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#2051310 - 03/20/13 11:34 AM Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist
minty_mommy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 8
I found a good deal for a used Steinway M piano on craiglist. I went over to check it out yesterday. Everything looked good. I loved it and I am ready to buy.

My dilemma is that the owner of the house has already moved to FL. A friend of them showed me the piano and said that she was helping her friends sell everything in the house because the house would go into settlement in a week. I offer to pay with a cashier check when the delivery took place but she insisted that she didn't want to have anything to do with the money. She said the owner wanted the money wired and verified to their account before the delivery. I am just not comfortable with this at all. Craiglist says don't use wrie transfer. It's a lot of money. Once I wire the money, it'll be gone. What if when the moving truck shows up and no one is there? If it was the owner I was dealing with then I think I would have no problem. On the other hand, I could lose the piano if I don't agree with their terms (The friend showed me emails from dealers and other people that offered more than the amount I offered)

I am a nervous wreck right now. I could use your advice.
Thanks.


Edited by minty_mommy (03/22/13 01:42 PM)

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#2051313 - 03/20/13 11:44 AM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21294
Loc: Oakland
I recommend you let this go. I do not think at this point you could be assured that the piano even belongs to the person offering to sell it. Claiming that other people are offering more for the piano is a warning sign! You might even call the police non-emergency number about this. It really sounds like a scam.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2051314 - 03/20/13 11:47 AM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 384
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
I wouldn't deal with any third party anyone on anything number one. Has the owner provided you with written proof that the piano she is selling cheap is actually hers? It could be financed somewhere or she herself could have borrowed it. These " Mysterious" sales happen a lot with pianos then later the real owners appear magically from the mist to collect their " lost" piano and then you are out your money and instrument.

I got burned on this exact thing several years ago where the " Renter" or supposed home owner skipped town leaving a piano behind only to find out later after it was in my showroom on consignment that it was a stolen piano from another state.

Tell them you want to see documentation and don't wire any money. When that piano exits the home on movers equipment then you can hand whomever a cashiers check. Security firms do cash hand-offs all the time if they want only cash do it that way.
_________________________
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
Member/Sponsor

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

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#2051320 - 03/20/13 12:02 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2691
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Run away. Simple variation on a classic con. Run.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
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#2051321 - 03/20/13 12:04 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
minty_mommy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 8
That's another thing: the owner said she didn't have any documentation because it's been 20 years since she bought it. She said she would call the dealer and checked with them and then later forwarded me an mail from the dealer stating that the piano was sold to them and that nothing was owed and that the dealer could provide a bill of sale if we wanted. The email from the dealer also said that they were willing to buy the piano for a higher price, sight unseen and had it moved right away. but she said she was already promised to sell it to me first and already deleted the post from craiglist.

I will call the dealer directly to get more info.


Edited by minty_mommy (03/22/13 01:43 PM)

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#2051343 - 03/20/13 12:41 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
I would take the advice of everyone here so far and run away from this one.

As Gilbert & Sullivan said, "There's lots of more fish in the sea, in the sea, in the sea..."
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2051370 - 03/20/13 01:26 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21294
Loc: Oakland
Call the police.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2051386 - 03/20/13 01:47 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 474
Oh boy..tons of red flags here for sure. I would call the police ...totally agree on that.
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)

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#2051398 - 03/20/13 02:09 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
minty_mommy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 8
Thanks everyone for your advice. Unfortunately there is little fish in the sea where I live. I've been looking for a grand for a long, long time. Really thought that this was the one. If this turns out to be a legitimate deal, I would not be able to recover for a while.

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#2051405 - 03/20/13 02:31 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
minty_mommy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 8
Sorry folks. just not ready to let this go. I did a little research and there are several things that tell me that this might not be a scam

[deleted]

I'm not sure what to do. I think I'm going to tell them that if they agree to do cashier check then I will buy it. I'll be there for the move and give the check to the friend ater the piano is in the truck and see what they say.

I'll let you all know how it turns out.
Thanks again for reading.


Edited by minty_mommy (03/22/13 01:42 PM)

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#2051411 - 03/20/13 02:47 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Minty,

You certainly have done a thorough job to check it out.

