Ishibashi Music, Japan: profits first
I ordered a musical instrument from Ishibashi in Japan. There were problems from the start of the transaction and after three days of back and forth emails I ended up cancelling the order after they found damage to three or four places on the item that wasn't disclosed in the advertising photos: cracked and chipped lacquer that they attempted to minimise as 'light scratches' that were 'hard to see'. They refused to take any money off or provide any compensation whatsover. Even a goodwill gesture of ten or twenty dollars off the total would have secured the sale for me by showing that they meant well and were willing to show it. On an order value of over $800 this would have been no skin off their nose. So it was a case of 'you've paid us over $800 for this used guitar (from our stock of tens of thousands of musical instruments) but we've found some new damage that wasn't in the listing and no we aren't going to take any money off, not even ten dollars'. I told them to give me a refund. Whilst overall they were polite in emails, I found their overall attitude to doing business was primarily focussed on maximising their own profits, not providing customers with a good experience so that they are more likely to come back to purchase more in the future, and to recommend them to friends, or online. I later discovered that their eBay prices are quite a bit higher than their website prices, for example. A whole $90 more in my case. This allows them to give a 'best offer' on eBay, where you have the chance to offer less on used stock but even then, you can expect any reduction to be higher than their website price, creating the illusion that you're getting a better deal, when you aren't. So refusing to take a few bucks off for damage that they discovered after the sale went through, seems especially mean-spirited. It left me feeling that if I did have any problems with the item after it arrived I couldn't expect to receive any real customer support from them, just a battle to recover my money. A further red flag to my 'profit before people' suspicions about Ishibashi Music can be found in their terms and conditions on eBay. Namely, if you are sent an item from their company in Japan and it arrives damaged or defective, they will only refund the cost of the item EXCLUDING customs duty, taxes, paypal fees, and shipping fees! Customs charges and shipping alone on my used guitar was easily going to be a minimum of £300 (about $425). So the risk of buying from them is extremely high, particularly as they often ship instruments in a soft gigbag, not a hardshell case, and so courier damage is a real possibility. Their terms also state that you the buyer, not they the seller, have to make a report to the insurance company. Dealing with Ishibashi over three or four days of all this was a complete waste of my time and effort and I have made it a point to share my experience of Ishibashi Music, Japan to help anyone out there avoid an expensive and frustrating time if they decide to buy a used instrument from them.
Reason of review
Not as described/ advertised
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