Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bushman Music Works / Bushman Delta Frost

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.


Ricky Bush said...

Hey Joe--Glad you DID decide to post this. I can't see any excuses for what you had to go through and maybe you save some folks the same headache. How does John Hall justify staying in business?

Joe's Blues Blog said...

Ricky - After doing some Google searches, I noticed that a lot of people were in the same boat.

Anonymous said...

WARNING: I think Bushman music company has filed for bankruptcy. They are no longer in business and I believe they have stopped production of instruments. It's sad since they made a pretty good product.

The company charged my credit card for harmonicas I wished to purchase but they never delivered my order. They do not answer the phone, return messages or respond to e-mail requests.

Unless you can afford to lose money, do not place any order through their website.

Ricky Bush said...

Thanks for the update, Joe. That's a shame.

Disappointed Bushman Prize Winner said...

Bushman have been treating uke players badly as well. I entered the video contest last year (the 2009 contest) and won a prize. Within a couple of days Bushman emailed to ask what I wanted to spend my credit on; I emailed back with a list that exceeded the credit amount and said I woudl pay the difference on my credit card.

Fast-forward to April 2010, by which time I hadn't had a response to this last message, so I followed it up. They agreed to take the off my credit card and charged it within 24 hours.

Months went by without me receiving my prize - bearing in mind they now also had some of my money. Every so often I would email and usually got a response saying they would ship the order within the next week.

Fast forward again to November 2010 - still having not received my order I phoned up. After a few tries I got through to John, the owner, who said he had stock problems as a result of his warehousing company being difficult - apparently the stock was in the warehouse but they wouldn't let him in to it. He said he had decided to cut his losses and just get a new shipment of ukes in from his factory, which he expected to arrive in 6-8 weeks.

10 weeks after this conversation I phoned again, since I still hadn't heard anything from Bushman. After three days of trying I finally spoke to John, who this time said he had a problem with customs and couldn't get to his stock. I said it was unfair of him to run the 2011 video contest when winners from the previous year not receiving their prizes - if the 2009 winners were waitign for over a year, how long would teh 2011 winners have to wait? I pointed otu that other winners from my year had been in touch with me to find out if I'd received my prize since they hadn't got theirs either. I posed this to John, who said it was 'none of my business' what he was doing with other people and that it was 'unfair' of me to pressure him.

I pointed out that I have rights under consumer law, and laws governing the running of competitions, and he said he'd pay my prize credit in cash if it would 'get this thing finished with'. He told me he'd let me know by Friday what was happening - that was 4 days ago.

I've been waiting for over a year now.

Bushman prize winner said...

I posted the comment above last week. Since then I've been contacted by Bushman to say that they will be paying all prizes in cash, since they don't have any ukes in stock and don't expect to get any more until April. I will post a further update when they pay our prize.

Ricky Bush said...

The Bushman saga continues, huh, Joe? 'Show me the money'.

Anonymous said...

I ordered a DF harp in C on 4/27/11 and though I've followed up with them haven't heard any responses since the initial order and CC charge. I filed the dispute today with my CC. No point in being the next long drawn-out victim. What a sad situation! We'll see what they do when Citi contacts them...

mike august said...

I have E-mail's as far back as march of 2010 of all the lie's have told me as well... this is now joke. I like the harp's but I will never buy one from him..I will never order anything from him ever.

John Hall said...

Bushman Music Works is alive and well, and we've never filed for bankruptcy; in fact, in addition to having one of the best selling diatonic harmonicas on the planet, we put on the Bean Blossom Blues Fest which is attended by over 5,000 people many of which are harmonica players. The Suzuki Bluesmaster is NOT the same harmonica as the Delta Frost - it plays, and even sounds, significantly different. We use a reed setup recipe that is unique to the Delta Frost. We did go through some production/supply challenges that are nearly solved. I feel that the Bushman Delta Frost is the best diatonic on the market for the money; and thousands of players agree. Joe (insert your last name here since I don't know who you are), I am sorry you had trouble reaching us - that was a very difficult time for us, we tried to contact everyone who had orders in with us to let them know what happened. ANYONE with a problem with Bushman call me at 812-988-8200 Monday thru Friday 10am - 9pm eastern time. We are shipping many Delta Frost orders out this week - anyone who experienced the delays that we faced over the last year, is welcome to place an order with no credit card and no form of payment until after they receive their harps.

