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Hey Climber,
The point was that we have our pianos like others companies that distribute nation wide staged in warehouses ready for shipment. The next stop though in our case is a customers home, rather than a dealers floor. I apologize my point was not clear.

Like other piano companies we use a trucking/logistics company to warehouse, and then ship out our product once sold.

Thanks for the post!

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Who pays to prep these pianos once they're in the customers home? Who obtains the parts for any warranty issues, the distributor, or the manufacturer?


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
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Michael B,
There is no smoke screens here. I don't understand how you misread the posting. I hope it was an honest mistake.

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Terry,

I don't think I've misread anything at all. Perhaps you would like to address directly the other observations in my previous message, just in case I have misread anything else concerning your business? I also look forward to your straightforward responses to Curry's enquiries.

- Michael B.

PS. And still no reply from my earlier question about when the Ellenburg family last made a piano in Germany...though I think we all know the answer to that one.


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Curry,
Who pays for the prep work of pianos bought on a dealers sales floor? The customer, or the dealer? We both know that the customer is paying for the prep work in the end either way. That is how some dealers justify their exorbant mark ups.

Customers get more value out of paying the real cost of initial tuning, regulation, and prep to an honest tuner like yourself, rather than what sometimes is just hype from a dealer.

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Curry,
The warranty is a manufacturers warranty.

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Manufacturers warranty means crap. You can get the parts from the manufacturer, big deal. What's important is who pays for the laborto replace said parts? Who pays to prep the pianos in the home?


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
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i could see how if someone has very little money to spend on a piano, knows what they are getting, and is prepared to pay out of their own pocket for proper preparation and all the other things a dealer provides, then perhaps this is not a bad deal at all. dong beis are respectable pianos. heck, darrell fandrich turns them into pianos that rival the best on the market. a good tech can do a lot with a chinese piano.

the problem is when a customer doesn't know what he's getting into, and the seller isn't telling him.


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Piano Superstore,

I post rarely, and very much stay away from stuff like this. However, this time I am failing to restrain from the burning questions I have. Since I don’t see them being addressed, I am going to pose my own questions based on the statements you have made here today.

Quote
By piano Superstore
Ellenburg Pianos are…using all genuine German parts, design, and engineering.


I spoke to Jay at the corporate headquarters, who was kind enough to send me a brochure. He was unable to answer the following question:
Where are the action parts built?
Are they coming from Germany?

He did mention they were created in a “Renner Style” – not sure what that means, since Renner makes actions to the specifications of other manufacturers, they just happen to do it very well and reliably.

Quote
By piano Superstore
As far why we did not have an Ellenburg at NAMM is simple. You can't sell to the public direct, and to dealers. While we do have some dealers, brokers, resellers it is not our intentions to be handcuffed by a dealer network ever. Whether the CEO's for some of the other distribution companies will ever admit it to their dealers or not, I have talked to them. I know of 2 I talked to at the trade show and both said if they could find a way to sell direct and bypass their dealer networks they would. We are not the only company that sells Ellenburg. Sorry, but on this point you will have to do your own home work. I am not in the business to advertise for others.


A piano manufacturer will set up a dealer network as a measure of quality. This insures the products are marketed to the public well, with guidelines preventing bad behavior on the part of the dealer. If a manufacturer is poorly represented, the reputation suffers and the brand falls off the map into obscurity.

Since you claim to ” have some dealers, brokers, resellers”, don’t you see your “direct selling” on Ebay nationwide as undercutting that relationship? Kind of like biting the hand that feeds you really.


Quote
By piano Superstore
We www.thepianosuperstore.com were able to negotiate a deal to be the sole distribution company for them in 2003


Woah! Didn’t you just say above that “We are not the only company that sells Ellenburg” ?

How odd.. can you explain?

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By piano Superstore
A piano of the same size by another piano company would wholesale to their dealers for $4050.00 - $4,500.00, and then the dealer would want to mark it up 40%


Can you show documented proof that a 5’ baby grand built by Dongbei has a wholesale cost of $4,050?

Quote
By piano Superstore
Customers who purchase pianos from us are guaranteed 100% satisfaction or money back.


I think this is a fantastic, and VERY BOLD policy given the amount of expense required to delivery, tune, and prepare a piano for a customer. Not to mention the cost of getting it back if a customer is unsatisfied.

Does the customer get every single penny back if they are not happy with the purchase? Within what time frame? Is the delivery cost part of the refund?


Quote
By piano Superstore
I can't speak to the inner workings of Ellington pianos other than to say I think they are distributed by Baldwin.


When you say ” the inner workings” what parts are you speaking of? As I am aware, Baldwin still has an operational factory in Arkansas. Are you saying that this factory provides components for a piano built in China? What is the relationship between Baldwin and Ellenburg?

