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Musicman20

How does Thomann 'work'?

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I've never ordered through Thomann, but I have my eye on something.

It isn't extremely expensive, but as you can imagine, not being able to play an instrument or see it can make this a little risky.

I think my sensible side has prevented me from ordering, purely because I don't know how they operate.

From looking at their T&C's, its unclear what happens if something turns up damaged/etc.

I can understand you pay shipping back if you don't like it, but what happens if its faulty/damaged? Do you get your conversion fee back?

Very confused...

I wouldn't be so cautious, but I've just had a damaged parcel issue which is now resolved, but its not so bad if its a UK company.

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I haven't yet had to return anything to Thomann (and I've been a regular customer with them for years), so on the one hand I can't offer much advice about returning stuff, but on the other hand you might like to know how rare it is for something to turn up which differs from what you were expecting.

At the risk of resorting to cultural stereotypes, my experience of doing business with Germans, ALL Germans, is that they are absolutely punctilious and reliable. I've never yet had a bad experience when dealing with either a German business on t'Net or with a German individual on, for example, eBay.

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[quote name='Musicman20' timestamp='1379408464' post='2212200']
I can understand you pay shipping back if you don't like it, but what happens if its faulty/damaged? Do you get your conversion fee back?
[/quote]

I'm only guessing, but I doubt that Thomann would repay any FX costs. They are not really their responsibility so I don't see why they would be obliged to incur those costs - that's the customer's issue to deal with. If you don't want any FX risk then don't buy from a foreign company.

But the best way to get a definitive answer might be to email Thomann directly.

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Only 1 experience with faulty goods from thomann. An amp I bought wasn't working, so I sent them an email. They sent a replacement, with instructions to send the broken one back with the courier. Replacement amp arrived in 2 days, I wasn't in when the courier delivered the replacement and so the original did not get returned. They then [i]appologised[/i] that the courier wasn't able to be precise on estimated delivery time. They emailed a label and arranged for a courier to come round when I was in. It cost me the price of paper and ink to print the shipping label.

I haven't sent anything back to them asking for a refund, and would guess that any bank charges for converting to Euros wouldn't be refunded (after all it's not them that are charging you, it's the bank)

I've bought all my new musical stuff from then since this (this was 6 years ago, and I've got a lot of stuff for bands and kids). Proper customer service.

Edit for spellin.

Edited by SteveO

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I have used Thomann previously....a very expensive instrument. I had the same reservations - but they were quite excellent. The level of service was absolutely first class and I would have no hesitation about recommending them.

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Plus one to all of the above. In case of any trouble, one phone call (automatically routed to fluent or native English speakers, some of whom tele-work from this country) will fix it all promptly.

Edited by bluejay

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[quote] Do you get your conversion fee back?

[/quote]

Currency conversion fees are the domain of your bank and I'd be absolutely astonished if they ever returned them to you. Of course, not all banks charge a conversion fee on all their accounts so if you really want to avoid this then you can.

I'd suggest that anyone who is regularly spending money abroad checks out a specialised credit card---something like Halifax Clarity Card or Capital One Classic Extra.

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Same for me as other postees. Never had to return anything I ordered from them. Their service is however, excellent. I did have an occasion to call them to find out when a shipment was due and they could not have been more more helpful - even their customer service staff speak excellent English.

Not sure if that helps but I wanted to share anyway!

Share and Enjoy!

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[quote name='uncle psychosis' timestamp='1379412857' post='2212265']
I'd suggest that anyone who is regularly spending money abroad checks out a specialised credit card---something like Halifax Clarity Card or Capital One Classic Extra.
[/quote]

I use a couple of FairFX pre-pay debit cards - one Euro and one US dollar - which work for me, and the exchange rate always seems to be better than regular 'tourist' rates elsewhere.
Handy for travelling abroad, as well as buying from overseas.

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Thanks all. I am confident it will be fine if I do order.

By the way, I've raised this in another topic, what is the best way to avoid expensive conversion charges? Can you pay by paypal or does that then route to yuor linked account and charge your debit card the conversion?

I've been informed normal credit cards charge the most.

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The only problem being your bank will not refund you if you never receive your goods after paying by debit card, if I understand correctly?

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I've had to return something before that wasn't suitable - a lighting controller that was incompatible with my lights. A quick phone call to their lighting department identified a suitable replacement controller, so Thomann arranged the 'no quibbles' return of the old one and gave me a credit note minus the cost of the return courier charges. I then had to order the replacement online using my credit card as usual, but I had to put a comment on the order to say that I wanted them to use the credit note as part payment.

