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Thread: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

  1. #1
    Harpua19
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    Default Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    I recently received a 30 year old, Montana-made Flatiron Performer F that I purchased online (not through Cafe). The seller listed the condition as "Excellent", but in reality there is considerable finish checking that was not described in the listing and was not visible in any of the seller's photos. I took some photos and sent them to a respected luthier; he said the seller definitely misrepresented the condition and that the finish should have been described as "poor" and the mandolin probably should have been listed as good or very good with cosmetic issues.

    The seller has offered to knock a couple hundred off the price. The original price I paid was a steal, but probably accurate for the actual condition. I'm bothered by the seller's misrepresentation, which I would describe as clearly deliberate. The luthier said it looks purely cosmetic and should be a solid instrument. I'm torn.

    If you were upgrading from an Eastman 515 to a 30 year old Flatiron Perormer F, would a couple hundred discount cover the discrepancy in condition? Would you return it for a refund? I'm interested in your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Interesting questions....here is a linke to a Flatiron F performer from our friends at the Mandolin store, said to be in excellent condition with "less than normal amount of finish checking". Hmmm. No indication of what a "normal" amount of finish checking should be on a Flatiron, that you could base your assessment on.

    I've found the whole topic of instrument condition and sales description to be very strange. I've seen plenty of mandolins described by first-name-in-mandolins sellers as "excellent" condition that required substantial repair to make playable. And also examples of mandolins described as excellent that were structurally sound and clearly and in great condition of playability but were a cosmetic mess. This isn't a numismatic society comping condition of gold and silver coins. It is challenging to buy vintage instruments without an in-hand inspection as such descriptive terminology has a range of latitude of meaning. ........

    If you are jumping from a mid level Eastman to a Flatiron and you got a "steal" and then an offer for a couple more C notes, things already sound pretty good. Is a semantic debate crucial?

    Ask yourself if such an instrument upgrade that wouldn't be had for a "steal" and would add on a couple hundred dinero to the price but has an excellent finish -- or normal amount of checking for an instrument of its age -- is what you really want.

    Post a photo or two if you have them to get more than just speculative advice from folks.

    Mick
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  4. #3
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Do you like the tone and playability? If your luthier pronounced it structurally sound and it is a big step up from the Eastman, keep it. You have already stated you got it for a good price and now will get it for even less.
    Charley

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Weber’s web site states “There are two kinds of instruments. Those that have checks, and those that will.” Bruce views finish checking as inevitable, and that is the company lineeven after his departure. If you paid a fair price for the condition, and the seller I.s offering a couple hundred additional off, that’s good. But you have to ask yourself how much those checks actually bother you. And would it have made you happier if you had bought the instrument new 30 years ago and the checks happened while you owned it?
    Don

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  8. #5
    Harpua19
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Do you like the tone and playability? If your luthier pronounced it structurally sound and it is a big step up from the Eastman, keep it. You have already stated you got it for a good price and now will get it for even less.
    Thank you for your feedback. I agree, and will most likely hang on to it. I wouldn’t care so much if the seller had not specifically described it as “scratch and nick free” and “can’t see any blemish”. I didn’t get a chance to play it thoroughly last night; I was short on time and focused on documenting the condition in which it arrived. It seems to have nice projection and woody tone, but definitely needs a thorough setup.

  9. #6
    Harpua19
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

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  10. #7

    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Re the pic above...

    Are there considerable checks like that all over the instrument, or is it pretty much limited to what you've shown us in the photo?

    If you have someone work on it, they might be able to "touch up" the checkmarks on the scroll a bit...

  11. #8
    Harpua19
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Albert View Post
    Re the pic above...

    Are there considerable checks like that all over the instrument, or is it pretty much limited to what you've shown us in the photo?

    If you have someone work on it, they might be able to "touch up" the checkmarks on the scroll a bit...

    There is enough that I would say it is prevalent throughout, but far from completely checked.

