Guitar Center Ships Broken Guitar From Another Store's Inventory, Says Too Bad, Now It's Yours

Did you know Guitar Center, Musician’s Friend, and “a few other online music retailers” all share the same centralized distribution center? That’s the explanation a Musician’s Friend CSR gave Mitch when he tried to solve the mystery of the dented, twisted-neck, not-even-from-the-right-store Fender Telecaster. It looks like Guitar Center shipped him another company’s returned item. That’s bad enough, but now Guitar Center says they won’t make good on his order because it’s beyond the 30 day return period. Hey, Guitar Center: What return period? Mitch never got the product he ordered in the first place.
Update: Musician’s Friend has responded with an apology.

Here’s Mitch’s story:

About 3 months ago I ordered a brand spanking new Fender Telecaster from Everything shipped smoothly and I absolutely fell in love with the guitar. Upon initial inspection I noticed a couple of dings near the head of the guitar, nothing glaring, and nothing that bothered me too much, but it sent up a flag in my mind. After all, this was supposedly a brand new guitar (at least that’s what I paid for), and if anybody was going to do a ‘relic’ job, it should be me.

Perhaps a week later as I was setting the guitar up to my preferred level of feel/action, I noticed things were not quite right. I had noticed some string buzzing and a couple of other playability issues. So upon closer inspection of the neck, it appears to be slightly twisted… not a good thing at all.

Of course by this point I was beyond my 30-day return time limit and Guitar Center wouldn’t replace my Tele. [We’re not sure about the timeline here, but we’ll assume the previous paragraph ate up an extra week or two. -Ed.]

About a week later I was cleaning out my basement and noticed that on the box my guitar was shipped in was a big yellow tag that said two things: Musician’s Friend and COMPLAINT. Why in the world would there be a tag from Musician’s Friend (Guitar Center’s online competition) on my package ? And complaint ? That wasn’t something I wanted to see.

So I decided to write Musician’s Friend to inquire about their warehouse tags. This was the response I got:

    Response (Chris) – 02/10/2009 10:03 PM

Dear Musician,

Thank you for your recent inquiry. I apologize but it sounds like you may have accidentally received a Musicians Friend return. Musicians Friend,, as well as a few other online music retailers, all share one centralized distribution center in the hopes to provide the best shipping times possible to their customers. should not have received a return of ours, but accidents happen and it sounds like one of our items made it’s way to them incorrectly. I would advise contacting them for further resolve. We apologize for any inconvenience.


So I called Guitar Center customer service yet again with this new revelation – they send me a lightly used guitar, a return item, from another retailer in place of what was supposed to be my brand new guitar. Yet, the only response I got was: ‘Well if it’s beyond the 30-day return period, there’s nothing I can do’. Of course not…

Since Guitar Center didn’t ship you the merchandise you paid for, we’re not sure how their 30-day return policy even applies. You should contact their corporate office at 818-735-8800 and explain that you simply want them to make good on the original terms of your purchase, or else (we hope you paid with a credit card?) you’ll pursue a chargeback.

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