairly accurate predictions for GC's value determination.
2.) If the store near you is convenient, buy some strings or a strap from there. Not too much can go wrong with that.
To sum it up, Guitar Center is the worst thing that has happened to instrument sales ever in my humble opinion - and experience. Have some self respect and buy from somewhere else. I strongly suggest Sweetwater. I always reach the same sales rep there. He even remembers my name and asks questions that let me know he remembers details from small talk a few months prior. Additionally, Guitar Center's online sister, Musician's Friend, seems to be the better sibling. I have purchased from there when Sweetwater didn't have what I wanted. I got great deals, fast shipping, and pretty decent customer service. We Musicians are a group of people who generally aren't rich, but great gear is very expensive. Let's not purchase from a snobby corporation who treats us with zero respect or courtesy. I hope this review helps other hard-working musicians to steer away from GC.
I'm looking to purchase a banjo case. Just my luck, they have a good case on sale for $40.00. My credit card is out and I'm ready to pull the trigger. Guitar center recommends I check out this open box version for 10% off. Sure. Why not. It's a case, what could go wrong? So I switch to the open box version. A week goes by and I get a cancelation notice on my order. "We don't have it anymore. Sorry."
No big deal! I'll just buy the one that is literally only $4 more... except now they want $70 for the thing. OK. I have this documented order from this date, I'll just ask that they honor that day's sale price of the EXACT SAME OPEN BOX item that I tried to purchase. Not so simple. "There is literally no way I can do that" the guy says to me (and this is where I stop being the chipper "so these things happen and I'm just here to work with you on fixing it" customer).
So let me get this straight. Your ** website offered me a product that was out of stock. Your ** team took a week to figure out the problem and your ** customer service people won't honor the listed price from the day that I ordered? When I pressed heavily (and angrily), they offered 7% off... of an item that had doubled in price in seven days. How do you feel like that offer is going to go down? I already know you can afford to sell it to me at $40 otherwise, you wouldn't have listed it for $40.00 on sale.
You have got to be ** me. This is the good news though. I just need the thing for a single flight. They have a 45-day return policy with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I'm currently 100% dissatisfied and will be having them send me a case for my trip which I will be promptly returning due to my dissatisfaction with their ability to run a company, own up to their piss poor ability to deal with distribution hiccups and exhibit human emotion. Some companies go for quantity to avoid being held to any quality standards. Good to know that Guitar Center is one of those value suck companies.
This is the last time I will order online with Guitar Center. I'm taking my business to Sweetwater, where they excel at customer service. I ordered a discounted 'open box' effect unit for an upcoming gig. I received it Wednesday. Removed the 'Quality Tested and Inspected' sticker, plugged it in, and heard a high pitch squeal. The squeal did not go away, tried different cords, guitars, amps, outlets. Definitely a defective unit. Called customer service and explained the situation. They said I would have to return it. I asked for a new one at the same cost, and to be expedited. They refused.
I found another unit at another guitar center online, used. I ordered it Wednesday night and paid $50 for overnight delivery as I needed it for the weekend. They didn't ship until Friday, delivered Monday, wasted $50, and had no effects for my gig Sunday. This is the second time this has happened regarding receiving defective products. Buyer beware - Guitar Center recirculates defective units, rather than pulling them from the shelves. Absolutely unacceptable and incompetent service. I have had great experiences with my local Guitar Center, but will use Sweetwater for online purchases from now on.
Follow up to 1-10-2016 post: I had a failed A40 acoustic amplifier bought less than 3 months ago from Guitar Center. After finding out that Guitar Center doesn't support manufacturers' warranties after 45 days, I emailed Guitar Center (on a Sunday) with my complaint. The store called me the same day and agreed to take it back and get me a new one. While I still don't like their policy, or the fact that it is not stated on their website or at the time of purchase, or that I had to push to get satisfaction, I was surprised and impressed at the response.
Bought an Acoustic A40 amplifier October 30, 2015. It failed today, January 10, 2016. It worked for only 72 days. I called the store. I was told Guitar Center would not replace it, instead deferring to the manufacturer's 3 year warranty. They don't support manufacturer's warranties.
The website named the keyboard as Yamaha CLP 465 GP from Guitar Center store in Fayetteville and I stay in Boston, so placed an order on 23rd of September 2015. After it was shipped (took 1 week), turned out to be CLP 920, with edges ripped and couple of keys popped out, no power cable/supply and so no way to test. Was told that it was tested before shipping and is in good condition. They said, they'd ship power supply next week and did not receive it for a whole week. Called them and was told there was misshipment and was enroute but they'd ship overnight another power supply. Got the power supply and it doesn't work.
