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Purchasing from abroad:

The following procedure has worked successfully in numerous deal with buyers abroad, or further afield within South Africa:

  • A complete (but refundable) payment for the instrument has to be made prior to shipping it. From abroad only SWIFT inter-bank transfers are accepted. Within South Africa EFT payment is adequate. This dealership does not accept credit card payments.
    Bank charges for the fund transfer are 'shared', meaning each party carries its own costs with its own bank.

  • Shipping is done as soon as the payment is through and approved. Shipping is normally done through EMS (via the Post Office), but in some cases international courier companies such as DHL, FedEx and others may be used, should the situation require it.
    I normally pay for the shipment to the buyer, but in some cases shipping costs outward may either be shared between buyer and seller, or carried by the buyer alone - this decision is subject to negotiation.

  • All taxes and duties levied by customs at the buyer's side are for the buyer's account. Since such taxes are based on the declared value of the shipment, the value declared for customs purposes can be negotiated with the buyer to facilitate the import.

  • For buyers within the USA it may be useful to know that the import of items older than 100 years is exempted from taxes and duties.

  • From the date of receipt of the instrument, the buyer has 5 days to decide if the instrument meets his requirements. Unless advised to the contrary, the instrument will be considered sold after 5 days from delivery.

  • Should the instrument be returned for a specified and accepted reason, a refund of the purchase price will be made after the instrument has been delivered back to this dealership and has been seen to be in the same condition as when it was originally sent to the buyer. The refund will be via SWIFT interbank transfer, unless requested and agreed to differently.

  • NB: Should an instrument be returned to this dealership, the return shipping and insurance costs will be carried by the buyer.
    Furthermore, in the refund to the buyer, this dealership will retain the amount of the original shipping charges to the buyer, along with all the banking charges for the SWIFT transfers both ways, and also including any taxes and customs duties levied during the return delivery into South Africa.
    This effectively means that in the event of a returned instrument, all the incidental costs incurred for the entire process of payment, shipping and refund are carried by the buyer.

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    Accessing the instruments:

    There are various ways of gaining access to the instruments on offer:

    • If you live in Durban or near Ballito in South Africa, you can simply visit me directly and try out the instruments and bows I have available. (Ballito is on the coast, about 35 km north of Durban.) Even if you live further afield, this certainly is advisable in the case of high value instruments.

    • I also travel a lot within South Africa and regularly visit the big centres. I normally arrange to meet potential buyers at their homes or wherever is mutually convenient. Contact me directly to find out when I will next be in your area.

    • In some situations the instrument can be sent by post or by courier to where the buyer lives, whether within southern Africa or further afield. The procedure that applies in such a case is described in detail under the first heading of this page, above.

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    About posting instruments:
    I receive and send instruments by post on almost a weekly basis, and so far have had no problems with this procedure, provided a secure and reliable operator is used.

    • When posting instruments within the country (South Africa), I use and recommend the Post Office, which handles items for the Speed Services system. Their overnight counter-to-counter service is highly effective with delivery assured the following day anywhere in the country, provided items are submitted prior to a certain cut-off time. Items submitted on Fridays are only delivered on Mondays. And it’s cost-effective. Postnet is also good, but more costly.

    • For deliveries abroad, I use EMS (Expedited Mail Service) – this is a courier service operated between post offices internationally. in terms of a protocol that exists between all post offices in most countries in the world. It is much cheaper than regular courier companies and takes between 3 and 5 working days for delivery, at a fraction of the cost – an excellent system and a cost-effective option. I've used it a lot and until now it has never failed.

    • When things are in a hurry internationally, I use the standard couriers – DHL, FedEx, and others. They are fast and effective, but cost a lot.

    When posting an instrument, preparation and packaging is very important. For instructions in how to package an instrument click here. Such shipping costs, both ways are carried by the buyer.

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    In all deals, payment must be one-off within a prearranged period of time. No terms are given.
    Payments effected within South Africa must be done via EFT to my account, or cash, if that is suitable.
    A deal is considered as concluded only after complete payment has been made, the funds being available, at which point ownership is transferred to the buyer.
    Payments done internationally must be through SWIFT interbank transfers. In the case of SWIFT transfers the buyer must pay the required bank charges at his end and I will undertake to pay the required charges at my end.

    I don’t accept credit cards payment (yet).

