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University/College "piano sales" #321079
05/02/08 07:05 PM
05/02/08 07:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 41
Philadelphia
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alanp Offline OP
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Philadelphia
The following is an advertisement regarding an upcoming sale at a local college (TCNJ).


>During the past school year, our Music Department has had the use of a number of
new pianos and digital pianos at no cost to us. These instruments are part of a national loan program that provides pianos to participating
institutions. These instruments must be sold for us to receive our allocation of new
replacements. These pianos and pianos from other universities will be on display and available for purchase.
The selection includes quality grands, baby grands, player pianos, uprights, studios, consoles, spinets, and digital pianos. Pianos used in our department include Schimrnel, Prarnberger, Kurzweil and Roland. Other used
pianos for sale include Steinway, Yamaha, Baldwin, Petrof, Kawai, and others. Every
piano is tuned, warranteed and ready for delivery. Many are less than one year
old and carry full manufacturer's warranties. Special arrangements have been made for
financing, delivery and warranty through Bucks County Piano. There are two ways to view and purchase these pianos:

1. BY APPOINTMENT: You may attend along with our faculty and staff, a special "pre-sale" prior to the frnal general public day on Friday, May 9 or
Saturday, May 10. This gives you priority in selection and price reduction. To arrange and
secure an available time, call (609) 730-3933.

2. Attend the general public sale on Sunday, May 11 from 12 to 5pm in the Music Building on campus.


Is anyone familiar with these types of sales, and if so, can you share any insights?


Thanks in advance,
Alan

Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
Piano accessories and music gift items, digital piano dolly, music theme party goods
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321080
05/02/08 07:38 PM
05/02/08 07:38 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 38
Pacific NW
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In general, I would be cautious of music dept sales. The pianos offered would have heavily used by music students on a daily, continual basis.


PianoStudent1
Kawai Shigeru (SK-3)
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321081
05/02/08 08:10 PM
05/02/08 08:10 PM
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kenny Offline
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Run!

Re: University/College "piano sales" #321082
05/02/08 08:17 PM
05/02/08 08:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 66
Utah
W
worldpiano Offline
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Utah
One of the oldest tricks in the book. Most of the time you end up paying more for a piano than you would just going into a store on a normal day. The sales are generally supplemented with more inventory from the store putting on the sale. The prices on these are jacked up, but the customer is under the impression that they are used and are getting a great deal. I agree with Kenny RUN!


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The World's Finest Pianos
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321083
05/02/08 08:24 PM
05/02/08 08:24 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11,016
Williamsburg, VA
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I'm generally a skeptic of these events, but the skepticism can be overdone. I would skip the appointment part of it because I really don't like the pressure. And if you are a novice piano shopper with limited information I would truly avoid high pressure sales tactics.

Most of the pianos you see there will not be from the school, or from other schools. They will be pianos from the dealership(s) that participate. If you want to browse among lots of pianos at the public showing, go for it. Just don't fall for any nonsense about special pricing. Any price they offer you on that day can likely be had on any other day as well by visiting any dealership's sales floor.

Some of these events are more on the level than others. At my school, one local Yammie dealership sponsors the event and the bulk of the pianos are from his store. They don't seem to import a set of traveling salespeople, relying instead, for the most part, on their regular staff. Some of the traveling road shows have a really bad reputation for being staffed by aggressive and often deceitful sharpies.

Lastly, the pianos on offer tend NOT to be the student practice pianos that have had the carp beaten out of them for years. I know, once again from my school, that the used pianos on offer have been in faculty offices. Yes, they have been used, but they have not been brutalized.

Re: University/College "piano sales" #321084
05/02/08 08:35 PM
05/02/08 08:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Grand Rapids Michigan
That's not true at all you guys. I service for a local college here. Each year for the past 15 years, the local dealer has been providing the college with the use of at least 35 brand new pianos for absolutely nothing. No strings attached, pardon the pun...

At the end of the school year, the dealership holds an annual piano sale attempting to get rid of the pianos on hand. Now, in my colleges case, it is NOT necessary for them to have to sell all of the pianos in order to get new ones. They simply place the ones that do not sell back in for one more year. No big deal... So, that part may be bogus for you but, I can't say as I do not know this dealer.

It is NOT the college that is holding the sale. It is the dealership that holds the sale at the college. Most often, at least for mine anyway, the prices are extremely reasonable. If the pianos cases are beat up on, the dealer spends upwards of $4,000 or more yearly to repair the finishes on these pianos before the sale even takes place.

I service these pianos at least 5 or 6 different times throughout the year keeping them in tip top shape so, by the time the sale comes around, they are not much more used than many other pianos you might look at elsewhere.

Unless this particular dealer you are referring too is not to be trusted, I would not hesitate for an instant to check out these pianos but, be sure you have an independent piano tech look at them first to make sure the one you like is okay.

