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thenomad
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#1
29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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Sweetwater experience

So I haven't purchased anything from Sweetwater yet and was about to as long as I could get price matched. Every other store I tried (guitar center, musicians friend, etc) all agreed to the price matching on some studio monitors. I found some for $210 and everyone else is selling them for $350 (per monitor). I wanted to utilize Sweetwater just because of how great they've been talking about products with me on the phone to better understand. So the other online retailers all price matched but Sweetwater refused and this is why...

Sweetwater -
"hey are no going to be able to give free 2 year warranty and lifetime tech support on the products they sell. I don't generally play the price matching game, because they can' give you the service & support afterward. In my eyes, as well as the eyes of 90% of our customers, that's well worth it."

Their price my be lower, but it isn't better. And if they are local to you, you'll pay sales tax as well."

My Response-
Well I thought the 2 year warranty and lifetime tech support is free so this response is really implying that it isn't. I mean it states right on the website FREE and it was his reasoning for not price matching.

How is a lower price not better? Also I don't have to pay sales tax as the price match wasn't in my state

I emailed him back with my response and he replied again telling me how he works on 100% commission (The real reason why he won't price match) and he pays 20% of the cost for free shipping (the company with the lower price has free shipping) etc. So why does Sweetwater offer free 2 year warranty, free shipping, and free lifetime tech support when they throw it in your face when trying to price match? This is hilarious to me and in no way is 2 year warranty and tech support worth almost $300 dollars extra. I understand they have great support when you have questions or issues with equipment but for a company to manipulate what they offer as free is poor business. It felt like I was going to buy a car.


Any way just my little rant on my Sweetwater experience.
#2
29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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so you want the lower price AND their added extras (the value of which I guess is debatable)? Why would they do that?

You're a consumer, vote with your wallet.

And the only reason you felt like you were buying a car is because you were treating them like a car dealer.
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#3
29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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SW was and isn't the place to go for a better price. Period.
Be careful of quotes/price match you send to them.
SW is known for snitching on their comp who price match.
thenomad
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#4
1st March 2012
Old 1st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambiguity View Post
so you want the lower price AND their added extras (the value of which I guess is debatable)? Why would they do that?

You're a consumer, vote with your wallet.

And the only reason you felt like you were buying a car is because you were treating them like a car dealer.
The extras shouldn't even be in the topic of price matching when the company offers it for free. He was the one throwing it in my face saying "well these companies don't offer the free 2 year warranty and free tech support". I just wanted to be a customer to a company that I've heard great things about.

I hate buying at guitar center but today I am glad I did because I called their 800 number and asked if they would price match the yamaha hs80m monitors to another vendors price of $209.99. They agreed to match it and they noted and approved it on my account so when I went in to make the purchase at my local GC, they weren't pleased by any means. I bought 2 Yamaha HS80m's with cables and tax under $500 dollars! Needless to say Sweetwaters little upset didn't upset me too long
#5
1st March 2012
Old 1st March 2012
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Hmmm... you could be dealing with gray market unsupported product that is being offered at $210.


hypothetically speaking, I wouldn't expect Sweetwater to match the price on dodgy gear.
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TRA
#6
1st March 2012
Old 1st March 2012
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The bottom line is that customer service costs money. Period. Extending a manufacturer's warranty also costs money. When your product dies outside of the manufacturer's warranty, but within their warranty what happens? They are either scrapping the return and eating the loss or they are sending the product back to the manufacturer, paying for service, and then selling it as a refurb or b-stock. No matter which way you slice it their "Free" service costs them money and it's paid for by their profit margin.

Their point makes a lot of sense. You can buy this item cheaper from XYZ, but you won't be getting the same support. If that isn't important to you then move on and go with the cheaper guy. One word of advice, make sure the cheaper guy is an authorized dealer for that product. Some manufacturers won't honor their warranty if the product was purchased in the grey market.