Good Luck and let us know how it all turns out.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2051413 - 03/20/13 02:51 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 218
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Hi MM,

Most of your points match this explanation: a con artist found a vacant but furnished house, did the same research you've done, and has begun selling items from it.

The only point that makes the whole story slightly plausible is the name and voice on the voicemail. The "RPT" could be an accomplice, too.

I suppose you could hire your own RPT and set up an appointment to look at the instrument. If the seller offers any excuses, you can be sure this is a scam.

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#2051422 - 03/20/13 03:17 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Absent direct contact with the alleged actual owner; proof of their ownership (a receipt confirmed by the dealer's record of the transaction); a signed bill of sale stating the description including serial number, price, terms, and other particulars (like inspection and pick-up by movers) for the sale to you; and payment by cashier's check or bank draft made out to the owner-of-record... and--- oh yes, an inspection by a tech who is not financially interested in the sale, hired and paid for by you--- then, it's no deal. And the reasons should be obvious enough, even through the delirium of piano fever, which I think you have a pretty bad case of.

These are not difficult or onerous things to prove up. A couple of faxes or e-mails, and a phone conversation or two could save you from a world of troubles and an ocean of tears.

And I hope it works out for you! Just be sure that your proofs actually prove something. There are other pianos, and even other good deals. So...

BTW, we seldom have such unanimity of agreement as the previous posts show, so I'm kind of surprised about that. No one is fighting about this. Be careful.
_________________________
Clef


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#2051449 - 03/20/13 04:19 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
miscrms Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 187
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Curious if people ever use escrow services or the like for pianos. Seems like a good idea on a large purchase like this where both sides are nervous and looking for protection.

Rob
_________________________
1874 Steinway Upright "Franken" Stein

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#2052028 - 03/21/13 03:41 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
minty_mommy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 8
We're lucked out!
The piano is in our home safe and sound. The sales went smoothly.
I will post pictures soon.

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#2052032 - 03/21/13 03:50 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
UKPianoMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 43
Loc: London, UK
Congratulations! Shows your research was thorough enough!

Can't wait to see pictures
_________________________
Liam
_______________________________
Currently play on Casio CDP100
Plan on trying to finance a Grand Piano by the end of 2013 *Donations kindly accepted, apply within*

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#2052037 - 03/21/13 04:07 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
miscrms Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 187
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Thats great news, congrats!

Rob
_________________________
1874 Steinway Upright "Franken" Stein

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#2052056 - 03/21/13 05:01 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
fishbulb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/13
Posts: 50
Amazing! Totally sounded like a scam. Did they end up taking a cashier's check (or what exactly happened that you decided to go through with the deal?)

Also, pictures please! smile

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#2052102 - 03/21/13 06:54 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: fishbulb]
Sam Rose Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 669
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: fishbulb
Amazing! Totally sounded like a scam. Did they end up taking a cashier's check (or what exactly happened that you decided to go through with the deal?)

Also, pictures please! smile


Yep! This is the first time I've seen a deal that looked this bad but was actually legitimate. You lucked out! How did the deal end up going down? And pictures, of COURSE.
_________________________
Playing since age 21 (September 2010) and loving it more every day.
"You can play better than BachMach2." - Mark_C
Currently Butchering:
Chopin Ballade no 1 in G minor Op.23
My Piano Diary: http://www.youtube.com/sirsardonic
♪ > $

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#2052113 - 03/21/13 07:18 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 1986
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: minty_mommy
We're lucked out!
The piano is in our home safe and sound. The sales went smoothly.
I will post pictures soon.


Congratulations!
Now all you have to worry about is the cops knocking on your front door. Do you have a plan to hide the piano? Maybe disguise it as an overgrown Saint Bernard?
Don't mean to rain on your party.
Just don't go getting a parrot that says: Come in!...When someone knocks on the front door.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2052177 - 03/21/13 11:14 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1889
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
So glad this worked well for you.

For future reference to post readers I would suggest posting the serial number on Pianoworld, because many Techs and dealers share stolen piano information, so if they see the stolen piano the authorities can be notified.

I do wonder about the supposed offer to buy from a dealer at a higher price than what you paid. Why didn't the seller take that offer. Or was it an estimate of a consignment sale proceedings?
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2052477 - 03/22/13 01:26 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: rnaple]
minty_mommy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By: rnaple

Now all you have to worry about is the cops knocking on your front door. Do you have a plan to hide the piano? Maybe disguise it as an overgrown Saint Bernard?
Don't mean to rain on your party.
Just don't go getting a parrot that says: Come in!...When someone knocks on the front door.


