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Do you expect a return policy

  • Always - I want all my money back if it isn't the one for me.

  • Yes, but a restocking fee is fair

  • No, if I don't like it I'll just sell it on

  • Other (please explain)

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I’m happy to pay a nominal restock fee, reselling a mpc right now is a dreadful process it seems.

However, I would like to point out for a mpc maker not to accept PayPal is disappointing . My PayPal credit line is my only mpc fund really, so that eliminates a mpc possibility
Your PayPal account is linked to a credit card, isn't it? At least mine is, if I can't use PP I use the same card.
 

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I'm happy with the idea of a restocking fee but don't try mouthpieces by mail order because I don't see how you can expect to try out an HR mouthpiece properly without leaving traces. I would expect to have complaints from the vendor as I'm sure I would either leave some marks or would be so paranoid that I couldn't try the piece properly.
I think if you are careful (i.e. make sure you are using a bite patch) you can do a pretty good job preserving the exterior of the mouthpiece. I know that Kessler not only ships his mouthpieces with a bite patch already installed (almost everyone else does too) but also puts some blue translucent tape on the body of the mouthpiece to protect it from ligature marks. I bought some of this tape for myself to use when I'm trying out mouthpieces from other places; however, some ligatures (like the BG duo) do not contact the mouthpiece very much and are not prone to scratching. I've heard that the Meyer ligature that comes with the anniversary edition scratches up the mouthpiece quite easily.
 

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Sop: Yam 82ZR, Yani SC-WO20, Tenor: Yam YTS-62iii, GS Florida Slant 7*
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I voted Other. I do not expect a return unless faulty. Every non-faulty mouthpiece has its own interesting personality. It takes me weeks to figure out a new mouthpiece's signature. I will not sell my adopted children. I like owning a diverse range of tendencies. I enjoy playing a song with different mouthpieces. It feeds my imagination to try different approaches.

If I bought a TV I don't get to return it because the blacks are too black at 3pm when the afternoon sun is waning, do I?
 

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Other- If I'm buying a cheaper mouthpiece I'd probably just keep it even if I dont immediately love it because it's not worth the hassle to figure out shipping to wherever, and who knows I may want to try something someday. Obviously this has limits, once we get into the realm of custom or handfinished mouthpieces I'm not too crazy about putting a $300+ piece in the drawer. Maybe it's my lack of knowledge it inventory management and logistics but I never quite understand what that X% restocking fee was really paying for.
 

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I think allowing returns on mouthpieces is really important. You have to be able to play test it. However, I'd say free returns on damaged mouthpieces is clearly not ok. I think then it's reasonable to charge a fine to replate the piece, or whatever needs to be done.
As far as a restocking fee, I think if you're just very clear and upfront about it, it's fine either way. If I know from the start I can try a mouthpiece for free I might be slightly more likely to check one out. However, if there's a mouthpiece I think will work for me but if I return it it's going to cost me $15... I'd still go for it. Idiot that I am with my guilt complex, I'd probably feel better about returning it.
 

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I think also you ahve to understand that for some a restock fee is up to 50 bucks. Not a cleaning fee. Yes, it takes my time to pack, mail etc...but some things are just the cost of doing business.
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
once we get into the realm of custom or handfinished mouthpieces I'm not too crazy about putting a $300+ piece in the drawer.
Custom mouthpieces are a different ballgame. If something is custom made to your own specifications, I think it's absolutely normal not to expect a return policy to be applied.
 

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I think that running the risk of scratches just comes with the territory and if you want to sell and don't have a shop then it's just a risk that you have to factor in, although the example in the OP post is quite exceptional and must have taken a fairly high degree of carelessness not to say stupidity to do. Was that a metal piece or some sort of metallic resin? If I try a mouthpiece in a shop and don't want it I just hand it back, I can scratch it just as easily there as at home and doubt that we'd have a showdown if I did.

Returns should be at the cost of the person doing the trial and I think it's reasonable to have a small restock charge particularly if you haven't charged postage and maybe as a bit of incentive to the buyer to keep it but again the inconvenience to the seller is really part of the business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Was that a metal piece or some sort of metallic resin?
That was a gold plated metal piece, and did not get restocked. I just sent it straight back tot he "customer" in Australia with a short but polite note refusing the return.

I advise to use tape under the ligature as well as a patch on the beak.
 

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I recently purchased what was described as a brand new Selmer Concept soprano mouthpiece. I paid the brand new/street price for it. When I received it I could tell that it had been used and was a return. The bite cushion that comes with all new Selmer mouthpieces was not included. The packaging appeared to have been opened; flaps on the cardboard box were slightly "dogeared". There was a ghost ligature mark on the piece. When I contacted the vendor they explained that they have a return policy and the one I received was indeed a return but had been thoroughly cleaned. I retuned it and received a refund. Most of the mouthpieces that I play have been previously owned and I am very comfortable with that, however, I occasionally purchase an item that is brand new. In that case I expect it to be "factory fresh" and unused. This is the downside of some of these mouthpiece return policies. It's great for the original purchaser but not so good for the unsuspecting second and beyond purchaser. In the few recent cases where I have wanted to receive a brand new untouched mouthpiece I have started an email chain with the vendor assuring me that it isn't a return just to cover myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
When I contacted the vendor they explained that they have a return policy and the one I received was indeed a return but had been thoroughly cleaned.
We have to be very careful about the ghost ligature. If I test play a mouthpiece (which is normal procedure for a new mouthpiece and will always get washed before repackaging of course) but forget to put it back in the box for a while, it can get a "ghost" ligature or "ghost" beak patch mark as HR can bleach slightly in the sun.
 

