Help needed: Should I get a refund for my new harp?


  • Participant
    Biagio on #222174

    Stardust, yes I live in the US.

    Universals have some advantages: you don’t have to consider different sizes as you must for every other kind, they are relatively* inexpensive, and easy to put on.

    Conversely they are not as precisely engineered as most others, not as easy to flip quickly, and allow less room to regulate. However, if you mostly use them to change keys between tunes they’re fine.

    *Expense depends on whether you buy them directly from the manufacturer or from a retailer. In USD: Camac and Truitt cost about the same ($16+/-); Lovelands $15 retail, $6 from the manufacturer, Robinsons $5. A relative newcomer is from Rees at $12.

    Personally as a harp maker I prefer either Truitts or Rees both for the precise engineering and easy installation/regulation (Camacs require special tools).

    When a beginner asks me about levers and is concerned about cost I often suggest that they only get Cs and Fs at first. You can always add more later when more complex music requires it.

    Incidentally, the Musicmakers quoted price of $3800 includes a full set of either Camacs or Truitts

    Choice of levers and strings are largely a matter of personal preference and it is well to know that you can change both fairly easily. For example the Voyageur ends with a bass C string and uses nylon but there are string designs developed for gut, fluorocarbon and silkgut, and for the bass string to end on A two steps down. If you decide to upgrade from Universals that too is easy.

    I think it makes most sense at the beginning to buy a good basic instrument at first.

    Hope that is helpful to know.
    Biagio


    Participant
    wil-weten on #222363

    Hi Stardust, any new developments, yet?


    Participant
    Stardust on #222364

    Hi Wil-weten,

    I’ve been briefly in touch with both Aine and Dave, and have to say I’m disappointed so far. They grudgingly responded to my first query a week ago, after I wrote them another email to remind them of it; but answered none of my questions and gave no proper explanations for the harp being what it is. Instead they gave me information that contradicted some of their earlier statements about the harp! (Earlier they both said it was right and proper that the harp begin on a C, because it was a new, more expensive model which wasn’t even out on their website yet. NOW Dave says (quoting the actual email):

    “we’ve noticed that strings are the gauges on your harp are different than the harp we made changes on. That might be the issue to string breaking. I’ve attached a picture of new 27 string Ard Ri Harp ( with right string notes and gauges ). The one you have Starts from A and ends on C . Whereas the right notes for this particular harp are from F to A”

    The picture he attached shows the same harp that was already up on the website when I received mine……
    I wrote back to ask for a clarification. I haven’t received an answer yet, though it’s now five working days since I sent it.

    They also refused to admit there’s a problem with the levers (actual quote by Dave: “There is no problem with semi tone levers.”), and Dave offered me nothing but a refund of 30 euro and a new string set, which surely won’t solve anything, as the varying tension in the harp is the main problem. Neither Dave nor Aine had any comment whatsoever to offer about that.
    All Aine would say was that she could speak to Sally about modifying the harp.. which I suppose is an option.. but she seemed to mean that I should pay the fee for those modifications myself? as she didn’t mention with a word that Muzikkon would pay the expense.

    I have shown the emails to Sally, and she was outraged. She suspects that the harps are really assembled in Pakistan, and even judged the emails to be so poorly written that they may in fact be copy-pasted rather than written in actual response to my queries.

    So… that’s that, so far. I haven’t updated you guys before, as I wanted to give Muzikkon a chance to explain themselves, but I’m beginning to give that up as a likely outcome…..

    Stardust

    PS. I’m grateful for being able to vent here about all this. Your help, and Biagio’s, has been invaluable to me. I read all your posts carefully and have learned a lot. Without your input, I might have been stuck with a harp that would surely have discouraged me from making much progress with the instrument.

    PPS. I know you suggested making a phone call, but I prefer to have everything documented.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Stardust.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Stardust.

    Participant
    Stardust on #222366

    Hi Wil-weten,

    I’ve been briefly in touch with both Aine and Dave, and have to say I’m disappointed so far. They grudgingly responded to my first query a week ago, after I wrote them another email to remind them of it; but answered none of my questions and gave no proper explanations for the harp being what it is. Instead they gave me information that contradicted some of their earlier statements about the harp! (Earlier they both said it was right and proper that the harp begin on a C, because it was a new, more expensive model which wasn’t even out on their website yet. NOW Dave says (quoting the actual email):

    ” we’ve noticed that strings are the gauges on your harp are different than the harp we made changes on. That might be the issue to string breaking. I’ve attached a picture of new 27 string Ard Ri Harp ( with right string notes and gauges ). The one you have Starts from A and ends on C . Whereas the right notes for this particular harp are from F to A ”

    The picture he attached shows the same harp that was already up on the website when I received mine……
    I wrote back to ask for a clarification. I haven’t received an answer yet, though it’s now five working days since I sent it.

