Musical InstrumentWhat do you do with the old musical instrument sitting in your closet? Sell it on eBay! Selling musical instruments or anything else is fairly simple and easy to do, but there are several things that a seller needs to think about to protect himself from the backlash of a buyer that feels you misrepresented the instrument in some way. 

Case Study:

A person has a vintage silver trumpet that he wants to sell on eBay. The instrument has been appraised at nearly $1200, but needs some minor care such as a good cleaning and some new spit valve corks. The instrument is nearly seventy years old and is a prized instrument among collectors. With all of this in mind, the seller puts the instrument up for auction on eBay, listing its pedegree and displaying several closeup photos. He also mentions that the instrument has been appraised at around $1200 and hopes to see a final bid in that ballpark.

The sale ends, but the buyer is overseas. The buyer further sends CASH to pay for the instrument. The instrument is boxed up and shipped to Great Britain. All is well, right? Wrong. You have to be very careful when selling high value items such as musical instruments on eBay. Different people have different opinions of what terms mean, and even more so when buyer and seller are from different countries. In this case the buyer claimed fraud because the instrument, he felt, was in worse cosmetic condition than he had expected. The photographs showed the places in question, but he claimed that it was going to cost far above and beyond what the sellers local music store had quoted.

In the end, the seller did nothing wrong, but the buyer left negative feedback and raised quite a stink about the entire transaction. What can you learn from this as you prepare to sell your own musical instrument on eBay? Take these suggestions to heart before posting a new listing on eBay:

  • Take LOTS of photos, close up, of the entire instrument. Take photos of both sides as well.

  • If something does not work, be sure to say so. If a tuning slide is stuck be honest about it.

  • Consider not accepting bids from buyers outside of your own country. Aside from the issues associated with currency exchange, you will also have to fill out export papers and possibly pay fees if the instrument gets returned to you.

  • Consider offering to accept escrow. In an escrow arrangement a third party holds the payment until the buyer has seen the instrument and agrees that it is as promised. This is an ideal arrangement for both sides and helps prevent any bad experiences.

Selling a musical instrument on eBay is a great way to get some cash out of your attic. Just be sure to follow the suggestions and don't spend the money until you are certain the transaction has reached completion.

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