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Buyer Beware ― Melmusic - Melbourne Music Centre

Buyer Beware

WHY DO PEOPLE PLAY MUSIC?

  • There are many different reasons why people become involved in music and many types of musical instruments and playing levels attainable.
  • It is the “journey” we take in music that makes creating music so special and the instruments we use to create our music carry the expectations of all our emotions.

INSTRUMENT MAKING IS A FINE ART

  • The manufacture of musical instruments is a fine art, of which there are many aspects and considerations. The very nature of the materials used requires expertise and extreme skill to manufacture a playable instrument.
  • A guitar is not just a guitar, a violin is not just a violin and a saxophone is not just a saxophone. It must be playable!

UNPLAYABLE AND INFERIOR QUALITY INSTRUMENTS

  • With the industrialisation of China, a large number of businesses have emerged masquerading as manufacturers of musical instruments (as well as a variety of other very specialised products, not associated to the music industry). In recent times a plethora of unplayable and extremely inferior so called musical instruments have reached Australia (and most other countries in the Western world).
  • These are being sold to unwary consumers by either naive or unscrupulous people/businesses via the Internet or even in some instances, by recognised general retail operations not associated with music, unwittingly selling inferior goods that fall outside their area of expertise.

COSTLY TO REPAIR

  • It is a daily occurrence across Australia, that unwary consumers take a so-called musical instrument they have purchased to a music store or a musical instrument repairer requesting their purchase be repaired and made playable.
  • Some are repairable; most are not - but even if repairable, the total cost will almost certainly be much more than if the consumer had purchased a playable musical instrument in the first place (complete with a warranty).

In effect, on a daily basis consumers are being cheated out of their money
by purchasing a product that is not a playable musical instrument

HOW TO AVOID BEING CHEATED

  • There are many steps you can take to avoid being cheated out of your money and it is strongly recommended that you take at least one of these steps to minimise your risk.
  • The more steps you take, the less chance you have of being ripped off.

CAN A PRICE BE TOO CHEAP?

  • The obvious step is if a so called musical instrument or musical accessory (in some instances even a brand name musical instrument or accessory - See: “Counterfeit Warning”) is being sold for a fraction of what they would typically sell for, then almost certainly it is an unplayable musical instrument or accessory which does not do what it’s meant to do (or if it’s a brand name musical instrument or accessory - it’s a counterfeit).
  • What may well appear to be a bargain actually will end up an expensive and disappointing mistake.

VISIT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC STORE

  • What may well appear to be a bargain actually will end up an expensive and disappointing mistake.

BE CAREFUL BUYING ON-LINE

  • There are many accredited music stores who have websites, sell on-line or on E- bay - however there are equally as many who masquerade as music stores or professionals, but they are not.
  • Ascertain that the seller is an accredited music store and don’t take their word for it - do some research to avoid a costly mistake.
  • Never purchase from anyone whose contact details are only an email address; mobile phone number or their land line number is an answering machine.
  • All accredited sellers of musical products will answer their land lines during normal business hours of retail stores (generally 10.00am to 6.00pm in the music industry).

IS IT A RECOGNISED BRAND NAME?

  • Never buy a musical instrument that does not have a recognised brand name.
  • This will almost certainly not be a playable musical instrument.

YOU CAN CHECK BEFORE YOU BUY

  • Even if a product has a brand name, you can check the authenticity/reliability of this brand name by either:
  • Asking your local music store if this is an acceptable quality musical instrument.
  • Visiting the Australian Music Association website - www.australianmusic.asn.au and searching for the brand name on this site. If the brand name does not appear, it is very unlikely that the instrument is playable. If the brand name is listed on this website, then it is a real and playable musical instrument.

ALWAYS CHECK THE WARRANTY

  • Musical instruments and accessories purchased from a retail music store or the website of one of these stores are fully covered by warranties from the Australian distributor and all electrical product, amps, effect units etc. conform to our strict Australian safety regulations.
  • Other resellers however, are importing from overseas sources instruments and accessories which even though may be brand name products are not covered at all by Australian warranties nor conform to safety regulations.
  • You can easily check by contacting the local distributor via www.australianmusic.asn.au to ask if the reseller is accredited to on-sell the product in Australia.

Counterfeit Warning

In addition to the many unplayable, so called musical instruments being sold through the electronic media, a new threat to consumers has emerged - counterfeit product.
Products include (but are not limited to) -

  • The world’s biggest selling microphone.
  • Two of the world’s biggest selling effect pedals.
  • Electric guitar pickups.
  • Even some “Made in USA” string brands (which are not made in USA - just the packaging and brand name/logo forged)
  • Two of the biggest selling brands of guitars in the world - forged logos, serial numbers and country of origin

Of course efforts are being made to stop these criminal activities of both the manufacturer and the “on the surface” legitimate reseller - but it is a long process and every day more and more Australian musicians are being swindled.

These bandits are ripping you off - so how do you avoid being ripped off?

We strongly recommend that you take at least one of these steps to minimise your risk. The more steps you take, the less chance you have of being cheated out of your money -

  • If it sounds too cheap - it is!
  • Visit your local music store where you know there is no counterfeit product and ask them for advice and the latest news on all counterfeit product.
  • Beware of Internet sites that tell you they are a music store or have “bricks and mortar”. While many accredited music stores have websites, sell on-line or on E-bay, there are many who masquerade as music stores and are selling this counterfeit product.
  • Never purchase from anyone whose contact details are only an email address; a mobile phone number or their land line is answered by an answering machine. All accredited resellers of musical instruments will answer their land lines during normal business hours.
  • Visit the Australian Music Association website - www.australianmusic.asn.au
    • Search for the product you are thinking of buying online
    • You will then find the email address of the Australian distributor or importer
    • Email the distributor and ask if the person/company you intend buying theproduct from is an authorised reseller.
    • They should advise you “yes” or “no” - if the answer is “yes”, you are not going to be cheated out of your money and of course if the product is new, you will receive a full Australian warranty.
    • If the answer is “no”, then hang onto your hard earned money. There is now a likelihood of the product being a counterfeit, but even if it is not, because this person or business is not authorised by the manufacturer/ distributor to sell this product in Australia or to use their trademarks or logos, then all warranties are void (regardless of what you may be told).

FINALLY

  • All of us in the musical instrument community are musicians ourselves.
  • We are passionate about music and allowing all Australians to have the opportunity to experience the fun and joy of creating music.
  • We are dismayed that so many unscrupulous people/businesses are looking to make a quick buck, by selling unplayable instruments to unwary consumers thus discouraging what we believe in - that all should have the opportunity of creating music.
  • Specialist musical instrument stores and distributors only buy and sell playable musical instruments.
  • We want every Australian to experience the “music journey” on whatever instrument they choose and to whatever level they wish to attain - and this can only be done on a playable musical instrument.
  • The quickest way to end the onset of the “music journey” is to put an unplayable musical instrument into the hands of the novice traveller. What started off as “looking” the part is actually incapable of “playing” the part.
  • So don’t be duped or swindled out of your hard earned money or end the “journey” before it begins - you owe it to yourself, your children, your family to make the right choice the first time.
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