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Guitar Store Gospel Passion & Self Hate

Guitar Center Pro Coverage – Being Scammed into a Scam

guitar center pro coverage

Dear internets, before you read the first few sentences of this and rush to chew me out1, I’m not looking for empathy.  This is not a “poor me” story, it’s a “WTF is going on here?” story.

Not terribly long ago, I found myself at the local Guitar Center.  I disliked Guitar Center before visiting this place, but this location made me absolutely hate the company.  I’d already faced a bad experience when I purchased a defective MIDI controller, exchanged it the next day only to have the manager rudely ask “what did you do to it?”2.  So I was going in with very low expectations.


But, I had a little Line 6 amp and wanted one of the crazy foot controllers so I could actually use the amp with other people.  They were the only place in town that would have one in stock.

Should be easy enough, walk in, say “hi” to the girl at the front counter3, B-line to the accessories counter.

Darryl or Burt or whatever turd is at the counter is busy talking about Digitech distortion pedals and skateboards with some kid.  So I try to wait patiently while also making it known that I’m next in line and some soccer mom isn’t going to cut in front of me to spend 20 minutes trying to remember which strings her son uses.

After spending far too much time leaning against the counter, listening to a bad rendition of Enter Sandman4, it was finally my turn.

This should still be easy.  Ask for product, give credit card, leave.  Five more minutes, tops5.

First of all, the guy seemed really intent on selling me the Floor Pod Plus.  I already had a Line6 amp, I had no need for another modeling device, just a controller.  But eventually, we got the right product off the shelf and were on our way.

Usual deal, give them my contact info, tell them I don’t want their 47% APR credit card, yadda yadda.  Then they hit me with the purchase protection plan.

I never accept house warranties.  I never even listen to the offer, it could be $1 for a 30 year warranty on a car, and I’d turn it down just because I start drifting off and thinking about the sales person melting into a puddle of pudding.

But in this case, the guy wouldn’t let it go.  I kept saying “no” and he kept telling me I needed to change my mind.

Finally I snapped out of my pudding fantasy and joined the conversation to ask why I should care about their protection plan.

He says “They’ve got this policy, where they don’t repair anything under $250.  So you just call in and say the cable6 is broken.  They’ll let you keep it and send you a gift card for the full value.”

I was amazed I what I heard.  I told the guy no way, I wasn’t about to go to hell over a Guitar Center purchase.  I believe I said that this would definitely make all my hair fall out and give me crabs.  Sales guy thought I was nuts.

Eventually his manager walked over.  I started getting real quiet, thinking we shouldn’t be discussing this.  I wanted to avoid a scene, buy my product, go home.

Instead, the sales guy turns to the manager to affirm his point!  She agrees, tells me I’m a fool not to do this.

Finally, against all logic and self-respect, I cave and agree to the extended coverage.

I try to put it out of my head.  A month or two go by and I have the stupid brochure on my desk the whole time.  Finally I’m so mad about being suckered into paying the extra money that I call the 800 number.

On the phone, I try to play dumb.  I say the thing just stopped working, maybe it’s the cable or something, I don’t know how to test it7.

So what happens?  Pretty much exactly what I expected 8.  They say they’re emailing me a shipping label so I can mail the thing in for repair or replacement.

I make some half-hearted attempt to get what the jerk at the store promised, saying how it’s such an inconvenience to live without the unit while it’s in transit.  All they offer is a scripted apology.  Well deserved.

When the email came, I deleted it.  I threw away the purchase protection info.  At this point I figured if anything legitimately went wrong with the unit, I’d just buy a new one as punishment.  Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I’d deserve it.

I don’t feel bad about attempting to be devious.  But I sure feel bad about being so stupid.

 

  1. This disclaimer is a guarantee you’ll skip reading this and call me an idiot
  2. I should’ve peed on it
  3. the same one that is at every GC, she has a nose piercing, is reading a magazine, all the teenage boys think she’s cute
  4. it’s amazing that, at least in guitar stores, this song has stood the test of time.  It’s the Rudy of riffs played out of time by teenagers at guitar shops
  5. Yeah, I am dumb
  6. It uses a Cat5 cable
  7. Next to my desk is a drawer with a Cat5 crimper and testing equipment
  8. Outside of the baldness and VD
  • Joey

    Guitarcenter.com/openears, talk about this and include information on the store and the associate that was helping you. Guitar center wants to do what they can to make these kind of things easier for the customer and the managers need to know that they shouldn’t be promising things they don’t really know everything about. Help gc fix this so it doesn’t have to happen to someone else in the same position as you were.

