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#1943360 - 08/15/12 06:51 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
bbuckis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 81
Originally Posted By: Ken Elias
The dealer would prefer to not use the eBay system, and wants me to send a full pre-payment before he ships the piano. I'm really nervous about that,


You should be nervous about that!

Originally Posted By: Ken Elias
and after seeing on this forum an idea from someone about using escrow.com, I think, well there's a solution that would address my concern. But the dealer says he doesn't want to bother with that.


He would not want to bother with that, because? it would complicate ripping you off.

Originally Posted By: Ken Elias
Frankly, he seems like a very reputable person, very good-hearted. Aren't the scams mostly craigslist type things, not real live dealers? Perhaps this is nothing to be concerned about.


With just the two things listed above. There is plenty to be concerned about! If however you can afford to lose nine grand go for it.
_________________________
The only thing preventing me from owning a Steinway & Sons produced piano, is Steinway & Sons Customer Service. They should work on that.

Fortunately the piano I want the most is sold by Steinway & Sons!
Unfortunately the piano I want the most is only sold by Steinway & Sons.

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#1943369 - 08/15/12 07:14 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hello again, Ken Elias,

I was just curious whether or not you ever PM'd Steve Cohen to get a recommendation (or not) on the eBay dealer in question?

I was just thinking, when someone pays thousands of dollars for a piano, (sight unseen or not) there has to be some trust in there somewhere, on both sides of the equation.

Of the pianos I’ve purchased, I not only looked at and played the pianos, but I met the sellers and got a feel for what kind of people they were. At that point, I built a certain level of trust toward them, and they with me.

I hope it works out for you, what ever you decide to do.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1943386 - 08/15/12 07:55 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...I had no illusions that it was not a risk. Anyway, the terms were that I gave the delivery person a check on delivery. No cash changed hands until I actually had the piano in my home. Probably not the normal way to do it..."

Glad it worked out for you, ERN.

Paying the remaining balance-in-full on delivery is not unusual, as far as I can make out from statements posted here by store reps, and by people who have bought used pianos at a distance, which would have made payment in-person inconvenient. It was also my personal experience when dealing locally: I paid a deposit to reserve, then the balance the day of shipment (or about then; it might have been the day before).

Unless you finance your purchase through the store, I believe vendors want to be paid before or upon delivery.

"...Aren't the scams mostly craigslist type things, not real live dealers? Perhaps this is nothing to be concerned about..."

Oh, no. Indeed you should be concerned! It might not necessarily be a scam or a fraudulent representation of the merchandise (though it can and has happened), but it IS something to be concerned about, that you exercise your personal responsibility to look out for your own interests.

You should read the sales contract, and make sure it says on paper what you have discussed with the vendor. That should include the make, model, serial number, sale price, sales tax, delivery, payment and other terms (included tunings, for example). Any deposit or other payment should be properly receipted. That is minimal, and should all be correct and in order. If you are asked to tender, or accept as tender (if you are selling) anything other than the exact amount of the sale, run don't walk! That is a serious danger sign of a real scam.

The contract may also include the piano's date of manufacture, an inspection report mentioning any repairs, and (if it's a store) a store warranty--- which will have its own terms, and which you should understand. You may very well need to ask questions until you do understand what is warranted, what is excluded from the warranty, and what your recourse is, should it prove unsatisfactory. The language is often opaque, and uses terms with special legal meanings--- for a sales contract is a legal document.

Setting right any trouble with a sale is not an easy matter. You should head off trouble by looking out for yourself all the way along. There are plenty of sad and angry letters about it on this site, if you care to look into it. Misunderstandings can be as hurtful and aggravating (almost) as actual fraud. So, being sure that you have a clearly-understood agreement, spelled out on that piece of paper, is one big way you can protect your experience. Though of course, every problem cannot be foreseen.

"...Many folks on here suggest that you should always play the instrument you intend to buy. It's hard to do that from the Central Valley of California, where pianos are few and far between..."

I have not shopped there personally, but I have 'heard' people here speak of at least one very fine piano store in Sacramento--- maybe more--- and possibly, in Fresno. And you could take your pick of quite a few in San Jose and the Bay Area, or the ones in L.A. You only have to deliver yourself to the store; they all deliver, and if you're trading up they will also take away the old piano.

What, can't you come up, do a little piano shopping, have dinner, go to a concert? It could be fun. Miss the traffic both ways.


Edited by Jeff Clef (08/16/12 12:20 AM)
_________________________
Clef


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#1943483 - 08/16/12 12:01 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: turandot]
Elkayem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
Originally Posted By: turandot
...The folks that own those businesses are not dishonest. EBay for its part does not prevent retailers from listing their business, its address, and its telephone number in the listing. It also allows vendors to state in the listing that the merchandise might become unavailable if sold through another channel...