John Hall
Bushman Music Works
2381 Country Club Rd
Nashville, IN 47448

Anonymous said...

If you check the website, the "Bushman Brewhouse" just went under. Now that he lost his bar, we are supposed to believe him?

Mark Daniel Ward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Joe .. I too hate to be a "whiner" but Bushman Music Works and John Hall have got to have the worst customer service in the industry .. I purchased over $250 worth of harmonicas in December of 2010 .. after 10 months of emails, phone calls and conversations with John .. I never got my harmonicas but I did FINALLY get a refund .. I would caution anyone in purchasing from Bushman in the future .. if you are not in any hurry to get your instruments and want to deal with excessive inventory delays .. by all means consider purchasing from them

Anonymous said...

Doing business with John Hall or his Bean Blossom Festival is a risk to say the least!

Anonymous said...

I performed as a sideman with a band at this year's 2011 Bean Blossom Blues Fest. Our bandleader paid the band in full out of his pocket only to receive partial payment and a bum check from the Mr Hall.
To my knowledge Mr Hall has not made good on his end of the bargain...

epworthslim said...

damn i better try and get my money back as i have been waiting over 3 months for mine and last phone call he said it was on its way. Hate people that lie!!!!!!! I will be posting a hundred threads on his facebook forum so that people know who's with me?

hmr2385 said...

I ordered the bushman harmonica set 1 1/2 years ago and never got my product!! BUYER BEWARE!! I ordered the delta frost 4 key set with my credit card. Lucky I saved the purchase invoice. I called 8 times within the time period. The 5th time the owner John called me and told me he was sorry and he was going to drive to his factory and pick up my set! Then ship them that afternoon! NEVER Happened. Fast forwarding to today 12/12/11 I spoke with John and he said he was going to go to customs to pick up my Harmonicas and ship them out today...NEVER GOT A tracking number!!! LIES Again!! Wait... last time you told me you manufactured your product in the US and now your telling me you have to pick them up in customs..doesn't add up. I'm going to call my credit card company and request my money back! I rather invest my money into the lotto then risk it with Bushman(John HALL)..I'll probably have better odds!

Anonymous said...

HMR2385 ..
Speaking from experience .. I waited almost a year for my Delta Frosts .. you will continue to get every excuse in the book .. from his closing down his bar/eating establishment, to having to fun the Blues Festival, to only being short $100 dollars to finalize his order, to the factory could not produce the harps to his specs, to him moving to a smaller location ( RED FLAG !! ) .. if you are lucky enough to have placed the charges on a credit card you may want to call then and dispute the charges ( and let John know that is what you are doing ) that may help speed up either you getting your harps or a refund from John since he'll have to pay additional fees .. keep good notes and details .. Hopefully this works out for you .. After a year it was not worth my time, having John use my money, or any additional frustration dealing with "service" like that of Bushman !

notebender49 said...

same experience from me. i thought that the delta frost for $30, no shipping charge was a good deal, i like using less expensive harps for practice, and my seydels and manji's for jobs. the fist time i placed an order, it took over a month, john hall explaining that he was ripped off of a lot of inventory. i placed my last order on 07 april. the money was deducted from my acct. on 11 apr. today is 21 may, still no harp, no answers to e-mails or phone calls. i learned my lesson. this guy is a dick doing business like this. jimmy schmitt

Anonymous said...

Same experience. Waiting over a month and still no harmonica even shipped. They sure are quick to take my money though. n. Pity, id heard such good things about the harmonica itself.

Cuor said...

Same experience as the people above:

One month has passed since I placed the order. The status is still "processing", meaning it has still not been shipped. I contacted Bushman many times but they are not reachable and don't reply to email. They took my money immediately.

Cuor said...

One of the people above mentioned they will post on facebook that they hate Bushman Harmonica Works. If you create a group list it here, I'd be thrilled to be a member.

NotRevGDavis said...

Glad I found this saved me $35 and what seems to be a long hassle. I'm doing a informal harp comparison and was going to get a Bushman as my last harp.
Good luck.

Nastyolddog said...