    • Hey Joey – I was going to post a follow-up to this, but there wasn’t anything exciting to report… but I did speak to GC at the national level and the store level since posting this. They’re doing whatever they do with the information.

  • MJ

    Well, I share your pain. I too never take the extended coverage or warranties. But alas, I caved. I bought a Spark Blue Mic and the guy in the store convinced me that I needed to buy the coverage. Well, the clamp to the shock broke. So I call GC and they tell me to call ProCoverage. I call ProCoverage and they tell me that they can’t help me because there is a three year manufacturer warranty (yes….3 years!) on the mic and that unless I accidentally dropped it….they could not help me. So ProCoverage told me to go to the manufacturer’s website and fill out a form (they did tell me I could call back for a shipping label and packaging if needed as part of my coverage …LOL). Well, the manufacturer then told me they need photos of the unit…basically the clamp. I’ve not gotten a response back yet. I do feel that the GC sales rep should have made me aware of the 3 year manufacturer’s warranty. I feel like they’ve ripped me off. I’ve been a big GC fan….but I have serious 2nd thoughts. sigh…

    • Hey MJ – sorry to hear about your troubles. That’s a nice mic, and an annoying problem to run into. Hopefully Blue gets you taken care of real quick.

  • AP

    As someone just getting into music I appreciate the post. It seems like the guitar center protection plan isn’t worth the money. I’m glad I read this BEFORE buying all my gear and thinking I needed to back it up with warranty.

    What was your experience with customer service after the initial email?

    • Jay

      Typical social network damage control. No knock on the people they have working on Twitter – but I am not big on the philosophy of having a team of people to clean up after all the times you don’t take care of a customer the first time.

  • dj

    i bought a pair of cdj2000 nxs and a djm 850 at the guitarcenter in van ness san fransico i live in chile..south america …… hade some problems with voltage and the 850 mother board got fried… 3 month fighting to get a real response and nothing… i have the world wide pro coverage deal … and only pasted mails number that you dont have any idea whats if for…here there is no pioneer dealership tecnical services
    only dealers that sell equipment …
    i had to change the djm board myself becouse of the same thing….

    and now i realized that when i first pluged in one of the cdj to used as a usb controller one of the mail bords is not working and it cost
    tem# DWX3312 $295.00

    and the cdj came bad from guitarcenter … and i cant return it becouse im 5934.42 miles away…

    SO DONT BUY GUITAR CENTER PRO COVERAGE THE WOULD NOT HELP YOU AT ALL

  • Evan

    Sent an M-Audio Sputnik mic in to the “Pro Coverage” people for repair in October of last year. Although I’ve recently learned they submitted a “buy out” shortly thereafter within a couple weeks (because they were unable to repair it), I was never told about this. I had to wait several months while the status still showed “in progress” when I’d check online and call. After many calls, I talked to someone who confirmed they were NOT able to repair the unit. I asked that they send it back to me along with the refund as I’d sure there were plenty of good parts and I’d still like to use the case.

    After waiting several more weeks I still had no refund and no product sent back to me. Called again and they confirmed that the entire product was tossed in the garbage way back in OCTOBER along with the perfectly good shipping case and power supply/etc necessary for operation. Likewise, nobody told me the “refund” would come as an emailed barcode gift card that’s only good at Guitar Center! Absolutely useless, waste of time. Will NEVER buy another PG/PC/whatever again, ever!! TERRIBLE experience! DO NOT BUY!!! YOU’LL REGRET IT!!!!

  • Dazzla

    Total Scam I had a speaker go out on a pair of headphones I bought in Jan they said I have to go through the manufacturer to get them fixed…after being told that if anything goes wrong just bring them in the store and pro-coverage would replace them the rep flat out lied and said they would cover it no questions asked…I just added GC to a list of places I’ll never buy from again

  • Brent Clark

    Dude.. what did I just actually read… you mean to say you don’t have the brass to politely say no thank you and continue with the purchase? Then you go ahead and shit on the sales associates?

    THEN after that, you actually go thru and try to rip off this company? I’m trying to understand the situation properly and if i am.. just wow.. on top of that it was wordy and poorly written.. stay in school

    • Jay Ratkowski

      God bless you. Support our troops.