Online retail has become a massive industry. The days you can buy almost anything online.
This even includes instruments and other musical equipment. There are many online music retailers like Sweetwater and Guitar Center.
One that you might not have heard of is zZounds. Who are they, and what is the buying experience like?
Well, I decided to buy something from them, and this was my experience.
Table of Contents
What is zZounds?
zZounds is an online retailer of musical instruments, equipment, accessories, etc. They are very similar to other online retailers like Sweetwater and Guitar Center.
While zZounds isn’t quite as well-known as companies like Sweetwater and Guitar Center, they have actually been around for quite some time. The company started in 1996 and was one of the first online music instrument retailers.
zZounds is currently owned by American Musical Supply (AMS). If you are familiar with AMS, you should already have an idea of what zZounds is like since they share a lot of company policies.
Buying from zZounds
Now that we have a bit of background on zZounds, we can get to the important question: what is the shopping experience like?
Since I was already in the market for a flanger pedal, I decided to buy one from zZounds as a way of testing their shopping experience. I will compare it to Sweetwater since I am most familiar with them, and I suspect most people reading this will also be.
The pedal I eventually settled on was the Keeley Dyno My Roto. It isn’t too expensive and is pretty much just what I was looking for.
Right off the bat, my impressions of the site are a bit mixed. The website has a fairly basic design but is quite cluttered.
There are a few dropdown menus at the top, and all the categories and some sub-categories are plastered across the site’s home page.
This can be a bit overwhelming. At least the two drop-down menus we are given allow you to search by category or brand.
Going into a category like the guitar pedals, zZounds does something I really like. Apart from the price of the product, each listing also shows all of the financing options available for that product, i.e., 12, 8, 4 months, etc.
These options are also directly clickable, although they only take you to the credit check page or to the main listing. Under that, the listing also shows the used price if it is available, as well as whether free shipping is available.
I did notice that the site has some loading issues from time to time. I find this a bit odd since the site isn’t that complex.
Choice of Products
If you want to be a competitive online retailer, the number of options available to the customer is very important. For an instrument retailer, that means not just having many different products but also many brands.
As far as number of brands goes, I am quite impressed by zZounds. They seem to have about the same number and variety of brands as Sweetwater, as well as a few brands not available on Sweetwater.
zZounds also has about the same amount of guitars available as well. Sweetwater has around 1300 electric guitars, while zZounds has just under 1200 at the time of writing.
Buying a Product
Now we get to buying a product. Before putting my Keeley Dyno in my cart, I went over to compare the price with Sweetwater.
Both the zZounds listing and the Sweetwater listing are priced the same at $169. Of course, this could just have been this one product.
I did a scan of the other pedals, then went over to the guitars. It seems like prices are the same across the board.
Financing options differ quite a bit. Sweetwater offers 3 and 6-month financing, then suddenly jumps to 36.
zZounds, on the other hand, offers more incremental financing of 6, 8, 12, and 18 months. Their 6-month financing also doesn’t require a credit check, while Sweetwater’s requires one.
Once you click Add to Cart, you are presented with a page where you fill in your address, choose a payment option, and shipping if available.
On the checkout page, you can either log in to your zZounds account, making the process a bit quicker, or you can use a guest account. I used a guest account.
Then I simply had to provide my email, shipping, and payment info, and done. The whole process is about as straightforward as you would expect from a modern online retailer.
Now that I had purchased my new pedal, it was just a matter of waiting for it to arrive. I chose free shipping not only because it was free, but also because I wanted to see just how fast it was. To my surprise, my pedal arrived the very next day.
Now, that doesn’t mean you are going to have the same experience. I live just outside a major city and presumably fairly close to one of zZounds’ distribution centers.
I also placed my order just before noon. I have found that ordering early in the day usually speeds up the delivery process.
As for my pedal, the packaging was pretty much what I had hoped for. The box it came in seemed undamaged, which is always a good sign.
Inside was the actual box the pedal comes in, wrapped in some bubble wrap to provide some protection. The box of the pedal was also in good shape.
