There are scams out there for absolutely everything. As a guitarist you should be aware of potential scams out there that can rip you off. Nobody wants to pay $2,000 for a guitar thinking it is authentic quality brand name only to be sent a cheap knock off that isn’t even payable. Although it hasn’t happened to me, other people haven’t been so lucky. So have a read of this article so you can reduce your chances of being conned.
THE CHINA EBAY SCAM
This is a big scam that continues today. Basically, poor quality guitars are being sold imitating high quality guitars (I have seen many signature Steve Vai Ibanez models recently). The problem with this scam is that inexperienced ebay users have trouble telling the difference between a scam listing and a real one. These listings normally have ridiculously low bid prices with almost no bids most of the time. You think to yourself – “I’ve seen that exact same guitar in the shops for $1,000 and I can get it here for only $190 with postage”. I even caught myself thinking – “I know it’s a fake but still, for $190 it would be great to have an imitation guitar, even if it isn’t super high quality”. This is why the scam continues today, people think they are getting a great deal and expect at least a decent quality guitar.
Remember, bargain hunters are always scouting ebay so if the guitar you see in the listing has zero bids and 2 minutes to go, it’s not that nobody noticed the ‘great deal’, it’s that it’s junk. Don’t believe me? Ask somebody who has been sucked in and you’ll see how it’s not worth it.
To help you avoid this scam, have a read of this article on ebay, http://reviews.ebay.co.uk/CHINA-GUITAR-SCAM_W0QQugidZ10000000002507593
BECOME AN EXPERT IN GUITAR IN LESS THAN 30 DAYS!
I have seen so many of these ads pop up all over the place on the net. They offer you a quick and easy way to learn guitar… FAST! They are often placed in ads and have messages such as ‘become a guitar god in days’, ‘learn guitar fast’, ‘master the fretboard with our secret system’.
Ask any professional guitarist if they think it is possible to become an expert in guitar within 30 days and they will probably laugh and say ‘No way!’. It doesn’t matter that this method has been ‘seen on TV’ or has countless testimonials from people claiming they were shredding away in days, not years.
The cold hard fact is that becoming a great guitarist takes time and effort. Many players (myself included) feel that you will always learn as a guitarist and can always be better. Don’t waste your money on ‘systems’ like these on the internet. Your money is better spent on lessons with a tutor or even a quality book or DVD at a reputable music store. These days you can become a great player without spending any money on learning resources. The internet is abundant with free quality resources that can help you develop as a player. Don’t waste your hard earned money on false promises.
While I have no proof that these sites are scams, instincts say they are not worth your time or money. They may be scams or they may just be poorly created marketing pages. Either way when you see one, move on.
THE INDONESIAN BUYER SCAM
I recently found a forum discussing this scam that I had never heard of before. Note that this may come from other countries too, not just Indonesia. The scam plays out like this:
1. A person wants to sell a guitar on ebay or other online listing (the victim).
2. The seller receives an email from a buyer (scammer) stating that he is in desperate need for the guitar and will pay promptly at a premium for a quick transaction.
3. If the seller agrees, payment is made (usually by credit card to a paypal account) at a significantly higher value than the listing (eg: $7500 instead of $2000).
4. The buyer sends an email stating that the payment was a ‘clerical error’ (or any other excuse) and requests that you refund the overpayment (the $5,500 extra).
5. The buyer hassles for a quick delivery because he is leaving for vacation in a few days (or any similar excuse).
6. Eventually the payment is rejected by paypal or VISA or whoever as fraud and if the seller has already sent the guitar they have lost their valuable guitar and received absolutely nothing in payment.
Note that this is just a rough summary of what could happen and like all scams, the story and excuses by the scammer always change to stay unpredictable. So if you are planning on selling your guitar (whether it is an expensive one or not), keep this in the back of your mind. If in doubt, contact ebay or paypal or VISA or whoever you are going through.
The forum discussing this scam can be found here http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f29/guitar-scam-in-indonesia-15974.html
Remember the saying ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’. If you ever have doubts about a transaction over the internet (or outside the internet), do some research. You may find an identical story to the one you are experiencing and be able to pick it as a scam before it is too late. Simply search Google by typing in a brief description of the situation (eg: cheap Ibanez ebay china) and you may find enough information to save you. Even if you don’t find the information, it may be best to walk away.
If you have come across a scam relevant to guitarists, please let me know so I can add it to this list.