On 31/10/12 I bought a Gibson Melody Maker SG Ltd Edition with free gifts from the website. [external link removed] for the guitar's normal retail price of £329.00.
The ad clearly stated that the guitar came with a hard case and the image showed this to be a Gibson branded SG case. Since these cases normally retail between £150 - 170 this suddenly seemed like an amazing deal. I didn't want a Melody Maker, but I did want an SG case, so I decided to buy intending to keep the case and resell the brand new Gibson Melody Maker to offset the cost.
Unfortunately however, Gear4 Music had other plans. The guitar was delivered very promptly with the basic gig bag supplied as standard with these guitars and the free gifts - a box of plastic stocking fillers and a cheap lead. No hard case! In addition the guitar itself had clearly had a previous life. It was very heavily marked, the protective film was already off the scratchplate and the strings were rusted to f***. It was obviously either (very) ex-demo or a customer return.
I contacted the store at once and was told they wouldn't send a case, couldn't offer a partial refund because they had "already lost money on the sale", but would offer a complete refund on return of the guitar. This in itself proved problematic since their courier would only uplift weekdays during office hours, when there is nobody home. Since my neighbours also work, and I work in a government building which won't accept private mail deliveries for staff, having it collected from another address wasn't an immediate option. I had already taken a day's leave to be in when the guitar was delivered and wasn't keen to waste another waiting for it to be picked up again, but it so happened I had a day off the following Friday so arranged with customer service for the courier to call then. They never turned up.
Eventually I had to transport the guitar to my mother's home in another town (at my cost and inconvenience) and arrange for it to be collected there. Success at last! Eventually, the money has been returned to my account, a full month after it was paid to Gear4Music, but there has been no real apology or offer of restitution from them, or their parent company Red Submarine.
Needless to say, I won't be buying from Gear4Music again. I've reported them to trading standards for the false promises in their advertising and I'll certainly be recommending to all my musician friends that they steer clear.
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