I swore that I wasn't going to do this, but I changed my mind. I wanted to document my experiences attempting to purchase a single harmonica directly from John Hall at the Bushman Music Works.
09/07/2010 - John Hall posted a message to his forum:
"We've sat back quietly and patiently while we let two big dealers attempt to supply Delta Frosts to the harmonica playing public. We just can't leave the sales-shipping-servicing of our harmonicas to anyone else. The dealers don't pay timely, and they don't have knowledgeable personnel available to help our customers get what they need. So we are cutting out the fat, and we're putting our prices low. Delta Frosts are now $25, free shipping! It doesn't matter how many you buy. It doesn't matter how famous you are. Nothing matters except this: You're buying what I consider to be the best out-of-the-box harmonica for under $30 in the world! Period. We've just received a large shipment, we are shipping all existing orders now. We'll be completely caught up and ready to ship your orders. We will not charge any credit cards prior to shipping as competitors have alleged."
It seemed like a low risk proposition. Since I had a less than perfect experience when I purchased a Bushman Free Jazz on closeout, I decided to place an order for a single harmonica.
09/13/10 - I placed an order using the Bushman web site. The website showed over 4000 units in stock when I placed the order. It seemed like everything was cool.
09/14/10 - I received an e-mail notification confirming my order and that my credit card had been charged for $25. At the time, I thought, "cool. my order should be here in a couple of days." I forgot about it.
09/21/10 - A person started a thread on the forum at Modern Blues Harmonica. He was asking about Bushman Delta Frost harmonicas. The person had placed an order a month earlier and hadn't received their order. Since, I hadn't received any notification that my order hadn't shipped, I decided that I should do some digging on the status of my order.
09/22/10 - I called Bushman's customer service number. An answering machine picked up. I left my contact information. I didn't receive a return phone call.
09/29/10 - I tried calling several times on 09/29/2010. Nobody answered.
09/30/10 - I called back and spoke to a gentleman named Ryan. Ryan told me that Delta Frost orders would be going out on Monday, October 4th. I didn't receive a return phone call.
10/06/10 - A thread of complaints by people who had placed orders directly with Bushman. but had never received their orders was deleted on the Bushman web site.
10/07/10 - I called Bushman's customer service number. An answering machine picked up. I didn't leave my contact information.
10/08/10 - I made an inquiry on a couple of forums to see if anyone had placed and received an order from Bushman. I received several private messages. None of the messages were encouraging. One person had placed an order in January 2010 and still hadn't received their order. Another had placed an order more than a month earlier. It was an order worth more than $200 and had paid with a debit card. Now, I was starting to get nervous.
10/11/10 - I tried calling Bushman. Ryan answered the phone. He told me that the owner wanted him to take the names and numbers of people calling about orders. I gave him my name and number again.
10/12/10 - I hadn't heard from John Hall @ Bushman.
10/14/10 - I called Bushman's customer service number. An answering machine picked up. I left my contact information.
After thinking about it more and reading a few more messages from people who had placed orders much earlier than me, I decided that I was done and that I ought to try to get my money back.
I called the credit card company to file a dispute. On my behalf, they attempted to call Bushman and spoke with Ryan. John Hall wasn't available. When I explained that I had called them several times and was waiting for a return phone call from John, they offered to credit my account. A few minutes later, the credit was issued.
Fifteen minutes later, John Hall called me. I told him that I had filed for a credit with the credit card company. He was apologetic and said that he could have done that for me. Given his track record of returning phone calls, I didn't think that was likely.
This was my second order from Bushman. The first one was problematic, too. I eventually received that order after a couple of phone calls.
This was far too much of a hassle for a $25 order. I won't be ordering from them again, nor will I purchase another Bushman product.
I learned the Suzuki Harpmaster is the same harmonica.