I do understand your point of their "Free" service isn't "Free" but you also get what you pay for.
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#7
1st March 2012
Old 1st March 2012
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Quote:
One word of advice, make sure the cheaper guy is an authorized dealer for that product. Some manufacturers won't honor their warranty if the product was purchased in the grey market.
That's one thing I'd be especially careful of (although if Guitar Center is matching the price I suppose it's not an issue)...if they're advertising the speakers that cheap they're either not an authorized dealer, or they are violating their dealer agreement. There's one relatively new dealer in particular who is known for selling gear extremtly cheap, but is not authorized for most (if not all) of the equipment they sell, and several manufacturers have stated specifically that they will not honor warranties on equipment purchased through them (I believe it was Grace Designs who has posted those messages on several manufacturers' Facebook pages).
#8
1st March 2012
Old 1st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRA View Post
I do understand your point of their "Free" service isn't "Free" but you also get what you pay for.
There is no such thing as free - it always costs someone something. Anytime you hear the word "free" it only means the associated costs are already factored in somewhere. "Free" is a concept that only exists in the abstract, as it would be a violation of the laws of physics...
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TRA
#9
2nd March 2012
Old 2nd March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandersd View Post
There is no such thing as free - it always costs someone something. Anytime you hear the word "free" it only means the associated costs are already factored in somewhere. "Free" is a concept that only exists in the abstract, as it would be a violation of the laws of physics...
Exactly.
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CDW
#10
2nd March 2012
Old 2nd March 2012
  #10
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I think there's a little give and take. The way I approach it, if my Sweetwater rep spends quite a bit of time offering opinions or education on a product, or even recommends a great product I'm not familiar with, I often don't ask for a discount at all. On the other hand, if I call and say "I know exactly what I want and it's Product X" then I will often ask if there's any wiggle room on price, since the rep did much less work. Usually it works out pretty well.
thenomad
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#11
2nd March 2012
Old 2nd March 2012
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I agree about the "free" statement, but why advertise it free when ultimately its not is my only point. As far as the $210 being an authorized dealer, they are. I called to confirm as well as Guitar Center did as well. I ended up buying them at my local GC for 209.99 a piece and ecstatic I got them for that price. Musicians friend was going to price match too but only had one in stock and wouldn't get anymore until the end of the month.

Thanks for the feedback and letting me gripe. I'm not hating on SW anymore, just at that particular moment.
#12
2nd March 2012
Old 2nd March 2012
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Quote:
I agree about the "free" statement, but why advertise it free when ultimately its not is my only point.
I don't think they have a price matching policy advertised, to they? If you call to try to work out a deal then it's not uncommon for the terms to change.
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WDM
#13
2nd March 2012
Old 2nd March 2012
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The Sweetwater folks usually have very good knowledge of what's hot on the market and what's not. Usually the prices there are close to all others. Some difference on Tax and shipping costs could save you some money.
Also, it is helpful to develop a relationship with your sales rep, because some cool deals there come and go and if somebody will let you know on time, that would help too.

The Sweetwater stocks some cool (and expensive) gear that usually unavailable in other places, so I wouldn't go there just for guitar straps.

I have positive experience with them.
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#14
4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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Really?

Ok, I purchase from sweetwater 90% of the time. They have low prices, a no bitching return policy, and they extend the manufacturer's warranty. Know what I do when they won't match BnH photo's prices? Buy from BnH! Have i ever spoken to a BnH rep ever? No. Have I ever spoken to a sweetwater rep? Every single time I have a purchasing question. Has Chris Lewis (my rep) ever been wrong about gear? No. Is his advice and knowing his name and his assistant Justin and being able to ask questions any time I want worth a hundie extra every now and then? Yes. You sir are being a schmuck. Buy your gear off ebay and shut it. 30 days same as cash, 30 days return AND a personal call from your rep to help you with your gear...? That's worth money. I have bought over 500$ worth of gear in one go (a 20th of what I own) I was told NOT TO BUY only to later post the crap on ebay and star over with what Chris told me to buy in the first place. Chris even played two pianos and reported back to me! (not the 500$ story). Sorry for the rant but you're being a prick. Get great service or dodgy gear an no human interaction. It's your choice.

Oh, and won't match with Guitar Center? They ARE guitar center! Same company! And Music 123. And Music and Arts. And one other I can't remember.

Your's truly,
Brad.
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#15
4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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Low prices?

I've never had to ask anyone, ever, to price match Sweetwater. In fact, I can't remember seeing a single item at Sweetwater being listed cheaper than at other retailers. I can say many things about Sweetwater, but them having low prices isn't one of those things.
#16
4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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I don't know what's up with the price matching. If you see something, buy it. If you see it cheaper elsewhere then buy it there.