A direct cut and paste from eBay's policy:

We don't allow our members to use eBay to contact each other to make offers to buy or sell items outside of eBay. Also, members can't use information obtained from eBay to contact each other about buying or selling outside of eBay.

If you receive an offer to buy or sell outside eBay, please report it.


Link to Policy

The situation the OP describes seems really shady to me. Maybe some dealers are willing to risk their reputation for the "free" advertising, but it is certainly not honest. I checked out the $9K Kawai ad, and it clearly stated the purchase would be protected by the eBay Buyer Protection Program. Truth in advertising? How can a retailer stand behind that?
_________________________
Schimmel 130T

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#1943614 - 08/16/12 08:39 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Elkayem
A direct cut and paste from eBay's policy:

We don't allow our members to use eBay to contact each other to make offers to buy or sell items outside of eBay. Also, members can't use information obtained from eBay to contact each other about buying or selling outside of eBay.

If you receive an offer to buy or sell outside eBay, please report it.

I’ve always been one to want to abide by the rules of any organization I’m involved with. I’m thinking there is a concept called “the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law”.

As I stated in this thread, I initially saw both pre-owned grand pianos I’ve owned advertized at auction on eBay. I did not bid on either, and neither did anyone else. In both instances, the auction ended without any bids, period. I did obtain contact information for the sellers through the eBay listing. It just so happened that I was not able to go look at the pianos in person before the auction ended. Neither seller re-listed the piano on eBay before I made them an offer.

Ironically, I paid more than starting bid for the Tokai Grand because the seller said he wanted more than the starting bid for the piano (and I did not know any better at the time). Had I bid on it on eBay, I would have save a few hundred dollars.

As far as the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law, I do not think I violated any of eBay’s rules because the auction had ended and the items were not relisted. I did, however, obtain the contact information through the eBay listing. And, I’m sure this kind of thing happens frequently on eBay with big ticket items. I’m thinking eBay’s policies are meant for auctions that are active.

Oh yea, one more thing, I do not think any ads or auctions on eBay are free.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1943636 - 08/16/12 09:27 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Rickster]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7265
Loc: torrance, CA
Rick,

No need to question yourself. Neither eBay nor Escrow.com is a consumer protection agency. Both sell a service based on getting a slice of the sale proceeds.

It is the buyer's call to determine whether an offered deal is acceptable, just as it is a seller's call to decide whether a lowball offer should be taken seriously. Valuation of used pianos is tricky enough when the piano is in hand. Those who can decide from a distance that a retailer is dishonest and intent on ripping you off have a special 'talent'.

There really should be a forum for moral outrage so that this 'talent' can be exercised and shared in a moral vacuum unfettered by facts or context.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1943652 - 08/16/12 10:02 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Elkayem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
Rick, the situation you describe sounds fine to me. Once an auction ends, the agreement between the seller and eBay has also ended.

You are right that there is a small fee. It is free for the first 50 auctions per month, and $2 for each ad after that. eBay makes its money on the sale, which is 9% with a maximum of $250. Pretty steep, but they also do have a "classified" option which does not have any final value fee and allows the transaction to occur outside eBay. These ads are more, about $10.

However, the seller in question chose to list his ad as an auction (likely for free unless he had 50 pianos for sale) rather than paying for a classified ad, and then requested seller pay him outside of eBay.
_________________________
Schimmel 130T

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#1943673 - 08/16/12 10:38 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Annitenth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 471
Loc: Texas
And does the buyer know if the ad was an auction or a classified ad? I certainly didn't know. And, like Rick, I bought after the listing had ended. I had monitored the eBay listing, and the agent's listings on his own site, for some time before purchase.
_________________________
Anne
Bsendorfer 225
Technics PCM Digital Ensemble PR307

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#1943686 - 08/16/12 10:54 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Elkayem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
I only see one Kawai RX2 offered at $9K for sale on eBay right now, and it is an auction. Maybe the OP was looking at a different ad. I just assumed.

Sorry for the 'moral outrage'. Just commenting on what others have also stated was a red flag. I think if the buyer wanted to complete the transaction through eBay, the seller should have complied. If the fee really were a big deal, he should have listed it for $9250 and everyone can go home happy.

By the way, I also get irritated when I see retailers who require a minimum charge for using a credit card, also in violation of the terms of service of the credit card companies. Maybe I should stop worrying about these things. crazy
_________________________
Schimmel 130T

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#1943726 - 08/16/12 11:31 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: turandot]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17809
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: turandot


There really should be a forum for moral outrage so that this 'talent' can be exercised and shared in a moral vacuum unfettered by facts or context.


