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THINGS THAT ARE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
(Another) GIGANTIC SALE...or x University (hosted) ...SALE or...x Concert Hall...Venue (hosted) SALE IS COMING
TO TOWN! Media is busy: Attractive sounding ads are everywhere...Choose from all the big makes and get a
deal! Scratched or not – you’ll get a deal! Well, think twice about THAT way of buying a piano, a musical
instrument that is to become a part of your family life and, perhaps an important learning tool for your child,
children and/or yourself! After dealing with numerous customers and families, deeply disappointed in previous
"ultimate sales opportunities" in the past, we are bringing up a few points:
How much can you pay attention to the tone, touch...even the appearance of the piano in a large hangar or a
conference room with people milling about and sales reps pushing?
Did you think about the enormous cost of advertising, cost of moving the stock from the store and back...? That
has to be made up by a substantial profit, and that additional burden/cost is undoubtedly incorporated in the
"sale" price and/or corners cut. How many tunings will you get, for example?
Think again about the atmosphere that is a part of a "package" - how much is it possible to concentrate
surrounded by this buying frenzy and avoid an "impulse" decision"?
We know, and you know, that there are teams of “experts’ ( in our opinion expert-manipulators) hired that train
and even on-the spot advise sales reps on how to quickly “close” during those blitz sale events. Those experts
need to be paid, too.
Warranty: Be very careful about the warranty offers during those special promotions. We received many calls
for help from customers “left in the cold” that purchased “demo”, “floor model”, “Slightly scratched” etc. and
“discounted” pianos that experienced loose hammers, broken strings, need for a complete action regulation
etc- none of that covered by that warranty!
KeyArts Warranty is a “no questions asked warranty” – you need service, you get it.
Did you know that there are a few, a particular few large dealers always behind all those "institutional sales"?
Why do they mysteriously hide the store/dealer name behind the carefully worded ads?
We know this business and will tell you: In a 21st Century Economy, with all the technological/Internet options
available, it is silly to even think that large venues are to save YOU money - just like the fact that big showrooms
are battling BIG overheads that MUST be incorporated in the purchase price. There simply is no way around
that. How about the cost of moving instruments; rental costs; additional staff on hand etc. Expert "closers" (or
in plain English - sharks) flown in are not cheap, too.
Besides, a large, busy showroom or even worse a sales event offers no necessary acoustic conditions to
properly assess the piano, is far different from your home-environment, simply put - does not give you a chance
to “hear and feel” the piano in a proper fashion. But isn’t that exactly the issue here? You decide.
KeyArts, on the contrary, has a simple formula: Overhead must be reasonable; therefore we rejected the option
of moving into a large showroom! We are convinced that piano buying needs to be done with attention, in a
calm, no-rush and NO-PRESSURE environment. We hire NO fancy commissioned salesman, and you are dealing
with the owner! The presentation is backed by decades of teaching and active performing – in either case you
are dealing with our excitement about piano and music. Most importantly the instrument we present is an
instrument carefully CHOSEN because it underwent a rigorous comparative analysis BEFORE we decided to
bring in that particular piano or a piano line, to begin with! All sales – new or used are backed by a
comprehensive no-small-print Warranty and a free tuning, once at the store and then at your home!
In our comfortable and modest facility we have at all times some 20-35 pianos in stock. Furthermore, we have
access to the large inventories of our suppliers with numerous finish, size-options. Despite the aggressive
market and all the competition, with a strong Internet presence, the ever-growing list of satisfied customers
best describes the level of service and value we strive to offer at most reasonable cost! We are convinced that
the price, the product selection and options, pre- and post-delivery services are what made our business rise
and distinguish itself from the competition!
We would like to share with you the article bellow as used by many of our colleagues, NAMM members:
As adopted and published by members of NAMM:
University, College, Concert Centre/Hall; Conference Centre …. Piano Liquidation...or is it?
Piano sales have been experiencing recent resurgence of sorts. However, during the past decade or more,
piano sales ARE NOT SURGING. The sale numbers are steady, and modest. Our Industry is rather small. This
has forced piano manufacturers and retailers to come up with more aggressive and "innovative?" methods to
market pianos. One might think this would work to the customer's advantage. WRONG! Rather, what has
happened is a nationwide epidemic of piano sales scams and promotions that are grossly misleading and
deceptive! These "sales events" combine deceptive advertising, inflated pricing and high pressure selling
tactics, teetering on the edge of legality in many states!
Some piano manufacturers, along with their local dealers, are promoting "piano sales" off premises under the
guise of what are called University, College, Concert Hall or Conference Centre - piano liquidation sales.