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    Trade-in as part payment:
    I don’t take a buyer’s old instrument as part-payment or as trade in. Many of the instruments I sell are consignments I take in behalf a seller and the seller wants money, not another violin.
    I may be prepared to assist in selling your old violin as consignment stock at a price we agree on, should I feel the instrument is viable for a sale and up to the required standard of the instruments I normally offer. In such a case my normal percentage commission will apply in the event of a sale of your instrument. Furthermore, conditions relative to the value, quality and standard of the instrument, as set out in the “For Sellers” page, will apply.
    In exceptional situations I will consider taking an instrument as part-payment, but in such a case the instrument you're buying must be my own property, and secondly, I must really consider your trade-in violin as a sellable and worthwhile instrument, but such a decision is at my discretion. This means I am in fact buying the violin. In such an event, the conditions outlined in the “For Sellers” page will apply – I will only buy an instrument a maximum of 60% of its expected retail value - the norm is 50% and in some dealerships even less.

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    Trial period:
    I endeavour to give a trial period to all buyers, the purpose of which is to try out the instrument to see if it is suitable.
    The norm is a week. In the case of beginner instruments, two to four days should be enough. In the case of high-value instruments for professional use, such a trial period can be longer, but must be negotiated and agreed on before the instrument is handed over.
    The procedure for each purchase will depend on the respective locations of both the buyer and the instrument, hence each situation is largely dealt with according to its own circumstances.

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    Security during trial period:
    The matter of security during a trial period depends entirely on the situation.
    In the event where I personally know the buyer’s teacher, or if a respected teacher or academic is involved, or where the musician is a well-known and respected individual with an exposed reputation to protect, a trial period can be given without prior payment.
    However, when I don’t know the buyer or anyone else who knows him/her, and/or when the instrument has to leave the country for a trial, etc. I will expect the full purchase price to be paid over to me prior to handing over the instrument for trial. The amount will become fully refundable if, at the end of the pre-agreed trial period, at or before the cut-off date, the instrument is returned to me in good order. In the case of such a refund any technical banking charges incurred in the process of effecting the refund, will be withheld from the refund.
    I’ve done this several times and it works well. So far no refund was ever necessary – the buyers were happy with what they got.

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    I issue written invoices and receipts for all items sold.
    On request I also issue a written assessment and evaluation for all items sold by myself. These are perfectly good for insurance and fiscal purposes.

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    About guarantees:
    My good standing and reputation is my guarantee, and the fact that I have for 12 years successfully dealt in string instruments of all qualities and with professional musicians, teachers, students and academics of all walks of life.
    I have undertaken never to sell an instrument knowing that it has a hidden defect. For one thing I have too many instruments to offer sale to have to resort to such a practice, and furthermore, my reputation is not worth the risk.
    I deal mostly with old instruments. They often have had a fair amount of repairs, but on average one can assess very accurately how reliable the instrument is, how secure the repairs are and what to expect in the future. It is interesting that the few times I have had a problem with a sold instrument, were with new instruments, and not old ones.
    I have in the past gone to great lengths to ensure that a client is satisfied and happy when something unexpected happened to an item I sold. Reasonability comes into play – I have always been prepared to undertake the repairs (or the cost of them) where it can reasonably be seen that a problem was latent at the time of sale. Such could be the loss of tip facing from a bow soon after it was sold, or a bow’s ferule gets loose, or the hair suddenly pops out. Or a cello’s fingerboard becomes loose, or a violin opens up at a seam on the rib. These are standard problems that occur all the time with all violins and bows all over the world, and should they occur within say up to 6 months after the sale, I would be happy to have it seen to at my cost, or to cover a part of the cost of repairs.
    However, there is a cut-off time where I no longer can accept to correct problems with instruments and where the risk has become buyer’s.
    I am always available to advise on steps to take in the event of a problem that may occur later on, but by and large my dealership has been free of major problems that occurred with an instrument within a reasonable period after it was sold.
    Furthermore, all assessments, comments and opinions on my part during the sales process is done in good faith.

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    Items not warranted:
    Some of the items I do not warrant after a sale are string breakages or fraying, bow hair wearing out, breakage of bows (bows don’t break in normal use), broken bridges and instrument seams opening up after a considerable time.
    Furthermore, instruments can crack due to severe climate change, or severe temperature changes. Extreme dryness can lead to shrinkage of components which in turn can lead to cracks. In such a case many factors have to be considered and each case is treated on its own merit.

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    Potential buyers understand and accept that the owner of an instrument might at any stage of the purchasing process, including the trial period, decide not to proceed with the sale, or to withdraw the instrument from sale, in which case I cannot be held responsible for any inconvenience or costs incurred by the owner changing his mind at any stage of the transaction.
    Furthermore, I reserve the right to cancel a sale at any point, should I have misgivings about a buyer’s seriousness or ability to pay for an instrument, or should I feel instruments are being tried out for mere curiosity with no serious intent to buy. Such a decision is at my sole discretion.

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p o box 14    ballito    4420 kzn    south africa            mobile : +27 (0) 78 0148000             email: info@violins.co.za