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"I'm not paying that for a used violin!"

Elizabeth Ward used

There are a few interesting things about the sale of used stringed instruments that make little sense to me but must make sense to customers, although I honestly don't know why.

All violins on the market are made at least partly by hand and once you get off the lower models they are made completely by hand.  For the first few YEARS usually, the violin is tuned up by the teacher and this involves the violin being held.  Before being sent out, the violin is held in my hands to be restrung. Any testing of the instrument at all involves it being played and with an early grades player it is inevitably the teacher who will be testing it.  So it is a complete mystery to me why anyone should have any problem with the idea that their violin has been played by someone else.  This is even stranger when you consider how highly many people value antiqued violins (which have been played - a lot!).  Violins actually sound better once they have been played for a couple of years.

But fair enough, the customer is always right, market values are determined by the competition rather than by actual worth and if you go to ebay or gumtree, yes, you will get a used violin cheaper than you would get the same violin used from me.  Why?

Well there are four reasons, all connected with me being a business rather than a private seller.  Buy from me and:

1. I have to charge VAT (that's the bad news!) 

2. Everything I sell is thoroughly checked and comes with a no quibble one year guarantee unless you are clearly told otherwise.  This includes used items.  In practice I have only ever once refused a return and that was for someone who thought that "fit for purpose" included "fit for resale on ebay under a false description for a quick profit"! 

3. I offer free returns too.  If you don't like it, Parcelforce can collect it at my expense from any UK home or work address except a Post Office.

4. I offer fairly generous trade-ins (not 100% obviously, the only way to do that and make a living is to load the prices hugely in the first place).  If you want to trade an instrument in for a larger or better one, I allow 50% of the current new price, subject to a maximum of the amount you actually paid (this means that if you buy used in the first place and then trade it in with me, you lose next to nothing!)

Now you won't get any of those things from a private seller, and that is why I charge more than a private seller.

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