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In 2013 I wrote about my experience with Lanzinger Harmonikas. I provided screenshots of emails and timelines, but it was lengthy and opinionated. After the passing of the company’s founder I reflected and removed those articles.
In my career so far as a software developer, I have learnt the value of transparency and honesty with clients. This has a great impact on a company’s reputation and clients’ trust in a company. Even in the face of challenges. Hoping that Lanzinger Harmonikas and other companies can learn from their mistakes, and for the benefit of people in the market for a new accordion, I’d like to offer a clear summary of what happened, and what I learnt.
- August 2011, I had paid a deposit for an accordion from the company’s list of models, with a custom colour of bellows and a standard internal microphone. I had assistance from a local accordion dealer in Melbourne who had offered to deal with the transaction and communication on my behalf. I also got to trade in some older accordions, which was very helpful and exciting.
- 3 months had passed, then 4 (3-4 is the average time for producing an accordion). The local accordion dealer and myself would check in on the company, to be told different reasons every time for the increasing delay.
- April 2012 (9 months in – 6 months longer than the expected waiting time), Lanzinger said my accordion is ready after they had ‘problems’ with the microphones. Meanwhile I had already given up and located the actual manufacturer of my accordion, a different company, who was known for making Lanzinger’s accordions. They disclosed that it was ready, and it had been waiting in their factory for a substantial amount of time, with delays at Lanzinger’s end. Upon careful consideration I took the manufacturer’s offer and opted to purchase it directly through them as I lost any confidence in the South Tyrolean company. Some unpleasant email exchanges with them followed with no explanation, apology or offer of reconciliation let alone return of the deposit.
- I received the accordion from the actual manufacturer, but it was cracked at the bottom of the keyboard. They promptly fixed it and returned it back to Australia. The manufacturer was polite, transparent and prompt in all our communication, and they were happy to explain anything.
- I openly wrote about my experience including email screenshots and talked to several unhappy people from Europe who had fallen victim to worse experiences from the same company. Legal threats came from the company asking me to remove what I’ve wrote about the experience, specifically “stop tell lies”.
What could have happened instead:
- The company could have been transparent at least to some level, as to where the accordion is made. There’s no shame in it: the most renown accordions are made in Castelfidardo after all, especially piano accordions.
- They could have disclosed a timeline and provided honest explanations as to why the timeline isn’t met.
- After the 4th month they could have been unashamedly honest and offered some solutions, such as returning the deposit, disclosing how long the delay will be and why, or even offer a discount off the remaining balance. If it wasn’t too much more of a wait and there was transparency and respect, I would have opted to wait.
What I learnt:
- Many accordion brands don’t produce their own accordions, even when their marketing and communication sells the idea that they are producing their own accordions.
- Just because several prominent musicians appear on stage with a certain brand, doesn’t mean the brand is necessarily reputable, or that they necessarily paid for the accordion, or that you will get an accordion of the same quality.
- Many (not all) piano accordions in the alpine market are produced from the same few manufacturers. The difference in the end comes in the tuning and aesthetics.
- I was still lucky. I could have lost the entire amount of the accordion, but didn’t.
- If the communication is bad and getting worse, be prepared to exit to save yourself from further loss or trouble.
Long term, we could have established a friendly relationship. I often get questions about my accordion and how to obtain one like it, and could have made a recommendation to several accordionists from different markets who reach out to me all the time. Instead, I have an experience I will never forget, and have learnt a lot about misleading tactics by accordion businesses. I hope this can help anyone out there in the market for a new accordion, so that they can avoid my mistakes.