Shipping & Packaging
Delivery Standards & Possible Delays
Most items are usually shipped same-day or within two business days (M-F) of the order being placed, depending on setup delays, number of orders being processed, etc.
Delivery times naturally vary depending on the destination, time of year (holidays, weather delays, etc), receipt of new inventory and any other unexpected factors. Faster delivery options are available upon request.
Backorders are shipped as soon as they are available. Customers have the option to hold the shipment for the addition of the backordered item (no extra cost) or to ship parts of the order as the various items become available (at an added charge).
We do our best to offer the fairest pricing on all Fiddleheads' items. Seeing as service is provided to customers near and far, shipping rates are averaged for the USA and Canada and estimated on the low end. (Where applicable, we pay the balance of the cost when it exceeds the amount you were charged.)
If you order multiple items, when possible they will be packed together efficiently (no superfluous or oversized boxes) as combined shipping. Not only does this save our customers money, but it's also better for our planet. [See our Green Eco Policy here]
We ship all pre-paid orders using reliable and safe Canada Post (arriving as USPS/US Mail in the USA) and trackable parcels can be tracked at CanadaPost.com. Instrument and bow trials are also shipped Canada Post so you can conveniently "test-drive" your violin in comfort of your own home.
Customers can choose the method based on speed and cost. We will gladly upgrade shipping to a faster method as requested.
Canadian shipments are typically sent by Expedited, meaning the items typically arrive within a business week or 2-6 business days.
American shipments are typically sent via Expedited USA (3-10 days, includes tracking number). These are all delivered as US Mail for American customers.
International shipments are recommended to ship using International Parcel Surface unless a faster service is requested.
If you have a concern whether an item will arrive by a deadline or wish to upgrade the shipping method, feel free to contact us.
Note: Other couriers (FedEx and UPS) have been problematic for arriving late and adding unexpected brokerage fees. We do not use other couriers. Rest assured, we have a near perfect success rate with Canada Post with no lost violins since we opened in 1997.
Shipping on Returns
General Returns info, click here.
The customer is responsible for return shipping costs.
Shipping on trials often costs more than the low flat-rate we charge. In the event a trial is returned and no purchase is made or a purchase is returned, it is at the discretion of Fiddleheads to deduct the actual outbound rate (and not promotional website or flat rates) from the deposit.
Return parcels shall be sent back using Canada Post (Canada) or US Mail/United States Postal Service (USA) only. Other countries can use their local postal service or EMS (contact us with questions).
We do not accept returns sent by other carriers as they often arrive with added fees. If these fees are assessed due to failure to follow these instructions, they will be charged back to the customer. The speed of service/method is up to you. Trackable services are best (remember to keep the track number in the event we need it).
The customer is responsible for the trial item until it arrives back with Fiddleheads, thus a select few customers per year choose to purchase extra return insurance for peace of mind.
American returns must include the correct customs information (we provide this and easy to follow instructions to you with our return address label and RA/Returns Authorization number).
Due to our very conscientious and well-designed protective padding and packaging there have been only three damaged and ZERO lost violins in shipping out of literally thousands sent since the early 2000s.
That said, you don't have to worry about damage or loss of your order. Unlike some online instrument stores [read article here] that don't comply with consumer protection laws, Fiddleheads acknowledges we are responsible for lost or damaged shipments to our customers resulting from shipping carrier issues.
Customers are responsible for alerting us to any damage in a timely manner (within 24 hours of delivery) and providing photos to assist as evidence for the shipping company. It is also strongly encouraged that you photograph visible damaging to packaging and keep said packaging until any issues are resolved as it is typically a requirement of shipping companies.
Note that parcels that are successfully delivered then stolen or damaged after the fact are not covered by our policy.
For your own added peace of mind, you are welcome to purchase extra insurance protection. We we will be more than happy to manually add it to your bill or add it to your order after it is placed: Please specify if you wish to purchase extra insurance. Most of the services we use have $100 included insurance included.