    They also refused to admit there’s a problem with the levers (actual quote by Dave: “There is no problem with semi tone levers.”), and Dave offered me nothing but a refund of 30 euro and a new string set, which surely won’t solve anything, as the varying tension in the harp is the main problem. Neither Dave nor Aine had any comment whatsoever to offer about that.
    All Aine would say was that she could speak to Sally about modifying the harp.. which I suppose is an option.. but she seemed to mean that I should pay the fee for those modifications myself? as she didn’t mention with a word that Muzikkon would pay the expense.

    I have shown the emails to Sally, and she was outraged. She suspects that the harps are really assembled in Pakistan, and even judged the emails to be so poorly written that they may in fact be copy-pasted rather than written in actual response to my queries.

    So… that’s that, so far. I haven’t updated you guys before, as I wanted to give Muzikkon a chance to explain themselves, but I’m beginning to give that up as a likely outcome…..

    Stardust

    PS. I’m grateful for being able to vent here about all this. Your help, and Biagio’s, has been invaluable to me. I read all your posts carefully and have learned a lot. Without your input, I might have been stuck with a harp that would surely have discouraged me from making much progress with the instrument.

    PPS. I know you suggested making a phone call, but I prefer to have everything documented.

    EDIT: Sorry about the double post!

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  kimberly-rowe.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Stardust.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Stardust.

    Participant
    charles-nix on #222381

    Reading Dave’s quote from the email (your “disappeared” post) it seems he is suggesting changing both stringing gauge and pitch range, lowering the latter. Is that what you understood?

    To reiterate what many have said here before (and simplifying)—

    assuming a given string material, changing gauge alone will make _no_ difference in string breakage. Changing gauge does affect the sound _and_ the overall tension, including how firm the strings feel.

    However, lowering the pitch is exactly what one must do to stop breakage. If the gauges are appropriately increased along with a pitch reduction, overall tension can be maintained or even increased. But don’t get the gauge so heavy that the instrument breaks!

    If the instrument was mistakenly manufactured, or was fradulently advertised for range, they owe you what you agreed to purchase. Collecting on that is another matter. At some point, you may be better off with some compromise, spending the time practicing rather than fighting about it.


    Participant
    wil-weten on #222383

    No, unfortunately, the only way to get a message restored is to mail the staff.

    This may help you next time when you try to reach a deal with Muzikkon: call them to negotiate an agreement. After you have reached an understanding, you write them a mail to confirm the content of what you have orally agreed and ask them to confirm that they have read your message.

    The problem with emails, is that it is far easier to neglect what the other party says than when you’ve got someone on the phone. On the phone it’s also easier to ask what someone means (it’s obvious that Aine wants you to pay for Sally’s work on trying to get the harp to work like it should work when you first got it.) It’s also much easier for a shop to brush someone off by mail than when they have a human being on the phone.

    I don’t understand why you asked about a clarification on the stringing of the harp when your goal was to get your money back for having received a poor product. This way you are making things very easy for Muzikkon to neglect your main question.

    Sally was perfectly clear with her stating that the strings and levers are poorly fitted and that she had tried what she could, but there’s just nothing she can do to fix it, unless I get some different levers which she would be willing to replace for me. About the strings, there’s nothing to be done that wouldn’t cost more than you would be willing to spend on this harp. I think she meant you would be throwing good money to a product not really worth it, as Sally had stated the strings on the harp are very uneven in tension.

    This is also very important: you stated before you bought the harp that it was very important for you that your lowest note as a C (a whole octave below middle C, I think). And Muzikkon replied that it was. Yet, now they state it shouldn’t be a C, but an F (below that C??? which would be rather odd for a 27 string harp…). It would make the strings feel like soft rubber bands… And if it was meant the F above, it would make the strings break even more often…

    Anyway, now that you got the wrong information about the harp, now they are even stating that the harp should have a different range than it had when you got it, I think there is just the more reason to get a refund…

    The fact that you didn’t ask you money back within a month, had to do with your faith in getting things fixed, as you were in contact with Muzikkon very soon after receiving your harp.

    In the end, Aine as a reasonably person will understand that she will have to resolve this problem in a customer friendly way.


    Participant
    wil-weten on #222384

    @ charles-nix, being right and collecting one’s right are two different things indeed, but the seller as well as the buyer are in the EU and here in the EU customer protection makes this kind of thing a lot easier (think of the very easily accessible EU small claims procedure).