I didn't see any moral outrage, just correcting your post that implied that the seller was operating within the rules of eBay, which was not the case.
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Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1944381 - 08/17/12 09:57 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Monica K.]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7265
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: turandot


There really should be a forum for moral outrage so that this 'talent' can be exercised and shared in a moral vacuum unfettered by facts or context.


I didn't see any moral outrage, just correcting your post that implied that the seller was operating within the rules of eBay, which was not the case.


It is eBay, not its professional vendors, that is not operating within the rules of eBay.

If you really think that eBay is unknowingly being abused by "dishonest" piano retailers whose intent is to "rip off" their customers, you should bring it to their attention. I don't think their policy gurus are reading here on a regular basis. It's possible that they haven't noticed.

If, on the other hand, you have personal reservations about doing business with a seller who uses eBay for exposure while offering the same merchandise through other channels, that's certainly your prerogative.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1944490 - 08/17/12 01:27 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
This is a copy of the wording on all communication generated in, or transmitted through, the eBay system.

"Do not respond to the sender if this message requests that you complete the transaction outside of eBay. This type of offer is against eBay policy, may be fraudulent, and is not covered by buyer protection programs. Learn More."
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1944647 - 08/17/12 05:52 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
bbuckis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 81
Ken Elias,
Your communication with this seller through the eBay system or not. Should be reported to eBay.
The dealer (seller) preferring not to use the eBay system to conclude this deal was inappropriate.
This professional vendor should be put on notice.
_________________________
The only thing preventing me from owning a Steinway & Sons produced piano, is Steinway & Sons Customer Service. They should work on that.

Fortunately the piano I want the most is sold by Steinway & Sons!
Unfortunately the piano I want the most is only sold by Steinway & Sons.

Top
#1944661 - 08/17/12 06:12 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Rickster]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10523
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Rickster
Hello again, Ken Elias,

I was just curious whether or not you ever PM'd Steve Cohen to get a recommendation (or not) on the eBay dealer in question?



Hi Rick.

The OP did PM me. Unfortunately I did not know the dealership in question.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1944687 - 08/17/12 07:13 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Hi Rick.

The OP did PM me. Unfortunately I did not know the dealership in question.

Thanks for the follow-up, Steve.

Even though it is a small world within the piano business/industry, from what I have read here on PW, I suppose it is difficult for you to know every dealer out there.

And, there is no doubt that your advice is highly regarded in the industry, and here on PW.

As far as whether or not this dealer is violating any eBay rules requiring full payment up-front outside of the eBay channels before shipping the piano, I’m not sure.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1945465 - 08/19/12 11:53 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Dale Erwin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/06
Posts: 41
Loc: Modesto, Ca
Hi Ken
I'm a rebuilder in in Modesto,Ca and I too know a few dealers in L.A. I find LA prices for pianos and services to be largely LOW ball for piano prices and largely just commercial quality tech work as competition is fierce. Never the less, there are some fine techs and shops in the area.
Another ave. to explore would be to hire one of these reputable well know tech in the LA area who also is an astute judge of piano tone and mechanical potential.
I have played some really stellar Rxs and some that were so so. Isn't that the nature of musical instruments? all different.
I like Kawais overall and find I can do a lot with the tone. I'm not fond of Asian hammers whatsoever and find a good hammer transplant covers over a multitude of sins, so to speak. However the hammers must be prepped for an accurate weight curve that works well with the overall leverage of the action. Its important to find a tech who can accurately determine this & is familiar with the finer points of custom action balancing or Stanwood techniques. Not necessarily a Stanwood installer but some one with some well know chops among his peers.
Know what I mean?
Nough said
Dale Erwin RPT
Erwinspiano.com
_________________________
Dale Erwin RPT
Piano Restorations
http://WWW.Erwinspiano.com ....Erwinspiano@aol.com
4721 Parker rd. Modesto Ca 95357
209-577-8397
Steinway Restoration/sales and other fine makes
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Ronsen Piano hammers. R & D
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#1945541 - 08/19/12 01:31 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Dale Erwin]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7265
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Dale Erwin
Hi Ken
I'm a rebuilder in in Modesto,Ca and I too know a few dealers in L.A. I find LA prices for pianos and services to be largely LOW ball for piano prices and largely just commercial quality tech work as competition is fierce. Never the less, there are some fine techs and shops in the area.


This is a very fair and balanced statement and rings true in my experience. If one is looking for a stellar example of a breed, one is unlikely to find it on an eBay listing, for the very reason that Dale suggested -- competition is fierce with greater sensitivity to price than to rigorously high standards of prep and quality.



