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Guitar Center Complaint - Bait & switch & not honoring coupon - all round service
Guitar Center Complaint

Guitar Center Complaint

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Bait & switch & not honoring coupon - all round service


On Saturday, February 04, 2012 at the Louisville, KY Guitar Center (GC) I went to purchase the Mitchell MD 100S12 guitar that I found on their website. I have been looking at purchasing this guitar for some time now and what sent me over the edge so-to-speak is the advertisement on their website (February 03 & February 04) for 12% off of a single item $149 or more. I had to sign up for it and they emailed me the coupon. I received the coupon and I carefully read the fine print of the coupon (twice) to make sure this item would be eligible and I found nothing from the manufacturer or anything in fine print from GC that would exclude this item from being 12% off the maximum discounted price as stated in the coupon.

On their website, the maximum guaranteed lowest price for this guitar is $199.00. Using my zip code I insured this particular guitar was at my local GC and it was. When I arrived at my local GC in Louisville, I found the Mitchell MD100S12 but quickly noticed there was a different price tag on it. They had it marked at $249.00 not $199.00 as advertised on their website (that should have been a red-flag for me). NOTE: As of February 5, 2012 (Sunday) and before this date, this particular item was NOT a “clearance item” on the GC website! I spoke to the sales associate about it and she checked the website and apologized. She said she didn’t know why it was like that but she could honor the lowest price as advertised on the website. No problem, so I thought…

I wanted to have the strings changed to Elixir’s and she assisted me with finding Elixir 12 strings and then we preceded to speak with the gentleman who would be changing the strings and tuning the instrument for me. He informed me that he was backed up and it probably would not be ready until next Tuesday which wasn’t a big deal for me so I proceeded to pay for the guitar and sign the ticket to have him change the strings and tune it. In addition, I would have bought a stand and probably a case for it and I talked to the sales associate about eventually buying an electric guitar and amp from GC.

As we approached the counter to check out, I informed the sales associate that I also had a 12% off coupon and that’s when the trouble began. She informed me that she didn’t think she could give me the 12% off because she was matching the online price and she left to go and speak to I suppose a manager. Another associate approached me while I was waiting at the counter and asked if he could help me and I explained to him what was going on and he said it shouldn’t be a problem and got on the computer and then hesitated and said that he wasn’t sure. He gave his apologies too because he said the system was confusing and flawed.

I’m not sure what they were seeing on the computer because as of 02/05/12 (and before this date) this item is not marked as a clearance item nor is it a used item which would disqualify it according to the coupon terms and it is displayed at the Guaranteed Lowest Price on the website.

The lady returned with another younger gentleman (I guess he was a manager) and he explained they could only honor one or the other, whichever was the cheapest of the two. From what I could understand, since they were marking down the displayed price of $249.00 in their store to match the online price, they could not honor the coupon. The in-store price should have been $199.00 to begin with so that is nothing more than the typical used-car salesman bait-and-switch tactic used in the 70’s. I didn’t think businesses relied on such tactics in this day and age but I guess I’m wrong.

The lady who originally worked with me apologized to me again (clearly she could see the flaw and unethical tactics being used) so I just walked out promising to never to return again.

What I feel the manager should have done (what I would have done being a leader) is to say, you know what, there’s something not right here on our part and to keep your business I’m going to go ahead and honor the coupon too. Is there anything else I can help you with? No, instead I got an arrogant attitude. That’s okay though… I should have known when I first saw the inflated price on the instrument that this was a typical bait-and-switch scam, but like I said, I didn’t think these tactics were still being used today.

So, I did not buy the 12 string Mitchell guitar, a stand & case from GC nor will I be buying my electric guitar and amp from GC. In fact, I will not ever buy a darn thing from GC ever again—not even a guitar pick!

I hope saving the 12% (or $23.88) was worth losing a longtime potential customer because in opinion, it wasn’t a good deal on GC’s end especially when I would have spent exceptionally more than that in equipment and lessons in the future. Oh well, I’ll stick with locally owned stores that care about their customers and keeping them for the long-haul. To heck with this company, just Google them and read the complaints from their own employees and that should tell you something. I just wish I had done that before I had wasted my gas and time going there yesterday!


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