UPDATE: This issue has been resolved so I’ve grayed out the image and text of the original complaint.  You are free to read it if you so desire but the details of the final outcome, which I’m satisfied with,  are at the end in normal black text.

Okay everyone,Guitar Center Lowest Price Guarantee Scam

Not sure if you’ve dealt with Guitar Center but I’ve been a loyal customer (a big one at that) for several years, but this situation has certainly changed that.

I have recently been looking to buy a Tascam DP-008 Digital Portastudio and checked out Amazon.com for their pricing. They had it listed at $212.03. Being a loyal Guitar Center customer, I checked Guitar Center and the same unit was listed for the price of $299.

I thought, no problem, Guitar Center has a lowest price guarantee in which they will match a lower price along with a 10% discount of the difference when an authorized dealer, Amazon.com in this case,  has a lower price.  Their guarantee can be seen on their website here…

http://gc.guitarcenter.com/financing/30_30.cfm

This price match and discount should have brought the price down to $203.33. So I e-mailed the store through the website letting them know about the lower price and linking directly to the page on Amazon.com so they could verify it.

The next day I get the following e-mail back from Guitar Center store manager Barrett Zenger…

Guitar Center Lowest Price Guarantee Scam

Mr. Zenger ohh so politely, tells me that if I order from Amazon.com that I will have to wait a week or two to receive the item and then tells me how much next day shipping would cost.  Completley irrelevant considering I don’t mind waiting a week or two to get a good deal and standard shipping is FREE at Amazon.

Next up, Barrett ignores my request for the price match guarantee which I specifically asked for and offers me a ridiculous 15% coupon with some Sony headphones that I don’t want or need.

After this I sent the following e-mail to Barrett…

Guitar Center Lowest Price Guarantee Scam

In his e-mail, Barrett Zenger also says that I can call Guitar Center here in Corpus Christi, Texas and speak to him about this, so in addition to sending him the e-mail asking about the discount again, I called.  I actually called twice and Barrett was not available either time.  I left a message both times and even made sure that the person on the phone wrote down my name, my number, and that this was in regards to our e-mail communication regarding the lowest price match guarantee.

Barrett Zenger never returned my e-mails or either of my phone calls or messages.

Of course I just went and ordered the unit from Amazon.com rather than dealing with an obviously dishonest company.

After spending a fortune in Guitar Centers over the last few years by purchasing nearly all my gear in their stores while building a studio here in my home, I’m now done doing business with them.  The first time I have any contact with the staff besides handing them my debit card, they lie, refuse to honor their own guarantee, and then eventually refuse to even respond to any communication.  Never again.

If this is how Guitar Center wants to treat long time customers like myself, or new ones for that matter, during a down economy when customers are being much more discerning in their shopping choices, it’s only going to hurt them.

I recommend that if you have any music needs, go with a different store.  Try Amazon.com or a local music store to find what you need.

NOTE:  I’ve been informed that Guitar Center also owns MusiciansFriend.com so steer clear of that site as well.

UPDATE:  I reported this to corporate and they (Justin Lawrence) laughingly tried to offer me a 15% off coupon after the whole 15% off coupon fiasco with Barrett Zenger at the local Guitar Center here in Corpus Christi.  After I said that wasn’t acceptable, I was offered a $25 coupon, which would be less than the 15% off coupon based on my spending history.  In lieu of both of those, I was offered a cheap guitar cable.  Pretty ridiculous considering I’ve purchased several thousand dollars in gear in the place in the last couple of years.  Looks like corporate is following suit with the local store.  Take your business elsewhere everyone.

Update & Final Conclusion – As you can see in the comments below, Jeremy Cole, the Customer Service Manager for Guitar Center Retail responded to this situation after it going through a couple of levels of unsatisfactory handling.

Jeremy was nice and wanted to make sure that I was made whole and that something like this didn’t happen again.  Jeremy put me in contact with Parker Bradley, the District Manager, who was scheduled to be in the Corpus Christi store the next day.

The end result was me meeting up with Parker Bradley as well as Barrett Zenger, the store manager, in the Corpus Christi Guitar Center location.  Barrett apologized for the situation, as did Parker and we talked for a minute about how I did not want to stop shopping there as I liked the store.  Parker said that he appreciated my business and the tone was friendly.

