Update to Purchasing from Outside of the UK (March 2022)

We posted an article last year that talked about a few changes that we were making to international purchases, with emphasis being on the effects of Brexit on our ability to sell with Europe and the additional steps that had been introduced that made things more difficult for us. We’ve spent the last year figuring out the most sensible and efficient way for things to work for Barleycorn when selling overseas, and we’ve decided to make some changes to the way we do things regarding our instrument guarantee when bought from outside of the UK. There will be separate changes to this policy in Mainland Europe and everywhere outside of the UK and Mainland Europe.


 The first change we will be making is to our one-year guarantee for instruments sold to Mainland Europe. We will be reducing this guarantee for major defects to three months from the date the instrument arrives with you. There are a couple of reasons for this change, but the most crucial is the fact that customs checks and customs charges introduced post-Brexit mean that the whole process of a concertina being sent back and forth between the UK and Europe can take weeks with an antique instrument being stuck in a warehouse whilst paperwork is sorted out, as well as being a very expensive thing to do for you, the customer. We believe that this 3-month guarantee provides a sufficient time-period for any significant issues to appear or be noticed, during which we will take the instrument back and sort the issue, with the full transparency that it could take a few weeks (or longer in exceptional circumstances) for the instrument to travel back and forth to and from the UK. It’s important to note that our standard week’s approval period on a concertina purchase will remain exactly the same, so if you buy an instrument and it’s not quite right for you within a week of receiving it, then you can just send it back to us for a full refund- your only expense would be the postage cost for sending the concertina back to us. Another reason for this change is that we’ve had a couple of incidents of a concertina being kept in a warehouse in hot countries for two or three weeks whilst customs procedures were carried out, and in one of those cases, a concertina in perfect condition when being sent out had developed a fairly serious crack in the fretwork. As soon as a concertina leaves the UK and goes into a more extreme climate of any kind, problems can occur much more easily, and we can’t continue taking instruments back 11 months after a purchase for issues that have been entirely caused by climate.

INTERNATIONAL (Outside UK and Mainland Europe)

The second change to our guarantee relates to any sale outside of the UK or Mainland Europe. As a default, we will not be offering any guarantee on these instruments outside of the one-week approval period (which will stay the same as always)- however, we will offer a guarantee on a case by case basis. This is entirely dependent on the cost of the instrument being purchased, and the country (and climate) that it is being purchased from. The main reason for this change is purely down to the fact that it can take 6 weeks for us to receive an instrument back from the USA, for example, and when all that needs doing is something small such as a lever correction or a pad replacement on an $800 concertina, the process becomes infeasible. It’s also worth reiterating that climate-induced issues with concertinas are a big factor in this decision, and that’s something that we’ll mention in more detail at the end of this article. To clarify, none of this is to say that, after the week’s approval or the guarantee offered before purchase, that we will no longer provide any post-purchase support. If an issue arises after these periods, please do still get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to assist- whether that be talking you through a fix to a fairly simple problem, or putting you in touch with a repairer nearer you who can sort the issue for you. We’ve gained a stellar reputation over the years for our attentive customer service, and we will continue to go above and beyond where possible- that won’t be changing. It’s worth mentioning at this point that we’ve sold around 60 concertinas overseas in the past few months (of which 30 went to the USA) all of which have been accepted and are being enjoyed by their new owners. It is very rare for big problems to arise outside of climate-induced faults, which hopefully emphasises the point that this change really isn’t anything to do with lower standards on the instruments we send out- far from it.

Climate-Induced Problems

The one major thing that we can’t guarantee against is climate-induced issues with your concertina after the one-week approval period. Concertinas are antique, mostly-wooden things and they don’t react well to extreme conditions- most notably, low humidity. Our FAQ section of the website describes the best way to store your concertina in an extreme climate, but we can never guarantee that, even with a lot of steps taken to try and control humidity, the concertina will avoid issues like warping over time- it is much less likely, however, if you keep the room constantly humidified to the correct level. We will always warn people from countries that tend to have difficult climates for concertinas (such as Canada during the winter) of the issues that could potentially arise, but if the purchase is still made and the week-long approval period passes after the delivery date, then the way the instrument reacts to the climate is down to you, the buyer, to control as best you can. 

We’ve seen our business change massively over recent years and due to our online presence, we now sell more internationally than we have ever done before. We’re incredibly grateful for the custom from all over the world and we do enjoy sending these beautiful instruments off for a whole new adventure on a new continent. It’s just important that we are as transparent as possible about the potential difficulties of these purchases so that you know exactly what to expect from your buying experience. The most important thing to stress is that we will always help you wherever we can, and that will never change. We just need to be as realistic as possible about the stresses on the instruments (and ourselves!) that an increased international presence brings in a time of ill-judged, ‘oven-ready’ isolationism from our own nation.