  12. #9
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    A few finish checks never detracted from sound. These often happen over time. And face it, a Flatiron Performer is a fine and worthy player's instrument, but it's no collector's item, like a 1922-24 Loar-signed Gibson. The condition is not such an issue -- especially given what you paid for it -- so long as the playability and sound are there. Enjoy it, and if you get a few hundred dollars back on top of all that, you're way ahead of the game, IMO.

    There are no generally-accepted standards for what constitutes excellent/very good/fair condition for used musical instruments. Same for used cars. These descriptors all fall under the legal term "puffery." Caveat emptor and all that. Anyway, I think you landed on your feet with this acquisition!

  13. #10
    Harpua19
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

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  14. #11
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

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  15. #12
    Harpua19
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Thank you! I love this community. If any of you find yourselves in Vegas, I’ll buy you a beer

  16. #13

    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Sounds like you like the mandolin, but wish it were in better shape. It also sounds like you like the mandolin, but don't like the way it was described. So, you can look for a nicer one and get a full refund or keep it and take the $200. Only you can answer "how much" the checking bothers you. But, IF YOU TAKE THE GUY'S MONEY, be happy with it and don't be the guy who leaves mean or snarky feedback -- that isn't fair. The seller is trying to offer a solution, IMHO.

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    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Thank god it actually has finish checks....it could be a poly finish with inlaid vines on the fretboard with no checks but then you'd be playing a mandolin made in the Philippines and it probably wouldn't sound all that good. Any instrument with a varnish or lacquer finish is going to check over time. Tom Murphy get's big money making Les Paul's check and feel old, this one happened naturally. If you like it, play and enjoy it!

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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Well, you can be thankful it doesn't look like this one. You're getting good advice here. There's people that pay extra for the age lines but only you can decide if you're happy with it.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  22. #16
    Harpua19
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Agreed. I would never leave ill-willed feedback unless I totally got burned.

  23. #17

    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Mike...could i please have that one

    * my .02 is if its structurally sound, ends up playing well and you experience varying levels of joy when you play it....Keep it. You might even get "street cred" for the way it looks.

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    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Not to steal the thread but I guess I'm a little prejudice about old and used, this is my 1939 harley knucklehead bobber motorgoat with a 1937 Indian tank. All of it is absolutely 100% naturally acquired but it's a mix mash of parts that I would never think of parting with.
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtucker View Post
    Not to steal the thread but I guess I'm a little prejudice about old and used, this is my 1939 harley knucklehead bobber motorgoat with a 1937 Indian tank. All of it is absolutely 100% naturally acquired but it's a mix mash of parts that I would never think of parting with.
    If I bought that motorcycle I would grumble about the lack of indian motorcyle under the tank
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    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Go for the sound.

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    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Finish checking in an instrument of that age are just natural mojo, and to be expected. You got a great deal on a great mando, and the man is going to give you $200 for your "pain." Some guys have all the luck!
    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a vet.

  32. #22

    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Only play it in the dark. You’ll only hear it and think it’s pristine.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  34. #23
    Harpua19
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Well folks, she’s definitely a keeper! Thank you all for your guidance. I realize now I was a whiner when I should feel like a winner. This is one of the most expensive items I’ve ever purchased, so I was a little sensitive to minor flaws. Also, sitting in an all-day training on hospital building codes with only photos of the mandolin’s problems made it difficult to focus on how lucky I am to be able to take this next step in my mandolin journey. Thanks again! Matter closed!

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  36. #24
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Enjoy the nice mando!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking Advice: Seller Misrepresented Condition.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtucker View Post
    Not to steal the thread but I guess I'm a little prejudice about old and used, this is my 1939 harley knucklehead bobber motorgoat with a 1937 Indian tank. All of it is absolutely 100% naturally acquired but it's a mix mash of parts that I would never think of parting with.
    Dude. I'd want to be buried with that bike.

    Mick
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