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 Can't return my counterfeit
Author: smp 
Date:   2019-03-22 20:31

Long-time lurker here, just now making a post. (long post, TL;DR at the bottom)

I bought a Buffet R13 online from Woodwind Brasswind back in summer of 2016. I chose a cheap former "display model" to save money (I already took out a loan); its only recorded blemish was a scratch on the C/F key.

Anyway, in it comes; it's got iffy keywork, a couple leaky pads, et cetera. Tenons are loose; no cork on the bridge. No mouthpiece in the case; an off-brand ligature. The stamp wore off in a couple weeks, but I thought that was normal considering how I gripped it. I went to register it on Buffet's website to no avail, so I assumed WWBW already did. It overall seemed close enough to the R13 test model I played and fell in love with, and I didn't particularly want to part with it, so I ignored all the red flags.

Fast-forward two weeks ago: someone knocked my clarinet over during a band rehearsal and one of the posts got misaligned, preventing the upper-joint rings from moving freely. I sent the whole thing off to a local music shop (also a Buffet dealer) through my professor to get it fixed, and also mentioned I'd like the pads realigned in the hopes it would fix my degrading tone on the instrument.

The music store called my professor and said a bunch of (metaphorical) blaring alarms went off. Firstly, the stamps on the bell and joints didn't look like those on any other R13. Secondly, the aforementioned mechanical issues; it was "one of the worst Buffets and one of the worst clarinets [they've] ever played". Moreover, they called Buffet and they have no record of the serial number printed on the clarinet. The interior bore doesn't even look right, apparently. Everyone's pretty confident it's a counterfeit.

After no e-Mail response from WWBW for two weeks, I took to calling them. They simply said my limited warranty is expired and they can't do anything about my clarinet as of now. Supervisor said the same thing, and so their supervisor. My professor, the repairman, Buffet and I are all just at a loss for words here.

Is there any way I can hold the parties involved accountable? Are counterfeit instruments even protected by any sort of law (in the US) after this time? I know this sounds a lot like a legal advice post, but I'm not really sure where else to ask. I've also done a good search here on the BBoard but nothing really fit my situation.

TL;DR: I've very likely been playing a counterfeit Buffet R13 for almost two years and the vendor won't hold itself accountable.

Much thanks in advance for any advice.

Seth Price, student
“Alto clarinets are the violas of woodwinds.”

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-03-22 20:44

This is not a Warranty problem, it is a deceptive advertising problem. WWBW has been a pretty good customer service company so try again and let us know. You can even mention that the clarinet community is waiting to learn of the results.

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2019-03-22 21:54

If you paid by a credit card you may be able to get a refund. If the clarinet is not a Buffet WWBE may be breaking the law when they mailed you that clarinet. - Get documentation verifying that the clarinet is not a Buffet before you start the process. You can have the Buffet dealer help with this. If it is a Buffet, then WWBW may be selling a grey market clarinet and is breaking their dealer agreement (not that Buffet would do anything about it).

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

Post Edited (2019-03-22 22:00)

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-22 22:09

Definitely a legal issue. You need to retain a lawyer.





..............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: mdj 
Date:   2019-03-22 22:24

Agreed, this is a legal issue.

Sort of irrelevant at this point, but can WW&BW provide any trace on the origins of how they obtained it?

Just a hypothesis but it's possible someone purchased a legitimate R13 then sent back a fake. If WW&BW isn't tracking any serial numbers, they would probably not know enough to know.

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2019-03-22 23:48

Just to confirm it is truly a counterfeit, can you post some pictures? It sounds like it could also be a student model such as an E11 France (known for quality problems) that was misrepresented as an R13. Knowing what the instrument truly is will help determine the best corse of action.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2019-03-23 02:37

So I read through your post again and there are some things in there that lead me to question wether this might actually be a genuine Buffet (Wether it is an R13 is another question).

>The stamp wore off in a couple weeks, but I thought that was normal considering how I gripped it.

Ironically the logos on fake Chinese Buffets are actually engraved deeply into the "wood". I actually had a fake Buffet for a little while and it took me an hour of sanding just to remove the tacky fake logos. There was quite a sizable chunk of plastic missing when I was done. The logos on new Buffet instruments do tend to wear away quite fast so this in normal unfortunately...

>It overall seemed close enough to the R13 test model I played

If it were truly a counterfeit the intonation problems would be obvious, to the point where the instrument would be unplayable in any real world setting.

>they called Buffet and they have no record of the serial number printed on the clarinet

To be fair, many instrument manufacturers are terrible about keeping easily accessible records. This may have just been a case of a phone operator at Buffet not digging deep enough.

>Firstly, the stamps on the bell and joints didn't look like those on any other R13.

There have been cases where the stamp operator messed up logos on instruments that still ended up being sold. I have seen several "double stamp" logos from Buffet that look quite strange.

Not saying it isn't fake, but it would definitely be worth confirming it is 100% fake before you take any legal action. It may have just been an instrument that was made on a Friday afternoon...

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2019-03-23 03:13

Before paying for a lawyer, look into small claims court. If you're in West Virginia, claims up to $5K can go there. E.g., https://goo.gl/m7Lnhy



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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-03-23 09:07

Good advice from everyone. I think I would do what Bennet advised.

If money is an issue look at the Yamaha's. The CSVR's are getting a lot of attention. A lot of Buffet players have left Buffet. There is also the Yamaha SURV of something like that which has a slightly larger bore. You only have to play maybe 2 horns because the quality is amazing.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: smp 
Date:   2019-03-23 16:13

Thank y'all so much for the input; it's really helped.

As for whether it's just a mislabelled Buffet: that's a possibility we've considered. What we all know for sure is that it isn't an R13 by any means; in fact, the repairman is comparing intonation, keywork, what-have-it to other Buffet models. I'd post pictures of relevant parts but the instrument is about 100km away in shop (I go to a rather rural college).

I'm planning on calling WWBW to dig further into the origins of the clarinet, as I highly doubt they're directly responsible for this. My best guess is, as mdj said, someone returned a fake. Legal action is going to be the absolute last resort, though it won't be fully excluded.

Also I'm kinda sad about the stamp

Seth Price, student
“Alto clarinets are the violas of woodwinds.”

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2019-03-23 17:18

I had an issue with WWBW a couple of years ago. I now order supplies/accessories, etc. from Weiner Music. GREAT customer service.

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2019-03-23 19:03

It should not be a problem if you go to the highest level at WWBW. They won't knowingly sell a fake for sure!!! As well, being a Buffet Dealer, try Buffet (Francois Kloc) as Buffet can force them possibly to make good on it.

Supplier has power after all!!!

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html


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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: m1964 
Date:   2019-03-24 17:38

"they called Buffet and they have no record of the serial number printed on the clarinet"

In my (limited) experience, the serial numbers are engraved, not printed.

What I do not understand that if your professor saw the clarinet after you bought it, how come he/she did not see any of the problems.

Do you still have the receipt?What exactly does it say?

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 Re: Can't return my counterfeit
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2019-03-24 18:13

Buffet USA may not have the serial number if it is a grey market clarinet (imported directly from overseas and not purchased by WWBW from Buffet USA).

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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