If you're trying to get Sweetwater service at a competitor's price, then that's just dodgy behavior. If you want the Sweetwater service, pay their price.
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#17
4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
  #17
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Service is a major percentage of every price you pay. The reason for mandatory minimum prices is not some secret cabal's attempt at screwing you out of a buck (well, usually,) but a prohibition of a price-cutting race to the bottom that leaves no room for a quality user experience.

I buy gear from Guitar Center only when I know there's no risk of having to deal with them for service. My food processor, however, has an extended warranty.
#18
4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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I have never had a problem with Sweetwater. They are super knowledgeable about the products they sell and provide service after the sale.

If you are just looking for price there are lots of other places on the WWW that will give you rock bottom prices but little or no service after the sale.

I can purchase a camera from B&H and know they stand behind it, or I can purchase the same camera for a lot less from Abe's of Maine and know when I get it that I will have to rely on the manufacture's warranty if anything is wrong with the product.

It is your money YOU make the decisions as to whether you want good service or a good price.


Most times you cannot have both...
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#19
4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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I have never been impressed with Sweetwater. If I'm concerned about service after the sale, I'll definitely think about paying a bit more, but not to Sweetwater.

Chuck Surack turns me totally off. I think it has to do with either his continual bragging for the past 20 years, or his choice of suits from Mens Warehouse. To me not only does Sweetwater mean service after the sale, but HIGH OVERHEAD.

I don't like having to call my "personal rep." when I just want a price quote and starting phone tag for the rest of the day.

And since many of my calls were for price quotes my "relationship" with my "personal rep." deteriorated. He knows he could rarely if ever price match, but for the longest time I always wanted to give him a chance. He was pleasant and seemed knowledgeable so why not?

I purchased a $1000 CME keyboard controller from SW under the express conditions that it would work as advertised and work as the sales rep said it would work. After months of continual problems and constantly going back to Sweetwater I decided I wanted another keyboard brand since the one they sold me had many unresolved issues.

My sales representative wanted to do a straight exchange. He wanted to send me a $400 Roland to replace the $1000 CME and keep the $600. This is after I had to exchange one CME for another CME, and then continual firmware problems, display problems, and many things stated in the manual that simply did not work. I was in continual communication with Sweetwater, the USA CME rep, and even the manufacturer in China. I was very patient. These problems went on for months.

Finally I decided to talk to his sales manager who eventually agreed to send me a keyboard controller that they normally don't even sell that was valued closer to the CME.

If I had a better W sales rep, maybe none of this would have happened.
#20
5th February 2013
Old 5th February 2013
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Yeah, I tend to only rarely use Sweetwater. They don't really price match. In fact, when I have asked usually my "rep" just ignores it.
#21
5th February 2013
Old 5th February 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
I have never been impressed with Sweetwater. If I'm concerned about service after the sale, I'll definitely think about paying a bit more, but not to Sweetwater.

Chuck Surack turns me totally off. I think it has to do with either his continual bragging for the past 20 years, or his choice of suits from Mens Warehouse. To me not only does Sweetwater mean service after the sale, but HIGH OVERHEAD.

I don't like having to call my "personal rep." when I just want a price quote and starting phone tag for the rest of the day.

And since many of my calls were for price quotes my "relationship" with my "personal rep." deteriorated. He knows he could rarely if ever price match, but for the longest time I always wanted to give him a chance. He was pleasant and seemed knowledgeable so why not?

I purchased a $1000 CME keyboard controller from SW under the express conditions that it would work as advertised and work as the sales rep said it would work. After months of continual problems and constantly going back to Sweetwater I decided I wanted another keyboard brand since the one they sold me had many unresolved issues.

My sales representative wanted to do a straight exchange. He wanted to send me a $400 Roland to replace the $1000 CME and keep the $600. This is after I had to exchange one CME for another CME, and then continual firmware problems, display problems, and many things stated in the manual that simply did not work. I was in continual communication with Sweetwater, the USA CME rep, and even the manufacturer in China. I was very patient. These problems went on for months.

Finally I decided to talk to his sales manager who eventually agreed to send me a keyboard controller that they normally don't even sell that was valued closer to the CME.

If I had a better W sales rep, maybe none of this would have happened.
I never liked Sweetwater either. I knew Chuck ages ago when he ran a so-so 16 track studio in Fort Wayne. I give him props for turning that into the cult that it is today, but I would never buy from them again.

