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If you are thinking of asking for items on approval, please read all of this first.  Thank you.

Industry standard for specialist stringed instrument shops includes supplying items on approval.  Yes I do this.  This is what it means, and this is how it works.

Goods on approval originated in bricks and mortar violin shops, and for good reason (I have had instruments myself this way) - acoustics have a big effect on the way an instrument sounds and, when these instruments are very individual, as old violins are, the Sale of Goods Act could leave a customer feeling very disappointed because they could try a violin in the shop and love it, then find it sounded quite different in the different acoustic at home, but would have no right in law to return it.  No shop relying on repeat sales and personal recommendation wants a dissatisfied customer.  So instead, the customer selects a violin (or sometimes more) and takes it home after leaving a deposit, perhaps, or paying insurance, perhaps.  My personal viola was out on approval for months to someone else when I fell in love with it, and when I told the shop that was the one I wanted, they finally suggested to the man who had it that he ought to make a decision one way or the other.  He wasn't sure.  I was, so I had it.

Distance selling is rather different because under distance selling regulations you have the absolute right in law to return an unwanted item (with obvious exceptions, but it is rare that any of those exceptions will apply to musical instruments) for any reason at all within a certain time frame (currently 14 days).  So in fact there is no real need for items to be sent on approval now, but the stringed instrument world is very conservative so approvals remain.

Yes I do approvals.  The conditions are as follows: you need to give me a card number.  Your card will not be debited until you confirm that you are keeping the instrument.  You must take care of the instrument while it is with you.  Bows can be sent on approval as well and yes certainly you can rosin them, but PLEASE loosen the hairs after every playing session (it astounds me how many relatively advanced players don't do this!).  Usually Parcelforce will collect whatever you return.  However if it is a low value item I do ask that you send it back at your expense if you don't want it (postage costs the same whatever the price of the violin).  Parcelforce need a slot of several hours, Monday to Friday only.  They can collect from a different address but I will not pay for returns you choose to make through a Post Office.

I do request that you play fair.  Postage costs money and I am a very small business; my postage costs are almost as much as yours would be.  Also cash flow and stock levels are a constant nightmare.  Please let me know your decision as soon as you can, within 7 days if you can.  Please don't ask to have items on approval when the next lesson is weeks away, that isn't fair.  Please don't ask for items on approval that you have no intention of buying, that isn't fair either.  If your real budget for a violin is £5000, please don't get one of mine for a tenth of the price just in case you like it more.  That is being rather unrealistic.  If the teacher says it has to be German or Chinese please tell me, and if the teacher has an "arrangement" with a particular shop and won't accept anything bought from anywhere else, please just go to that shop unless you are willing to just say no to the teacher.  Also if you want me to send bows as well and then decide to buy the violin from elsewhere, please at least do me the courtesy of actually trying the bows I send you (I have no idea why people seem to think they can't buy a bow from me if they bought the violin from another shop)

For 4/4 violins, or bows, I can send up to five items (violins and / or bows).   A second batch of up to five can be sent if none of those suit or if you are trying to decide between one of mine and one from another shop.  However if I send two batches and don't make a sale I do ask that you pay for postage both ways on the second batch (I will ask you in advance to agree to that and it only applies to the second batch).  Smaller sizes or violas can't be supplied in those quantities and neither can I supply more than one of any particular make and model.  Unfortunately I can't send more than one cello at a time, I just can't stock enough cellos and the postage is a lot more expensive.

Please note that adding items to your basket and failing to complete checkout will NOT get items sent on approval, it will make me think that you have changed your mind.  If you want something on approval you MUST phone with a card number.

Just one more thing: if you give me a price ceiling, I stick to it (I might perhaps go over by £5 to £10 but certainly no more than that).  So please give your true price ceiling.  There are not many things more annoying than for someone to send the entire package back saying "I decided to go for a higher price bracket so I bought from the local shop".  Think before you ask for items.  This is worth getting right for bricks and mortar shops too.  Some shops have a policy of bringing out items a lot more expensive than you asked for.  The problem there is that if you fall in love with one, nothing else will satisfy you so if you don't buy it, you go away empty handed and start again.  On that subject, please don't ask for goods on approval that are above the amount you are willing to pay - you will only end up disappointed.

Due to problems with people asking for items and then changing their minds before they have even seen the item, I do reserve the right to refuse to send goods on approval if they are items I do not sell regularly.  This does not affect your legal right of return.  It is simply because too many people change their minds, often after the goods have left Gliga so that I am too late to cancel.