Fiddleheads Violin Studio Sales 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 ship using Canada Post (arriving as USPS/Mail in the USA).
Most items are shipped same day or within two days of the order being placed, depending on setup delays, orders in the system, etc.
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 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 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, when possible they will be packed together efficiently as combined shipping.
Shipping on trials frequently costs more than the flat rate we charge. In the event a trial is returned and no purchase is made, it is at the discretion of Fiddleheads to deduct the actual outbound rate from the deposit.
Violins are shipped tuned and ready to play with bridge and soundpost up. We 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 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 tops to have this quick service done, though some shops may try to charge more to a desperate customer.
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, we reserves the right to refuse instruments due to their condition or those that are unlikely to sell quickly. Instruments which have been damaged or altered may not be redeemable for trade or upgrade.
Sadly many players have paid too much for instruments elsewhere and we cannot grant inflated 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.
We take 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. We is very reasonable and far more generous in this regard thatn most shops.
Fiddleheads takes very limited consignment sales of instruments, bows and accessories.
Our owner, 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, we cannot in good conscience charge more than what it 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 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. 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 this and all other policies.
Customers are reminded to shop with confidence by reading all the product information provided, considering testimonials and asking questions if the website doesn't provide adequate information. Customers are also urged to take instruments on trial, where possible, to make a more "sound" (mind the pun) decision.
When customers choose return an item, they are first encouraged to replace the item with one of equal value or at a credit toward purchase of one of a higher value. We reserve the right to refuse returns after 2 weeks and some items are subject to a restock fee. Shipping costs from Fiddleheads to the customer are not refundable, and the customer pays return shipping. (More on shipping for returned items here).
In the event of a return or upgrade where the instrument has been played considerably, the customer also pays any necessary costs to cover replacement strings, etc to restore the instrument to new or sellable condition. 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 or negligence (other than in shipping from Fiddleheads) can an item be returned for refund.
Credits resulting from a return are held for up to one year from receipt of initial payment and other conditions may apply. Deposits placed toward held or pending items (trial or purchase) that are delayed to ship as per the customer's request for more than 60 days after receipt of the payment won't be refunded, but the funds will be held on the customer's account as a credit under similar terms as return credits. All special orders require a non-refundable deposit and cancellation of a special order results in the customer forfeiting the deposit.
Fiddleheads will strive to match a competitor's price but a few criteria must be met:
Both items must be the same model and in the same condition (new, used, refurbished). In a nutshell, the product must be fully equal to ours. For example, same model and year 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 require written verification of the name of the shop and website link (if applicable) to verify this is an authorized reseller of these instruments. Though we deal directly with our makers and can guarantee the authenticity of our instruments, we cannot say the same of competitors. Understandably, we cannot pricematch with a fake or flawed item or from unreliable sellers with questionable sources.
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 and prevent fraud.
Shipping and Other Costs Considered
The customer needs to factor in any applicable shipping, taxes, exchange rate, duty and other, possibly hidden, fees with the price we are 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 our American friends.
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 should consider that many sellers have exceptionally low prices for American orders but will not ship to Canada or deal with any foreign payment. So the price may look low, but it does little good if it can't be shipped to Canada! Also consider that credit cards and paypal charge an average foreign exchange bank fee of an additional 3% on purchases in other currencies on top of the exchange rate.
Fiddleheads currently happily serves Canadians at par with some items (despite the significant discrepancy in the currency exchange rates) and uses shipping methods which do not charge brokerage fees at the border. We do this to keep our Canadian customers at home happy and to take the sting off the taxes.
Deal with Reputable and Legal Sellers
There are countless "basement sellers" in Canada failing to collect sales tax. We refuse to price match with such sellers as they are not only breaking laws, but likely cutting other corners to make a buck. If you are unsure if another seller charges Canadian taxes you can ask them for their tax ID.
Please feel free to make contact with any questions, concerns or feedback on these policies.