#1 question: I'm out of town - how can I buy a bass from you?
We make it as easy as possible! We can ship the bass you choose to the closest Southwest Air Cargo or Greyhound terminal - or - why not get an economical Southwest flight and come choose your bass in person? In many cases, the entire trip is nearly the same cost as having the bass shipped to you air cargo. Several customers over the years have flown in, chosen a bass, and flown home with it the same day - from as far away as Alaska! There's also an AirBnB within a block of QBC, for customers who are staying in Houston overnight.
About Approvals (home trial prior to purchase)
Like stores for every other kind of item (TVs, appliances, cars etc), purchase decisions are intended to be made here in our store. In the event that's not possible, we offer a 7-day off-premises approval period. Customers must sign an approval contract prior to taking inventory out of the facility, affirming they intend to and are prepared to purchase the item within seven days if it meets their subjective needs.
Pricing: our prices are thoroughly researched to reflect a fair, current market value, and the instrument's condition. We do all we can to keep prices low on behalf of buyers; overhead and consignment commissions are as low as possible. We are aware of the long-standing convention of expecting to negotiate prices for instruments, and it’s a convention we feel is neither fair nor useful. When deciding which inventory to request on approval, please understand that prices are firm. You will be asked to initial an acknowledgement of the price in the approval contract.
Approval period: one week from the date of receipt. When inventory is shipped to customers, we require either payment in full or a tracking number that any items not selected for purchase are on the way back to us one week from the day it is delivered to the customer’s address or agreed cargo terminal. We are very happy to coordinate the day we ship to you so your trial period will coincide with consulting with your teacher or you have inventory for approval from multiple dealers; however, please understand we do not offer an extension of the trial period once inventory has been shipped to you - our insurance coverage is only guaranteed for the dates on the approval contract, and we are only authorized by consignors to have their instruments off display for a 7-day maximum. We regret that future off-premises approvals will not be permitted to parties that fail to keep the terms of their approval contracts. We are happy to answer any questions up front about the condition and value of your chosen instrument, be of any possible assistance in applying for financing, and coordinate an optimal time for your approval period, so the approval contract upon signing is the final version of our agreement.
Approval through a teacher: we are very happy to accommodate the many requests of private teachers who would like to see a variety of inventory which more than one of their students may choose. The approval is written to the teacher, with a return date within one week of receipt by him. Should the teacher pass on any inventory to a student for individual approval, we will re-write the approval for one week from that date, with the party in possession of the inventory being responsible directly for return and/or payment. We have always been very up-front that commissions to teachers is a practice in which we do not participate, and the many fine teachers with whom we trade appreciate their students being encouraged to make free decisions about the instruments which are right for them. Here's a link to a very good article explaining this in detail. We are also happy to answer any questions in regards to this choice.
Payment terms: Payment is due in full one week from receipt of any instrument on approval. We are an approved merchant for a musical instrument financing company, and potential buyers may apply and receive an immediate answer on eligibility. We strongly recommend making the financial arrangements you'd need to complete a purchase, such as obtaining the loan approval or transferring funds, in advance of requesting an instrument on a 7-day approval. Members of the American Federation of Musicians are encouraged to apply for instrument loans independently at the Houston Musicians Federal Credit Union, which does make instrument loans to AFM members nationwide. Some buyers have opted to apply for PayPal Credit. We are very happy to coordinate the date of shipping inventory at a time when buyers are prepared to make a purchase. However, if, at the end of the trial period, the buyer is not prepared to pay the invoice, we require the inventory be returned to the shop.
Discounts: Although our prices are firm, across-the-board discounts apply for payment by verified check. Clients purchasing an instrument or bow over $1,000 receive a LIFETIME DISCOUNT on future purchases and consignment rate.
