My Tuba Exchange Experience - Long post

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Posted by M.M. Carrasco on June 26, 2002 at 21:31:22:

My Tuba Exchange Experience

I saw the ad for a tuba I was interested in at the Tuba Exchange. I e-mailed the owner and requested more information and additional images, for there was only a single view on the website. The owner replied:

"The used [tuba] is in very good condition with original valves. If you decide to try the [tuba], you would have a trial period of up to 14 days from the time you receive it. This means that during the
trial period, you would have the option of returning it to The Tuba Exchange for a refund for any reason. You would be responsible for the shipping costs both ways, in that event..........."

No additional images were provided. I then asked him the serial number and if there were any dents on the back of the instrument, since it couldn’t be seen on his website image. Here was his reply:
..........."The serial number of the used [tuba] is [xxxxxxx]. I >inspected the back of the tuba and have found only one small, noticeable dent.........."

I replied to the owner that I was going to contact a friend in his area and ask him to go and try the instrument. By chance, this person had already tried the instrument and had a positive impression of the instrument. I agreed to have the horn shipped to me and when it arrived and I unpacked the horn, I wasn’t disappointed at first. I started noticing a few dents in the bell - nothing major. But when I turned the horn over, I was surprised.
Quite clearly there were numerous dents on the back, the bottom bow and side of the horn. These were obviously old dents and someone had made some ham-handed attempts to round out some of the bell dents. Then I looked closer at the instrument: a major repair was never mentioned that had been done on the 4th valve tubing that required the addition of a ferrule.
When I tried playing the horn, the valves seem tight, as advertised, however the 2nd and 4th valve actions were not smooth - possibly needing repair. Then I tried the horn with a tuner. CC was 25 cents sharp with the tuning slide ALL the way out. 1st line G 30 cents flat from 440 or 55 cents from C, unplayable in my opinion.
I contacted two reputable repair shops to get an idea what modifications might cost to make horn play in tune, if at all. I then sent the owner an e-mail telling him about my dissatisfaction with the condition and playability of the instrument and asked if the price could be reduced to get the repair work done.
The owner never replied to my e-mail. I then called the shop and was told that the owner was away and he would return my call on Monday. No contact was attempted by him. On Wednesday I called again and asked him if he’d read my e-mail. I told the owner that if my offer wasn’t agreeable that we should split the cost of the shipping due to the fact that I felt that the stated condition of the horn was misrepresented. Only then did he mention that the horn was on consignment and the price could not be lowered. When I mentioned the repair shops I had talked with, he became abusive and accused me and the repair shops of slander. I tried to explain to him that I hadn’t even mentioned the name of his business to the repair shops and only discussed the tuba itself, but this was only after the verbal abuse ended on his part.
So, I arranged to have the instrument sent back at my expense. I asked the owner to contact me when the box arrived and he didn’t, so I had to contact the shipper to find out the delivery date and who signed for the box. So, I e-mailed the owner to ask when I could expect my refund and he told the payment would go out in 3 to 5 days, which I thought reasonable, of course less the shipping cost. The check arrived, of course, on the last day of the terms of the refund clause.....
Yes, I agreed to a contract and I have abided by it. Interestingly, the Terms of Sale specify under a section labeled “Litigation [ reads ] By accepting the terms of this invoice, the customer agrees that any litigation arising from the transaction set forth in this invoice will take place in Durham, North Carolina, USA”. I don’t blame my friend because he never said that he’d sat down with a Korg for two hours with a slew of mouthpieces like I did. True, it’s not the owner’s fault that I didn’t like the horn or felt it was unplayable. I DO take issue with less than forthright disclosure and verbal abuse when trying to negotiate an agreeable settlement on a business deal. I will repeat what I said to the owner at the end of our last conversation: “....Sir, you have a reputation and, I’m afraid, you’ve lived up to it …”

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