It was slightly 'klunky' to use the credit note, and the web site was not obvious how to go about invoking it. I got the impression that the payments are processed manually - a fully automated system would not have been able to pick up the instruction to use the credit note. The transaction went smoothly and I received my replacement item within the usual 2-3 days.

The phone support was very good, with good English spoken throughout (by them, maybe not by me! :D). I just wish the web site had highlighted the compatibility issues with the initial controller I bought.

In short, Thomann seem a very professional company and I would have no issues dealing with them again. In fact I'd be more inclined to call them for advice in future if I'm in any doubt about an item. As others have mentioned we are all part of the single market and covered by European law, which gives consumers a lot of protection. Debit cards have a similar level of protection to credit cards these days. Your card issuer will decide the conversion rate & any charges, so if you often buy from abroad it might be worth shopping around.

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[quote name='noelk27' timestamp='1379417460' post='2212354']
That's incorrect. It would wholly depend, as with a credit card transaction, on the circumstances surrounding any issue disputed. It is a common misconception that debit card transactions are unprotected.
[/quote]

Be careful though - credit and debit cards are very different things.

Debit card transactions do have some forms of protection but it is generally more at the discretion of the bank in question so read your terms and conditions very carefully.

When a debit card is used there is no credit agreement formed so therefore all the consumer credit protection laws do not apply.

There is also the rather important difference that when a debit card is used the money is removed from your account immediately (or the next day), so if you do have a dispute you end up fighting to get your money back - which you'll probably manage to do but meanwhile the money has gone.

When a credit card is used payment is not taken from your account for at least 3-4 weeks, which gives you plenty of time to receive and examine the goods. If there are any problems you can inform the credit card company and they will 'suspend' that transaction so that the actual payment will not become due until the problem has been resolved, i.e. you keep all your money until you are totally happy with your purchase. In this respect, the credit card company is really on your side.

Also, if you have the self-discipline to only spend what you can afford to pay off in full every month (which can be arranged by direct debit so you can't forget) then you will never incur any interest charges. So you get 3-4 weeks (sometimes more) to examine your goods before having to pay for them, all at no cost to you.

And finally, regular use of a credit card is a very good way to improve your credit rating, which can be very handy for all sorts of other financial matters.

Really, the only downside of a credit card is if you don't have the self-restraint to avoid spending what you can't afford - in which case there is probably no hope for you anyway. ;)

http://www.money.co.uk/article/1004510-is-debit-card-protection-the-same-as-for-credit-cards.htm

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[quote name='Bilbo' timestamp='1379422105' post='2212445']
Packing is second to none.
[/quote]

... but sometimes completely OTT, and not even a bit Green. :rolleyes:

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They can't win, can they? Overpack, and people will complain. If the packaging is too flimsy, then people will complain...
(I agree about it being OTT at times, but then again, better than being insufficient.)

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[quote name='Happy Jack' timestamp='1379422977' post='2212468']


... but sometimes completely OTT, and not even a bit Green. :rolleyes:
[/quote]

But in fairness, more energy/resources are tied up in the instrument that is being protected than in the excessive packaging. Add in return transport costs for broken items and then sending new ones out, and it pays, even in environmental terms to pack the goods well.
Most plastic/bubble wrap/tape is recyclable. All cardboard should be. It's only the dastardly expanded polystyrene that's a problem now...

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Ive used Thomann numerous times (the most recent being last week). Every time they've been excellent. Very quick to get the items despatched, and they supply tracking details so you can follow your items progress.

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[i]I have to say the air that came in the plastic pillows they packed around my new Star Bass Case was not green thank goodness...! Usually the Germans have higher recycling/green useage than ourselves.[/i]

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[quote name='Lfalex v1.1' timestamp='1379425250' post='2212511']
But in fairness, more energy/resources are tied up in the instrument that is being protected than in the excessive packaging. Add in return transport costs for broken items and then sending new ones out, and it pays, even in environmental terms to pack the goods well.
Most plastic/bubble wrap/tape is recyclable. All cardboard should be. It's only the dastardly expanded polystyrene that's a problem now...
[/quote]

Exactly. Besides, if people are so worried about environmental issues what are they doing buying and shipping frivolous things like musical instruments in the first place. :rolleyes:

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Ive brought multiple items from Thomman over the last 8 months or so and havent had any problems, though i did have to change one item and it was sorted out with 2 emails in one day .
one 3/4 double bass bag and a few bits n bobs came decently packaged.
Only bad side was my end with pickup, pain in the arse when delivery companies wont follow basic instructions.

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I've not had to return anything but have spent lots with them over the years and its always been a pleasure. Even my bass cab came from them, which was over 30kg packaged, it was packaged very well and delivery was prompt. Not only that, they keep you informed every step of the way. They've always been polite an helpful with my queries too.

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