Also, contact the university directly to see how they like this dealership. Talk to the person in charge of the music department. They will have the most knowledge about the dealings with these dealer.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321085
05/02/08 08:44 PM
05/02/08 08:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 110
Manhattan, Montana
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I would just like to back up Jerry's very accurate comments. I've been involved in these sales for the last ten years, as a tech, and often the reluctant sales help. I have noticed one extra advantage for my tuning customers that I thought I'd mention. If you get one of the loan pianos, they are nicely broken in, having been tuned repeatedly over the first year. You get a warranty that starts when you purchase the piano, but less cost and aggravation associated with new strings.

As long as you're dealing with a reputable dealer, you'll be okay!


Elizabeth Heppler, R.P.T.
www.hepplerpiano.com
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321086
05/02/08 09:09 PM
05/02/08 09:09 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 66
Utah
W
worldpiano Offline
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Utah
The school sales around here are exactly as I described them. I should have stated that yes some of these sales are ok. However, from my experience the bulk of them are not. I'll cite an example. A dealer had one of these events at a local high school. They put TWO pianos in the school a year earlier and had around 40 pianos at the sale. They advertised that these pianos were all used and the proceeds would help the school. A customer came into our store to look at our prices to see if they got a good deal. After talking with them we looked up the full retail of the piano they bought in the Ancott book. This customer paid almost twice the full retail value of the piano. Thankfully after some arguing they were able to return the piano and got one from us instead. Now if this wasn't bad enough the company running the sale did not have a store in this particular city and did not have a business license. This is a problem because that means the taxes they collect did not go to the city that the sale was in. They advertise the event making it seem as if they are helping the schools out, but the schools aren't getting a dime even from taxes. Now like I said all of these sales may not be like this, but from my experience they usually are. Be very cautious. Do your homework and you should be able to spot a swindler.


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The World's Finest Pianos
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321087
05/02/08 09:19 PM
05/02/08 09:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Grand Rapids Michigan
Sounds like you might have a traveling sales store or something that sells out of their trucks. We have one of those come in from time to time that claim things like, going out of business sales and bogus things like that. These same travelers, sell lots of gray market pianos too. People like that give everyone else a bad name.

Of course, the colleges and universities that do have reputable piano dealers handling the sales will bring in outside pianos to also sell. Many of these are either brand new, from previous held sales where the pianos didn't sell so, they try again or pianos that were in the college for more than one year.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321088
05/02/08 09:30 PM
05/02/08 09:30 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 284
El Paso, Texas
ninja8701 Offline
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It's hard to believe my first post ever is identical to Alan's. My experience was not good. Although some have expressed positive experiences, I think most posts about college sales have been negative.


Kawai RX2/Yamaha Digital YPG625
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321089
05/02/08 09:35 PM
05/02/08 09:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 41
Philadelphia
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alanp Offline OP
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Philadelphia
Interesting... Thanks folks; I'll do my homework and then decide if it's worth checking out. If nothing else, it's a good opportunity to try out a number of pianos.

Re: University/College "piano sales" #321090
05/02/08 09:49 PM
05/02/08 09:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 66
Utah
W
worldpiano Offline
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Utah
Sadly Jerry it is a local dealer. We deal with bogus college and going out of business sales on a pretty regular basis!


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The World's Finest Pianos
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321091
05/02/08 10:31 PM
05/02/08 10:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,950
R
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Sorry--my computer is acting up--duplicate post.

Re: University/College "piano sales" #321092
05/02/08 10:34 PM
05/02/08 10:34 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,950
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There are several other threads on this subject that you should be able to find. Most of the posters (including me) are negative on these sales, which involve high prices and enormous sales pressure. They can be fun and allow you to try a wide variety of pianos--but your plan should NOT be to buy a piano. I have been to one or two that have been good, although I did not buy a piano. The quality of the sale is directly proportional to the quality of the dealer who is running it. If you cannot tell from the promotional material who is running the sale, check out the financing materials, which should tell you who is running the sale.

Re: University/College "piano sales" #321093
05/02/08 10:46 PM
05/02/08 10:46 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,428
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Alan,

Why not check out a local dealer with a much wider variety than will be available at TCNJ's sale? One that will stand behind the piano the way that few can and who sells with total transparacy in pricing. In fact, the staff carries the Fine book around with them during their presentations.

I am referring to Cunningham.

(Please forgive this blatant self promotion, but since this poster lives in my town and is considering going OUT OF TOWN to a college sale run by outside folks that I know, I thought this would be appropriate. I hope all agree)


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: University/College "piano sales" #321094
05/03/08 06:26 AM
05/03/08 06:26 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 113
Ephrata, Pa
Ron Gardiner Offline
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Posts: 113
Ephrata, Pa
Several years ago I was shopping for a car for my wife. I found the model and price I was looking for and drove about 45 miles to this dealer. I had called to be sure this car was still available. The lot had loud rock music blaring from loudspeakers, and the salesman had me walk the lot looking for the car. It was not there, and I was not happy.

We went inside and after a call discovered that the car I wanted to see was at the body shop and would be available that afternoon.

With that, the salesman said, "If I get you this price, are you ready to buy right now?"

That did it. I unceremoniously stood up and said "not from this dealership" and as i was leaving the salesman sarcastically said in a loud voice, "good luck finding a car for your wife."