To those who keep insisting that a dealer who lists on eBay and sells outside eBay is inherently dishonest and to be avoided. I would point out the following example.

It was suggested early in this thread that Ken avoid the eBay seller and visit Kim's Piano in Garden Grove, CA. Ken had played an RX piano in Kim's shop a while back and found it very appealing.

While I would not hesitate to advise a person looking for a used Kawai or Yamaha artist grade piano to check out Kim's Piano (and I have visited he shop myself), it is a fact that Mr. Kim lists his used piano inventory on eBay. At present that amounts to 44 acoustic pianos. Each acoustic piano listing includes Mr Kim's business name, physical address, business E-mail address, and telephone number.

A check of Mr. Kim's eBay profile states a 100% satisfaction rating from those who have done eBay business with him. A review of the transactions reveals that there were a total of 10 transactions completed since he joined in 2009. A review of those transactions reveals that in each of the 10 cases, Mr. Kim was the buyer and not the seller.

It seems unlikely that in 2012 Mr. Kim would be listing 44 used pianos on eBay unless it was in some way useful to his core business of selling pianos. After all, these listings may be cheap, but they are not free. Yet there is no record over his 3 years of membership of any piano offered by Mr. Kim being sold through eBay.

I am in no way wishing to slam Mr. Kim or his business . I think that any prospective piano buyer who see a piano on his eBay listings and finds it attractive should visit his store, focus on the merits of the piano, and get a feeling for the person he may be doing business with. In terms of what sales channel is appropriate, it would depend IMO on what channel serves his interests best. Since the owner of the piano is Mr. Kim and any necessary post-sale follow-up attention will come from Mr. Kim and not from some eBay tuner, buying in store from Mr. Kim would seem to serve his best interests by acquainting him with Mr. Kim and his shop. Obviously, in being an in-store customer, he will also avoid the disappointment that occurs when the merchandise received does not live up to expectations generated by the listing. Other than simple non-delivery, this is the most common snafu on eBay.

IMO, people who shop eBay listings for pianos should not consider a blind purchase through eBay unless they have a strong appetite for risk, this despite eBay's highly-touted Buyer Protection program.

I believe Mr. Kim is a member here and if I have misinterpreted his eBay information, I hope he will come on and correct me. Again, I have no wish whatsoever to put Mr. Kim in a bad light. I just wanted to point out the realities of the piano retail marketplace. There are plenty of other examples across the US, but I used Mr. Kim's shop as an example only because Ken had been advised to check out pianos there in person rather than buying blind. I believe that is very good advice.

_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1945549 - 08/19/12 01:42 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14205
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
So far the discussion here has been primarily about "legitimacy" and "low price".

I found Dales's above post very refreshing addressing the IMHO more important issues when buying a piano.

Norbert thumb
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#1945601 - 08/19/12 03:14 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Mr. Kim is not the dealer in question. He is not identified as the eBay seller at all. The OP has not indicated the name of the seller of the piano he was interested in. The eBay ad was two years after the OP had visited Mr Kim's store. Speculation and conjecture are not fact.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1945617 - 08/19/12 03:48 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Norbert]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7265
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Norbert
So far the discussion here has been primarily about "legitimacy" and "low price".

I found Dales's above post very refreshing addressing the IMHO more important issues when buying a piano.

Norbert thumb


I'll agree with you, but it's possible the thread has gone in the direction of legitimacy and price because that was he nature of the OP's inquiry. It's also possible that the OP has left the thread in favor of visiting Easter Island to seek the opinion of the local talking heads there. grin

MinnMarty,

The reason for the example I gave was perfectly clear (except to the most obtuse).

I'd recommended Kaopectate. If that fails, go with Immodium AD and a soup ladle in place of a teaspoon.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1945796 - 08/19/12 09:20 PM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Ken Elias]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 445
Loc: Southwest
Pianos, vehicles, and horses should never be bought sight-unseen. There's way too many things that can be wrong or not to the buyer's liking....and asking for the full price up front...I couldn't run away fast enough.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#1946017 - 08/20/12 09:43 AM Re: RX-2 Purchase by Long Distance [Re: Rickster]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Ebay does have a strong customer satisfaction policy but when you sidestep Ebay you lose that protection. If the seller is also requiring full payment by check or money order prior to shipping that should sound the final buzzer, loud and clear, game over! Payment by major credit card (not a debit card) or PayPal gives you some protection.

As has been pointed out over and over on this forum, it is always risky business to purchase a piano sight unseen and long distance. IMHO, only a rock solid dealer with an impeccable reputation should be considered for such a transaction. Even then, it might be a good idea to cash in some of those air miles you've been accumulating and go have a look see...

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