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By piano Superstore
I can understand that if a dealer or distributor was operating under the traditional business model of piano retailing, than it would be impossible to offer their customers the same prices as we do, not to even mention the service that we provide, but fortunately we do not have the same overhead and political restrictions as most do in this industry. Thus the huge backlash from some of our competition.


What business model of piano retailing are you referring to? Can you be specific to the aspects of the aforementioned business model that makes a low margin “impossible”?

Does this include servicing the piano?
Providing a trade up policy?
A place to test a piano prior to purchase?
Store techs to do fine prep work and action regulation?

Wouldn’t the above things be considered service? But you imply that you are better service by saying: “not to even mention the service that we provide”. How can this be? What service are you providing that other dealers aren’t, and please be specific?

What exactly do you mean by “Political restrictions”? Again, please be specific.


Quote
By piano Superstore
Unforutnately our warehouses are set up to ship out of and not to retail out of. This is one of the reasons we are able to offer the pricing that we do.


What exactly does this mean?
Do you ship items directly from the container?


Quote
By piano Superstore
The ONLY negative feedback you will see is from other dealers (who some are admitted to being on this forum) that have purchased a book from us in order to leave feedback.


Do you have any proof of this happening? Sounds terrible. Your company, as I found out by navigating the corporate phone system, has many sections. Pro audio, guitar and band instruments, marketing, etc.. PianoSuperStore only sells pianos, correct? Why are you getting feedback from something other than pianos?

Regardless, I think it is shameful that any competitors would do such a thing to your reputation, if your allegation is correct. Shouldn’t be difficult to find out who, since Ebay has an extensive background search feature when registering. You can reverse feedback by having the offending party agree to dismiss that bad feedback, and any offending company would probably rather do that then get sued in court. Am I right?

It’s really just a matter of some emailing and phone work on your behalf if your reputation is important to you.

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By piano Superstore
The reason alot of the piano sold listing are private is so when a customer from The Midwest wants to buy a " " brand piano from me, his local dealer will not see that a "____" piano was just sold in his back yard and go screaming to " " piano company. We do this as a courtesy for some of our distributors we sale for. You see it keeps them out of hot water with their dealer network.


This goes back to my first point mentioned above. Of you are selling a product from a manufacturer, and you are not exclusive in doing so, the manufacturer has an interest in making ALL OF THE DEALERS HAPPY. The dealers, after all, keep the manufacturer in business. Furthermore, it’s the dealers relationship to the consumers that makes it all possible.

Why would a manufacturer hide a sale to undercut one of it’s other dealers, just for the sake of ONE PIANO SALE? I would think that years of a hard earned relationship and future business growth would supersede something so minor.


Quote
By piano Superstore
On pianos that we buy from US distribution companies dealers would rather whine and complain to that company about us selling in their area and pricing, rather than just lower the price to compete. Some would call this little trade practice in our industry as "price fixing", but I would not want to judge the motives behind some of these dealers as I don't know them personally.


Wait a minute.. didn’t you just say in a statement above.. wait, let me see.. yes.. here it is: ” I can understand that if a dealer or distributor was operating under the traditional business model of piano retailing, than it would be impossible to offer their customers the same prices as we do”.

If that is true, why would you expect these dealers to lower their price. After all, It is impossible, right? You said it with such authority, I figured it was an absolute.
<hr>
Piano Super Store – I think many of the attacks made on you today were petty. Furthermore, I think it shows tremendous grit that you calmly and very nicely responded to all of the attacks. I believe, as many others here believe also, that you have danced around the bigger questions. Sometimes demonstrating a lack of knowledge of your product, and the refusal to back up larger claims with documented proof.

It’s not too late, however. It’s never too late.


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Curry,
Who pays for the parts and labor if a Kohler and Campbell sold last year needs work?

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Mr. Bauer,

I apreciate your logical and systematical line of questions, and I would indeed like to answer them in the same order in which they were posed. It is currently 7:53pm EST. I am leaving the office now to have dinner with my wife and 3 children, and will be at home later tonight in which I will try my best to answer your questinos to your satisfactory, as I believe you are indeed being sincere and I want to honor that.
Thanks,

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Take your time.

Even days.


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I don't understand people's hostility against others in this forum. I see time and time again people bashing others, and manufacturers and etc here. I don't know why this board is so hostile sometimes.

I am all for new kind of businesses and paradigm shifts. Selling Piano over the internet is not as absurd as people think. Many instruments (such as guitars/brass/woods/strings) in large quantities are sold over the Internet. Mainly, if you are beginner/casual players, you would buy it this way. But that is fine. I am not buying $30,000 Olson guitars, $100,000 Steinways, or $1 million Stradivarius here. Calling these people naïve, or calling the internet seller a scammer is not right.