Contacted them again and was told that they'd contact Yamaha representative and get the power supply. Called them after a week of no response from their end, and was told that they purchased the power supply from eBay and would ship that to me. I have no clue if that would work or not as I haven't received it yet (BTW, it's been a month and a week now since I ordered the damn thing.). All of the things they said seems to be a fabrication, some story to convince the customer or shut their mouth off when enquiring. Very disappointing and it cost me a lot of energy, time and mental peace.
This all started out as a anniversary gift from my wife. She asked me what I wanted and she said, "let's go and get it." I had been looking for this amp for some time and it just happened to show up on Guitar Center's web site right before our anniversary. So we drove 60 miles round trip to purchase Amp, along with repair plan. Upon getting home discovered it had a problem with amp as it would not always work. Would turn on OK, but sometimes, even without guitar plugging in I could turn the adjustment knob it would lock up and quit functioning. Contacted location where I purchased it. Said I needed to contact Pro Service 866-257-6551 for repairs. Contacted Pro Service. Said that needed to take back to Guitar Center as the store warranty is still in effect.
Contacted the Tempe, AZ store and advised of the problem and was informed to bring it in. Upon arrival I Informed the associate of the problem with the Amp. I was advised he would sell me another amp (more expensive) and suggested what amp would be the best for what type of applications I would be using it for. I declined the offer and was refunded my money. I made it a point to show the problem with the amp. I had the associate turn it on, turn the knob, and watch as the system froze. He said he would make sure it would be taken care of.
Days later I was again looking online for this particular amp when I saw Guitar Center had one offered again on sale for the same amount at the Tempe store. Looked it up, zoomed in on the back photo of it, and the serial # matched the receipt that I had when I purchased it on 11-07-2015. I thought, OK one of two things. They fixed it, or they just put it back on the shelf and are going to push it off onto the next person, which is how I believe I came to have purchased it. I truly did not think they fixed it, but I had to know. So I drove back to the Guitar Center and there it was. It still looked brand new. I turned it on, turned the knob like before, and like before it froze up and quite working.
I brought this to the attention of another associate at the store and explained the problem. He pulled it from the shelf and said he would make sure this would be corrected. He then asked what type of applications I wished to use the amp for. I informed him and was given a completely different sales pitch about different amps than the other associate.
This is has not been my first purchase from Guitar Center. I purchased a Electric cutaway a few years back and within an hour discovered one of the tuning heads was damaged. Wished to get it repaired. Said that would have to exchange it for another guitar, and would not repair it. The other guitar of the same make and model had a bad buzz on the low e string. The associate said they all had the buzz. Informed him that the one that I had purchased did not. He disagree. Had my money refunded and returned the guitar. So after 4 trips to 3 Guitar Center stores I have purchased no guitars, no amps, and put over 100 miles on our car.
Gets one star only because there are no zeros. Totally incompetent. If it had stock I would short it! I bought a baritone ukulele, which was on display. First day a string broke. They would not replace it, so I had to buy one. Next I ordered a gig bag advertised on sale in their catalogue for the ukulele. It took several weeks to arrive because of back order. Next I ordered a hard case - also took several weeks. I complained to the store and then I received 2 cases. They charged me for both, so I had to send one back. More strings broke, but they were sold out! How does this happen? So they ordered me a couple of sets - supposed to arrive in 5-7 days. It has been over 2 weeks and no strings. I think I will find someplace new to take my business even if it costs more.
I order Numark NS7II 4-Channel Motorized DJ Controller and Mixer from Guitar Center. I pay for 2 day express on 10/27. 10/28 all clear for shipping... today is 10/30. I call asking, "Where is my item?" They said (I spoke with the store and spoke with the Operations Manager, who handles shipments. He said that the store just became aware of the order and that he is going to send it out today, to make sure that it gets to you tomorrow). So they take your payment and they don't process the order? This is my first and last time I buy from GUITAR CENTER.
I purchased a "new" DJ controller Numark ns7ii for $1,600 with the 2-year warranty. It had multiple missing parts (Allen wrench, spindle screw, spindle wrench, and user manual) as well as having multiple issues with the crossfader and the output. Once I realized all of this I contacted them and they refused to replace it even though I bought the warranty. They said they can only repair it. They sold me used gear at full price and would not work anything out with me besides repairing it. So if you want to buy used music gear for full price Guitar Center is the place for you.