Inside the pedal box was the correct pedal with everything that needed to be included. I plugged the pedal in to test it, and it worked (and still works) without a hitch.
zZounds Return Policy
Since my pedal works and I am loving it, I doubt I am going to return it. But of course, you might want to return an item. So, let’s go over zZounds’ returns policy.
zZounds has a 45-day return policy. That means that you can return your item within 45 days after receiving it.
They offer returns and exchanges on almost any product for almost any reason. If an item is damaged, faulty, or something went wrong during shipping, they will also pay for return shipping.
Refunds are issued once a returned item has been received. It usually takes around 2 – 4 days to receive a refund.
Overall, their refund policy is quite standard. If you want more details, you can go over to their returns page.
Is zZounds a Scam?
On the surface, and just from my own experience, I would say no. Nothing ever seemed off to me while browsing their site or during purchasing.
The fact that they have been around since 1996 also says a lot. Scams don’t usually stick around for decades. Especially in this day and age where people are more aware and educated about scams, and people have literally made careers out of exposing scams.
So, is zZounds legit? Yes, zZounds is definitely 100% legit, and there’s no claim, reviews or anything else proving otherwise.
That isn’t to say that zZounds is without its faults. My experience is also not a universal one.
It does seem like my positive experience with zZounds is a bit rarer than it (maybe) should be. At the time of writing, they have a 2.1 rating on TrustPilot with 56 reviews and 2 stars on Sitejabber with 99 reviews.
Going over those zZounds reviews, it seems like the general consensus is that their customer service and their returns are their worst aspects. Customer service seems to be especially poor in terms of shipping.
There are many reviewers complaining about shipping delays, items not being shipped, and even one reviewer claiming that their order was canceled because a member of their household had failed to pay for something from a completely unrelated website.
That last one is especially odd since I have never heard of someone being denied because a family member had outstanding payments on something that has nothing to do with the thing they are buying.
Every review that had a bad shipping experience would then also talk about the poor customer service. It seems like zZounds’ customer service can be unsympathetic and even outright rude. They seem to be unwilling to help and in some cases, even blame the customer for their mistakes.
When it came to returns, plenty of reviewers also had issues. zZounds would either force them to pay return shipping, even if it should have been free. I also saw a few examples of zZounds simply refusing a refund, even though they should have accepted it according to what the reviewer had stated.
Would I Recommend zZounds?
Based simply on my experience, I would definitely recommend zZounds. Aside from the minor issues with their website’s design, the overall experience was easy and painless.
Regarding what others have said and the number of negative reviews, something like that (or close to it) is probably common for most other retailers out there.
Keep in mind, though, that these aren’t necessarily an indication of everyone’s experience. People are more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one, since no happy customer usually feels like going on a third party review site to leave a positive review
That being said, check zZounds out if you are interested. So, is zZounds trustworthy enough to spend big on expensive instruments and gear? I would maybe not buy anything expensive from them at first. Maybe order from them a few times to see if you trust them enough with a big purchase like an amp or guitar.
5 thoughts on “zZounds Review – Is zZounds Legit? – My Personal Experience”
I have had nothing but great experience with Zzounds everything I have purchased and plan on ordering more equip. Great staff.
I have bought an Epiphone Les Paul Custom guitar and a 50 watt Marshall amp. I did this in two separate purchases. Both times I have been very pleased with the buying experience. The shipping was awesome too. Would highly rate this company.
I have bought a Gibson Les Paul Studio, Orange Dual terror, a PPC112, a Gibson SG, and a Martin over the past 4 years on their pay as you play. The Martin came with a massive crack in the body. The return process was painless. I took it to the UPS store gave them the return shipping info and they sent my new one out within 2 days. Most of the issues I’ve run into are with the parcel service which isn’t on them. The pay as you play plans open up quality gear to folks like me that don’t want to open up a line of credit to purchase it. I LOVE Zzounds. I assume they stay in business from customers like me.
I use zzounds all the time and never have an issue. Those negative reviews, as you mentioned, are probably just the “loudest voices in the room”.
I am sure there are tons of satisfied customers that just never leave good reviews. I can personally recommend.
Very nice , zZounds comments and experience, personally I’m thinking to buy PRS guitar and check the service.