You see, all of these warnings about those evil college sales, make the assumption that the customer won't leave if they don't like the situation. Nobody is held against their will and an informed consumer will have enough sense to "walk" if he doesn't like the situation. sit

Through manufacturer support, Selection, price, and special finance rates all can be more attractive than an the normal deal.


Until Next Time
Industry veteran of 37 years.
Re: University/College "piano sales" #321095
05/03/08 10:39 AM
05/03/08 10:39 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 41
Philadelphia
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alanp Offline OP
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Philadelphia
Quote
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:
Alan,

Why not check out a local dealer with a much wider variety than will be available at TCNJ's sale? One that will stand behind the piano the way that few can and who sells with total transparacy in pricing. In fact, the staff carries the Fine book around with them during their presentations.

I am referring to Cunningham.

(Please forgive this blatant self promotion, but since this poster lives in my town and is considering going OUT OF TOWN to a college sale run by outside folks that I know, I thought this would be appropriate. I hope all agree)
Rich,

Totally appropriate, and I appreciate the invitation. I've been to Cunningham, quite recently, actually. It was like being the proverbial kid in the candy store, and I could've easily spent a couple of more days there trying everything out.
I was intereseted in the TCNJ thing because I've taught there in the past, and this would give me the opportunity to check it out prior to the general public sale. I was also under the initial (and as I now see, erroneous) assumption that I might be able to get some kind of stellar deal because of my former affiliation with the college.

Re: University/College "piano sales" #321096
05/03/08 12:24 PM
05/03/08 12:24 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 194
Souderton PA
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Glenn Grafton Offline
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Souderton PA
I'll agree with Rich on this post that you'd be better off visiting a piano store - I'd differ with him however on suggesting you take a visit to our store : )

I have no doubt that there are some well run college sales where the dealer that holds it gives good service and fair prices... However here's the down sides.

•It's not the college that's selling the pianos it's the dealer that placed them that is! Why can't they say that? Because the impression they want to give you is that it's the college that's selling the pianos.
•A common thread with most off site sales is that the prices are limited to a particular day the sale is held.
•In my experience with talking with people who have been to area sales the price you pay will be HIGHER than what you typically would pay if you visited a piano store.
•There's limited time that you have to look at the pianos and get advice on what to get.
•The sales are based on impulse buying. Reminds me of times I've been to a time share presentation and gotten a "one time offer" that will go away the minute I step out the door.
•You're choosing from a limited selection.
•The pianos typically do not get prepped the same way we would prep a piano before it's delivered.

I've heard from one customer who had a Young Chang grand replaced under warranty in the Philadelphia area. He happened to go to a college sale with his friend and saw his former piano being sold along with the other pianos — and not as a used piano.

On the point of prepping the piano. Realize that the pianos are delivered right from the college to your home. I've spoken to some piano tuners and touch up guys who do a lot of follow up business off these sales because there just isn't the time to prep all the pianos on site before delivery. When someone buys a piano here it goes back in the shop, our finishing guy will find something needing attention even on pianos right out of the box. There's also tuning, regulation and voicing the piano if needed. There's just not enough time to do all this on each piano at a typical sale before it's delivered.

Frequently we'll take advantage of some special deals from piano companies on models that were discontinued or were at a college sale. We're upfront on the age of the piano, how it was used and pass the savings along to the customer.

Again, save some time and shop for your piano at a piano store.


Glenn Grafton
Grafton Piano & Organ Co.
Souderton PA
877-GRAFTON (877-472-3866)
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Re: University/College "piano sales" #321097
05/03/08 12:32 PM
05/03/08 12:32 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 7,051
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kenny Offline
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FWIW after spending 10 years on Pianoworld Rich is one of only two or three people I trust so much that I'd buy a piano from him sight unseen from across the country.
And I am the ultimate untrusting piano snob.

You are lucky to live so close to Cunningham Pianos.

Re: University/College "piano sales" #321098
05/03/08 12:39 PM
05/03/08 12:39 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Grand Rapids Michigan
Glenn,

I think it appears to give these dealers more credibility if people think the college is actually holding the sale themselves rather than the dealer. Me? hehehe, I tell all of my customers that it is NOT the college but, the dealer that is holding the sale. I'm still surprised at how many of my customers are surprised by this fact.

I agree too in that not nearly enough prep work is given prior to the delivery of these pianos to the colleges when they arrive from outside of the college for the sale. Usually, that prep work consists of a simple tuning. And, fast crummy ones at that.

In fact, the pianos that are delivered to me to tune for the remainder of the year, come directly unpacked, still in the box, with not one ounce of prep work. That leaves a ton of extra work for me to do which I do not care for. That is, unless they happened to have not sold a few pianos in which case, these will probably go back into the college for the next fiscal school year.

Always, always, talk to the college technician, independent technician, music department individuals to see about the reputation of your local dealership that might be holding these sales and in particular, talk with the technicians about the quality and condition of the piano prior to purchase. This applies where ever you decide to make your purchase.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
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