This week on Live Musician Central I’ve been doing several posts on the recent Fender price increase. In case you weren’t aware, Fender musical instruments increased prices by as much as 30% at the beginning of March, 2009. This will have a big effect on all live performing musicians who use Fender products. I wrote a post earlier this week about how the Fender price increase affects working musicians. These instruments are the tools of our trade and I personally like using good tools but I don’t want to spend every penny of my earnings on them. That’s why I’ve been putting up posts this week with links for buying Fender guitars and Fender amplifiers on eBay. Buying used instruments on eBay is a great way to pick up some excellent instruments for decent prices. I’ve bought and sold a lot of equipment on eBay over the years and I’ve learned some tips and tricks for getting decent deals from good sellers on eBay. Today we’re going to discuss some tips and guidelines for buying used instruments on eBay.
First of all you want to be able to find what you’re looking for on eBay. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they’re searching for things they want to buy on eBay is misspelling what they’re looking for. If you’re looking for a Fender Stratocaster then make sure you spell Stratocaster right. It sounds dumb but it’s easy to misspell and if you do then you’ll never find what you’re looking for. Another thing you want to do when searching on eBay is to search multiple times using common terms for the same product. For instance you can do one search for “Fender Stratocaster” and another search for “Fender Strat”. If you do that then you’ll get more results and more chances to find better deals. If you want to get more specific then use more terms like “Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster”. The more words you use in your searches the less results you’ll get but this can save you time since you won’t have to sift through irrelevant search results.
Another trick is to misspell search terms on purpose. It’s a fact that sellers will misspell words when creating their posts. It’s too bad for them because they won’t get near as many buyers finding them. If you search for “Fender Startocaster” you may be able to pick up an actual Stratocaster for dirt cheap since less people will find it. Just remember that the more results you get from your eBay searches the better your chances of finding that really sweet deal that’s why it’s worth the extra few minutes to check the misspellings.
After you find an instrument or amplifier that you’re interested in the most important thing is buying from a reputable seller. eBay has a seller feedback system that helps you to protect yourself from unscrupulous sellers. Make sure you click on the feedback profile of any seller that you’re considering buying an item from. You need to pay attention to the negative feedback and make sure you read it. Negative feedback isn’t always a bad thing because sometimes negative feedback is undeserved and it was just a bitter buyer trying to hurt the sellers reputation. If you’re seeing a lot of negative feeback though, beware of that seller. You should also read the positive feedback as a lot of buyers will leave clues as to the sellers style. You’ll see a positive feedback that may say “Good transaction but slow shipping” or “Poor communication, flawless transaction”. So pay attention to what buyers are saying about the seller and you may be able to avoid problems later on.
Another thing to remember is that a good seller will be quick and accurate with their communication. The more expensive the item you’re going to be bidding on the more important it is for you to communicate with the seller. So be sure you message the seller with a question or two about the instrument before bidding and then pay attention to how quickly and how well they answer those questions. I’ve found that sellers that get right back to you with an accurate answer are almost always going to treat you well during the bidding, buying and shipping process. If you’re going to pay over $1000 for an item it’s fine to ask for a phone number so you can call and talk about the item you want to bid on. Just make sure you’re serious about buying if you’re going to call a seller.
You always want to make sure of the sellers return policy. If the seller has listed the item as a non-returnable item then be very careful about buying it. All reputable sellers will accept a returned item as long is it isn’t damaged and is returned within a set time period. You’ll also want to check out Paypal’s buyer protection policy which you can use if you are unsatisfied with the item you purchased but the seller won’t work with you. I also pay with a Visa that has auction buyer protection as well. The credit card company will credit your money back if you show that the seller misrepresented the product and that you have returned it to the seller. Another thing you want to be sure and have is shipping insurance. This is the sellers responsibility when they ship to you and if you return a product it is your responsibility to insure the shipping. That way, it your instrument gets lost or damaged you can file a shipping claim and get the value of the instrument back.
These are all simple ways that you can make your buying experience on eBay a good one. I have never had a problem with a seller on eBay that I couldn’t get resolved one way or another. The great deals you can find on eBay are just too good to pass up especially in these down economic times. So enter a search term in the box below and get finding that instrument of your dreams!