Potter Violins strives to make your interaction with the string world a positive and inspiring one. We hope that the lives we touch will retain a lasting memory of the nobler aspects of human experience. To that end, we have developed company policies which both protect your investment and also maintain a commercial framework that serves our mutual interests. As our customer, you have a right to expect the best. Our goal is to offer you the finest instruments at the most reasonable prices. We are dedicated to providing the most courteous and informative service, and prompt and hassle-free resolutions to any situations which may occur as a result of your use of your instruments and bows.
Potter Violins will not share, sell, or otherwise transmit or divulge the personal information of our clients to any persons, institutions or organizations without the express, direct and unambiguous consent of those clients. We will take all reasonable and appropriate actions to protect the sensitive financial and personal information that you share with us as a consequence of our commercial relationship. We are honored that you have chosen to place your trust in us and we will do everything we can to demonstrate that your confidence in us is justified.
Please note that our free shipping policies, where applicable, do not extend beyond the contiguous 48 states. The customer is responsible for all shipping charges to Alaska (AK) and Hawaii (HI), as well as to/from APO or FPO addresses.
It is easy to try instruments simply by calling us and arranging a shipment. Instruments under $3,000 must be paid for in full when they are shipped. These instruments can be returned within 21 days. After this period, our normal trade-in policy would apply. Instruments that cost more than $3,000 can be sent on a one-week trial contract. You will have one week to decide either to purchase the instrument or return it to us. A 10% restocking fee will be charged to the client for purchased instrument returns.
Multiple trials for instruments under $3000 generally require that one of the instruments be paid for in advance while awaiting final approval. The second instrument should be returned after the first week. The approval period for the preferred instrument can then be extended for a total of up to three weeks.
It is important for you to remember that you assume full responsibility for the condition of instruments until they are returned to Potter Violins. If instruments are damaged in return shipping, you agree to pay for the costs of repairs, including depreciation in value of the damaged instrument. It is very important that you purchase insurance coverage and use only our recommended shippers (UPS or FedEx). Please examine any goods shipped by us to be sure you have received them in good condition. Please notify us immediately if you suspect that they have suffered any damage en route to you.
Shipping for all trials is the responsibility of the customer. If an instrument or bow is purchased during the course of the trial period, the shipping to the customer will be refunded or added into the invoice as a discount. Return shipping to Potter Violins will remain the responsibility of the customer.
We stand by our products, and will exchange or return any item within 21 days, subject to the following terms and conditions:
Full-sized (Student level up to $4000):
We will accept any one full-sized instrument in trade* at the original sales price**, minus a reconditioning fee, if the instrument was originally purchased from Potter Violins provided that:
- The trade is for another instrument of greater value.
- The trade instrument has been reasonably well-maintained and has not suffered any significant damage.
- Receipts from the original sale are provided by the customer and that the customer trading the instrument is the original purchaser.***
*Please note that the trade-in value of your instrument is based on the purchase price of the instrument alone (excluding cases and bows).
Instruments will incur reconditioning fees in order to bring them up to our standards for resale and warranty. If your trade is in excellent condition, you can expect the following reconditioning fees: Violin $250, Viola $300, Cello $350, Bass $400
For instruments valued above $4000, we will take back in trade at the original sales price less a reconditioning fee to be determined at the time of trade in. Please call the store for more information. Policy effective July 1, 2013.
For all instruments purchased prior to July 1, 2013, the previous trade in policy will remain in effect.
*While we will always try to accommodate every need we cannot guarantee the acceptance of trade on consignment instruments.
**Please note that the trade-in value of your instrument is based on the purchase price of the instrument only and excludes cases and/or bows.
***Trade-in values as outlined above are only valid if you are the original purchaser of the instrument from Potter Violins. Instruments purchased second hand but originally purchased from Potter Violins are still eligible for trade with slightly modified terms. Instruments purchased second hand will be traded at 1/2 the original trade in value.
Instruments will incur reconditioning fees in order to bring them up to our standards for resale and warranty. If your trade is in excellent condition, you may expect the following reconditioning fees: Violin $250.00, Viola $300.00, Cello $350.00, Bass $400.00. Any exceptions to these policies are at the sole discretion of Potter Violins.
Please note that: The Trade-in instrument is due back to the store at the time you purchase your new instrument. If you are a mail-order client, you will have two weeks to return the trade-in instrument to our store. If we do not receive the trade-in instrument within the two-week time frame, we will charge your credit card for the value of the trade-in instrument and will assume that you are keeping it. If at the time we receive your trade-in instrument, any additional damage or depreciation is assessed, we will charge your credit card or account accordingly. Please contact the store if you have questions.
Trade-in policy for Fractional-Size Violins & Violas:
A child usually changes instrument size approximately every two years. When you trade your fractional (1/8 through 3/4) violin or viola toward the next size, you can expect a $250 depreciation from your original instrument purchase price. This amount includes costs associated with restoring trade-in instruments to saleable condition. For example, if you paid $850 for your fractional Doetsch violin and you took good care of it (no cracks or scratches, etc.) you could expect to receive $600 as your trade-in allowance toward your next instrument. Cases and bows are purchased separately and do not retain any trade-in value.
