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#2694953 - 12/06/17 11:49 PM Dealer refusing a specific piano technician inspection  
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 296
Osho Offline
Full Member
Osho  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 296
West Coast, USA
(I posted this in the Piano Forum - but later realized that this is probably more appropriate place to post it. So, posting here again - sorry for duplicate posting!)

Hi,

I had an 'interesting' experience today. I looked at a used piano at a local dealer - which I am somewhat interested in. I asked him if my piano technician can inspect the piano. The dealer asked me the name of the technician. When I mentioned that name, he said that this technician cannot come in and inspect the piano. I found that a bit surprising. When I asked the dealer why, the dealer said 'they have had problems with him in the past '. I pressed for details but he wouldn't elaborate further.

The dealer then asked me if I know any other piano technician. I mentioned the name of another tuner that I know. The dealer was OK with having that tuner inspect the piano.

I don't know what to make of this. Any thoughts/suggestions?

I have omitted any specifics as I don't want to bad-mouth any dealer (or the technician!) - and would rather not share that information in a public forum.

Thanks,
Osho

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#2694966 - 12/07/17 01:10 AM Re: Dealer refusing a specific piano technician inspection [Re: Osho]  
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,690
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member
kpembrook  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,690
Michigan
Well, Osho ...

Anything can happen. I'm an RPT piano technician and for a number of years was a Baldwin dealer. I've also had a major piano restoration operation. So I've looked at this issue personally from several different vantage points. Now, it could be that the technician just did something the dealer didn't like -- such as telling the customer a perfectly good piano was a piece of junk. But there are other possibilities. Two leading ones are incompetence and dishonesty. We've had a technician in our region who was dishonest (e.g. telling churches and little old ladies that they needed their strings cleaned for hundreds of dollars). They were ultimately forbidden entry to an area military base but AFAIK continue to prey on the uninformed and unsuspecting.

If the technician is going to give inaccurate information (or has in the past) no dealer is going to want that complication with a "he said/she said" type of argument between the technician and the customer.

It could be the technician has poor (or non-existent) personal skills -- or just some quirk of personality that grates on the dealer.

In any event, as long as the dealer is OK with you bringing in a "known-to-be-good" technician, I wouldn't worry about it. Just chalk it up to the fact that there are amazing things in this world which we may never know the background for.

Good luck with your piano hunt!


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2694985 - 12/07/17 03:29 AM Re: Dealer refusing a specific piano technician inspection [Re: kpembrook]  
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 296
Osho Offline
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Osho  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 296
West Coast, USA
Thanks Keith for the input.

Technical competence of the technician is not an issue - he is widely regarded as one of the more knowledgeable one in the area and has been known to teach other technicians how to do stuff.

There are definitely inter-personal issues (dealer referred to him as 'old and angry')..

I really like this technician though - he has already saved me from 2 junk Pianos that I thought were good deals. I don't know how 'good' the other technician is - but I will try to find out more.

Thanks,
Osho

#2695021 - 12/07/17 08:02 AM Re: Dealer refusing a specific piano technician inspection [Re: Osho]  
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 80
GC13 Offline
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GC13  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 80
Apparently, you know a little about the conflict per your earlier remarks. If there are professional conflicts and you trust your technician's judgement, you may have to just pass on the piano. If the issues are personality conflicts, the dealer needs to get over it and allow you to use your technician if he wants to make the sale. You are the customer after all, and you'll probably be having your technician work on the piano if purchased.

Have you discussed this with your technician? What are his thoughts? I've found that in our area most of the technicians know each other. Maybe your technician has an opinion on the one recommended by the store, or maybe he could recommend another technician that he would trust to be unbiased in his place.

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#2695044 - 12/07/17 09:35 AM Re: Dealer refusing a specific piano technician inspection [Re: Osho]  
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 860
Weiyan Offline
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Weiyan  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 860
Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, most piano piano tuners are sales. Old piano sellers like pay high commission to technician. I hope the permitted technician has not any business relation with the seller. If you believe your technician is trustworthy, better pass this seller.

Last edited by Weiyan; 12/07/17 09:35 AM.

