The Guitar Center chain sells all sorts of musical instruments as well as gear, accessories, and recording equipment — all for relatively affordable prices. But while Guitar Center is one of the best stores for musicians, the Guitar Center return policy is pretty intricate. If you don’t know what’s in it, you can easily get tripped up and stuck with items you no longer want.
So I did the heavy lifting for you, inspecting the fine print of Guitar Center’s return policy to ensure you’ll get your money back on all of your returns. Whether you’re wondering if you can get a refund for used instruments or for clearance items, I’m going to break down everything you need to know about the Guitar Center return policy.
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Guitar Center Return Policy Overview
You have 45 days to return most items, per the Guitar Center return policy.
For many things you buy at Guitar Center, you’ll get a whole 45 days from your purchase date to make your return, per their official policy. This is a longer return window than many return and exchange policies I’ve seen, like the policies for Best Buy (15 days) and Amazon (30 days).
Their holiday return policy differs from the normal return policy.
Guitar Center has an extended holiday gift return policy. For example, during this past holiday season, you could return eligible products within 45 days or by Jan. 31, 2023, whichever came later. Just keep in mind that the extended return policy never applies to nonreturnable items or those that must be returned within three or 14 days of purchase. (We’ll get into that next.)
The return window shortens to just 14 days for a handful of items, like DJ equipment.
OK, so Guitar Center’s return policy isn’t so generous when you purchase certain items. You’ll only get 14 days to return recording devices, DJ equipment, workstation keyboards, rack signal processors, and lighting and fog machines. If you miss that 14-day window, you won’t get your money back. And if you bought something on GuitarCenter.com, note that the return window starts on the day you made the purchase, not the day you received your order.
Vintage instruments get the tightest return window: just three days from purchase.
FYI, if you buy any vintage instrument from Guitar Center, you only have three days to return it. Because of this, I would be really selective when it comes to buying vintage instruments. Be sure to inspect it at the store if you’re buying it in person. And read ALL the reviews online if you’re buying vintage instruments sight unseen.
Some items can never get returned — like clearance items, books, and special orders.
Listen up: there are a handful of items that cannot be returned to Guitar Center — ever. Here’s the full list of final-sale items (meaning you won’t get a refund if you try to return them):
- Anything marked as nonreturnable
- Apple hardware
- Cleaning products
- Clearance items
- Demo gear
- Discontinued items
- Earplugs and in-ear monitors
- Electronic software downloads
- Fog fluid
- Opened software
- Special orders
- Turntable cartridges
- Vinyl records
Make your returns in store to avoid the shipping and handling fees.
If you buy something online and choose to return it by mail, you’re going to be on the hook for the shipping and handling costs. And Guitar Center won’t refund you those fees. This is why I personally like to shop (and make returns) at my local Guitar Center since I won’t have to pay for shipping. Just bring the order confirmation email or the packing slip to the store.
If you don’t have a Guitar Center near you, be sure you really want something before you order it. Or make sure that the deal is good enough to make up for the cost of returning it by mail.
For band or orchestra returns, you’ll pay $4 – $10 in restocking fees.
If you’re not happy with your purchase of a woodwind or brass instrument from Guitar Center, you’ll pay a $10 “sanitization fee” when you make your return. For mouthpieces, the sanitization fee is $4 if the purchase price was under $300 or $8 if the purchase price was above $300. For bows, you’ll pay a $4 restocking fee.
Apple products come with a 10% restocking fee.
If you open an Apple product and later want to return it, know that you’ll have to pay a 10% restocking fee. This means that the fee will be 10% of what the product costs, which Guitar Center will then deduct from your refund.
Related: If it’s Apple products you’re after, we can teach you how to find Apple discounts on iPhones, Macs, and more.
Guitar Center’s Pro Coverage plan might be worth investing in if you’re accident-prone.
Guitar Center has what they call a Pro Coverage plan that you can add to your purchase at checkout, whether you’re buying something online or in store. The benefit? These plans cover the cost of repairs or replacement of new and used items that fail due to drops, cracks, spills, or power surges. You can choose from three different coverage options: 24 months, 36 months, or 60 months. Just note that the amount the plan costs will depend on the specific item.
For example, if you buy the Yamaha P-S500 88-Key Smart Digital Piano for $1,999.99, the cost of Pro Coverage is $489.99 (60 months), $249.99 (36 months), or $179.99 (24 months). For the Taylor GS Mini-e Koa Acoustic-Electric Guitar (regularly $999), Pro Coverage is $299.99 (60 months), $169.99 (36 months), or $129.99 (24 months).
How to Return Guitar Center Items
The cheapest option: Return Guitar Center items in store.
If you have a local Guitar Center near you, return items in store. This will allow you to avoid the shipping and handling costs that come with Guitar Center returns by mail.
If you don’t have a store near you, return Guitar Center items by mail.
You can also return Guitar Center items by mail. Be aware that you have to cover the shipping and handling fees, which can be anywhere from $5 to $200, depending on the item. You can learn more about Guitar Center’s shipping and handling fees here.
Here’s how to return something by mail to Guitar Center:
- Before you start a return, you must have a return authorization code. To get your code, call 1-866-498-7882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once you have your return authorization code, take your item to a post office and ship it back to Guitar Center (4005 N. Norfleet, Kansas City, MO 64161-9231). Remember that you will have to pay the shipping and handling fees.
Guitar Center Return Policy Exceptions
Some items cannot be returned, no matter what.
As I noted earlier, some items can never get returned to Guitar Center. These items include anything marked as “Clearance” or “Nonreturnable,” discontinued items, as well as many others.
Allow five to 10 business days for Guitar Center return policy refunds.
If you return something in store to Guitar Center, expect to see your refund hit your card within five to 10 business days. If you ship something back to Guitar Center, you should expect to see your refund hit your card within 10 to 14 days.
Your Guitar Center refund will go back to your original payment method.
If you return something to Guitar Center, you’ll get your refund issued back to your original method of payment. If you bought something that was over $250 using cash, you’ll get your refund in the form of a check or Visa debit card.
Guitar Center Return Policy FAQs
What if I receive a damaged or defective item from Guitar Center?
It’s unlikely, but if you receive something that’s damaged from Guitar Center, be sure to reach out to customer service ASAP. You can call them at 1-855-770-3373 or you can chat with agents online through their Live Chat feature.
What if I have issues with my Guitar Center return?
If you have any problems with your Guitar Center return, contact their customer service. You can do this by phone by calling 1-855-770-3373 Monday – Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT or Saturday – Sunday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT. Additionally, you can chat with the Guitar Center team online by starting a conversation in their Live Chat.
How do I find my Guitar Center return shipping label?
Guitar Center will email you the shipping label you need to make your returns. Just check your initial order email for instructions.
How to Save Money at Guitar Center
You can save money at Guitar Center by checking out the Deals page online. This page is constantly updated with new deals on all kinds of items, including musical instruments, accessories, and so much more. The best part? You can save up to 80%!
Read Up on More Return Policies
If combing through return policy fine print makes your eyes glaze over, don’t miss our comprehensive guide to return and exchange policies. We dug through the heavy text and laid out all the important return policy details for your favorite stores.