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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Used gear, do you ask for or give a sales receipt or bill of sale?



Nov 10th, 2017 10:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

I did a search here and not much came up.

If you buy something off of Craigslist or a garage sale do you ask for a bill of sale or receipt?

Or does it depend on the item/value?

A used pedal?
A Squire Strat?
A Bad Cat amp?
A '59 Les Paul at a garage sale?
(Above are just examples.)

I have bought a few things, and it has been decades since a seller offered up a receipt.
What I have been doing is keeping a copy of any e-mails and/or the CL ad as back up in case anything ever happens.

30-40 years ago a BOS was common place.

Thanks in advance.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Nov 10th, 2017 10:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

Probably depends on the item and its value. The old Martin D-18 I recently bought was a rather bizarre experience. The seller was leaving town to move to Las Vegas and I never actually met her. The guitar had belonged to her late husband and had been in a storage locker for years. She called the storage company and told them I could pick up the guitar. I took it home and decided to offer to buy it for a price she accepted (this was all via text message). She had already left town and was now in Vegas and not planning to return for a month or more. I sent her a check and wrote on it that it was for payment in full of this guitar with the serial number on the check. My thinking was the cashed check was a legal receipt.

Contributing Member

Maryland - USA

Move out Draw fire....
Nov 10th, 2017 11:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hey Chris that is a brilliant idea. Payment in full and # equals contract once cashed!

Contributing Member


Clawhammer Rules!
Nov 10th, 2017 11:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've bought and sold guitars and banjos through craigslist, all under $1000 cash deals, and no one has ever mentioned a receipt.

Contributing Member


"toxic masculinity personified"
Nov 10th, 2017 12:08 PM   Edit   Profile  

I always ask (if buying) or offer (if selling).
I figure that's at least doing SOMETHING to encourage legitimate exchange of music equipment. Buying gear of sketchy provenance only encourages thieves, IMHO.

Hanging onto receipts of gear you buy also makes it much easier if/when you ever want to trade for something or sell on consignment at a music store. I don't do that often and know that it's hardly the best to way to get top dollar, but sometimes it just works out.

Some states/municipalities have pretty stringent rules (about provenance) for pawn shops and music stores dealing in used gear. Even with my receipts, a music store I traded last year had to file paperwork and put a 30-day hold on the stuff I brought in before they could put it out on the floor.

buster strings
Contributing Member


Rafe Hollister is a friend of mine
Nov 10th, 2017 12:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have asked for receipts for musical instrument pawn shop purchases in the past. I figured if it somehow had been stolen and someone saw me out with it, I would at least have some evidence that it was a legal purchase by me.
I bought a fiddle once from a pawn shop that I planned on giving to my stepson for his birthday, which was several months away. About a month after the purchase, I saw an ad on CL from someone looking for it. Seems a young lady had been in another state for several months and when she returned, found out her stepmom had pawned it. At that point, she reported it as stolen.
I took it to the local sheriff's department, along with my receipt, and turned it over to them.
After about a month, the pawn shop returned my money via the sheriff's department.
So having that receipt was a very good thing for me.

Contributing Member

Santee CA

I forgot my tagline
Nov 10th, 2017 12:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

Never on musical gear.

Contributing Member

Staten Island, NY

Our resident rational liberal
Nov 10th, 2017 02:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

Nope. If you want a receipt go to Guitar Center.

I would except bizarre circumstances like the one CG noted above; I would want to afford myself some protection also. Those notations of the check would probably hold up as sufficient.


Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Nov 10th, 2017 02:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

no, but once I bought an old Gibson L-5 from an old guy and he insisted on giving me a receipt

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Nov 10th, 2017 02:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

If I felt hinky about the deal (buying) and still not weird enough to walk then yes, I'd ask for a receipt and some ID. I have never felt the need.

No one has ever asked me for a bill of sale on CL or some other local deal.


Undiscover'd Country

from whose bourn no traveller returns.
Nov 10th, 2017 02:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

When I sold my BFPR, the buyer had a receipt already written out. He was a class act all the way. :)

Think Floyd
Contributing Member

Eastern PA

Nov 11th, 2017 09:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

Every time I've sold a fairly new amp I include the original sales receipt. I then sign it over to the new owner to transfer the manufacturer's warranty.

I've seen newer used amps for sale on Craigslist where the seller is the original owner yet doesn't have the original sales receipt. Huh? If your amp is fairly new and still covered under warranty, I want the sales receipt. No receipt, no sale!

As for a sales receipt written by the private seller, I've never received one nor made one myself.

(This message was last edited by Think Floyd at 12:26 PM, Nov 12th, 2017)


Nicoma Park, OK.

"Let the music do the talking"
Nov 12th, 2017 12:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

Years ago I bought a Pre CBS Fender (Sonic Blue) Jazz Bass from a girlfriend of a friend that I'd known for many years.

I decided to sell it for a profit, I put an ad in the local paper and sold it.

Two days later I had two OKC Detectives at my doorstep wanting to know where I got the bass I just sold and took me to the station.

Turns out that bass and some other instruments were stolen in a robbery. After disclosing where and who I bought the bass from, everything turned-out OK.

One of the detectives told me always get a receipt and if an instrument happens to be stolen, you have proof that you bought the instrument in good faith and won't have to worry about winding-up in jail.

I've followed his advice ever since then. Best to be safe than sorry!

Contributing Member

USA / Virginia

Nov 12th, 2017 03:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

Never have asked for, or received, a receipt.


Robbinsville, NJ

what do you mean the bass is too loud?
Nov 12th, 2017 10:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

"you have proof that you bought the instrument in good faith"

Contributing Member

American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Nov 12th, 2017 06:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

Never if it is an individual.



Nov 13th, 2017 07:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

So for those that ask for a receipt, do you also ask for I.D? Otherwise, how do you know who you're buying from? Therefore, how do the police know that you didn't just make up a receipt on your own?

To add to that, with a lot of CL sellers/transactions meeting in parking lots and at coffee shops, you don't have a home address for the seller.

Just being a Mr. Negativity Pants here, but there are a lot of ways for this to go bad.

However, there is so much stolen traffic going on that the police cannot possibly track it all.


Texas Gulf Coast

Fender Aficionado BF Lifetime Member
Nov 13th, 2017 07:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

I own about 50+ electric guitars, acoustics, and basses.

I almost exclusively buy my gear from pawnshops.

I very rarely buy my gear from CL or music stores

I keep all my receipts from my pawnshop purchases.

For me there's no music store in the world where I can get the deals I do at my area pawnshops.

I've been to most of the big cities in most of Texas, and no other town even comes close .

There's usually a killer deal on a quality guitars at least every 2 months at the places I frequent.

It's comforting to know I have a legal receipt for all the gear I've bought.


Nicoma Park, OK.

"Let the music do the talking"
Nov 14th, 2017 01:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

Craiglist ads can be back tracked to whoever posted the ad.

If I buy something from Craigslist, I'll keep the email sent to me (I never post my phone number)from the buyer/seller and a copy of the ad.

An ounce of prevention.....

(This message was last edited by RicOkc at 03:55 AM, Nov 14th, 2017)

FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Used gear, do you ask for or give a sales receipt or bill of sale?

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