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Hi everyone,
I’m having what I feel is almost a twilight zone-like experience in trying to buy a new instrument, and I’m here for a check on reality, maybe this isn’t happening only to me.
So after a long search, I decided to buy a brand new Kawai ES920. Had to wait about 2 months to get it and when I got it I could not see any significant damage to the box, and it was well packed. However, a white key was broken, sitting at half the height of the rest, having no weight to it. This was shipped to me directly from the factory. Needless to say, how disappointed I was with the level of quality control from Kawai. I called them and asked if I could get a replacement. They said No, and offered for me to take it to a repair center. I refused because I felt I got a bad item and I didn’t feel like paying full price for a repaired item that I never touched.
I looked at other options that were in stock this time. The 3 options were Kurzweil SP6 88, MODX8 and Roland RD88. I was able to try the MODX8 and the RD88 in a local store and I chose the RD88, because I liked its more reserved look, the key action felt slightly more solid, heavier and more responsive, the price was cheaper and I wasn't crazy about all the sounds on MODX although I did like quite a few of them, I felt almost all were injected the same flavor: a metallic, artificial, spatial sound which had not enough variety but was more of the same. I have likes and dislikes about the sounds of either board, but that's not what this thread is about. I had to make my choice.
So I ordered the RD88 and this too arrived with a broken key. This time a black key that was not only dead sounding but also loose, sliding back and forth. Returned this as well.
I ordered now a replacement for the RD88. So this is now the 3rd keyboard I ordered and although this one does not have any VISIBLY broken keys, one key claps. Yes, it claps! It sounds as if the top of the key has become unglued from the bottom portion of the key and it claps when stricken. Although this is in fact not the case physically, it only sounds like that. None of the other keys sound like that and I worry that it is already something loose inside this key or it’s not connected properly and it may break sooner than otherwise. I am attaching a video link of this clapping sound on the B key in question.



I find this completely unacceptable for a new instrument.
Seeing how I got 3 NEW instruments, all with broken keys I am a little confused and hesitate as to the course of action I should follow. For one I am embarrassed and feel bad about calling the store and return the 3rd piano, but I feel even worse for myself because after all the research and waiting I still don’t have a piano I can feel moderately good about.

Either I am incredibly lucky and I should go buy a lottery ticket seeing as I’ve been getting the 1 chance in a thousand when this happens to a new instrument (I would imagine), - times 3; OR, the construction and quality control of keyboards has dropped by about 90% since the ’80s, ‘90s and even 2000’s and this happens to a lot of new keyboards now. Think how “durable” can these keybeds be long-term if they break before even getting to the customer.
Has anyone experienced anything like this? I mean 3 times in a row.
What would you do in my place?
1. Keep the RD88 because of the chances of getting a good one look slimmer now than those of getting a bad one again regardless of the brand? Accept the fact that maybe it is a rarity now to get a fully functional, quality instrument in this price range? crazy
2. Try yet another brand? I’m thinking maybe the MODX8 was in the books after all, although I initially felt that the RD88 had the more solid keybed, ironically. I feel now that RD88 is poorly made after receiving two of them with broken keys.
3. Mortgage something and buy something much more expensive, like a YC88, RD2000, supposing they make the expensive ones better, and their higher tier keybeds more durable. Though I am a bit hesitant now to go for the same brands, (Kawai and Roland). In practicality, not theory, are the keybeds on the more expensive models more durable?

Any helpful thoughts, opinions are much appreciated.
Thanks,
[i][/i]

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Where do you live? Is the shipping infrastructure in your country reliable? Are the roads particularly poor?

We’ve heard about multiple cases of shipping damage here before. If there were a reliable repair center nearby (who has the needed parts), maybe it’s time to go that route? Sorry to hear of your bad luck.


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You shouldn't feel bad about returning defective products. My guess is the same as Terminaldegrees, I think you (and your store) may have a really heavy-handed UPS or other delivery warehouse and these keyboards are getting bumped/dropped/smashed on their palettes in transit. Having these kind of failures is quite rare, and the fact that you've had 3 in a row just points to some common cause.

I might recommend you go back to your store, find a keyboard you like, and arrange to have the unit unboxed in-store for you to test and confirm it's working before you haul it home?


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Precisely as Gombessa said.

New-in-box means new. It does not mean fault-free.

I want to see it out of the box, assembled. I want to feel it and play it before it comes home.

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Three times in a row a similar defect! I would be very p1$$3d off, honestly. Maybe it's an option to get the money back and buy from another shop? My first impression was this dealer sells only crap units. Probably he buys B-stock units for cheap and tries to sell for a regular price and hopes the customer does not find any defect that soon.

(just speculating, adding another view)


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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Precisely as Gombessa said.

New-in-box means new. It does not mean fault-free.

I want to see it out of the box, assembled. I want to feel it and play it before it comes home.