Ok Lets Bring this Blog up to Date
Adan Gussow in his NBH Forum seems to sideing with JOHN HALL.
OK i oderd 3 Delta Frosts fro m there webpage 16 November 2012 wayed for them to arrive.Nothing
Yes I've done most of the Above sent emails no Answer i tryed to get a response from JOHN HALL in Facebook group(HARP JAM)Posting a vidio on the Australian BUSHMANS call for help Cooo Weee Tagging JH still no reply.
Then i posted my Full bill of Purchase on the BUSHMAN FB Wall
To have it removed imediantly But By this time i had waited 27 days

i did get an email saying Part of my Order was Held up due to not Haveing in Stock i Checked there web page when ordering it said they had 400 Harps in Stock I orderd keys A,C,G not uncommon Keys.

I did get an email From JOHN HALL after posting my Bill on Bushmans FB Wall But i had to Play this time 49 Days Had Passed by he then assured me they Had been Posted & that they ship Prority Air Mail Should be there within 2 weeks & i will get a Tracking Number with my new bill

I got the new bill says posted on the 1/7/2013 or Australian 7/1/2013
To Find that my Harps Have Been Posted 1st Class Surface Mail
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK From the USA Give me a Break Thats Another 6to 8 weeks wait :(
The Tracking Number is Non exsitant USPS Says there is an Error Contact the Sender FUCK.

So Lets get this Strait
ADAM GUSSOW & any other Muther Fucker Who Wants to Gaurd JOHN HALLS Back as fine upstanding Member of the Harmonicist Community.

My Order was Placed on the 16/11/2012 i get an eamils saying my Order has Been Shipped on the 7/1/2013 Todays date is the
15/1/2013 & Still no Harmonicas

Nothing has Changed in the way JOHN HALL runs his Company to this date after all i have Been reading this has been the Normal Practise for some 3 years now.

Now I'm Not Saying JOHN HALL is a Bad Person He is a Complete Fucking Prick to thid Date

JANUARY 15/1/2013

Anonymous said...

That was me who has the massive order on a debit card, in the end my Ukulele never arrived... was thinking about ordering again but if they are still the same..... too much hassle lol

Claude said...

I ordered and pay an harmonica on feb 26th, left several messages, 2 SMS,, a post on the face book answer.
What a joke!

Anonymous said...

I purchased two Hohner harmonicas (yeah, I know they ain't DFs) from EBAY. Received both within TWO days of placing the orders.

curtis said...

damn....looks like I'm out $40.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that John Hall is a pathological liar and a thief.

Lee said...

Ordered foam case inserts on Jul 18 and my credit card was charged immediately. When I log on to check the status of my order, it still just says "processing". He has my money, apparently there is no problem following through on the collection of customer payments...However, the order apparently has not been mailed. Called on Friday Aug 28th to see when I my order would be mailed and when I could expect it to arrive. Called again today, Mon 7/31/17. Both times I got the machine and left a message. Based on the messages above, I will try calling one more day, and if there is still no human answering or call back in response to my message, I will call my credit card company and get my money refunded. If he can't afford the help he needs to get orders out in a timely fashion, he shouldn't be in business or he should raise his prices. Customer service doesn't exist.

Lee said...

Update - On Aug 1 I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau saying pretty much the above. The next day (Aug 2) I did get a call back from John Hall apologizing for not returning my call, and that they'd been on vacation and that my package would be mailed immediately. He did give me the option to cancel. I said as long as it was mailed immediately, I'd be okay. He promised it would be. I did suggest that he set up his system so that the customer would not be charged until the package was shipped. He said that wasn't possible. I didn't point out that he could change his phone message to indicate that he was on vacation, and would be back on whatever date he planned to return...Sort of thought that should be obvious for a business owner in this day and age. For that matter, his website could have been updated with the same information. We'll see how long it takes the package to get to me. Will update when and if it does arrive.

Anonymous said...

June 2018 - No harp. No refund. No communication. There was a semi-reassuring phone call with John Hall (who begged me to text, not send email). I ordered in April, no delivery by May. Something is wrong. Mr. Hall delivers excuses and reasons promptly. Not so much for products or refunds. I own two Souls Voice and a Delta Frost. Found them generally acceptable, not exceptional. I loved the idea of buying from a small business man.

Don't bother.