I was given a Blue Snowball USB microphone as compensation for the way that I was treated and am happy with that resolution.  Christmas is coming up and I will be making a trip there for a few Christmas presents, as I have a few small ones in mind for certain people.

I believe this entire situation was certainly unintentional and was an honest mistake and will once again be shopping in Guitar Center (and MusiciansFriend.com)  for many of my music needs.  I also feel comfortable telling you, my reader, to do the same.

Until next time,
Chris Elliott Signature

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17 Comments on Guitar Center Lowest Price Guarantee Scam Corpus Christi, Texas

  1. cthulhu says:

    In case you didn’t know, guitar center now owns musician’s friend.

  2. Barbara Livingston says:

    Chris,

    I gotta let you know. The Guitarcenter in Corpus has been nothing but wonderful for me. They have helped my carreer develop over the years by giving me first rate advice in helping me make music. I have never once asked for a discount as I value the stores pro audio staff for its many years of experience. I guess price for you is a big issue. All business stay afloat with profit. Myself, I also shop the web for the best price. For me, the best deal has always been a face to face relationship. I have had to return products to the Guitarcenter and their website in the past, and the hassle free experience I have had makes up for and difference in price.

    Barbara

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Unfortunately, your post doesn’t really make sense and reeks of either a Guitar center employee or someone affiliated with the company.

      Specifically…”I have never once asked for a discount as I value the stores pro audio staff for its many years of experience.”

      I can understand you value a knowledgeable staff but I don’t see how that makes lying okay or honoring their own store policy null and void.

      Regardless of how nice or “knowledgeable” they are, that doesn’t give them a free license to lie, not honor store policy, and flat out ignore customers.

      I too have spent thousands of dollars in the local Guitar Center in Corpus Christi but you can bet that has come to an end.

      Chris Elliott

  3. Jeremy Cole says:

    Hi Chris,

    My name is Jeremy Cole and I run Customer Service for Guitar Center Retail. I’m sorry for the trouble you went through trying to get this item price matched correctly.

    We take your feedback seriously and I am investigating the issue now. I have forwarded your comments to the District Manager, Regional VP of Sales, EVP of Stores, VP of Training and Chief Customer Officer.

    You are important to us. I would be honored if you granted me an opportunity to earn back your trust and your business. Please email (jcole@guitarcenter.com) or call (818.735.8800 ext 2115) me at your convenience and I will gladly work towards this goal.

    I’m sorry and thank you,

    Jeremy

  4. Pete says:

    I have multiple Attorney General complaints against various GCs including their corporate office. They’ve never effectively addressed corrective action to resolve salespeople fraudulently refusing their monthly discount coupons. They’ve never resolved misrepresentation of used gear, in fact my last emails from Stacey Spencer Mgr at Oxnard … and Jeremy Cole stated that GC considers used gear sales to be sold “as is”. In fact arrogant Stacey went so far to lie about their piss poor shipping (both my wife and I saw their shipping) that caused gear damage … she also went on to tell me that as far as the multiple missing screws on the Lexicon they sold … that I should go to a hardware store and buy some and that she (GC) does not refurbish used gear. The cover literally was coming off in my hands! A real electrical hazard. Avoid these crooks. They will only take action when they are caught and you persist … just like the crooks at Best Buy. Peace out …. I have to write to my Attorney General. By the way … GC is not BBB accredited much less a member … their last corporate rating … C+. Sweetwater is BBB accredited at A+, as well are American Musical, Muscians Friend, Music123, Samedaymusic.

    • Hi Pete,

      Thanks for stopping by. I agree that customer service needs serious improvement. The two managers I dealt with seemed helpful, but of course, that was only after I made a public story out of the ridiculous service I received. Being asked to go to the local store by Jeremy Cole to meet a district manager and to take care of this, I obliged – but I could also tell that Barrett, the local store manager, apologized because he was told to do so by a “higher up,” not because he wanted to. However, Parker Bradley, the district manager, was very nice and seemed genuinely apologetic.

      Also, Guitar Center owns Musicians Friend in case you weren’t aware.