I've been through three of their cultish sales reps. Their advice was never useful. I've been dealing with Billy Walker, from GCPro. No one can match the prices he's giving me and the service puts SW to shame.
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#22
5th February 2013
Old 5th February 2013
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This entire story reminds me of the scene in the 40 yr old virgin with Kevin Hart. " im gonna need that extended warrenty for the price of......on the house"
#23
8th February 2013
Old 8th February 2013
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Once I found they had the lowest price on a software upgrade so I bought it. Then ai started getting calls from my rep asking how the software upgrade is going or did I know about some big keyboard sale or whatever. I had to ask them not to give me such good service because I just wanted to buy something and use it without discussion.
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#24
8th February 2013
Old 8th February 2013
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Thumbs down

.

All I can say is I am SOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo glad I don't sell gear to broke musicians for a living.

I literally think I would kill myself.

The endless whining about retailers is about the most boring and entitled crap I can imagine around here.

Sorry, but somebody had to say it.

And I'm NOT a big Sweetwater fan - I'm just sayin'.

Musicians are like freekin' real estate brokers - they want EVERYTHING, and they want to give NOTHING.

It gets REALLY old.

.
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#25
13th February 2013
Old 13th February 2013
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
...

It gets REALLY old..
Yeah, just like OTs ...
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#26
15th February 2013
Old 15th February 2013
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Update:

I stand corrected. I'm told Chuck has never purchased a suit from Mens Warehouse.

And with my new salesman, I'm told they will attempt to price match.
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#27
16th February 2013
Old 16th February 2013
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Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
So I haven't purchased anything from Sweetwater yet and was about to as long as I could get price matched.... I wanted to utilize Sweetwater just because of how great they've been talking about products with me on the phone to better understand.
Sweetwater is what it is....they have never price matched, but will discount. More so with large orders. But they will hold your hand and walk you through everything about the products they sell if you so require it, they double the product's warranty, they'll send you stuff to demo, and they have a great return policy. Plus, at least my salesman will actually take the time to chat with me about gear and such without trying to push me off to take another call.

I'm not saying Sweetwater is the be all, end all. I don't generally buy nickel and dime products from them...I can get that stuff from Mu123, MF or even Amazon for cheaper, but for stuff like high end monitors, converters, etc, I don't mind chatting them up and paying a little extra for the piece of mind that they will stand behind the product, and assure my satisfaction.

But to the point, they did nothing wrong, and you are free to purchase the product for the cheapest price you can find.
#28
16th February 2013
Old 16th February 2013
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I find their occasional sales calls on my cell intrusive and irritating.

Thank you for this opportunity to express myself.

Lol
#29
23rd February 2013
Old 23rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Edwards View Post
I find their occasional sales calls on my cell intrusive and irritating.

Thank you for this opportunity to express myself.

Lol
I completely agree. I think I'd actually rather pay more money somewhere else than deal with Sweetwater's sales calls. I like to do my own gear research. I don't need their "experts" telling me what I need.
#30
23rd February 2013
Old 23rd February 2013
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Interesting conversation. We all want to buy something cheaper. But we also want someone to answer the phone when we call with questions, and to have a system set up for smooth returns when needed, and maybe even to have someone who knows enough about gear to give us great advice when needed. If low prices and the best service were in the same place that would be great, but those two things are diametrically opposed.

I agree with others. I find "price matching" to be a bit silly, why not just buy from the original low price rather than hammering a more service oriented company to basically sell something below the point where they make what they consider a fair profit?

I don't usually buy from Sweetwater (I have a great local dealer, Gelb Music). I don't ask them to price match. They know what the prices are most of the time out there, and since they know me and I buy stuff from them they get pretty close to the best price out there, though not exactly. I care about having a local dealer nearby where I can pick up strings or a stand/etc anytime I need one. You may not care about that (or you may not have a local guy anymore) so maybe that point is moot.

Personally I think people get the merchants they deserve. Buy everything on line for the lowest possible price and you shouldn't be surprised at low service, or you shouldn't be surprised when your local guy closes.

So many people just buy the lowest possible price and don't consider the ramifications. Everything is a choice. We ALL want the best deal, so not trying to hammer anyone, but think about what it does to your local economy (or service economy) when you're always buying the cheapest thing. Make an informed choice.
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