Re: Instrument providers
Posted by Not as bad as you think, but.. on 8/12/2017, 2:37 pm, in reply to "Instrument providers"
Preface: I have never made any money from Veritas and this is not an advertisement or endorsement. The following is mostly unbiased. Your milage WILL vary. |
I used to help out a family friend at her small music store during the summers. Due to the area of Texas where her shop was located, she couldn't compete with the area's mafia-ish music store/retired band director hang out located about two hours from the town in question. There were two basic concerns that customers presented that led to her becoming affiliated with Veritas.
1. The store in question was very far away and other than the horn drive, there was no easy way to access the store (weak web presence).
2. Prices/contracts were much steeper than parents were willing to pay for what they believed might be a passing fad. The student line, Chinese made UMI brands were still 3 times higher than online prices for the same instrument, and the repair policy was very short. (Before we go further, please know that I understand that parents and students alike should see the purchase as an investment).
Being the more knowledgeable person, I researched Veritas before allowing her to align her business to be their shop front. Here are a few things I can tell you:
1. They, like many other rental companies, provide a 0-month rental contract on severely overpriced instruments (usually 30-40% higher than MSRP for new rentals, and only 10-20% off new MSRP for used rentals). They dealt in all major instrument brands, such as the UMI/Conn-Selmer/Bach brands to Yamaha and Jupiter. If a contract was terminated prior to maturation, all invested funds were forfeited. If a contract was paid in full prior to an arranged date (maybe it was 3 months before the last monthly payment?) the renter would receive 30% off the balance. The termination of contracts is where they made their money and how they kept their inventory stocked.
2. We did house instruments on site, but even then I was allowed to specify which brands/models would be sent to store or customers from the area. For instance, the store in question only received Buffet B12/E11s with 5RVLs or Yamaha 450Ns with 5RVLs. This all could very well have changed in the past 6 years. The renter could decide on new or used. I know that if I were not in the mix, they could have sent sub-par instruments. I ensured that local programs were not shafted with crappy horns. In fact, I personally tested every horn that entered the store. I did occasionally have to send a horn back due to issues developed in transit or poor quality control from the repair house.
3. Much like other long-term rental companies, the rental fee included a repair line. As long as the contract was active, current, and no foul play was involved a student could get a repair at no cost. I was told that a saxophone student could have their instrument completely re-padded every summer at no extra cost and no questioned asked. That said, their repair quality is okay but it is not quick. Unless something has changed, instruments must be boxed up, picked up by UPS, sent to Florida, repaired, reboxed, picked back up by UPS, sent back to Texas, and then picked up by the student. It usually took about 3 weeks. The company policy at the time was that we were sent loaner instruments. They were rental-retires that functioned for the student until their instrument was returned. In this way, no student should ever be without an instrument. This was another quality check for me because I was not going to let the store owner send a kid back to their band program with a dilapidated Artly/Benge/beat-up brand.
4. Their customer service was sub-par. I often had to call on behalf of parents because they couldn't get answers on their own. There is no excuse for this.
Ultimately, your experience with Veritas could wildly vary, as I have not been in a place where Veritas had an active store front in many years. If the music shop is more geared towards guitars/pianos, there is a good chance that they have no one knowledgeable in-house that can/will ensure your students get what you want. Since you know you can't forbid parents from going there, you at least can stop by and ask them if they can contact the company and set up preferred makes and models for your district (on the rental contract, they used to have to list district and school). If the store still can not help you, call Veritas:
Home Office, Shipping & Accounts Payable:
12475 44th Street North
Clearwater FL 33762
Again, YOU don't have to do any business with them but parents tend to want their $15/mo contract with unlimited repair over the $60-100 contract with 1-year repair, even though they are paying interest on a 52-month rental contract.