An example from Wisconsin:
You need not look any further than this example I found. For number of years, annual "piano sales" at the Dane
County Coliseum were conducted by a major American piano company, in conjunction with their local Madison
dealer. Advertising for these events made it appear as though major manufacturers were represented,
including Baldwin, Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Kimball, Wurlitzer and others. Huge selections were supposed to
be available. At two of these functions, we found one used Kimball and one used Yamaha, along with
approximately 150 new Baldwins! No other manufacturers were present! Only Baldwin and the sales staff of
the local dealer. Furthermore, local dealer identification did not appear in any of the advertising as required by
Wisconsin State law. Price savings claims were based on nonexistent, grossly inflated retails.
Sales of Many Faces
College and University "Liquidation Sales" are the latest in what many consider to be the most deceptive and
misleading promotions plaguing the piano industry! Here's how they work:
A major Japanese piano company, along with their local dealership in a specific area, loan a few new pianos to
the resident College or University. This is done for little or no fee, other than perhaps a small charge to cover
moving costs. A "memorandum of understanding" is signed. "PC" terminology for a contract. This contract
gives the manufacturer and their local dealer the right to use the institution's name in its advertising. The
campus grounds and buildings are used to conduct the actual sale and house the additional inventory of pianos
trucked in for the promotion.
The advertising for these events clearly suggests that the College or University is selling off their pianos at low,
discounted prices. Again, in most instances, no dealer ID is used. If the dealer name does appear, it may say
something like, "sale conducted by..." in small print buried somewhere within the body of the advertisement.
This suggests that the dealer is there only as a liaison to assist in the sale and delivery of the institution's
pianos. The ads also imply availability of a number of well known brand names, when in fact only one or two
used pianos of the brands listed may be available.
As far as the number of pianos actually on loan to the College or University as practice or concert pianos? It
may be as few as two or three. Indeed, the piano company and their dealers are using the respected name of
both public and private institutions to entice piano shoppers and increase profits by selling their own inventory
of new and used pianos, not the institution's!
What's really happening here is not a College or University piano sale at all but rather an elaborate dealer
promotion in disguise. Upon closer examination, you will find that the "fantastic savings" claimed at these
events are nonexistent. "Sale" prices may actually be higher than the price offered at a typical sale in the
Don't Be Fooled!
Making a promotion appear as though there is no dealer involvement may give the false impression of a "once
in a lifetime" opportunity. Selling off premises and keeping the dealer name as inconspicuous as possible are
means by which to accomplish this deception. If there is no intent to deceive, would it not be easier for the
dealer to pick up the institution's pianos and sell them as school pianos off their sales floor? Would the effect
be the same? So what actually takes place at these sales? How do they work?
To experience one of these sales first hand is to have the meaning of "hard sell" defined. At larger events, a
team of "in your face" marketing "sharks" are flown in to assist the local sales staff. You will not be permitted
to browse. You will be met at the door and asked to sign in with arrival time, name, address and telephone
number. These, and a host other questions are to be completed before being escorted to the "viewing area".
Once inside, the real pressure begins. An atmosphere of urgency is created. Grab that piano "today" or "...you'll
never get a deal like this again". From on the spot financing to delivery trucks waiting at the front door, every
attempt is made to discourage further shopping and get you to sign the dotted line! Some have described
feeling like a "mackerel in a school of hungry sharks". Others are able to brush it off as a "learning
experience", wisely deciding on another time and another dealer to make their piano purchase.
What Can be Done? Example from the State of Kansas, USA
The State of Kansas Attorney General's Office found advertisements for a "College Piano Sale" misleading,
agreeing with a consumer complaint. The customer stated "... the newspaper ad led me to believe that the
college music department was liquidating its' pianos in order to replace them with new instruments." The
Better Business Bureau of Ohio found that many of the ads did not comply with BBB standards. Regional offices
nationwide have been alerted to watch for this type of advertising.
After numerous deceptive piano sales were held at the Dane County Coliseum and one at Edgewood College,
the Wisconsin Department of Justice: Consumer Protection Division took action against one of Madison's local
piano dealers for apparent violations of Wisconsin's Fraudulent Representations Law. Any future violations of
Wisconsin law may result in prosecution.
It is unfortunate that these tactics are used to sell pianos. They do nothing but damage the integrity of the piano
business and make it more difficult for honest, ethical piano dealers to be successful. Because of the relatively
small size of the piano industry, these types of misleading and deceptive promotions can go on largely
unnoticed by the authorities put in place to keep such deception in check. Whatever happened to the age old
method of selling that emphasizes product quality, dealer service and customer satisfaction?
Since making Industry scams part of our web presence we received numerous comments from public
regarding these promotions. When combated by fore knowledge of how these scams work, along with the
powers of common sense, piano sales of this type are destined to failure. A savvy, well informed consumer will
see through the deception and elect to buy their piano from a company that exudes honesty and integrity.
We hope you find the points written to be of value to you and invite you to contact us
and visit our website for a refreshing honesty and integrity.
Email: KeyArts Houston
Affordable Excellence Inspired By Family Tradition