Worst experience period. I've worked in customer service for several years myself and I would never EVER treat a customer with so little respect especially a customer spending hundreds the way this staff has treated me. Walked in looking to spend a grand, left NEVER looking to do business with Guitar Center again.
On Friday, 10/2/2015 I bought a Used "1966" Pelham Blue Epiphone SG 400 PRO for $249 plus shipping and tax! What a deal! Excellent condition! I happily pulled my card out and purchased it. 300 dollars charged to my card, immediately. 5 minutes later I get a email: "Hello Coty, Thank you for your recent order. We have yet to receive the out-of-stock item(s) noted below, but we have more on order with the manufacturer. We will ship them to you as soon as we receive them. We appreciate your patience. If you need further assistance with your order, please call 866-498-7882."
Okay... you're going to send me a brand new one for the same price as a used if I wait?! No. I call them, and she "canceled" the order. "Your money will be back in your account on Monday morning." No it isn't. I just got off the phone with "Luke" from customer service about 4 hours ago. Had to cuss at this uncaring, snarky douche to make him understand my issue.
NOW, after laying into this jerk, I actually get a real email declaring that my order was cancelled. I never got this email when I originally canceled it the other day. Did they think I was rich and wasn't going to notice 300 bucks not going back into my account? Here it is 7:53, Monday night 10/5/2015 and I still don't have my money back. I will never ever even consider making a purchase at "Scam Center" for any reason. Do not trust their "in-stock" listings. Do not shop here unless you want them to charge you for items they don't even have.
So I went to GC in N. Attleboro, MA. Looking at the Pioneer DDJ-SP1, about a $300.00 unit. So I ask, "is the sales person for DJ department here today." No. "Ok, can anyone help me with questions about this unit?" "I sold two of them," he says. I ask, "but you know anything about this unit?" (I just get a dumb look.) "Can we connect it to an existing setup for me to check out?"
"No, we have nothing set up right now to connect to." He then tells me, people just buy this then go to YouTube to learn how to use it. Really? This is how people sell ** today? Lol. "What can you tell me about this unit," I continue to ask. "This is the last one I have," he replies. Yeah, I see why stores like this are going away. At least Amazon will give me a better price and free shipping (lol - no taxes too). Hate to say it but this country is just getting dumber by the second. Good luck selling your last controller slick. I'll never step thru that store's doors again.
Let me preface by saying that I try to be positive when dealing with bad situations, but Guitar Center makes me question that. I'm 20 now, but I’ve been going to GC for all my music equipment since I was 12 so it's not like I'm completely new to the store. I got my first multi-effects unit there, my first digital recorder (which I still use to this day), a few guitars, and a bass. When I bought my bass, there was a large fiber of clothe or something caught in the finish in the bottom corner of the bass, so my dad and I negotiated with the sales rep and he was able to knock off like $30 or something like that, which was nice, and thus proving that NOT ALL employees outright refuse to negotiate prices.
I’ve never had a problem with buying anything straight off the shelf from there either. In fact, it's probably the only reason I go there now other than the fact that it's one of the only music stores around here (I live in Michigan and go to the Allen Park store, about 20 minutes away from my house). I’ve also never had a problem with ordering items either because in the past I’ve just shipped them to the store in case there was a problem, and there never was. I can't really complain with any of those scenarios. They have a large selection of stuff to buy and at fair prices. But in my opinion, the negatives outweigh the positives. Here's everything that comes to mind right away:
Buy-back used gear - This is probably the biggest issue everyone has with this store. I understand they need to make a profit, but damn, is undercutting prices on used gear by 70% REALLY that fair? A large amount of the used gear that comes into the store is in mint condition anyway, so there should be at least a 50% price minimum policy. I think they would make a lot more profit if they actually paid the right price or a decent price for the used gear that comes in because then more people would respect their policy. A perfect example from a couple years ago that really shows how they swindle you: I had had my eye on a new guitar for a while, so I decided I was finally gonna get it, and maybe some other stuff if I had some store credit left over.
This was the first time I dealt with selling my used gear, so I was hoping I could at least break even. I brought in some of my old gear that I wasn't using; an Epiphone Les Paul Custom, an Epiphone ES-355 with a Bigsby tremolo (limited run for a couple years and is now discontinued), a Boss GT-10, and an MXR Phase 100, all under 3 years old. Collectively, all that gear would have easily made $1200 at the very least, but this wasn't even close to what they offered, which is ridiculous if they can't even come close to half the price of one of your guitars. Anyways, after he checked the price tag on the guitar I wanted and picked out a case, an employee said he'd be right with me once they checked out all my used gear. He came back (not exaggerating) about 50 minutes later and said the price of my gear wouldn't cover it and I honestly thought he was kidding.