      When possible, it’s best to make purchases with credit/debit cards who have a good customer “sided” charge-back policy. In situations like yours where you received damaged product, you could simply have taken digital pictures moments after receiving hassle from Guitar Center and called your bank/credit card company asking for the e-mail address to send evidence of the damaged product to. This likely would have solved your problem but many companies also require you to send back the product at your own expense with tracking as proof of the return so you will be out that money. Of course, I realize that this just isn’t always an option for everyone (it isn’t always for me either).

      If you can get in contact with Parker Bradley at Guitar Center, you might get better service. He was a very nice guy.

      Hope to see you around again Pete!
      Chris Elliott

  5. Pete says:

    Hi Chris … thanks for the kind reply. Yep … been there done that. The latest … GC refused to give a tracking number for a small order. Could not even give me an ETA. I contacted corporate. Jeremy was out and the guy there claimed that they had not fully implemented the proverbial ‘don’t give your customer a tracking number because they could re-route the shipment’ policy. And a year or so ago when I complained about the same issue their corporate customer service stated that they encourage the stores to provide a tracking number. The BS in this as well is that I ordered a new case a week later and was emailed a tracking number. So I contacted Jeremy to cancel the order and give a full refund. The refund did not come as promised (whoever filled in for him in blew it big time and the store never followed through) so they are getting another Attorney General complaint. The case by the way arrived damaged (not by UPS) and was not as pictured on their site. No more GC. I am supposed to get still get refunds for both but in the meantime Jeremy Cole has sent an email to me that basically blacklists me from “Guitar Center, and all its affiliates and ownership entities”. Legally several have already told me this is not sound especially since this is an email and not a certified letter. Also not signed by an officer of the company. So I fired a copy off to my DJ radio friends in NYC, Canada (where my CD was in the top 20) and Europe (where I am featured on over 20 stations of NPR every year) as well as attorneys Team LGM and of course, the state Attorney General (Mr. Mike DeWine will be taking office in January in Ohio and has promised to crack down on companies like this). Have also fired a copy off to our Pulitzer Prize winning friend and reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. She ran a full page, front page story in the business section a few years back on my successes with getting money back from crooked telemarketers that had ripped my Mom off. A Mr. Don Howard was even extradited from California and spent time in Cleveland prisons as a partial result of my efforts
    As you read this … note that GC affiliates include Musicians Friend, Music123, Woodwind and Brass and also through Bain Capital I would also be banned from Staples, Home Depot, The Weather Channel, Burger King to name a few. Interesting that GC after all these years could not effectively implement their discount coupons through all their stores much less the tracking system but within a day are able to blacklist me from all their affiliates. This is not over … we are waiting for several legal opinions … here’s the email from GC Corporate … I’ve deleted my last name for now … amazing that GC’s solution is not to determine the root cause of the customer complaints and apply corrective action to prevent reoccurrence and preventive action to apply the same actions to other stores to be preventive.
    “Hello Mr. xxxxxxx,
    I have received confirmation that $xxxx has been refunded to your card from the West LA store. I have also received confirmation that $xxxxx has been refunded to your MasterCard for the case ordered from GuitarCenter.com.
    I believe this resolves any outstanding transactions between you and Guitar Center.
    After considering the nature and volume of your complaints, we have come to the decision that Guitar Center, and all its affiliates and ownership entities, no longer wish to do business with you. We believe that we are unable to satisfy you and regret to inform you that Guitar Center wishes to part ways with you at this time. It is the right of Guitar Center to refuse business or service whenever deemed necessary, we choose to enact that right at this time. It is regretful, but clear, that Guitar Center is simply not able to satisfy your needs.
    This letter is to inform you that you are no longer welcome as a customer and that you, Peter xxxxxx, should refrain from entering, phoning, attempting to purchase merchandise from or having any contact with any Guitar Center or Guitar Center affiliate. Any further telephone calls or correspondence will be disregarded.

    Sincerely,
    Jeremy Cole

    Jeremy Cole
    Guitar Center, Inc.
    o. 818.735.8800 ext 2115
    f. 818.735.0239
    5795 Lindero Canyon Rd.
    Westlake Village, CA 91362”

    • Hi Pete,

      I hope your holidays went well.

