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View Full Version : Unlucky with ukulele purchases :(



Flockheart
02-20-2011, 03:30 AM
Feeling a little low today as my UAS isn't getting it's required medicine.

I received a new Kiwaya laminated uke this morning and have been bitterly disappointed to find the finish on the top and bottom of the side are marked. It looks like the uke has been placed on an abrasive surface which has scuffed/lightly scratched the finish in a few places. The marks aren't that deep but not something I happy with on a brand new 160 ($260) laminate uke. I've got to phone the eBay store I bought it from tomorrow and hope they are ok about getting it replaced/refunded. I feel a bit crushed though as I was really looking forward to playing it. :(

I'm also still waiting for a Mainland uke I ordered over a month ago from a UK supplier which is driving me crazy - especially as I ordered from the store assuming it would be quicker than ordering from Mainland direct! I got pretty close to cancelling as I had a couple of delivery estimates that were missed but I think it may have finally been dispatched yesterday.

I hoping that's my bad luck over (fingers crossed) and future ukulele purchases are the happy event they should be!

Anyone else had any unlucky buying experiences and did the seller do a good job at putting the problem right?

joeybug
02-20-2011, 04:05 AM
I've not been unlucky with Uke purchases but, I just wanted to wish you luck and hope the seller sets things right for you...and that your Mainland turns up without any further problems.

Flockheart
02-20-2011, 04:08 AM
I've not been unlucky with Uke purchases but, I just wanted to wish you luck and hope the seller sets things right for you...and that your Mainland turns up without any further problems.

Thanks for the kind words, I'm just feeling a bit frustrated and needed to vent a little!

GKK
02-20-2011, 04:26 AM
My first Uke purchase on eBay arrived damaged at the neck. The seller sent out another one asap and now I'm happy. Things just happen sometimes but, in the end it all works out!

Flockheart
02-20-2011, 04:34 AM
My first Uke purchase on eBay arrived damaged at the neck. The seller sent out another one asap and now I'm happy. Things just happen sometimes but, in the end it all works out!

I'm just a little dissapointed the uke wasn't checked before it was sent out as it's not transport damage and the marks would have been their before it was sent to me. I'm glad you got your purchase got sorted out quickly and I've got my fingers crossed that the seller I used is as good at sorting the problem for me.

Bill Mc
02-20-2011, 04:48 AM
Flockheart, I sympathize with your frustration. However, as a consumer you must be vocal and demand a satisfactory product from any vendor who does not live up to their part of the transaction. Scratched, second rate, poorly set up products should not be sent to a customer who is paying for a new product with good money. Take your complaint directly to the seller and request the product in the condition you are entitled to receive it. Pay with a credit card to protect your rights. Legitimate sellers will do their best to make you satisfied and keep you as a potential customer in the future.

Flockheart
02-20-2011, 05:04 AM
Cheers Bill. I will be phoning the seller tomorrow (it is an eBay store rather than and individual) as they are not open today. They do have good feedback on eBay so I'm hoping getting a replacement or a refund won't be a problem and that my issue is an isolated case. The marks scuffs are quite light so may have been missed if the uke wasn't checked thoroughly but they are definitly not something I'd expect on a brand new, relatively expensive, uke especially when the Kiwaya brand is known for the quality of the build and finish.

0019
02-20-2011, 05:15 AM
I also unlucky with my order from seller on e-bay. And this is very bad situation because I'm in Thailand and seller in USA. No refund, no change. I have to send my uke to set up with luthier here and will cost around 30 bucks.

Plainsong
02-20-2011, 05:46 AM
Did you order the Mainland from Eagle Music? I had good luck with them, but they don't show if the uke is in stock or not on their website, so it's a crap shoot. There's an online store in Italy that also has them. I've not ever ordered from them before, but some local players swear by the place. If Eagle keeps saying "two weeks" - there's another option in Euroland. :) http://www.mercatinodellukulele.it/en.html

Flockheart
02-20-2011, 06:15 AM
Did you order the Mainland from Eagle Music? I had good luck with them, but they don't show if the uke is in stock or not on their website, so it's a crap shoot. There's an online store in Italy that also has them. I've not ever ordered from them before, but some local players swear by the place. If Eagle keeps saying "two weeks" - there's another option in Euroland. :) http://www.mercatinodellukulele.it/en.html

