Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Help Me Howard: Phony Guitar
Have you ever been excited to buy an expensive fancy watch, purse or maybe even a guitar? Now how would you feel if you found out it was a fake purse or a knockoff watch? One man knows the feeling after buying a guitar. But can you get your money back? It's why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Ask Peter Gordon a simple question, you get a simple answer.
Peter Gordon, Musician: "Yeah, I love music."
Patrick Fraser: "Why?"
Peter Gordon: "Because I am a musician."
Peter's been a guitar player since he was a kid: a pretty good guitar player.
Peter Gordon: "Opened up for McCoys, Tommie James and Shandels, Terry Knight and the Pack."
When he wasn't playing in concert, he was at concerts, taking pictures of the rock and roll stars.
Peter Gordon: "This is Rod Stewart from many years ago. This is Michael Jackson. This is Ronny Wood and Rod Stewart from The Faces."
They all became famous. Peter didn't.
Peter Gordon: "I got distracted at one point. They focused, you know. Hippie days, drugs and stuff, you know. I got distracted, you know?"
But Peter still plays the guitar every single day and a few weeks ago walked into this pawn shop, where they told him they had this Les Paul Gibson guitar for sale.
Peter Gordon: "He goes, 'It's a 90s Gibson.' I said, 'Let me see it.'"
It appeared to be a Les Paul Gibson with a serial number, and it said "Made in the USA." Peter bought it.
Peter Gordon: "$1,400."
Then he took it to an expert to have him look at the guitar.
Peter Gordon: "So he gets a screwdriver, takes this off, and we look inside and he goes, 'I don't want you to freak out. It's not a real Gibson. It's a Chinese clone.'"
A cheap Chinese fake that sells on the Internet starting from $175. So Peter went back to the pawn shop to ask for his money back.
Peter Gordon: "'It says no returns.' I said, 'But you sold me a 90s Gibson guitar. This is Chinese guitar.' 'Tough.'"
He then called the Miami Police.
Peter Gordon: "'Well, it's a civil matter.'"
Now, he has a guitar that looks like a real Gibson but it's not.
Peter Gordon: "I would just like to get my money back, my $1,400."
Well Howard, Peter thought he was getting an authentic Les Paul Gibson but he got the Chinese version. Legally, should he get his money back?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: "Absoutely yes. He paid $1,400 for a Les Paul guitar, and he didn't get one. Whether it's a purse, a watch or a guitar, if they tell you it's authentic and it's not, that is a breach of contract, pure and simple, and you are entitled to get your money back."
I called the pawn shop a few times. They said I had to talk to the manager, who was never there. I then went over to see him. They wouldn't tell me if they knew it was a fake when they sold it. They didn't admit that it was a fake. Instead they told me, very politely, I might add, that if Peter wanted his money back to take them to court.
Howard Finkelstein: "That's exactly what Peter should do. And he does not need an attorney. He can do it himself in small claims court, and I believe the judge will give him his $1,400 back."
The guitar fiasco has left Peter frustrated: at the pawn shop and at himself.
Peter Gordon: "Oh yeah. I don't like getting tricked. I don't play underhanded stuff, you know? I just wanted to get what I paid for, and I feel like I got burned."
Patrick Fraser: "Now the receipt from the pawn shop says, 'All sales final, no refunds, no guarantee.' But Howard says that means nothing, because when you promise to provide a Gibson guitar, it has to be a Gibson, and the law will not allow a seller to use some catch-all phrase to get away with selling a phony product."
Someone stringing you along? Tired of playing with them? Pawn it off on us. We will shop around and come up with an authentic legal analysis that will strike a chord with you.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: email@example.com (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org