      Wow, banned. I haven’t had the chance to review your whole situation but that’s unfortunate.

      Show me where I can read more about the situations leading up to this and I’ll be able to comment further.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Chris Elliott

  6. Pete says:

    Hi Chris … thanks much for the reply … unfortunately all I have is the email and now a registered piece of mail from GC that basically say the same thing. I’ve faxed a copy of the letter to the State Attorney General as well as all the papers in the area. Now that I see that GC owns Musicians Friend, Woodwind and Brass and Music123 I can see a common trend in the management lack of style. Some examples:
    Musicians Friend – sent me wrong tubes and took forever to exchange … sent Gator bag with cracked bottom and took two weeks to refund … sent Gibson Les Paul Goldtop that was quite obviously a customer return … sent opened, banged up Bose subwoofers as new … yes these went back …
    Woodwind and Brass … took forever to send large Paiste Gong Stand that arrived with next to no packaging .. totally damaged and only offered a small concession …
    Music123 … sent pedal that arrived without the advertised T-shirt and quite obviously a customer return …
    Need I go on?
    My last transaction with GC was for a standard Fender Strat case that arrived damaged from the warehouse (outside of box was undamaged) and the wrong style …
    I finally realized GC corporate found it cheaper to take care of my multiple complaints mainly about various stores not accepting their advertised discount coupons … too much of a coincidence that even the Mayfield Hts store, which I had already reported once to the Attorney General, still argued with me over the coupon. And yet they can implement an instant blacklist for a steady yet very disappointed customer.
    Most if not all my Attorney General complaints were addressed to Marty Albertson, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, since he held the ultimate responsibility for all of his managers and employees in implementing his goals, objectives and policies. And yet he never once replied. It was either GC Legal or other employee that just happened to grab the complaint.
    I deal with Sweetwater and have met and talked with Chuck Surack … he was very accessible and open. Same with Mike Lentine of Lentine’s Music. Same with Royalton Music.
    My friend in Washington, DC echoed my thoughts .. he said the employees he spoke to at the GC in the nation’s capital were not knowledgeable about the product and could care less about the customer.
    My friend in Michigan gave examples of why he would never buy from GC again .. for one … he bought a used red Witch pedal that arrived defective. The employee he spoke with gave him a hard time and refused to pay for return shipping. So I advised that he contact the district manager and that put a fire under the store manager.
    GC talks about the voice of the customer somewhere on their site … I can no longer find that link … it does not matter … GC’s version of voice of the customer IMHO is if the customer complains too much, blacklist them. I should not have to go through their corporate offices to get every single transaction resolved.
    12/16/2010 West LA, CA … Lexicon LXP and MRC … refused to give tracking number and ETA,
    12/9/2010 Orange, CT … Carvin Snake … charged for double boxing … arrived single boxed hanging outside the box,
    11/19/2010 Brea, CA … Lexicon MPX1 … missing cord, only three screws holding chassis together, sent wrong screws …
    11/20/2010 Rockford, IL … KRK RP5 … initially refused to accept coupon, told them to double box and bubble wrap … they foamed (at an angle) both speakers arrived damaged …
    10/31/201 … Lexicon Vortex … sent DC vs correct AC power supply, promised to send power supply … weeks later had to call manager as power supply never came,
    11/12/2010 Pramus, NJ .. Lexicon MPX R1 … I called and they said working … it arrived and half the buttons were dead … I repaired myself and requested they at least send the powered MIDI cable … took several weeks and reminders …
    11/12/2010 Hollywood, CA … Lexicon G2 … I gave the manager a head’s up that I had a coupon … when I called the sales guy tried to sell me a cord for $12 claiming that the unit did not come with one. I sent the store manager an email why he lost the sale … they claimed that I had called them to tell them I was buying at another store and that is why they told corporate that they did not respond … a lie that can be proven from my phone logs,
    11/12/201 Oxnard, CA … Lexicon G2 … arrived with minor damage and missing and loose screws, the unit had been placed into the box rather than warped … Stacey Spencer responded that I could could to the hardware store and get the screws .. as far as she was concerned they had packed properly and not as per the picture I sent apparently implying that I was lying … I do have more pictures showing where the unit hit the sides of the box,
    11/7/2010 Tacoma, WA .. MXR Doubleshot … wrong power supply sent … they sent the correct one, after a few calls from me,
    ….lets not forget the Carvin DC160 that a store stated was in great shape for its age with only some belt buckle swirls on the back and a few dings … arrived with multiple large dings, massive swirling over the entire back of the guitar and somehow … even on the front! Body had a crack in it and the head stock was delaminated. Sales guy claimed that the guitar would go through their tech for a final adjustment and checkout …. guitar arrived with buzzing frets.
    Mayfield Hts store sold me a Mindprint preamp and refused to accept the discount coupon …. they finally did …. the Mindprint did not work correctly …
    Another store sold me a Lexicon Primetime … I asked if the rack ears were bent … they claimed they weren’t … unit arrived with rack ears that had been straightened and paint peeling off the front panel where someone had straightened it … also unit did not work …
    Digitech Hendrix Experience pedal … arrived with sides bowed out … like an elephant had steeped on it …
    Roland vintage GR-1 with box …. arrived without box … they decided to throw the box out ….
    VOX Tone machine from Mayfield Hts, OH store …. wah pedal was bent … used replacement from North Olmsted, OH store had a bad tube … I just returned for refund after putting up with lip from a female employee that is no longer with the store.
    Good riddance to a horrid shopping experience …. GC’s idea of voice of the customer must be ‘in space no one can hear you scream’ …. just wait for the Attorney General complaints Marty … these complaints and more will be included … I am just catching up … go ahead and try and cover up your incompetence and unethical business practices by blacklisting me … try and blacklist the Attorney General.