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J.S.Bach Prelude in C Min: No. 2 from Six Preludes fur Anfanger auf dem
Am Abend No. 2 from Stimmungsbilder, Op. 88
60s Swing No. 1 from Swinging Rhythms
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#2695081 - 12/07/17 11:24 AM Re: Dealer refusing a specific piano technician inspection [Re: Weiyan]  
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,690
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member
kpembrook  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,690
Michigan
Originally Posted by Weiyan
In Hong Kong, most piano piano tuners are sales. Old piano sellers like pay high commission to technician. I hope the permitted technician has not any business relation with the seller. If you believe your technician is trustworthy, better pass this seller.

Yes. This is a consideration. I have been offered commissions by dealers and have refused them. When I'm working for my customer they are the ones paying me.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2695204 - 12/07/17 08:19 PM Re: Dealer refusing a specific piano technician inspection [Re: Osho]  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,612
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Bob  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,612
Florida
I would get your technician's input on his relationship with the dealer. That might answer your question. In a particular market, we all know each other. We've all seen each others strengths and weaknesses. Dealer inspections can have political implications, as this post proves.

#2695570 - 12/09/17 11:16 AM Re: Dealer refusing a specific piano technician inspection [Re: Osho]  
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,948
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Bill Bremmer RPT  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,948
Madison, WI USA
Hard to say, really from the information provided but others have given you good clues. It could be that the two pianos your technician "saved" you from were perfectly fine for you and your expected use. Some piano technicians are overly critical of just about any piano and that may have been the case between the dealer and the technician you like.

On the other hand, there are dealers who sell really bad pianos sometimes. Any dealer wants to sell whatever he has to anyone who will buy it. I've seen both very good and very bad pianos come from the same dealer.

I suggest, first of all, looking into reviews of the dealer that there may be. Look carefully at any of the bad reviews but also take them with a grain of salt. If you see a consistent pattern, however, give more consideration to them. I do not know if it is possible in Canada but if it is, look up civil court records. Have there been judgments? How long has the dealer been in business? Any business can have a problem or two over the years but again, if you see a consistent pattern, this may be a dealer to avoid.

Definitely ask the piano technician whom you like why that dealer does not want him in the store. Carefully consider what you hear. Is there a reason why the dealer said he was "old and angry"? Does he make blanket statements that would not necessarily be true for all products? If you get some negative comments, ask for some specific instances and see if specific problems are cited or just vague comments that imply personal dislike between the two individuals.

Then, definitely ask if the technician whom the dealer accepts has a working relationship with the dealer. Does he do tunings and other work for the store? Does he get commissions from the store on pianos that he recommends? The dealer can count on someone like that to recommend the piano but that may not necessarily be a bad arrangement. For example, perhaps that technician is the one who prepared the used piano and made it worthy for sale and personally knows it is in good and reliable condition.

On the other hand, if it is a dealer who routinely does very little to prepare used pianos for sale, sells the dirt and even mouse droppings under the keybed to the next customer, does not even check for loose tuning pins, does no regulation, only shines up the outside and has a technician with whom he does business who would be afraid to say anything that would discourage a sale, then I would try to determine that if I were you.

You are the pianist, so your own judgment can go a long way. Does the piano have a good and consistent tone and even response? Good repetition and all keys respond reliably, evenly and "feel right" to you? Do you hear any clicking sounds or other noise that does not seem to be within the normal range for an acoustic piano? Ask to look inside. Does everything look clean and the alignment of hammers look nice and even or irregular? Do the hammers have deep grooves or do they look as if they had been properly resurfaced to provide for good and even tone.

Put a tuning fork app on your phone. Does the "A" seem to match reasonably or is it way off? The piano may not be in perfect tune but if it sounds like it needs a tuning while in the store, that is not a good sign.

If you have the technician whom the store recommends inspect the piano, have him test the tuning pin tightness. The tuning pins should offer some resistance, not slip easily in out of tune. I assume it is a vertical piano. Look at the back. That is the soundboard. Does it have any cracks? Some very minor cracks may not really be a problem but surely, large splits are.

Take the bottom board off. Is it clean down there or will you be importing someone else's dirt into your home? You may not be able to get the technician to lift out any keys to show that the keybed is clean but if you see dust and debris on top of them that looks as if it had never been touched and if you can take a quick look at the side of any section of keys and you can see that there is accumulated dust under them, it will mean that the piano has most likely never been cleaned out since it left the factory however many years ago that was.

Some piano dealers are very conscientious about the preparation of used pianos for resale but others basically try to get rid of them, "as is". Craigslist pianos are sold as is but you will be paying a dealer price for a piano and you have the right to expect something more than that for the money you are paying.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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