Hi plainsong, I was avoiding naming the retailers involved until the issue with the Kiwaya was sorted and the Mainland arrived so as to not unfairly tarnish any good reputations but the Mainland was ordered from Eagle Music. I think problem with Eagle has stemed from the fact that they don't show items as out of stock on the website, I ordered and paid for the uke on the 16th of January under the impression they had stock. I had a call a day or so later to say that they didn't have any stock but were expecting it at the end of January, they had a Mango in stock if I wanted to pay the difference but as it was only a few weeks I said I'd wait. Fast forward to February and no word so I phoned them on the 4th of February and was told that they had been dispatched by Mainland and were on the way. Another two weeks past and still no word so I phoned them last Friday (Feb 18th) and they said they still hadn't received them but were expecting them any day now.

To be fair to Eagle Music they have always been really nice and polite when I have spoken to them on the phone and maybe they just don't have accurate shipping information themselves but for me as a customer it's been frustrating and I would have probably ended up with the uke much sooner (and with the choice of tuners) if I just ordered from Mainland directly.

mm stan
02-20-2011, 07:20 AM
Aloha Flockheart,
Sorry to hear your issues in ordering and receiving your ukuleles... as for the Kiwaya I would definetly discuss the matter with them...E mail them pictures of the issues see if the will give you some money back.
I'm sure they won't be happy paying the shipping back and forth...and giving you another one....I the scuffs are not too deep, you probally can polish and buff them out....as for shipping, sometimes they get
stuck in customs..for a while....I hope you the best of luck....both of your issues work out well.....Happy Strummings..MM Stan.....

OldePhart
02-20-2011, 07:37 AM
I'm really surprised about the finish on the Kiwaya. The finish on mine was really top notch - perfectly even without being "poured on" thick.

I think if I did get a uke with a finished that looked a bit rubbed (as opposed to scratched) I'd probably try hand buffing it with some Renaissance wax before returning it. That stuff does an amazing job. In fact, I bought a used bass that looked pretty rough even from a distance - not abused, just played a lot by a slap player. Two good vigorous applications of Renaisssance wax later and it looked like new unless you got really close in good light. In fact, I've had a lot of complements from folks mentioning what a beautiful bass it is!

John

Flockheart
02-20-2011, 08:19 AM
I'm not sure the marks are down to Kiwaya manufacturing as the finish seems excellent elsewhere and they have a very good reputation for finish quality. I looks like the uke may have been placed or stood on something with a rough surface which I'm assuming happened at the sellers end (the eBay shop is attached to a bricks & mortar store). The scuffs are really light and may buff out but it's not something I've tried to do before and not something I'd expect on a new instrument of this quality. I'd also worry that if I tried to buff them out I end up voiding any legitimate claim I had to return it.

haolejohn
02-20-2011, 08:55 AM
I'm not sure the marks are down to Kiwaya manufacturing as the finish seems excellent elsewhere and they have a very good reputation for finish quality. I looks like the uke may have been placed or stood on something with a rough surface which I'm assuming happened at the sellers end (the eBay shop is attached to a bricks & mortar store). The scuffs are really light and may buff out but it's not something I've tried to do before and not something I'd expect on a new instrument of this quality. I'd also worry that if I tried to buff them out I end up voiding any legitimate claim I had to return it.

Not sure if this is an option but have you thought about asking for a small discount (maybe 10%) for the scratches?
That would save the turn around time.
As far as the mainland, I know it is hard but patience is the key. You were contacted a few days after you bought it and informed that the uke is out of stock. It takes time for these ukes to get from China, to the US, then to you. It is spanning a few thousand miles:) and it'll be checked over by everyone that has to check it over. I have a friend that bought a mainland even though it was out of stock and he was advised to go ahead and buy it to avoid the waiting list. It happens. It sucks b/c we want that uke but they joy will be that much greater once it finally arrives:)