    • Hi Pete,

      Thanks for stopping by again. The number of issues you have had with GC are horrible. The good news is that the power of the Internet gives customers like you and I a voice. Google loves my blog and your story will certainly be heard as this post alone gets thousands of visitors each month.

      What some companies have failed to realize is that the Internet levels the playing field as far as the “power of voice” in the marketplace.

      In fact, I would say the consumer has an even stronger voice because the vast majority of big companies are completely clueless as to how to use the Internet for brand/reputation building, management, and control. I should know, I’ve been both a direct response copywriter and Internet marketing consultant for over a decade and help companies with this on a regular basis.

      Companies who continue to operate their businesses in an underhanded way, will slowly, but surely be exposed. The Internet provides a place for consumers to be heard and let every other consumer know how they were treated.

      Any company who fails to realize this is on their way out. It’s very hard for a company to operate when they refuse to remedy deficiencies in their customer service and wake up one day to find thousands of unsatisfied customer complaints online are putting a damper on their business.

      If a company isn’t out there constantly making sure customers are happy, providing resolutions to problems, and working to keep a solid reputation online, there will be an eventual overturn, or “snowball moment” which is nearly impossible to recover from. Not to mention the fact that when a company racks up a huge amount of complaints, the media starts taking notice and doing stories on the issues, including interviewing people who are unsatisfied. When the media picks up on these things, it usually turns from the perspective of “thousands of customer complaints” to “thousands of victims.”

      While I’m certainly discouraged in GC for the situation I had there, I won’t say I’ll never shop their or at musicians friend as of yet. I have had good experiences with them besides the one that required interaction with staff.

      Happy New Year!
      Chris Elliott

  7. Pete says:

    By the way … weeks later GC never revised their website to show the correct case for the Cyclone/Mustang case …. check it out …. http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fe.....1150898.gc

  8. Pete says:

    By the way … tonight at 7PM EST, Tampa, Fl based FM and cable station Rock Solid Pressure will be broadcasting my Guitar Center horror story (http://www.purerockradio.net/news.php). Apparently they’ve had a bad experience with GC and there is no love lose there.
    I have Rock Solid’s main page listed as http://www.rocksolidpressure.com/.

  9. Boob Man says:

    They gave me a bunch of crap when I tried to get them to pricematch. They did not give me the extra 10%.

  10. […] If I ordered from GC.com , I would have waited for GC shipping . This is normal for GC . example Guitar Center Lowest Price Guarantee Scam Corpus Christi, Texas | iBeChris.com – Chris Elliott Same exact situation . Next time I go to that GC ( there are 3 in my area ), I probably won't see […]

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