Does Guitar Center Actually Check Working Condition of Used Gear??

Korg ESX with Bad Knob Jitters from Guitar Center

Broken Crap from Guitar Center

If you came here for an answer to that question, well that’s one that I cannot provide and I am hoping the comments can give us all some insight!
I have bought more than my fair share of “Used Gear” from Guitar Center and my conclusion is no, they don’t check at all if items are broken or working. This comes at a bias as most used gear I have bought from GuitarCenter (G.C.) has been broken or damaged in one way or another. As I tend to only buy items that are great deals, I usually just fix the item, but a few times stuff has shown up irreparable, and not from shipping.

My Last Guitar Center Purchase Rane SL3!

Rane SL3 with Crap all over it from G.C.

The thing that got me on this topic is another item that was dropped off today.

A “Great Condition” Rane SL3 Serato Box. Even in the picture there was crap all over the unit, like some nasty brown gunk in the grooves of the stickers, creases, whatever, that can be cleaned out/off so I bought it for a great price.
Like anything I buy I open it up outside with a can of Clorox Wipes by my side. The SL3 came exactly as pictured, crap all over it, but as predicted will clean up great! So wipe’n this itch down I go, but I keep hearing this clink sound. Being the astute basement engineer that I am, I gave it a little jiggle thinking something was loose inside and quickly noticed that the ground bolt was not even secured in the unit. For that fix I will draft up a little DIY.
Retightening a Serato SL Ground Bolt

So how in the world could the person at Guitar Center that was saying the unit is is “Good” condition, not even notice that a ground bolt is rattling around when inspecting the unit?

Guitar Center Used Fails

Going through old purchases, these are some of the “Good” “Great” and “Excellent” condition items I can remember buying from G.C. Most of which all were just repaired as opposed to returned.

To start the article image of the Korg ESX. That thing had knob jitters like no EXS EMX I have ever bought. Ordinarily a cleanout of the encoder would have the machine running clean, I didn’t feel like messing with it and brought it back to G.C. telling them that the unit was garbage, they just relisted it on “Used Gear” the next day in Great Condition.

Boss SP-202 – This bad boi was listed in “Great Condition” with no picture from the San Francisco store. Prior to purchasing I called and asked about the condition. “It’s like new!”. What I received was a dirty a$$ SP-202 with two broken pots and a broken power plug. There is no way that this was tested. My local G.C. refunded me and sold it to me for what they paid for it. After replacing the pots and re-soldering the power supply it was in “Good Condition”, far from great.

Tascam CD-150 – “Great Condition”. CD Drawer would just open and close repeatedly, then show error. I replaced the band for the CD drawer so the unit would work and quickly found out that the transport buttons did not work. Replaced the tact switches and sold it in “Good Condition”.

Akai XR-20 Drum Machine – “Great Condition”. Came with a dead backlight. Guitar Center said they would not fix it so I flipped it for a few buck disclosing the issue.

Rane TTM56 Mixer – “Great Condition”. This was a straight open and return. The picture was a nice TTM56. In the box was probably the worst condition mixer I have seen. Beat up corners, broken faders and pots. I was listed again the next day on their site for sale in “Great Condition” with the same picture.

Numark TT-200 Turntable – Wow, this one was on me. I knew G.C. sold crap, received the box and put it to the side. A few months later when I opened it up and plugged it in, well the motor was completely dead and the table was shipped with no packaging in the box so the irreplaceable (removable) tonearm was ruined. G.C. is usually great about shipping, but if an item is already in a box or case, they will just wrap the box or case and ship it. I have noticed this with mixers that have a case with them, they will not secure the mixer in the case, just the outside, so you receive a damaged item in the box.

Korg ES-1 – “Great Condition” I think this is one of the best ones as when I called on it (no picture) it actually was one of the employees machines. Described as perfect condition, used minimally, blah, blah, blah. Shows up with unworking potentiometers, unresponsive buttons, etc. For the price it was not worth returning so it got fixed and flipped.

I honestly could probably write a book on the crap that G.C. has sent me in “Good” “Great” and “Excellent” condition and at the end of the day is, expect Guitar Center to send you crap that they did not actually check and will more than likely need repair.

Selling to Guitar Center??

I have brought two items to sell to G.C., one was the broken Numark TT-200 that they sold to me (above). I brought it back after I fixed it with a new tonearm and motor chip. They said they do not buy turntables. (period).

Set tonearm on a broken tt-200 from Guitar Center

And a Roland VS-1680.

The guy had no idea how to test it, but after a quick search on the interwebz he was willing to pay me more than what I had it for sale for on CL.
Like any buyer I deal with, I want them to be fully content and aware of what they are buying so I put it into test mode for him so that he could see that every button, pot, fader, etc., worked. He said “great”, I said “great” and he gave me paperwork indemnifying G.C. of any liability of any legal repercussions that they might have should I have sold them broken or stolen gear.

“As This is a 20 year old piece of equipment that has changed hands, how can I guarantee that it works beyond what you tested and what I know” I asked. “How am I liable if the next user claims it does not work?”. I got no real answer, just sign if you want to get paid.

So if Seller’s are liable beyond the 30 day pond hold, is that why Guitar Center has no desire to actually check the “Used Gear” for resale?

Does Guitar Center hold no liability beyond “return it an pay shipping” for the garbage they sell?

Fair Condition Items From Guitar Center

This is what I find amusing. Yes, most sh*t on G.C. under “Fair Condition” usually looks like sh*t. Yet, when an item looks good under “Fair Condition” it is usually new.

This, I do not understand. I can buy great condition items with broken pots, unresponsive buttons, or like my new SL3 a bolt that the unit needs to be taken apart to replace. Or, I can buy fair condition items that come in perfect working condition with original boxes and paperwork.

Does this all just depend on the location? I thought this was a franchise? Shouldn’t all guitar centers use the same procedures for buying and selling used gear?

Have you been Jacked from Guitar Center or did you score a Win!!

Let us know in the comments

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