Should you choose to return an eligible product (non-final sale), they are responsible for its safe and prompt return to Fiddleheads. It's recommended you photograph the parcel as you unpack it so you remember how to re-package it for the return trip to us. Any insurance coverage on return shipping is at your discretion. Click here for a current "liability coverage" rates table.
As of Fall 2021 Canadian shipments can be insured to a maximum of $5000 and American shipments to a maximum of $1000.
Our Incredibly Conscientious and Reliable Packaging
Rhiannon and Fiddleheads pride ourselves on the BEST packaging in the violin industry!
The way that the violin was packed was unlike anything that I had ever seen before.
It was in a “violin dart shaped” box inside a bigger rectangular box! The outside box was completely enclosed in brown wrapping paper and was marked with “Fragile” stickers all over it...
Once I opened the main box, the smaller violin box was encapsulated by reused Styrofoam walls and plastic bubble wrap... When I opened the violin box, the violin was... surrounded by smaller air filled plastic pillows.
The neck of the violin was cradled in a Styrofoam block designed to prevent the violin from moving around in the dart shaped box. This was truly a sight to behold! [READ MORE]
- Robert H. - Staten Island, NY
Browse our "Packaging and Safe Arrivals" testimonials and you will read about customers on the other side of the planet who received violins that were still in perfect tune!
1. For starters, we take extra precaution and effort to carefully add custom-sized soft foam padding around the bridge to keep it (and the pressure-fitted sound post) from leaning or falling during transport.
2. Then we pack the violin/viola in a complimentary special instrument shipping box or, if purchased, a hard case. This box looks like a tiny little coffin and often suspends your instrument for added protection from bumps.
3. Often times the case is wrapped in its reusable plastic bag in which it came. Books are put in a oversized paper envelope.
4. Strategic padding* and wrapping of various components are applied where needed. For instance, small items are wrapped in old sheet music or put in the case compartments so they won't scratch the instrument. Most of these materials are reused by us from inbound shipments (reducing waste) and all can be reused or recycled by you.
*We don't use packing peanuts. They are messsy and wasteful.
5. Next, the case or instrument box are then put in a special sized cardboard box with layers of padding as an added protective buffer. Unlike Amazon, notorious for sending a 2-inch long item in a bulky 2-foot long box, Fiddleheads only uses the size of box that is appropriate for your items.
6. The box is sealed with reinforced paper tape and heavy duty brass carton staples.
7. Finally, fragile stickers are put on every side of the box and extra cautionary notes added as needed.
Your Violin Arrives Setup and Ready to Play
Our violins and violas finely adjusted, played and tested individually by Rhiannon personally, then shipped tuned and ready to play with the bridge and sound post in place. [Read above about our incredibly conscientious and reliable packaging]
Almost every single instrument we have shipped arrived without damage and with the bridge and post still standing, often still in tune. However, due to various factors with shipping, it's impossible to guarantee the instrument will be in tune or that the bridge or sound post will still be standing upon arrival.
In the extremely rare chance the sound post falls (you'd know it from the rattling sound inside the violin), the customer can take the instrument to a local shop to easily have it put back into place. This is a simple procedure done by experienced hands which will take 5 minutes tops to complete. Customers are advised to pay only between $5 and $20 tops to have this quick service done, though some shops may try to get away with charging more. That said, between 2004 and 2020 and after many hundreds of shipments, only about 5 customers have reported their posts falling, so you have little need for concern.
Check Your Order Upon Arrival
Give your beloved parcel a thorough look-over when it arrives and kindly notify us of damage or shortages/surpluses with quantities.
Visible or concealed damage to merchandise due to shipping should be reported to the carrier and request an inspection (only if shipment was insured, which is usually done at a default value of $100). Should your order arrive damaged, please take plenty of photos of the box and items for evidence for the carrier. Also keep the packaging and any damaged or incomplete items until a claim is settled (if applicable).
Fiddleheads is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged shipments. It's important our customers understand that between 2004 and 2020 there have only been three damaged violins (all easily repaired) and no lost or stolen shipments of shipping due to careful, well-thought packaging. Trust us, we know what we're doing!