"Ah! Sir! Welcome to my humble shop!"
Rubs his hands.
"We have the very piano for you, tried and tested by all and sundry; it has resisited sticky fingers, snot, catarrh, COVID 17, 18, 19 and the Store Cat . . . "


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Originally Posted by peterws
"Ah! Sir! Welcome to my humble shop!"
Rubs his hands.
"We have the very piano for you, tried and tested by all and sundry; it has resisited sticky fingers, snot, catarrh, COVID 17, 18, 19 and the Store Cat . . . "

Sounds like you've been to Guitar Center in the US wink


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How certain are you that the pianos are coming straight from the factory? How certain are you that they are brand new?

Apparently, "new"no longer means "new" in American business ethics. For a recent Amazon purchase, it was apparent that Amazon went to the dumpster to dig out a broken, parts-missing, screws crossthreaded, previously-considered-unsalvageable, television antenna returned by someone else, before foisting it on me as "new". It is not safe to conduct any commerce without lawyers on each side, ready to enforce the ethics that their clients so readily eschew. Honor is becoming a relic of the past.

You may have to initiate war against them, as they are warring against you already.


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Don't be too nostalgic for the past. Cheating has always been present. It's not new.

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Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Apparently, "new"no longer means "new" in American business ethics. For a recent Amazon purchase, it was apparent that Amazon went to the dumpster to dig out a broken, parts-missing, screws crossthreaded, previously-considered-unsalvageable, televisio....

Ralphiano, in principle, i agree with what you said. In context, i agree with nearly all you said, however ...... while i generally agree wholeheartedly that, based upon guilt by association, America/American has plenty for which to accept blame within and without the isolated context here, but upon studying OP’s inquiry, i have not seen, yet, the American connection .... if it is there/here, my bad for having not noticed, i’ll deservedly accept the blame for this🙂

Beyond this, i would like to know & see how the prevailing business ethics from the Euro side of the pond - bright, shining example of all that is proper and right in this world that it may be in comparison to it’s American offspring - would or will make OP’s situation all better as needs to be.

To the OP, please share from where and how in this world you contracted for this 3-for-3 DP nightmare from hel lo, er, um, that awful place. No matter from where and by who’s hand be it fictional/corporate or actual/flesh&blood, at this point you well deserve to be playing upon a pristine, new and unblemished DP.

Last edited by drewr; 08/06/21 01:08 PM.

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Thank you all for your replies. I feel somewhat vindicated by your reactions which means I am not exaggerating or been unreasonable by feeling exactly the same way some of you expressed. To answers some of your questions:
I am on the East Coast US. I did go to a Guitar Center to compare the 2 keyboards but I did not buy it from them, (Did wear a mask all the time and used sanitizer before and after though blush:)
I purchased from a well-known online US retailer as they gave me a 15% discount on the initial purchase and I did not want to lose that. I've been buying from them for years and this never happened before. The ES920 was shipped directly from Kawai because I had to wait for it 2 months, so the Retailer was not involved in shipping that. The two Rd88s were shipped from the Retailer's warehouse and I think both suggestions that were made here are valid and either one could be the case.
1. could be B stock; returned and not properly inspected for resale as new. In fact, the first Rd88 besides the broken key, had an area on the case where the paint was worn off, either from scrubbing to remove a spot, spill etc. And you can kind of see the occasional fingerprint smudge that was missed when they cleaned it, specks of dust here and there. Not complaining about that, but it shows a returned item. A new item used to even have a foil, which when you peal it was like no fingers ever touched that product, so perfectly clean. I used to wash my first car with such poise and had a great uncle say to me "enough! do you want to make it look like from the factory?" The undertone was that one can never make it look like it just came out of the factory no matter how well you cleaned it. Nowadays we are getting "new" products that you can be certain haven't come from the factory by the way they look. I've had to settle for a gaming chair that was clearly used and had seam manufacturing defects because returning it to Amazon and getting replacements only managed to waste my time in assembling, disassembling re-packing and shipping it and I finally ended up with something that's still not new and still has defects in other places. To be fair this is partly caused by consumers because we all return things we don't like but we should all make a greater effort to make sure we don't damage the items cosmetically and then return them for a full refund. That's just bad. And then retailers should have better inspection and repackaging practices. (Rant over!)
2. It could be a heavy-handed UPS problem. All 3 carboard boxes had dents and were torn in various places but I just assumed the inside padding is tested and made to withstand ground transportation. Apparently, it isn't.

Here, I feel the manufacturer has a responsibility also. Neither the Kawai nor Roland had an internal as well as an external box. This used to be common practice for heavy, expensive instruments. I got my MPK61 about 10 years ago and despite the fact that it isn't as long or as heavy as the 88 key DPs, it had foam padding not only at both ends but also in the middle, sort of a foam all-around ring for support. It also had a thick box in which the foam padding fit snug and another thick box in which the first box fit snug. I so appreciated that. A UPS driver may drop your precious instrument because for him it is just the 134th box he delivered that day filled with stuff, but the manufacturer should pack it to withstand all that.