While people at PW think that we are representative of real piano world. We are not. We are the piano savvy people who like to analyze and contrast and compare until we all turn blue. Most real world people are beginners and they buy things mostly based on price (and color!!). For them internet piano buying could work just fine. A business that is trying to capitalize on that market is a fine business. Not everyone wants Porsche for their cars, escargot for their fancy dinners, and Gucci for their handbags.

We are clouding the whole conversation here. Let’s not try to do these:
  • Attack the people, and not the idea laugh
  • Validity of Internet Piano sales as a business for you and me thumb


However, below seems to be 2 questions that keep coming up and keep getting answered, but everyone is still confused.
  • Is Ellenburg piano a German design piano? Can you tell us what this mean? How is this different from Dong-bei pianos? confused
  • Is Ellenburg piano a real business or a one man shop out of someone's garage? confused


Terry, let's be realistic here. You typing answers to pages and pages of question noted before by others is not going to change any of these people's mind.

Here is one thing that you can do to help us.

Find someone from this forum who is from North Carolina and invite him to your store/headquarter/warehouse. Let them take some pictures/video, try out the pianos and post the findings here.

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" If you would like to call and make an appointment I would be more than happy to give you a tour of the office, and 1 of the 5 warehouses that is 2 miles away and currently has over 450 pianos in it ."

I've been to some of these "warehouses" just to check out their "clearance" sales. Sometimes, they get a bit more creative, claim they're moving and "must sell" to avoid the cost of transporting their inventory to their new location.

You must be a VERY successful company to be able to both finance 450 pianos AND pay for all that storage space to house them. Just curious, how many are still in the crates and how long have they been there for? I'll bet your warehouse is also climate controlled with an average RH of 45% too. But, of course.

Toot sweet matey!


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Yup ... My question has been answered.

I popped in here to PW again to see if the place had changed b/c a friend of mine is looking to buy a piano for her daughter and is commencing her search.

This place has sadly morphed of late.

I remain thankful for the people & the knowledge I gained back when. The place is very cluttered now. Even the good guys get lost among the mess. How can I even recommend this site to anyone anymore?

I'm frustrated b/c piano buying remains a difficult thing for customers who know nothing. They need to trust their dealers.

They need to trust this place too.

Sorry, had to say it.

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Also, the Piano Superstore shows a Kawai RX1 grand for sale (as well as a Yamaha C3). KawaiDon, an executive at Kawai has stated that the superstore is not a Kawai dealer.

The description of these instruments does not identify them as used. The UCC requires that products that are NOT new, disclose that fact.

If they are, and as KawaiDon stated, the superstore is not a Kawai dealer, then the manufacturer's warranty would be void as one of its requirements is the the piano be purchased by an authorized dealership. I would assume the same applies to the Yammie.

Simply:
Is the RX1 new? If so, are you an authorized dealer? If not, why is that material fact not disclosed?

Is the Yamaha C3 new? If so, are you an authorized dealer? If not, why is that material fact not disclosed?

Are all of the parts of the Ellenberg piano made in Germany? If it is a German design, who did the designing?


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Quote
The major problem I see with this marketing is that it flies in the face of conventional piano-buying wisdom.

First: No one should buy a piano that s/he has not played - not just the model, but the very instrument that is going to be purchased.
I'm actually not sure conventional wisdom is all that relevant any more. I don't want an Ellenburg piano and I wouldn't buy ANY piano without playing the exact model before buying it. But I'm really not convinced that it's so vital to play the actual piano that you purchase. Sometimes, this just isn't practical and I'm not sure it's that important with a good brand. I bought my Estonia based on playing the floor model. My new piano was shipped directly to my home and uncrated in my driveway. Yeah, it needs prep and tuning but, to be honest, it sounds pretty good and plays like a dream. The tech comes in a week or so. The una corda needs a bit of adjustment but there's nothing else that a good tuning won't fix. And this is right out of the box.

I have no axe to grind here but it sounds like there might be some changes in the piano market happening here that shouldn't be ignored...

Norbert tells us that the Chinese are coming on strong with new high end offerings just around the corner. And the internet may well usher in new business models, forcing traditional dealers to sharpen their pencils and improve their service to compete. If this happens, it won't be the first time and consumers will benefit.

The market is a wonderful thing. laugh


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Gotta tell y'all, I'm still stuck on the idea of shipping a piano and leaving it to the customer to have it prepped on their own. To put it in my perspective, that'd be like leaving my reputation out in the cold.

I guess it's a case of make a buck and caveat emptor. This particular emptor will certainly be caveat-ing.


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We don't ship a piano and leave if for the customer to worry about. If we did we wouldn't have the referrals and positive feed back that we do.

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katie, i'm new - i've been here for the last month - and honestly this is the first crap I've seen. I find it really easy to ignore, don't leave because of these morons. please.


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