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.
Rhiannon ships 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 Fiddleheads.
Most of the services we use come with $100 included insurance. Due to Rhiannon's 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 she will be more than happy to manually add it to your bill or add it to your order after it is placed. Just ask!
Rhiannon does her best to offer the fairest pricing on all Fiddleheads' items. Seeing as service is provided to customers near and far, shipping rates are averaged for the USA and Canada.
Rest assured, if you order multiple items all with their own shipping charges, your items will be packed together as efficiently as possible for combined shipping.
Violins are shipped tuned and ready to play with bridge and soundpost up. Rhiannon even takes 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 shipped arrive with bridge and post still standing, often still in relatively good tune. However, due to various factors shipping, it's impossible to 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. Customers are advised 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 there is need for the instruments. Preference is given toward instruments purchased from Fiddleheads as the prices are not inflated and these instruments sell quickly.
Very much like the Consignment Sales policy, Rhiannon reserves the right to refuse instruments due to their condition or those she thinks will not sell quickly. Instruments which have been damaged or altered may not be redeemable for trade or upgrade.
As well, unfortunately many players have paid too much for instruments elsewhere and Rhiannon cannot grant purchase price on a trade, especially once the instrument is used. In many cases it's recommended customers sell their previous instruments in private sale where they can get back more of what they paid than in a trade, especially considering how much lower Fiddleheads' prices are than retail and other shops. Some customers have made money selling privately. Note that some cheaper new instruments, particularly budget level student violins, will depreciate since purchase.
Rhiannon takes instruments on trade/upgrade as long as the next instrument is roughly 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, fees are deducted from the trade-in value. Rhiannon is very reasonable about this and works to keep your investment in the instrument solid. This is a FAR more reasonable policy than most shops have.
Fiddleheads takes very limited consignment sales of instruments, bows and accessories.
Rhiannon is very picky about the instruments she takes on consignment and will turn away ones which do not meet her standards or if she cannot take quickly. Consignments of instruments valued under $1000 are rarely accepted.
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, Rhiannon cannot in good conscience charge more than what she feels an instrument is worth.
A percentage of the selling price is taken as a selling fee 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 Rhiannon chooses 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 Rhiannon is not always necessary as she will post photos of the violin on her 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, Rhiannon reserves the right to change this 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. Rhiannon wants to see herr customers happy and try to replace the item for the customer with one of equal or higher value when possible.
Rhiannon reserves the right to refuse returns after 2 weeks and some items are subject to a restock fee. Rhiannon will move mountains to see a happy customer even past the two week period but customers are asked to purchase with confidence. This means asking questions, of which Rhiannon is 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.
In the event of a return, customers are encouraged to put their credit toward another item. Credits resulting from a return are held for a maximum of two years. Similarly, non-refundable deposits on special orders not purchased or placed toward held items not purchased cannot be refunded.
Fiddleheads will strive to match a competitor's price but a few criteria must be 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 Rhiannon is 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
Rhiannon requires written verification of the name of the shop and the promised price. This is so she can verify this is an authorized reseller of these instruments. Though she deal directly with most of her makers and can guarantee the authenticity of her instruments, she cannot say the same of competitors. Understandably, she cannot pricematch with a fake or flawed item.
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 will not warrant a price-match.
Shipping and Other Costs Considered
Next, the customer is asked to include any applicable shipping, taxes and other, possibly hidden, fees with the price she is to match. 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, customers are not charged taxes to orders outside Canada, so that is another plus for Americans shopping with Fiddleheads.ca.
Many times the customer's shipping costs more than what they are charged. These costs are absorbed 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 with some items (despite the huge discrepancy in the currency exchange rates) and uses shipping methods which do not charge brokerage fees 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 Rhiannon will not 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 make contact with any questions, concerns or feedback on these policies.