The Kawai had better packing than Roland but still not as good as I'd have expected. Styrofoam padding in the middle was only for sides but not top and bottom so the middle of the keyboard was not supported underneath and the only thing protecting it from the grabbing and pulling and dropping was only one box, not two as I would have expected for an instrument of this length.

As for Roland, I am almost amused to say that the piano was bouncing inside the box from side to side. That's the first thing I noticed before opening the box. I was certain there must be a seriously well-packed box inside a bigger box and they messed up a bit by placing it in a somewhat loose outer box. I wish! The piano itself, with Styrofoam padding only at the ends and no support in the middle whatsoever, was placed in a box too large to keep the padding snug. When I opened it and saw no other box but the piano bouncing in this rather flimsy outer box I was not very happy. Now I go back to that initial feeling and I understand it was well warranted. I can declare that the packing of this piano is a joke. Both Rd88s were exactly the same. If the pianos were fine I wouldn't have said anything about the clearly flimsy packing of this instrument, but after what I've been through I will certainly write and try to help Roland understand that they need to seriously upgrade packing for this instrument. It's not a $100 lamp you assemble yourself and it deserves better packing.

As for what I will end up getting, because right now I am the sad owner of no piano at all, I might give a try to MODX8, and perhaps give that a try from a local store.
I'll let you guys know when and what I get.
Thanks,

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I bought two brand-new Kawai digital pianos, and both needed a technician to come and adjust the keys. There are a lot of moving parts, and these things happen. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't do a better job of packing these complex instruments.

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I read about a bike company that put a picture of a flat screen TV on the cardboard boxes used to ship bikes, and more than halved their return rate for damaged goods. And bike parts are sturdy to begin with!

Maybe DP makers should start labeling their boxes as medical equipment or something...


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I got a DGX650 which had double boxes; impeccably packed! Overkill, maybe, but they are heavy instruments. My following Roland too was well packed in a single box; followed by the heavy-ish P515, also very well packed, all undamaged.
I could not imagine one rattling about in its box, let alone two or three...Packaging of most items is excellent these days.
NO manufacturer wants unnecessary returns!


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
I read about a bike company that put a picture of a flat screen TV on the cardboard boxes used to ship bikes, and more than halved their return rate for damaged goods. And bike parts are sturdy to begin with!

Maybe DP makers should start labeling their boxes as medical equipment or something...

whether fact or urban myth, this is gold smile

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Originally Posted by jackopiano
Originally Posted by Gombessa
I read about a bike company that put a picture of a flat screen TV on the cardboard boxes used to ship bikes, and more than halved their return rate for damaged goods. And bike parts are sturdy to begin with!

Maybe DP makers should start labeling their boxes as medical equipment or something...

whether fact or urban myth, this is gold smile


It's true!

And I was wrong, it wasn't a 50% reduction in shipping damage, it was 70-80% shocked

Apologies for the off-topic.


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Hello ClapAris,

Please allow me to comment on a couple of points that you raised:

Originally Posted by ClapAris
I decided to buy a brand new Kawai ES920. Had to wait about 2 months to get it and when I got it I could not see any significant damage to the box, and it was well packed. However, a white key was broken, sitting at half the height of the rest, having no weight to it. This was shipped to me directly from the factory. Needless to say, how disappointed I was with the level of quality control from Kawai.

1. All Kawai instruments are thoroughly checked before being packed for shipping.
2. Kawai does not ship instruments to customers "directly from the factory". The ES920 is produced in Indonesia.

Originally Posted by ClapAris
I am on the East Coast US... The ES920 was shipped directly from Kawai because I had to wait for it 2 months, so the Retailer was not involved in shipping that.

Okay, so shipped from Kawai Indonesia to Kawai America (based in California), and then shipped across the country to you on the East Coast.

Regarding the strength of the shipping box, I believe this is also subjected to some pretty rigorous testing, in order to meet specifications defined by the major shipping/logistics companies.

Kind regards,
James
x


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It's not yet clear whether this threesome of defective pianos got that way because of damage while in transit, or from some other cause. But we know that the carriers often handle packages as though they were footballs.

This report is only the latest in a long line of similar ones. Which leads me to reiterate an attitude I expressed two days ago:

I'll buy my piano locally. I'll examine and test the piano in the shop. If it's not in stock I won't buy it.

I want to see it out of the box, assembled. I want to feel it and play it before it comes home.

Any manufacturing defects or shipping damage will be the dealer's experience. A damaged piano won't ever come into my view.

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Just sounds like really bad luck mate. Pick the piano you really want and try again!


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The rd88 moving round in the box? Doesn’t seem right. Opened and Repacked wrong?


Last edited by Purdy; 08/07/21 12:55 PM.

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