Flockheart
02-20-2011, 09:35 AM
Not sure if this is an option but have you thought about asking for a small discount (maybe 10%) for the scratches?
That would save the turn around time.
As far as the mainland, I know it is hard but patience is the key. You were contacted a few days after you bought it and informed that the uke is out of stock. It takes time for these ukes to get from China, to the US, then to you. It is spanning a few thousand miles:) and it'll be checked over by everyone that has to check it over. I have a friend that bought a mainland even though it was out of stock and he was advised to go ahead and buy it to avoid the waiting list. It happens. It sucks b/c we want that uke but they joy will be that much greater once it finally arrives:)

I'll see what they say tomorrow, to be honest I'd prefer an unmarked uke but would possibly be swayed by a decent discount if it saves me the hassle of posting it back. I'd feel a bit awkward asking for a discount though.

I'm doing my best to be patient for the Mainland, I'm not a very patient person by nature and it was quite an achievement for me to not pay more for the Mango when I was told of the initial wait! I'd just have liked to have known before I paid for the uke that it was not in stock and then for the delivery estimates to be a bit more accurate!

haolejohn
02-20-2011, 10:23 AM
I'll see what they say tomorrow, to be honest I'd prefer an unmarked uke but would possibly be swayed by a decent discount if it saves me the hassle of posting it back. I'd feel a bit awkward asking for a discount though.

I'm doing my best to be patient for the Mainland, I'm not a very patient person by nature and it was quite an achievement for me to not pay more for the Mango when I was told of the initial wait! I'd just have liked to have known before I paid for the uke that it was not in stock and then for the delivery estimates to be a bit more accurate!

One thing to remember is that if the store is a good one (which it seems they are from reviews) they communicate with their dealer. The delay could actually be with customs or somewhere else.

Another thing to learn, is call before you order. It does suck that they didn't have the item listed as being out of stock.

whenever I buy from an online source, I ask for recent pics of the uke with a card with the date. This helps ensure that I get a good uke. I've never had to return a uke to a seller.

Teek
02-20-2011, 01:55 PM
I would for myself ask for the discount and send pics. The seller doesn't want the hassle of return shipping etc. nor do they want an unhappy customer. I'd ask for about 15% depending on the retail vs if there was a discount from the "MSRP". But I think you'd need to be able to document the marks. Then you can probably rub them out with a super micro mesh product that luthiers use on gloss finishes for the final hand polish. That would likely be enough. It's going to get scratched and dinged anyway over time.

My only problem has been online vintage ukes that were misrepresented. One was my mahogany tenor supposedly checked out by a luthier but came with crap folk guitar strings or the like on it that I couldn't even tune and a cracked saddle and buzzing frets. They could not possibly have played it to say it "had a nice tone". I put super glue in the nut to lift the strings to see if it was playable, it was even though the neck was a little bowed backwards, and humidified it for a month under tension. Now it is a honey. The saddle is stable enough to leave it, but anyone who looked it over would have seen the crack and the glue on the bone saddle.

Since it's a Martin tenor copy and sounds great now, they actually lost out on a real good uke.

The other is my vintage Kamaka soprano that had bruises and repaired cracks, which weren't mentioned and were not visible in the photos. It had to visit a luthier when the bridge popped off under string tension, he did not keep it humidified and now it has new cracks. It did have a back bow on the neck and in fixing that, he left clamp marks on the sides. It also got a new nut, and he chipped the headstock taking off the old one. Sigh. It's a great little player now, but I'm probably going to have a chat with Kamaka about sending it to them, as I really do like it and it sounds great again now that the humidity is coming back up. It's old enough that it would have been a couple hundred more than what I have into it even as is.

A prominent high end reseller also sent me a CBU with a neck twist that was undisclosed on his seller page, so I would not buy from him again. The uke was fairly playable but I didn't know as much back then as I do now, and it was also about half the then retail price, they have since gone up. I ended up fixing it myself with help from the builder, and also set it up better. It currently has been re-homed and I still miss it. It has an awesome and distinctive sound.

All the rest were great and have been super finds. That's part of the vintage thing, you make an educated guess, ask questions, decide whether to keep the item or have the seller take it back if there are problems.