The guitar and case both added up to about $700 and my gear was easily worth almost twice that. Not even thinking about it, I said, "Well I have about $80 on me right now," and he goes, "Well that just about covers it". At the time, I thought nothing of it. But looking back on it now, that was a pretty big coincidence. So the outcome was that, in my ignorance, I actually paid the rest and walked out the door with a new guitar, losing a painful $800 in what I could have gotten for my gear on eBay. Honestly one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever done in my life and I’ll never sell them any of my stuff ever again. eBay and Reverb are much more rewarding.
Sales & coupons - This is probably a nit-picky one, but it's always really bothered me. I hate how GC has sales and coupons all the time, but about 90% of their inventory doesn't apply to it. Okay... So what's the point? Most people are more likely to buy name-brand stuff over some of the cheaper brands that nobody has heard of (Fender over G&L, Gibson over Guild, etc), so why host a sale when nothing you want applies? I guess they have cheaper prices on the gear already, but the whole point of a sale is to get really good deals on regular-priced items.
Employees - Without trying to stereotype the people that work there, I can honestly say that the employee demographic has changed drastically from helpful and friendly sales representatives to unhelpful, wannabe-hipsters that don't know what they're talking about. It seems like every employee I talk to now is always the most least-helpful person GC could have hired and they seem to really be trying to be your friend and sell you something at the price on the tag rather than understanding exactly what you're looking for. Again, not trying to generalize, but they seem to not care as much about their customers as much as they used to. And within the 8-year time span of changes that I’ve noticed, that's really saying something. Whenever I bought guitars from them in the past, there was always somebody with me who helped by recommending other brands, showing me ones with different pickups, explaining how the amp can make the same guitar sound different, etc.
Now, if I walk in and say "I want this guitar", they barely do any of that. I'm not just making this up either. Every now and then I’ll take a trip there to just play around with a few things. The past few times I’ve went in and asked for a certain guitar, the employee would find it. I would go and play it for a length of time, and that was it. They never came back and recommended anything else or asked how I liked it like they used to. It's like they changed how they do business and it doesn't feel as friendly anymore, which sucks.
Prices - I don't really need to say this one but I might as well mention it. Prices on gear in GC are good, but not great. Yeah, they knock a couple hundred bucks off the list price, but you can find the exact same item online a little cheaper than the GC price, and that's with shipping most of the time. I can't really complain though since I’ve had good luck with price negotiations on NEW gear in the past, so whatever. If I need a cable or stand for anything, I don't have a problem buying it there.
But one really important thing to point out is the warranty stuff. Don't bother buying a GC warranty on an item because most times the manufacturer offers at least a 1 year warranty as long as you register the product on their website, which essentially proves that paying for a GC warranty is pointless. I’ve also heard that if you want money back for a product, GC's policy is to issue a check only, not cash, and many people have had issues with this because the check can only be cashed at a certain bank and it costs $7.50 if you're not a member.
Picks and plugs - These are the last 2 things I don't really get about this store, the first one being picks. I used to be able to walk into a GC and not have to worry about finding a pick or bringing one with me because they usually tried to keep them scattered throughout the shelves where they put the amps. They don't do that anymore for some reason. It's probably because too many people were walking out with them in their pocket, by accident or not, but they should still just have like a dish of them by the cash register or something. Kinda wish they would have a few tuners lying around or something too.
The other small issue I have is that they don't even plug in half the amps that are on the floor. I hate trying to turn an amp on to just test a guitar and the stupid thing isn't even around an outlet or doesn't have a power cable with it. What's the point then? At my GC, they recently started keeping the cables up at the main desk for some reason and you have to go up and ask for one and take it back when you're done. It's so childish and I’ve never seen something like that... Is this a library or a music store? If people are stealing your cables, it's probably because they lost half their profit on their used gear buy-back.
Overall, Guitar Center has its good aspects, but there's a lot to be desired. If the A&R Music 5 minutes away from my house had the giant selection of gear GC has, I would go there instead. But my options are limited unfortunately. Above all: 1) Don't sell your used gear there. You'll lose so much and gain very little in the end; 2) Don't buy extended warranties unless absolutely necessary, like pedals since they're more likely to break by stepping on them; and 3) Know what you want and what to pay for it. If you come in without researching prices and other options, you'll get swindled easier.
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