Guitar Center Corrects Prices On iPods, Gives Refunds Plus $10 Gift Cards

We received an email from Guitar Center’s Chief Marketing Officer this afternoon letting us know that the $100 markup on their iPods was a pricing mistake, and that they’re automatically refunding the difference to anyone who bought at the wrong price as well as giving them $10 gift cards.

Here’s their email:

We fixed the error on iPod pricing on our website this morning. And anyone who bought at the wrong price is going to be refunded without asking, no matter how long ago they purchased. Plus we are sending them a $10 gift card so they can add some tunes to their new iPod.

Thanks to your reader for pointing out the mistake. Apple changed prices and discontinued some models with their latest upgrades, and our system—for a reason we have fixed—didn’t reflect that.

Inflated prices are not in our repertoire. Actually, getting gear in musicians’ hands at the lowest possible price is what we are all about. We appreciate the fair shake we got from The Consumerist. Keep up the good work. No problem will ever appear on your site that we do anything other than solve

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  1. agnamus says:

    “Inflated prices are not in our repertoire. Actually, getting gear in musicians’ hands at the lowest possible price is what we are all about. We appreciate the fair shake we got from The Consumerist.”

    Translation: Oops, we got caught. No harm, no foul.

  2. EBone says:

    Sounds like a mistake corrected by management with a good attitude. Sad that we’re all so jaded it comes as a surprise to us.

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @EBone: True enough, but I’m blaming all the big companies that just ignore this kind of thing. Kudos for Guitar Center for fixing this, refunding without question, and handing out $10 gift cards. That’s a good gesture.

      Way to insert some clever marketing in the apology letter. Very tactful….

  3. clnclarinet says:

    REPERTOIRE!!! hahahaha, pun intended!!

  4. DeeJayQueue says:

    The thing about Guitar Center, and other music stores is, that they really have the market cornered… Unless you order online which a lot of musicians don’t trust, and don’t want to pay shipping for in big stuff, you’re stuck with what you can find near you.

    The other thing is that there are 2 very different pricing systems in the music instrument biz (this also carries over to things like camera and video equipment and other specialty stuff) … there’s the “list price” and there’s “our price.” The “List Price” is rarely what you’ll pay, unless there’s only like 1 music store in your town. “Our Price” more accurately reflects the real price of the item, give or take about 5%, and it’s pretty much the price you can find the item for anywhere you go.

    Guitar Center uses the List Price to make their prices look awesome, when they’re really about on par with everyone else. The advantage is that they have a ton of stuff there.

    I will say, since odds are good that the uppity ups are watching, that GC IS on the list of stores that I loathe to spend money in because they won’t do business with me unless I give them my personal info, and their sales staff are on commission, so while they’re musicians themselves and they know what it’s like to be looking for a deal, they’re often obligated to push for the sale even if they don’t have what I want. I also hate their “house brand” stuff (like Carlo Robelli guitars [that may be Sam Ash though] or Groove Percussion drums etc.) That stuff is cheap garbage with high margins but they use it to pump up the prices of the name brand stuff.

  5. deadandy says:

    I respect this response, as I’m sure it’s a real logistical challenge to keep up the ever-changing prices and product lines of the various manufacturers GC works with. I’ve always had good experiences with GC and they seem to work hard to fix any problems they create. If anyone ordered stuff from them when they were switching warehouses, you know what I’m talking about.

  6. Eric1285 says:

    I’ve always experienced fantastic customer service at Guitar Center. That, and they’ve always had pretty good prices (or have been willing to work with me on the price, if you know what I mean). Kudos to them for correcting the price. I’m sure it was just an honest mistake and not a cover up like some of the above commenters are suggesting.

  7. Geekybiker says:

    I’ve always had a good experience with my local GC. Overpriced Ipods aren’t a sinister plot, its a database mistake.

  8. Trai_Dep says:

    Inflated prices are not in our repertoire. Actually, getting gear in musicians’ hands at the lowest possible price is what we are all about. We appreciate the fair shake we got from The Consumerist. Keep up the good work. No problem will ever appear on your site that we do anything other than solve.

    Aww, that was such a nice closing paragraph. Kudos. Almost feel guilty for adding (in jest):

    We regret that we will no longer to offer iPods with its volume set at 11.

  9. fdx3k1 says:

    If you haven’t been to GC in a while, they have stopped “working” with people on price. My sales guy told me that the new company will match internet prices, but won’t mark down anything just because you are a good customer. I spent over $2500 last year and now they won’t mark down anything for me…or even throw in strings if I buy a new guitar. I’ve stopped buying equipment from them and starting driving 90 miles to a Sam Ash store where they make it worth it to me.

  10. RStewie says:

    Good for them. I’m glad to see a company own up to a mistake and make it right. I’m not going to make any guesses as to their original stance on this; I’m just glad that, once it was pointed out, they fixed it.

    If every company handled things this way (whether they were purposefully trying to rip people off or not), we wouldn’t have a “Worst Company of the Year” award to hand out.