Trade-in Policy for Bows (Updated 4/22/2014):
All fractional Pernambuco violin bows (nickel level) will be given a $75 trade-in credit. All fractional Brazilwood cello bows will be credited $50, and fractional Pernambuco cello bows $100. This policy is for bows traded in with the instrument and in immediately re-saleable condition. The credited bow must not be warped,
This policy is for bows traded in with the instrument and in immediately re-saleable condition. The credited bow must not be warped, nor have a broken tip or worn grip. The customer will need to have those conditions corrected before the bow is eligible for the credit. The credit will be applied after the bow has been received and evaluated by Potter Violins.*
All full-size pernambuco violin bows (nickel level) will be given $100, viola, $125 and cello, $150. This policy is for bows traded in with the instrument and in immediately re-salable condition. The credited bow must not be warped,
The credited bow must not be warped, nor have a broken tip or worn grip. The customer will need to have those conditions corrected first before it is eligible for the credit. The credit will be applied after the bow has been received and evaluated by Potter Violins.*
All silver-mounted bows up to $3000 in value can be taken in trade at 70% of the purchase price toward a bow of higher value. Antique bows with a value higher than $3000 can be taken in trade at 100% of the purchase price, less a reconditioning fee. (Flat rate of $75 for rehair and clean up; all other reconditioning would be assessed at the time of trade-in). Any certificate (other than the Potter Violins appraisal) sold with a bow must also be returned to receive full trade-in value; otherwise, the cost of replacing the certificate will be deducted.
*The policy does not include rental bows.
Viola Resizing: Trade-in Exception:
If you are trading your viola (15″ to 16 1/2″) toward a more expensive viola, see the full-sized instrument policy above. If you trade your viola (15″ to 16 1/2″) toward another adult-size viola of the same brand, there is a $400 flat fee. (This charge is for the instrument only. You keep your original case and bow.)
Trading Fractional Cello Outfits
When you trade your fractional (1/8 through 3/4) cello outfit toward the next size, there will be $300 depreciation from your original instrument purchase price.
For example: If you paid $2,000 for your fractional cello, you could expect to receive $1,700 as your trade-value allowance. Cases, bags and bows are purchased separately and do not retain trade-in value. Instruments that have been damaged or that require maintenance or repairs would naturally incur a higher depreciation amount. A “soundpost crack,” for instance, can cost up to $800.00 to repair, and those costs do not cover depreciation of the instrument.
Please refer to our maintenance guide to learn how to take care of your instrument to reduce the likelihood of unexpected repair charges.
7/8 to 4/4 Cello Exchanges:
When trading back and forth between 7/8 and 4/4 size cellos of the same brand or price range, there is a $500 flat fee. This fee applies whether you are trading up or down in size and applies only to the instrument. In most instances, you would keep your same case and bow, thereby avoiding any additional costs associated with exchanging those items.
Sadly, we all occasionally have times when there is more “month left at the end of the money” and we have put off paying some bills. While we would love to have an extended payment plan, our employees and suppliers are also on a budget. So when we need to borrow to cover a shortfall because you couldn’t pay our invoice, it costs us fees which would drive up the cost of instruments and curtail our donation programs. We feel accounts that become delinquent should pay the small costs needed to cover their delayed payments. These fees may vary depending on the program and sale.
All electronic instruments and accessories have a three-week return policy from the date of purchase. The items must be in resaleable condition and in the original packaging. A restocking fee of 15% may apply. Although Potter Violins does not warranty electronic instruments and accessories, many of the products have manufacturer’s warranties. Potter Violins does not take electronic products in trade.
Potter Violins does not pay undisclosed teacher’s commissions or referral fees under any circumstances. You should never have to ask yourself if your child’s teacher is offering you unbiased information regarding instrument purchases.
If you are a member of:
MD/DC ASTA or VASTA (Local Chapters)
ASTA National Chapter
Federation of Musicians Local #161-710
Federation of Musicians Local #40-543
… you and your immediate family are entitled to the following:
10% off all sheet music
10% off all teaching accessories
10% off all student instruments and bows
10% off all instrument cases and bow cases
10% off all repair work (labor only, does not include rehairs or parts)
Additional discounts on Antique Instruments and Bows. (Contact us for details.)
Free shipping on all website purchases above $100 or strings-only purchases of $40.00 or more.
For in-shop purchases, you must show your membership card before completing the sale to receive your discount. A membership number must be provided before the sale during your instrument sale appointment. These discounts cannot be combined with any other offers.
Before you shop online, please email us at with your membership information and we will send your webstore discount code by return email.
Potter Violins gift cards may not be refunded or redeemed for cash at any point after purchase. Gift cards will not be replaced if lost or stolen.
Sales apply to in-stock and non-consignment inventory only.
Sales will not be applied retroactively to past purchases.
We will not advise on sales until an official announcement is made.
Discounts may not be combined with other discounts, sales, or promotions.
Potter Violins guarantees any instrument sold by us will be free from defects in materials & craftsmanship. Instruments which have been repaired or reconditioned carry a five-year warranty for the work which was done by Potter Violins. Limitations apply to issues of basic maintenance and normal usage. Potter Violins maintains a 100% guarantee of authenticity on all of our instruments.
All new bows and new instrument cases come with a 6-month (six-month) warranty against defects in quality and construction. This policy does not apply to used bows and used instrument cases. All antique bows may be returned for a full refund within twenty-one (21) days. Bows taken on a one-week trial and then purchased are subject to our trade-in policy only. Antique or previously used bows are sold in “as-is” condition.
All instruments, bows, and cases are subject to availability and may become out-of-stock/in-stock at any time while the website may say differently. Please call before you place an order to ensure we have exactly what you are looking for.
If you would like to return or exchange your item(s), you may do so within the three-week return policy. Instruments and bows taken on a home trial and then paid for are excluded from the return policy and are subject to trade-in only.
We may deny returns/refunds on any merchandise we determine are unable to be put back in inventory.
Special orders are non-returnable.