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I don't know why this is and maybe I'm just really unlucky but this has occurred with multiple online violin shops. They seem to lack the common courtesies that are standard with every other online store that I've done business with.
They will gladly accept the order for an item that they don't have in-stock. Understandable. It's difficulty to keep every item on a website updated.
But this is where they drop the ball. Unlike in other industries, they do not send "shipped" nor "backordered" e-mails which in every other industry occurs by the next business day or two. In each of these cases, I've waited near a week before having to call them to find out what was going on. I find out in each of these cases that they likely never would have contacted me.
They always tell me they haven't been able to get the product from the distributor for some time. It's a good explanation for why they can't get the product to me but not why they should not bother to inform me(you may know but how am I supposed to know if you don't contact me?).
The worst offender was with another shop with a multi-item order. They got all the items to me but one. On the invoice they wrote a handwritten note that it was "on its way". Yet another phone call from me days later confirmed that this wasn't true at all with the usual script read to me.
At least they all refunded my money but why do you have to keep a customer in suspense? Is firing off an email too hard? Am I asking too much?
Long story short, I no longer have the confidence in online violin retailers that I do with other businesses.
The most recent issue wasn't with Fiddlershop. I was mostly venting hence I wasn't trying to name any stores or anything. There was one time in the past that did involve Fiddlershop but that was the only issue I've ever had with your store. All other orders were quick and handled well which is more than I can say about other places. I figured this was an isolated incident.
I'm just mildly frustrated. As I've been refunded each time, I can't say that I have any serious problems.
For the most part, I do trust Fiddlershop, especially with more major orders such as instruments and bows. It always seems to be the smaller, more unique items that creates hang-ups with everyone.
Speaking of Fiddlershop, did you mention before there's a trade-up program? I've been mulling over how I would upgrade in the future. I currently have one of the Fiddlerman Apprentices.
I've been mulling over how I would upgrade in the future. I currently have one of the Fiddlerman Apprentices.
It's risky to buy online from plain-old music stores - buy from luthiers. They may or may not cost a little more, but what you'll get is a set-up violin.
I see bargain fiddles online (I can see a Stentor Arcadia for £440), and the shop may even be superb if you buy a keyboard, but if that violin isn't right, you have to send it back for a refund or replacement, or take it to an independent luthier and pay extra. (I see that Arcadia on sale for £695 from an expensive luthier. Do you take the gamble or not? I got my own fiddle from a recommended, less expensive luthier, but even he put the chinrest on in totally the wrong place - maybe the apprentice luthiers get to attach the chinrests, or maybe the Chinese maker put it on wrong, and the importing luthier didn't notice it)
In your case, definitely upgrade with fiddlerman.
@Amateur I will give my two cents worth here about online shops, specifically this shop. We have a great advantage when purchasing and dealing with Fiddlerman and their products. They are truly a grassroots family business, very small, and they have a number of very skilled luthiers employed. It is a small enough shop that you can get a personal video of Pierre playing the exact instrument you would like to purchase, and you can chat with the luthier and Pierre about how exactly they will set your instrument up and why. I have ordered music books and strings the odd time from other sources, but I am committed to Fiddlershop for instruments due to the phenomenal personal support they offer. I have also visited their shop and have seen the back room luthier work, in addition to the front room order work. I think they are dedicated to both. Good luck with your purchases, I hope you have better luck in the future.