    Participant
    Biagio on #222386

    This “explanation” from Aine and Dave is totally unacceptable. A legitimate harp maker (or retailer) will sell what is advertised, not a “newer model”; they will stand by the product and offer a refund if it is defective – which this definitely is.

    UP until now I had given Aine the benefit of doubt but not after this. Utter garbage.

    How much trouble you wish to go through is up to you; personally I would document all the correspondence and information (including input from Sally, Charles, Wil and myself) and take that to a consumer protection bureau.

    I would do this not only because I was outraged but to warn others.

    Wil will recall that I did something similar a few years ago – and the harp maker in question was an outstanding harper and maker as well as a close personal friend. I stoutly defended him until his excuses became unacceptable.

    I later learned that he was dying from cancer but refusing to admit it – either to himself or to his customers. To this day I feel sad – but not guilty for taking him to task publicly. It would have been better for him to have just “come clean” rather than trying to tough it out.

    Call it “tough love.” Muzikkon has no such excuse nor do they deserve it.

    Biagio


    Participant
    wil-weten on #222389

    Stardust, you seem to have contact with both Aine and Dave. This will only complicate things.
    In your case, I would only contact Aine (and by phone, in order to try and get a proper solution). And then I would appeal to her being a reasonable person.
    I don’t know how Dave is, but Aine O’Neill is representative of Camac harps and this means in general that in the eyes of Camac she may be considered to be a trustworthy commercial partner.

    I think Aine just needs a very clear image of the problems and about what is expected of her. I still believe that in the end, when she understands the full magnitude of the problem, she will do the right thing.


    Participant
    Biagio on #222390

    “I think Aine just needs a very clear image of the problems and about what is expected of her. I still believe that in the end, when she understands the full magnitude of the problem, she will do the right thing.”

    Yes, if she wishes to remain a rep for Camac. Some of the things that Stardust has quoted her as saying leave something to be desired IMO: that “many harps are not labeled” for instance. She should know better.

    If Aine does not come through I would hope that Camac learns about this.


    Participant
    Stardust on #222442

    Thanks guys, I do see that I myself have not handled this perfectly from the beginning, but I have very little experience with twists like this one.

    Muzikkon has offered to refund the harp now…but not before I have sent the harp back to them and they have received it. Does this seem reasonable to you? It makes me feel queasy.
    (I’ve been unable to find any information on the EU websites about how this is normally done.)

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 20 hours ago by  Stardust.

    Participant
    Biagio on #222454

    “Muzikkon has offered to refund the harp now…but not before I have sent the harp back to them and they have received it. Does this seem reasonable to you? ”

    That is standard industry practice and should be spelled out in your warranty. A typical statement would read that “[Company } will refund, repair, or replace a defective harp at [Company’s] discretion. Crating and shipping costs to be paid by the purchaser” or something similar. See if that is what your warranty says.

    I’m not surprised that your experience with these people makes you feel a little uneasy. Be sure that you retain all receipts including shipping expense, the warranty, and all correspondence. Ship it insured and registered so that it can be traced.

    Muzikkon is apparently a fairly new company with a large number of products, probably still “learning the ropes.” I’d bet they don’t want any more controversy about this.

    Good luck!
    Biagio


    Participant
    Stardust on #222459

    Thanks, Biagio. It is not spelled out in my warranty, which is why I wondered. But that’s good to hear. The case has hardly been resolved yet, but it’s good that they at least agreed to let me have the refund!


    Participant
    wil-weten on #222460

    Hi Stardust. It looks like you will get the solution you need. Congratulations.

    Yes, first sending the harp back and then receiving your money back is the usual way this kind of thing works.

    Before you send it back, make pictures of all parts of the harp, also of the harp in its container before the container is closed. That way, you can make clear that the harp was fine before you sent it (and that when it would be damaged in transport, the damage wouldn’t be held against you).

    Important is how Muzikkon wants you to send it back. Do they pay for the transport costs and/or organize the shipping? If you would have to pay for the return costs, it may very well be that they are able to get a far better price for shipping than you yourself would get and you might be able to have them organize and pay for the shipping and have them subtract the shipping costs from the amount of money they are going to pay you back. Of course, they should pay for the shipping costs to return the harp, as they sent you another kind of harp than you specifically asked for, but I think that I would agree if they didn’t.

    I do hope you still have the original packagaging of the harp. If not, ask them for specifics to package the harp.

    Just take care you will only deal with Aine herself and I think things will work out fine.

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