OldePhart
02-20-2011, 01:57 PM
I'm not sure the marks are down to Kiwaya manufacturing as the finish seems excellent elsewhere and they have a very good reputation for finish quality. I looks like the uke may have been placed or stood on something with a rough surface which I'm assuming happened at the sellers end (the eBay shop is attached to a bricks & mortar store). The scuffs are really light and may buff out but it's not something I've tried to do before and not something I'd expect on a new instrument of this quality. I'd also worry that if I tried to buff them out I end up voiding any legitimate claim I had to return it.

Sounds like it might have got a fair amount of play on the "floor" - you may be seeing rubbing from that kind of handling. If the rubbing is on the top on the lower bout below the fretboard (as you hold the uke to play it) that's almost for sure what you're seeing. If there's no real damage I think I'd ask the seller for a discount since it seems to have been a "floor demonstrator" - then just polish out any rubs. Chances are you'll be putting your own scuffs on it anyway!

In fact, I've only had my Kiwaya two or three weeks but I've done enough chunking (I've been playing that thing three to four hours a day since I got it) that I was noticing today that it's getting a little bit "rubbed" right at the edge of the lower bout - time to wax it again. LOL

John

Flockheart
02-21-2011, 02:49 AM
Spoke to the Kiwaya seller this morning and, to the store's credit, the guy was very polite and friendly on the phone.

I was told the uke hadn't been out of it's box in their storeroom, bar the initial check over when it came in.

He initially said he though the scuffing may have happened during shipping but I pushed a bit on that as there was nothing rough the uke could have rubbed on.

I was told I could return it for a replacement so I asked if I would get an unmarked one and he checked another that they had in stock and it apparently had some marks too so told me they must have happened at the factory.

He then said that as Kiwaya makes top end ukes up to 900 and as the one I'd ordered was the cheapest in the range Kiwaya don't really focus on the finish quality at that price point and it's the more expensive ones that have a perfect finish.

I'm not sure if this is true but maybe it is and I'm being overly fussy?

Current plan is to post the uke back to the seller tomorrow and go from there.

As the Kiwaya has a satin rather than a gloss finish would waxing not add a different level of shine to the waxed areas of the body (probably a stupid question but I've never waxed a uke before!)?

OldePhart
02-21-2011, 05:54 AM
<snip>
I'm not sure if this is true but maybe it is and I'm being overly fussy?

Current plan is to post the uke back to the seller tomorrow and go from there.

As the Kiwaya has a satin rather than a gloss finish would waxing not add a different level of shine to the waxed areas of the body (probably a stupid question but I've never waxed a uke before!)?

I don't know what you paid for your uke but I know even Kiwaya's "eco" line are far more expensive than Kala and Lanikai laminated ukes, for example (and deservedly so, at least on my longneck). So, it's certainly not "overly fussy" to expect the uke to have a decent finish. My longneck was almost $400 with case, if it had a poor finish I'd have been quite put out unless it was just shallow handling marks that would polish out (even then I'd be a bit tweaked if it came from the factory that way instead of being handling use from being in a store).

My KSL-2 longneck soprano had a very nice finish - but it was gloss finish. Sometimes it can be more difficult to get a really nice satin finish - a satin finish is usually thinner and doesn't fill the wood as well if the wood has been anything but perfectly prepped. Similarly, an evenly applied gloss finish is so shiny on the surface that shortcuts in wood preparation tend not to be as noticeable.

Some waxes and polishes can be so heavy that they will "shine up" a matte or satin finish. Others less so. I like Renaissance wax because it does a good job of protecting without vastly changing the underlying finish. Shiny things get shinier, satin things tend to stay satin though they might pick up a bit of a glow. I've used it on bare wooden flutes and the flutes still look like bare wood afterwards. I've also used it on the satin-finished rosewood body of my Taylor guitar for years without it "glossing up" - at least not noticeably so.

By all means, though, if you're not happy with the uke send it back. You probably won't get any happier with it as time goes on! Better luck on the next one!

If it's any comfort, when you finally get your Mainland the finish will probably be very good. I've heard that most of the ukes Mike sells as factory seconds have imperfections so tiny they're hard to spot. I know the finish was very good on my mango tenor.

John