Why so many guitars in stock with "no returns"

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Bob C
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Why so many guitars in stock with "no returns"

Postby Bob C » Sun May 12, 2019 6:03 am

I love my Carvin and Kiesel basses. All my correspondence with the company has been positive. I don't want to be a whiner.

But what is the deal with so many of the in-stock guitars marked "no 10 day trial or returns on this instrument"? In the lefty section only one of 15 currently listed IS returnable.

I read about the reason for it on one bass being a very sensitive finish, which could easily be marred and render the instrument to "used" quality. But I'm seeing the "no returns" status applied to a wide variety of instruments.

We can speculate. We can say it's company policy. But does anyone know the reason? I would think an "off the rack" guitar would merit more justification for return than a custom build.

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spudmunkey
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Re: Why so many guitars in stock with "no returns"

Postby spudmunkey » Mon May 13, 2019 10:28 am

[edit: Ready to read a wall of text filled with possibly ill-considered, tortured rationalizations and opinions possibly colored by some biases? See below. :laughhard:]

There's a couple things going on. Some I can understand from my out-side-looking-in perspective, but others I do agree that they should change.

#1) The online GIS page is a reflection of the guitars that are also in-stock for the factory store. I have seen people on Facebook say that they saw an in-stock that they loved, so they went to the store to see it and buy it. i don't know how many guitars they sell from the store vs online, but the web store is not only a store itself, but an online directory of what's available for immediate pick-up in-store. I've seen people get all up-in-arms when Kiesel had a custom double-neck Aries, and other super high-end models that were $6K+, and they were listed as non-returnable. People were all, "Who's going to buy a $10K non-returnable guitar with no 10-day and no chance to play it first?" Well...having it on the website is a draw to get people into the store to check it out. And from what i can tell/remember, every high-end guitar like that was sold....and I don't know this for sure, but I bet it was through the store. I think even 'Merica (the triple-neck'd red white and blue Vader) sold.

#2: Raw tone is non-returnable on all new guitars (with the one exception being the JH6). It shows it's age too quickly, and they would have to sell just about every one returned at a deeper-than-normal discount, which eats directly from the profit margin. People asked for a tung-oil-like finish that could have colors and the "tone" of a super thin finish. This was Kiesel's way of meeting that demand/request, but you reeeally have to want it.

#3: "Artist loaners" are essentially "used". So just like those ultra-high-end builds, it just makes sense to have them listed online. But...unless you reeeeeeeeally want it, I assume they are just posting it online to sell them in-store. They won't want someone buying a "used" guitar without seeing it first so they know what they are getting into, and removing the 10-day trial adds a bit of a hurdle. The alternative would be a) raising the price to sell it online vs in-store, or b) just not allowing it to be sold online at all. The same could be true for NAMM instruments. While they are probably less "used" than 97% of the guitars hanging on the racks at any music store, they still aren't "new".

#4: Discontinued models like the Bolt and TL60. I feel OK with them being final sale. I've worked retail/sales for long enough to see why they wouldn't want those back. But...there are two Bolt models in the left-handed GIS, both with standard options, but one has a 10-day and the other doesn't. Pick a lane, Kiesel! :lol:

Here's where we transition from things that i can at least rationalize, into things that I don't agree with.

#5: Buckeye Burl. I go back and forth on this one. Yes, supply is low, and it's an expensive option, so I get that Kiesel doesn't want impulse buyers using up all of the wood from people who really really want it. So I get the no-10-day trial on new builds. With that said, Buckeye Burl can be polarizing. Especially if there's filled knots, I could see someone buying one from GIS, and even looking at the higher-res photo, you might not tell what those knots look like. Again, this sort of thing might be better seen in-person at the factory store. Maybe I'm overthinking that, though.

#6: I get that for new custom finish or control requests, where someone might not know what it looks like, to make them non-returnable. I get that. If you don't like how your Antique Brown with KRG Burst and neck-only pickup config turned out...well, then Kiesel shouldn't be stuck with it. Their alternative is to just not offer that sort of flexibility. Many many people are willing to waive the ability to return something in case they don't like it, though, and know what they are getting into for something they really want. I get that...it all makes sense. Where Kiesel's policies fall short-sighted to me, is that these are already built and photographed. People can see exactly what the end result is. There's no surprises. And with the way that colors can look in different lighting and on different woods and on different computer monitors, I'd say that someone buying a non-standard finish from GIS actually has even more confidence in knowing what the end result would look like compared even to a new build of standard colors/finishes, which would have the 10-day trial.

#7: All left-handed multiscale do not come with a 10-day trial period (even new orders). But again...it's already built. It's not like Kiesel would be stuck with an additional $2K guitar to sit on in the very very limited market. We've heard Jeff say to try an in-stock to see if you'd like to go with a more customized build...and what better example of that would be a left-handed multiscale, where there's no other way to try that option?

#8: Hand applied finishes, which are more labor intensive. Things like denim, Fire, Candy finishes, etc are all non-returnable so that they aren't just bought by impulse buyers who will return them, since they are much more expensive to produce due to the extra time. It also creates a gate so that every single customer doesn't request it, which would slow down production greatly. The altenative would be to raise the option prices to balance demand. But again...it's already built. They are photographed, and just sitting on the inventory, and there's no logical reason why they shouldn't come with a 10-day trial.

#9: Mysteries. Why should any of these be non-returnable? Current models, standard options. I have no idea.
https://www.kieselguitars.com/guitars-in-stock/71099
https://www.kieselguitars.com/guitars-in-stock/129345
https://www.kieselguitars.com/guitars-in-stock/130985
https://www.kieselguitars.com/guitars-in-stock/130995

#10: Errors. It's possible that it's a mistake. The Bolt GIS I mentioned above, when looked at through the lens of Occam's Razor (or, hell...Hanlon's Razor), the seemingly simplest and easiest to explain scenario is just someone absent-mindedly copy-pasting some info from existing listings when updating the website (which we've seen multiple examples of over the years).


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