View Full Version : Internet purchases

Feb-07-2004, 3:42am
Good morning all,
This a first time post from a new mandolin enthusiast. #I've learned quite a lot from reading this board over the past several weeks and wish to ask for opinions about paying return postage on instruments bought over the internet. #

I purchased my first mandolin but must send it back because it is clearly a used instrument when I thought I would recieve a new one. #I contacted the manager of the store, and he was very accomodating. #He offered to replace it or split the cost of an upgrade to keep me happy. #I'm going to take him up on his upgrade offer, but don't feel I'm doing much better if I pay for return shipping. #Is it common practice for internet retailers to expect customers to pay for return postage on flawed items, or should they pay for it? #Just an aside, I know of one company that offers to pay for return shipping on their guitars if you are not satisfied after a 10 day trial period, so I know the idea exists. #Any comments or similar experiences?



Feb-07-2004, 8:42am
My experience on this (which is pretty limited) and my sense of fair play (and having a JD ;) ) would be that if you have an approval period and you don't like it, you pay the return postage. This is typically agreed to during the pre-purchase discussions, but seems to be the accepted practice. And it only makes sense-- these guys aren't in business to pay for people test drive their stuff out of their stores.

But, if something is grossly mis-described (like representing something as new when it is, in fact, used), we are potentially in the realm of possible breach of contract/fraud in the inducement/consumer protection act violations, and it would behoove the seller to rectify the situation, at his expense, in his own interest. At least that is what I'd advise him.

An important question: Did he tell you it was new, or did you just assume that?

When buying from an out of state dealer, though, you run into problems of enforcing the laws of different states. Even assuming that somebody breaches a contract with you, it would be kind of tough to start a small-claims action in California if you live in New Hampshire. The possibility of righting the legal end of things just becomes cost dispositive. That is the practical consideration-- once they have your money, you are trusting in their good faith, for the most part.