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That was a gold plated metal piece, and did not get restocked. I just sent it straight back tot he "customer" in Australia with a short but polite note refusing the return.

I advise to use tape under the ligature as well as a patch on the beak.
Thanks for that. Damage to a mouthpiece is different than “This doesn’t work for me.” That image looks like the mouthpiece was tight on the cork, and rather than remove the ligature, the buyer tried to crank the mouthpiece, using the ligature for leverage. The ligature slipped and damaged the mouthpiece - clearly misuse on the buyer’s part.
 

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I think all mouthpiece makers have some kind of a return policy (obviously not on actual custom made though)

It used to be a return policy was very useful for both mouthpiece producers and consumers. In the EU, distance selling laws mean that a return policy is mandatory and must be offered.
Sometimes that Return Policy is “No returns”. It would be interesting to see the current state of return policies for the major players.

That is interesting about EU Distance Selling Laws. Does that impose a right to return for buyers that purchase from sellers outside the EU?
 

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That was a gold plated metal piece, and did not get restocked. I just sent it straight back tot he "customer" in Australia with a short but polite note refusing the return.

I advise to use tape under the ligature as well as a patch on the beak.
Good for you. I have say that if I did that to a mouthpiece I was testing I would curse myself and know that I couldn’t return it. Anyway the buyer can now spend more time with it and maybe come to love it.
 

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There are obvious exceptions such as underwear you have tried on.

Theoretically I think this is great, very often people might buy two or three then keep one and get refunded on the returned ones.
That's my approach, though I have the opposite problem--the undies usually leave marks on me. I just return any pair that's too closed, stuffy, or high-baffled.
 

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Restocking fee is fair!
1. Time for shipping and handling has to be paid.
2. If the item is no longer in 100% new condition, then time for buffing or other work has to be paid.
3. There are always customers who just likes to try stuff with no real intent of buying. Restocking fee will keep some of them away from wasting your time.
4. There may be fees that the seller will not get refunded for, if the item was paid with CC or paypal.

I think that for many of us that are trying to run a small business, we can either charge a restocking fee or refuse returns. These are the two only reasonable options IMHO.

BTW, that scratch was nasty.
 

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I completely agree that restocking fees are fair. The alternative is simply that the cost of the mouthpieces or other items are raised from the vendor. I do like return policies, as "no returns" always leaves a concern that a vendor might send out a flawed item with no recourse for the customer.
 

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There is no one correct pricing model for recouping costs of doing business and ensuring profit. The only universal aspect is that if you are going to stay in business you have to make the right amount of money for your time, but how you bring that money in is a field of options. In other words, the choice about restocking fees is not based on there being only one correct bucket to put the cost of sending and receiving items into. The only universal truth there is that the cost must be factored in somehow. Beyond that it's a question of what face you want to present to your customers, i.e. it's really about marketing.

One factor I don't think has been mentioned yet: I would prefer not to pay for other people's experiments, so I like the idea of restocking fees if it results in lower prices. Not that I make perfect choices, but I don't tend to return things for reasons I won't get into.
 
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(NB: the poll above is not in regard to items deemed as faulty - obviously there is a return under warranty in that case)

I think all mouthpiece makers have some kind of a return policy (obviously not on actual custom made though)

It used to be a return policy was very useful for both mouthpiece producers and consumers. In the EU, distance selling laws mean that a return policy is mandatory and must be offered. There are obvious exceptions such as underwear you have tried on.

Theoretically I think this is great, very often people might buy two or three then keep one and get refunded on the returned ones. However new policies of Paypal mean they no longer refund the seller the fee for returns, so basically unless we charge restocking, then we could be paying for someone to try out a mouthpiece. Add to that another (new?) EU policy that sellers should also refund the postage and times is getting tough. I hate to charge "restocking" but maybe itb is the only way to go.

What do you think?

BTW here is one of the returns I got. See what we are up against. The customer at least used a patch but did complain about the restocking fee.

View attachment 106249
I would think a balanced policy gives assurance to the Buyer they won't be stuck with a high priced item they can't work with and still not leave the Seller "over a barrel".
I like something along the following lines:
Buyer can return the mouthpiece, with their return parcel shipped within 7 days of receiving it.
BUYER PAYS RETURN SHIPPING.
REFUND NET OF SELLER'S SHIPPING COSTS, IF ANY. (If the Buyer didn't pay for the original shipping)
If the particular mouthpiece was actually in high demand / no stock remaining, a modest re-stocking fee is justified.
In the case of regularly stocked items, if it is returned in pristine, re-sellable condition, full refund.
If the item comes back in used / blemished condition, the Buyer should expect to absorb anything from a modest re-stocking fee, to a more substantial one, all the way to a partial refund or denied refund if they actually damaged the goods.
This type of balance provides an "Insurance Policy" that gives confidence to remote Buyers, but also leaves the Seller in a strong position not to be abused by having their business policies and products treated like a band rental program.
 
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