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Buying an instrument - could this be dodgy, do you think?

(19 Posts)
TheHornBirds Sat 26-Jan-19 16:59:35

Hmmmmm. We're trying to buy a good secondhand instrument for my daughter and have come across one via Gumtree that just seems too low a price for what it is.

When we enquired, the seller sent several messages in reply that sort-of answer questions but not quite. For instance, it's advertised as being in London, but apparently it's currently in Scotland. It apparently belongs to the wife, but it's the husband's phone number and he is the one we've spoken to. No names or addresses (yet) given. Incidentally, googling the phone brings up someone on a local music society from 10 years ago, but apparently that's not him confused.

They were happy for us to come and look, but then suggested couriering it to us on approval instead. No deposit wanted, just our business to arrange a courier and insure it for transit.

There are enough oddities here that we're wondering if it's a scam -- but if so, how?

Or maybe they're lovely people genuinely wanting an old friend to go to a good home! How do we try to find out?

TheHornBirds Sat 26-Jan-19 17:00:07

Far too many apparentlys in that post, sorry.

Whitelisbon Sat 26-Jan-19 17:01:43

It's a scam.
They'll send you an invoice for the carrier, which will harvest your details and empty your bank account/credit card.
Walk away and find another.

TheHornBirds Sat 26-Jan-19 17:41:47

Thanks - is it a well known thing then? They asked us to arrange the courier, which is the thing that makes it puzzling

RomanyRoots Sat 26-Jan-19 17:53:18

We buy and sell instruments all the time, nothing suspicious about this at all. We send some on approval and have been sent some ourselves on approval.
Best asking the teacher to try one with you at a music shop, or an exchange that sells second hand.

TheHornBirds Sat 26-Jan-19 18:20:23

Thank you (been to rather a lot of secondhand shops so far -- she has tastes above our budget!). What's the protocol for arranging transport and insurance, if it came to it?

AgentProvocateur Sat 26-Jan-19 18:35:38

It’s not suspicious to me. This is how we bought a second-hand clarinet for my DS.

squintsoftheworldunite Sat 26-Jan-19 22:28:43

We got a beautiful bargain of a second hand instrument in very similar circumstances... but I had big reservations at the time. I arranged courier etc myself and pId by PayPal so the seller received very little person information about us

flatpackbox Sat 26-Jan-19 22:33:15

Depends on how much it is and how much you are willing to take a risk.

I have just bought a used clarinet from the man who services my other instruments, a bargain for the type but it was still £1,000.

If it was a cheaper instrument I might consider it but otherwise I wouldn’t.

PickleFish Sun 27-Jan-19 08:45:37

Are there any images in the ad? do a reverse image search on google.

I wanted to buy a second hand instrument that is normally very expensive, and found versions offered on prevloved and gumtree for much much cheaper. They were all located in Scotland - often Shetland, so that you'd be less likely to want to come see it.

Reverse image searches showed that the instruments had been previously advertised by a shop in America, and the scammers had just taken the photos and the details (word for word, almost) from that, and so couldn't answer questions properly.

However, they just wanted it paid for and couriered as a purchase, not as a testing thing, so this might be more genuine. But I'd check out the reverse image thing first, just to see.

TheHornBirds Sun 27-Jan-19 09:35:13

That’s the thing - we were about to throw in the towel when it changed from ‘ come and see it’ to ‘actually it would be easier to courier it to you as I’ve got rehearsals’. But I’m failing to see how they make anything out of sending us an instrument if we’re the ones to arrange the courier! Maybe send an empty box and claim insurance? Or maybe the wife (who is never available) is under the patio and he is selling her instruments to fund his cunning escape.

Will definitely reverse search the images and description.

Does anywhere specialize in transport of delicate instruments?

It’s brass, so heavy, bulky and delicate all at once.

CrazyCrunk Sun 27-Jan-19 09:47:19

No way, gumtree gives you no protection for this at all and they always have notices up warning you not to do it. If you want to buy at a distance always use eBay. If they were legitimate sellers they would be using eBay to sell it.

TheHornBirds Sun 27-Jan-19 09:51:52

Fair enough, but... how does it work as a scam?? I need to know!* If the only money to change hands has gone to a courier of our choice, how does that work?

*Not, of course, because I’m thinking of setting up in the Dodgy Selling business myself...

TheHornBirds Sun 27-Jan-19 13:25:45

Thank you dear MN sleuths (esp Picklefish -- reverse images does indeed come up with one of these photos elsewhere.

Still pondering how it works as a scam!

PickleFish Sun 27-Jan-19 20:21:55

I don't know either; maybe they send you something other than what's in the picture, or claim something on insurance? I don't know how the ones I was looking at worked either, other than if you actually transferred money and they didn't send it, but it seems to happen often enough that they must get the money somehow from someone.

PickleFish Sun 27-Jan-19 20:28:12

But i'm sorry to hear it was a scam. I remember how disappointed I was when I couldn't buy my instrument, after thinking I'd finally found one I might be able to afford (it's a really expensive one, and this was about half the usual price).

TheHornBirds Sun 27-Jan-19 20:38:58

Yes, this was about 2/3 usual secondhand price, so would have been a better instrument than we could afford. Insurance scam sounds most likely - lost in transit/ you broke it, please pay?

flatpackbox Mon 28-Jan-19 06:40:51

I have no idea how this would work as a scam - I am clearly not clever enough to scam anyone!

Have you tried your local instrument service man? Mine works from his garage and when I took an instrument in for service I asked him if he ever learnt of any for sale. He actually had one for sale, completely stripped down and serviced by him. It was about 70% of the price of one in a shop.

TheHornBirds Mon 28-Jan-19 10:26:47

That's a good thought. We already have scouts out, so to speak, in all the local music shops and via her teacher, plus the regular secondhand dealers. DH knows the local instrument repair chap so I'll get him to ask.

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