Trade-ins: We must inspect trade-ins in person; if you are counting on trading in an instrument against a new purchase, please obtain our trade-in offer before taking another instrument on approval. More about trade-ins HERE
Shipping: we pay outbound shipping on bows, and basses $10,000 and up, sent out for trial. Customers are responsible for return shipping cost of any items not selected for purchase. If a bass or bow is selected for purchase, the empty trunk or bow tube must still be returned within the one-week trial period. Double basses are shipped via Southwest Air Cargo to cities with a Southwest terminal. Customers receiving them will need to consider whether they are within driving distance of a Southwest terminal for both picking up the bass in its trunk (trunks can not be left at the air cargo facility) and returning the empty trunk there one week later. Clients must direct all inquiries regarding items in transit directly to the contracted shipping service - a tracking number will be provided to you upon shipment. With all due respect, any inquiries to us regarding a shipment that has left our facility will be referred to the shipping service that is in possession of the instrument, and who is under contract to answer for themselves.
Damage: please inspect any shipment you pick up before leaving the air cargo dock, and any shipment received by a shipping service, and inform us immediately of any item received damaged, so the customer will not be invoiced for damage when an item is received back from approval. An email can be sent 24/7, so we know exactly when shipping damage was discovered. Customers are responsible for damage occasioned while an item is on approval to their account, including overt damage as well as excessive wear and tear to bow hair, strings, rosin buildup, nicks and scratches, and damage to trunks or to their contents due to improper packing for a return. We are always very happy to talk through safely repacking an instrument for its return journey. Please carefully close and latch bass trunks with all straps and packing enclosed.
Multiple basses: customers beginning their searches for a double bass are encouraged to visit our shop and make a selection in person, which they can then take with them for a one-week trial. Flying with your chosen bass as baggage is usually less expensive than air cargo. We can certainly do sequential shipments to customers; however, we are unfortunately unable to discount subsequent shipments of basses to the same customer for trial, and most find it cost-effective to visit from out of town rather than incur the cost of sequential shipments.
Returns: returns are accepted only if the item received is either not as advertised, or is found to be substantially defective (not repairable) during the warranty period. Instruments and bows purchased after having the item on approval are not eligible for return or refund - the approval period serves as the return period.
Sales contract , warranty, appraisals
Instruments, including consigned, vintage, and antique instruments which may have any degree of existing/old repairs, are warranted against failure (not damage) for 6 months from the invoice date - some new instruments qualify for a longer warranty through their manufacturers. If such warranty applies, it will be specified on your invoice. QBC agrees to repair, not replace, an instrument. All warranty repair work must be performed at QBC; transportation to/from our dock is at customer's expense. Any work representing an upgrade, or complete replacement (beyond re-gluing) of an older repair which was not previously done at QBC, is at customer's expense. The instrument must be presented at QBC and diagnosed as having a covered defect within the warranty period. EXCEPTIONS: instruments taken to another climate are no longer covered for cracks or failure of any glue joints. Repair work performed elsewhere voids any remaining warranty. A repair done under warranty doesn't extend the warranty beyond 6 months from the original date of purchase.
Sales contract: instruments and bows are not returnable if they have either been on approval to the buyer or are sold as-is (the approval period = return period). No discounts apply after the invoice has been issued.
Appraisals: QBC will provide a written appraisal at no extra charge on instruments purchased at QBC, if the value of the instrument is higher than the price on your sales receipt. In most cases, your paid invoice or sales receipt is appropriate valuation for insurance purposes. There is no need for a separate appraisal, especially on a brand-new instrument or one you have just purchased: the replacement value is equal to what you just paid. In some circumstances, usually antique instruments or those deeply discounted, the replacement value may not be apparent from the price you paid, and we can indicate that by writing an appraisal. If you are financing your instrument through a third party (such as the Musicians' Credit Union), they will require an appraisal from outside QBC (you will have to take the instrument elsewhere to have it appraised). Appraisals for instruments not purchased at QBC: flat fee of $40, if we are able to determine what the instrument is. If it will require significant research to appraise your instrument, we will discuss an appraisal fee with you.
Valuing an instrument for private sale, or purchase from a private party: this equals a market appraisal - regular $40 fee applies.