Fiddleheads Violin Shop Policies
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Fiddleheads is proudly an eco-responsible business. Please visit our Green Policy page for more information.
Instrument and bow trials are welcome and encouraged. Please visit our Trials page for more information.
We guarantee the tonal development of our new instruments. Please visit our Tone Guarantee page for more information.
We ship using Canada Post/US Mail. Most items are shipped same day or within a day of the order being placed. Most postage services are expedited, meaning the items arrive within a business week. Other items are sent quicker methods (small items within Canada) and some as lettermail. If you have a concern whether an item will arrive by a deadline, feel free to contact us.
Most of the services we use come with $100 included insurance. Due to our very thoughtful and well-designed packaging there have been only a couple damaged violins in shipping out of literally thousands sent over the years. However, should you wish to add extra insurance protection we will be more than happy to manually add it to your bill or add it to your order after it is placed. Just ask!
We do our best to offer the fairest pricing on all our items. Seeing as we provide service to near and far, we average the shipping rates for the USA and Canada.
Rest assured, if you order multiple items all with their own shipping charges, we will pack your items together as efficiently as possible for combined shipping. If the combining shipment of multiple items results in substantial savings in shipping, we will be sure to personally refund you the balance via paypal! How many other shops will send you a partial refund after your order?
We ship violins tuned and ready to play with bridge and soundpost up. We even take the extra precaution to carefully add custom-sized padding around the bridge to keep it from leaning or falling. This in addition to packaging the violin in a case or special violin shipping box.
More than 99% off instruments we ship arrive with bridge and post still standing, often still in relatively good tune. However, due to various factors shipping, we cannot guarantee the bridge or soundpost will still be standing upon arrival. Should the post, in particular, fall (rattling around inside the violin), the customer will have to take the instrument to a local shop to have it put back into place. This is a simple procedure done by experienced hands which will only take 5 minutes to complete. We encourage our customers to pay only between $8 and $20 to have this quick service done, though some shops will unethically try to charge more to a captive audience.
Trades are upgrades are accepted pending our approval. Much of this depends on the customer's asking price for the instrument and if we have need for more used instruments.
We give preference towards instruments which we've previously sold to take back on trade.
Very much like our Consignment Sales policy we reserve the right to refuse instruments due to their condition or if we think they will not sell quickly. Instruments which have been damaged or altered may not be redeemable for trade or upgrade.
As well, unfortunately some customers have paid too much for instruments elsewhere and we cannot guarantee we can pay them back their purchase price on a trade, especially once the instrument is used. In many cases we recommend our customers sell their previous instruments in private sale where they can get back more of what they paid than in a trade, especially considering our prices are so much lower than retail. Some customers have made money selling privately. Note that some cheaper new instruments, particularly budget level student violins, will depreciate since purchase.
We take instruments on trade/upgrade as long as the next instrument is double the price of the trade-in. Should the trade-in need repair, new strings, or any money put into it to make it salable, we deduct the fees from the trade-in value. Note we are very reasonable about this and work to keep your investment in the instrument solid. This is a FAR more reasonable policy than most shops have.
We are very reasonable on these points and want all parties to be more than satisfied with the trade or upgrade. Please contact us with any questions you may have.
Fiddleheads takes very limited consignment sales of instruments, bows and accessories.
We are very picky about the instruments we take on consignment and will turn away ones which do not meet our standards or if we are not in need of more used instruments. We rarely take consignments of instruments valued under $1000.
Keep in mind that instruments which priced higher than our average prices will not sell quickly. In this case lowering the price helps to sell the instrument faster. Besides, we cannot in good conscience charge more than what we feel an instrument is worth.
We take a percentage of the selling price of all consignment items. (25% for instruments under $8000, 20% for instruments above $8000). The consignment fee is only charged once the instrument sells and under no circumstances before sale unless we choose to purchase the violin outright, which would not be a consignment. The seller is responsible for shipping (as well as return shipping to the seller, if needed) and the cost of any repairs or strings the instrument may require before being listed for consignment.
Sending the instrument to us is not always necessary as we will post photos of the violin on our site. This will at least help determine if there is a market for the instrument. Minimum consignment period is 90 days. Buyer offers below asking price may be presented to the seller for their approval. In order to meet changing market demands, we reserve the right to change our consignment policy.
Ideally, if a return is needed, both buyer and seller come out very satisfied with the transaction and no one loses money on the deal. We want to see our customers happy and try to replace the item for the customer with one of equal or higher value when possible.
We openly reserve the right to refuse returns after 2 weeks but will move mountains to see a happy customer even past the two week period. We ask that our customers purchase with confidence. This means asking many questions, of which we are more than happy to answer. If required to make a sound decision (mind the pun), customers are also urged to take instruments on trial, where possible, to aid in their confidence as buyers.
Buyer also pays shipping and any necessary costs to cover replacement strings, etc to restore the instrument to sellable condition if it has been worn. Items covered by a manufacturer's warantee are replaced but only in the event of a proven manufacturing defect. Items which are damaged as a result of misuse or transit are not covered. In no case of accidental damage can the item be returned for refund.
Exceptions to the returns fee are new instruments covered under the Tone Guarantee and only when the policy's criteria are met.
We do our best to match a competitor's price but do ask that a few criteria are met:
First the item must be the same model and in the same condition (new, used, refurbished). In a nutshell, the product must be equally comparable to the one we are offering. For example, instruments must be setup to the same level and have the same strings, case, etc to be eligible.
Written Proof of Shop and Price
We need written verification of the name of the shop and the promised price. This is so we can verify this is an authorized reseller of these instruments. Though we deal directly with most of our makers and can guarantee the authenticity of our instruments, we cannot say the same of our competitors. We cannot pricematch with a fake.
To keep down on fraud, we require a copy of an estimate, sales slip or written invoice with all fees, taxes, etc (final price) to be confident of the price we will match. Simply mentioning a price another shop will promise is not enough for us with which we can work.
Shipping and Other Costs Considered
Next, the customer is asked to include any applicable shipping, taxes and other, possibly hidden, fees with the price we are to match. We ask this as many online sellers add on superfluous handling, packing and drop-shipping fees. Such sellers use the extra fees to help make back their "unbeatable low" internet price. So, thoughit may look like a better price before you've made it past the shopping cart, many times ours is actually the better deal. Naturally, we do not charge taxes to orders outside Canada, so that is another plus for Americans shopping with us.
Note that Fiddleheads only charges what we pay for the shipping and do not make extra money on shipping. In fact, many times we end up paying more to ship your package than we bill for. We just "eat" the extra loss as a cost of gaining your business.
Canadian and Exchange Issues
Canadians and other customers outside the USA should keep in mind that many sellers have exceptionally low prices but will not ship to Canada or deal with any foreign payment. So the price may be great, but it does little good if it is not available to a Canadian customer! Also consider that credit cards charge an average foreign exchange of 3% on purchases in other currencies which can amount to $30 more on a $1000 purchase even when the exchange is at par.
Fiddleheads currently happily serves Canadians at par and try our best to use shipping methods which do not charge brokerage fees or any extra taxes at the border.
Deal with Reputable and Legal Sellers
Finally, there are a few "basement sellers" in Canada who sell products without charging the applicable federal and provincial taxes. This is illegal and we choose not to price match with these sellers as they are unlawfully creating an sales advantage by not collecting tax (and perhaps cutting other corners). If you are unsure if the seller charges Canadian taxes you can ask them for their tax ID.
Thank for for taking the time to learn about Fiddleheads Violin Shop's policies. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, concerns or feedback on these policies.