Seriously? Is this comment really necessary?

Anyway, I ended up wiring the money but not until I was there with the movers. The movers waited with me for an hour until the fund went through.

As for why the owner didn't go with the other offers, I don't know what she thought but I know that I was the first to offer and came over to check out the piano (same day). I also told the owner that the piano was for my daughter and sent her a video of my daughter playing. She said she was impressed and felt that the piano would be in good hands. Good, decent people still exist in the world, I guess.

Anyway, here are some pictures:




Edited by minty_mommy (03/22/13 01:44 PM)

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#2052479 - 03/22/13 01:30 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 474
Simply Gorgeous! Glad everything worked out for you at the end! smile
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)

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#2052482 - 03/22/13 01:32 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
Gatsbee13 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/10
Posts: 498
Loc: So Cal
Glad they came through.. What state was this in btw?

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#2052506 - 03/22/13 02:14 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
fishbulb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/13
Posts: 50
Beautiful! Amazing that you did a craigslist wire deal and still actually ended up with the goods. Here's hoping that you didn't just buy a stolen piano ( receiving stolen property is a very serious federal crime and your transaction certainly qualifies), or that a dealer doesn't show up with the cops and demand his piano back. eek

You've got guts to go through with the deal, but since it seems like it turned out to be legitimate, you DID get a great deal on a great piano.

Also, definitely get some caster cups for the feet. For $30-40, they will look a lot nicer than the cardboard, and do a better job distributing the weight and protecting the wood floor. You will need a couple of strong guys to lift each end of the piano carefully while you place the cups though.

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#2052523 - 03/22/13 02:39 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
concertina Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Canada
My understanding is that it's only a crime if you know it's stolen. Mintymommy appears to have acted in good faith here, so hopefully her family can just enjoy the piano without a lot of needless guilt.

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#2052530 - 03/22/13 02:56 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
fishbulb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/13
Posts: 50
For the federal crime, you don't have to know beyond all doubt - you only need to be in a circumstance where a reasonable person would suspect/believe that the goods are stolen - in order to satisfy the requirement for the crime. Because of the varied nature of these types of circumstances, it usually comes down to the specific case, the judge, and how good your counsel is (and possibly the jury if it gets that far).

For the state crimes, in some states you must "know" for certain, in many states, you need only reasonably "suspect" that they are stolen, and in the scariest states, you don't even have to have a suspicion that it's stolen to still be committing a crime.

There was one case in my state where a person was successful prosecuted for receiving stolen property under the argument that because he had bought the goods at night (and the seller would only meet at night) he should have suspected it was a shady deal.

I agree though, to me it seems like she did indeed act in good faith and did her best to check out the deal in advance. Hopefully nothing comes of it.

disclaimer: this is not legal advice; for legal advice consult your legal professional etc.

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#2052531 - 03/22/13 03:01 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
Gatsbee13 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/10
Posts: 498
Loc: So Cal
Don't mean to go off-topic, but are most stolen pianos just pianos that people have stopped making payments on and have not been repossessed?

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#2052619 - 03/22/13 05:12 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
(Enough already ---)

MM - Enjoy your new piano! It is lovely and will provide you with endless enjoyment. When you schedule your first tuning, you might mention to the tuner that you would like the insides cleaned. Soundboard dust is merely visual, but cleaning the action, and the key bed, is a good idea with a used instrument.

It's nice to know that there are still good people out there!

I've never seen a pedal lyre like that one on a Steinway. What is the year?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2052681 - 03/22/13 07:06 PM Re: Help! Need advice for buying on craiglist [Re: minty_mommy]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 1986
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: minty_mommy

Seriously? Is this comment really necessary?


Seriously. Yes. This worries me. Hang on to all you gathered to verify this. Keep it for years. You may thank me one day.
I have to break out in humor when very worried. It's how some people handle it.
I worked for CSD as an operator at one time. I've heard many scams.
What if her ex-husband's lawyer shows up at the door? Middle of a divorce?
I knew a guy who gave his entire gun collection away on a street corner. One at a time. Swore his ex wouldn't get a penny from them.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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