CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES EXPOSED IN THE VIOLIN BUSINESS -- VIOLIN STUDENTS AND PARENTS WARNED
CHICAGO, IL -- Dec. 13, 2006 -- Scandals that often go unheard of are those where false claims are made just to sell a particular product at an exaggerated price. Dishonest music dealers will often prey on those violinists who truly want the best quality when making a purchase, but the buyers lose money as well as confidence in the overall music industry in the end.
This describes what has been happening in the violin business, as thousands of beginning violinists and their parents are scammed into buying expensive, so-called "ancient" or "authentic" instruments that are supposed to be of better quality than today's fine instruments. Unfortunately, many consumers are persuaded by music dealers or teachers to purchase certain "Master Made" instruments under the premise that these violins are made superior to the more affordable violins of today when this is far from the truth.
According to Colin Gough, a prominent Professor of Physics at the University of Birmingham, UK, "Science has not provided any convincing evidence for the existence of other measurable property that would set Stradivarius or Cremonese instruments apart from the finest violins made by skilled craftsman today."
Gough also reveals that the primary reason behind this fraud and deception is the fact that some violin dealers and top soloists have a vested monetary interest in maintaining these ideas of the "old being better than the new." Racketeering in the violin business, as with any other fraudulent activity, can usually be traced and exposed by following the money. From commercial bribery to forgery to misrepresentation, violinists are warned and exhorted to research carefully before buying an instrument to be sure they are not being scammed.
Past examples of these types of scams include the Segleman Caper in Britain, the infamous Ponzi scheme, and a scam involving a U.S. dealer where the dealer was convicted of defrauding numerous customers and collecting millions of dollars for the sale of their instruments.
Another disturbing fact is that violin teachers will sometimes receive kick backs as high as 50 percent for referring students to a particular dealer. Many of these recommendations will be based solely on monetary factors, not what the student actually wants or needs. Two reputable magazines, "Strings" and "The Strad", both featured articles to caution students and parents about this practice. The magazines refer to this as a "blind purchase" because neither the student nor the teacher understands what the "fair market value" is for a violin.
Consumers should be aware of these scams and understand how they work so they can avoid being caught in the middle. A detailed list of scams in the musical instrument industry along with a helpful index of terms and definitions are available to create awareness among violin consumers at fritz-reuter.com.