About two weeks ago, I sold the second of two guitars that I had purchased since Christmas. This guitar is a 000 size solid wood spruce top, Indian rosewood back and sides, manufactured in China (as it seems most goods are these days).
It didn't sell during the first month's posting and had just been re-posted when I began getting e mails from a gentleman in Australia who wanted to know if I would make an exception to my "no sales outside of the continental United States" rule.
I told him that I would as he was willing to pay all of the shipping costs that it would entail. He, of course, wanted to know what the shipping costs would be, so I packed the guitar for shipment, took it to the post office and got the exact cost.
When I got back to my office, I found an e mail from eBay congratulating me on the sale of the guitar. At first I thought it was from my Australian contact, but looking at the statement, I found that it had been bought by a Nick from Manhattan Beach, California.
I had to email the bad news to my Australian contact and then do the necessary shipping labels. Wanting to maintain my very good feedback on eBay, (100 per cent satisfaction from my customers of the past)I shipped through Fed Ex that same day as they have a late afternoon pick up that makes a difference in delivery time.
I shipped the guitar and was told that it would be delivered by friday. I immediately contacted the buyer, gave him the tracking number and estimated day of delivery.
I then checked the shipping progress daily and to my surprise it was delivered on thursday! What follows are the emails between the buyer and myself:
Hey! Congrats Nick. It looks like you will have the guitar in your hands by tonight. I know you will really like her. Hope to hear some kind words. Sent in some good feedback on you as a buyer.
On Jun 12, 2014, at 11:48 PM, Nicholas wrote:
did you or your tech bore out the A string bridge pin? b/c the A-bridge pin is wrapped in tape at the bottom to make it fit? Really?
On Jun 13, 2014, at 7:06 AM, Larry Heagle
Nick: I am very sorry . . . I forgot that. Gordy Bischoff (my tech) pointed that defect out to me while installing the pick guard. He DID NOT do any boring. That is the way the guitar was manufactured. It would make absolutely no sense for a qualified Martin repairman to "bore out the A string bridge pin."
On Jun 13, 2014, at 9:54 AM, Nicholas wrote:
I feel like a manufacturing defect is something that you don't forget to mention when selling.
Sent from my iPhone
On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 8:26 AM, Larry Heagle
Nick: Again, I apologize for not remembering that defect. I assure you that this was not intentional. Please check my record as a seller on ebay and you will see that I have an impeccable record. If you are unhappy because of this, I will gladly make an exception, take the guitar back and resell it, being certain to mention this defect. I already have a buyer who missed getting it because you bought it. Lee lives in South Australia and was willing to pay any and all shipping costs. I had taken the packed guitar in, gotten the estimate on shipping, and was about to e mail him when I found your sold email.
Again, if you feel this is a manufacturing defect so horrendous, please feel free to ship the guitar back to me. I want my customers to be satisfied. I appreciate the fact that finding the taped pin was an obvious disappointment. However, I feel that if you do wish to return it, shipping costs are your responsibility as I already shipped it to you at my expense..
It just occurred to me that perhaps the reason the pin is loose fitting is not because the hole was rebored but that they used a different size pin. Here's another alternative. If you would like to replace that pin with one that matches the others but fits snugly, do so and send me the bill for the pin.
Let me know what you want to do.
On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 9:04 AM, nicholas wrote:
Would you be willing to replace the bridge pins?
Slotted, black dot $28.40?
On Jun 13, 2014, at 8:34 PM, nicholas cesnik wrote:
Larry? thoughts? bridge pins?
On Jun 13, 2014, at 11:23 PM, Larry Heagle
NIck: I have been on the road all day - it is now after 1 AM and I am finally back home. I think I already told you that I am willing to replace the faulty bridge pin. This would remedy the problem. I think it takes some pretty big balls to want me to replace the entire set with the most expensive set of pins you could find. You are obviously an opportunist. So here's the deal. First you post some really complimentary feedback on my behalf. If and when I see it posted on line, I will send you the $28.40 for your high end pins. Then, my friend, I am done with you.
On Jun 14, 2014, at 10:59 AM, Nicholas wrote:
That my friend is what I don't need. I said would you not please do this or I will not leave good feedback. It's not about the $28. I couldn't care less about buying bridge pins. I'm upset about the fact that I feel duped. Sure I love the guitar and it sounds great bit at the end of the day you advertised it as in great conditions without any manufacturing defects. I feel that you are the opportunist.
Sent from my iPhone
Nick: I don't know what else I can do to convince you that I am an honest seller. Did you look at my feed back? Does it make me look like I am an opportunist? I am really sorry that you feel duped. I will tell you again . . . the bridge pin being a loose fit was such a minor defect to me that I forgot about it. I would swear an oath on that in court! I HONESTLY FORGOT! I certainly would NEVER purposely mislead a buyer. Again, check my record.
I apologize for losing my temper with you this early morning. I had been driving, doing a show, and driving all day and was really really tired. How can we reasonably settle this? Here is what I think. I will write a check for $28.40 for the pins that you want and mail it to :
**** Walnut Avenue
Manhattan Beach, California 90266
If you want it sent to a different address, please let me know.
I can see that it would be much easier to replace the entire set than to try to find just one pin with which to replace it. To me, The most important aspect of this is that I don't want you to associate unpleasant memories with your guitar. I am a guitarist (of sorts) and have been since I was 13 years old. I know that your guitar is more than an inanimate piece of wood to you. It is a part of you and if you are like me, a favorite guitar goes with you wherever you go.
Unless I hear differently, I will put the check in the mail yet today.
Don't sweat it. We all get worked up from time to time, you probably just need a lite more time on the 6 string ;-). I am aware of your feed back and I provided you with a like-kind review as well. Like I said, I just wanted to ask and see your response. No need to send the check. I do love the guitar and unfortunately needed to have this discussion out before I could be okay with everything. Be well and keep on playing.
I forwarded all these emails to my brother, Father John Heagle just to hear his reaction. Here's what he had to say about the whole matter:
Well, first the more important: Happy Father's Day to you!
And, yes, your 'good friend', Nick, is an embodiment of the entitled male connoisseur in the good ol' US of A, who is always quick to criticize, taken up wholly with his own needs, and damn proud of it besides. It also mirrors the political chaos and stalemate that this country is now in. It's all about competing, winning, demolishing, demeaning, and de-evolving. And as you correctly point out, we have bizarre parallels for all this in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Tea Party Catholics? This is ironic at best and absurd at worst. This group of weirdos have little or nothing in common with the original Tea Party, and they are even less grounded in the authentic Catholic tradition of social justice. In reality they are much more devoted to Ayn Rand than to the historical Jesus.
It's many of the same group who now want to fight another war in Iraq. More shock and awe. Just what the world needs most.
I remember when we used to tell Mother Alice that she shouldn't watch more than an hour of national and international news a day, because she internalized it all too much and then ruminated about it all night. I'm beginning to think that I'd better take that advice seriously myself.
So, you go bust your rear end in volunteer performing in Faribault, and come home to snarky emails.
Are we having fun yet!?
Every day I am thankful to have a big brother who is so intelligent and articulate! And to have a wife like Kim, who helped calm me by saying: "Look at all the years you have been selling on eBsy and never had any trouble with buyers at all."
So . . . to all of you out there in eBay sales land, realize from time to time that you may be stepping in doodoo once in a while.