​​​​Is zZounds Legit? Everything you need to know!

zZounds is undoubtedly a name that many of you have seen appearing in your search results when researching gear or trying to find somewhere to buy guitars and accessories.

As a brand, they don’t have the type of household name status that the likes of guitar Center and Sweetwater enjoy, so newer shoppers might (quite rightly) wonder whether or not zZounds is legit, and a is it trustworthy place to shop online?

In this KillerGuitarRigs Guide we’ll be taking a close look at zZounds, bringing you the background and answering the question, “is zZounds legit?” Keep reading to see what we found.

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Is zZounds a Scam Site?

zZounds: Easy Payment Plans, Fast Free Shipping, Great Customer Service

We can confirm with confidence that zZounds is not a scam site. This is a long running business, and was in fact, one of the first online music retailers in the world. This is backed up by a 100% Trustscore on scamadviser.com

While zZounds is not a scam, they don’t have a particularly stellar customer service reputation, either. From 44 reviews on Trustpilot, they earn an overall score of just 2.2 stars out of five, which carries a rating of “Poor”. Frequent complaints include poor handling of returns, unreliable communications including long hold times to speak to reps, and receiving open box or returned items when new items had been ordered.

On Sitejabber the picture isn’t much better. They received just 2.77 stars out of 5, zZounds ranks 28th out of all musical instrument retails with reviews on the site, with reviews like “This company is a joke”, and “PLEASE DON’T DO IT”, serving as warnings to prospective buyers to perhaps look at shopping elsewhere.

Company Info

zZounds was born in the Chicago area in 1996, started by a businessman named Ray Campbell. Campbell founded the company with a vision of being a reliable online shopping resource for musicians, but as online-only retail businesses were so incredibly rare at this time, Campbell and his partners decided to open a physical location in Chicago to supplement their bourgeoning business, in order to be taken seriously by vendors.

As time went on and online shopping became more popular, their store, the zZounds Music Discovery Center was shuttered, and zZounds became what Campbell had always intended it to be – an online only retailer.

What Are Some of the Reasons to Buy from zZounds?

Lowest Price Guarantee

zZounds will not only match, but beat the price of any competitive retailer if you find the item you’re looking to buy listed for less elsewhere. This also includes any shipping costs from the other retailer, too.

If you’ve already made a purchase from zZounds and you happen to notice the item listed cheaper elsewhere within 45 days of initial purchase, zZounds will refund you the difference.

Low Shipping Costs

zZounds are very transparent when it comes to shipping costs. Wherever additional fees for shipping apply, they make a point of showing it on the product listing, which ensures that there are no surprises at checkout time.

For customers in the lower 48, shipping is actually free on all items, with the majority of products being eligible for 2 day shipping. For items not eligible for free 2 day shipping, free commercial ground shipping will apply, with purchases arriving within 5 business days.

Payment Plans

One of the big draws to zZounds for many is their “Pay as you Play” plan. This is a payment plan that almost all new items are eligible for. Approval requirements aren’t strict, so the vast majority of applicants are approved right away, and there is no interest on the repayments.

Hassle Free Return Policy

If you’re not happy with your purchase from zZounds, they provide a 45 day window in which you can make a return for a 100% refund. The return policy in general is (on paper) quite generous, with very few exceptions in comparison with other stores, but there are of course some limitations.

Does zZounds Ship Fast?

BEST site to get equipment? Complete zZounds Review

zZounds offers some of the fastest shipping in the business – they run a 7 days per week operation at their warehouses (except for holidays), which means that as long as you order prior to 4pm Eastern, your item will ship the same day.

Also increasing the shipping speed is their network of distribution centers. There are 4 warehouses that zZounds use, meaning that over 95% of all orders placed arrive at the destination in 1 to 2 days after purchase.

If you’d like to guarantee delivery in 1 day or 2 days, you can also upgrade to next day or 2 day air freight.

Does the zZounds Payment Plan Require a Hard Credit Check

Yes – when buying anything using the Pay as you Play plan, zZounds will request a credit report from Experian. This check may well affect your credit score, so it’s good to be aware prior to applying. zZounds does not, however, report on time payments to the credit bureaus, so you also won’t recover any lost points with on time payments.

What Does Blemished Mean?

zZounds offers a range of clearance options that can help you to save money if you’re OK with not receiving a factory sealed product. They break down the levels of condition as follows:

Warehouse Resealed

Warehouse resealed items are most often products that have been purchased and returned, and contain all manuals, parts, components, and accessories. The item itself will be in close to like new condition.


Blemished items are usually items that have been purchased and returned, but have some noticeable imperfections. They are usually smaller areas of damage, are typically superficial, and in no way affect the performance of the item. Blemished items, like warehouse resealed, do come with all accessories and still retain the manufacturer’s warranty.

Scratch and Dent

Scratch and Dent products tend to have the highest levels of damage. They have either been damaged in transit, or have been returned in such a condition. Again, they still retain the factory warranty, and will come with all parts and accessories, and zZounds provides a guarantee that they have been tested and will perform to the manufacturer’s standards.

Are zZounds and American Musical Supply the Same Company?

zZounds and American Musical Supply are not the same company, but they do work with one another. If you’ve looked at the website of both stores, you might have noticed that their stock looks incredibly similar – this is because they share an inventory. A third store, Same Day Music, also shares this inventory with zZounds and AMS.

By sharing an inventory this way, as smaller retailers, they can all benefit from bulk orders and pass those savings along to the customer. It’s often worth shopping around between the 3 sites as they tend to offer different specials.

Does zZounds Collect Sales Tax?

Sales tax is collected by zZounds for customers living in all states except, Alaska, Delaware, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon.

Final Thoughts on Is zZounds Legit

We’re happy to conclude that zZounds is a 100% legit website. They do have some good offers, and many customers seem to really like their Pay as you Play plan. Their price policy is also solid, and knowing that they’ll beat competitors (including shipping) makes them worthy of consideration, but you will be running the gauntlet of potential poor customer service if you choose to shop here.

  • Simon Morgan

    Simon is an Orlando based musician, but originally hails from Newcastle, England. He started playing bass and guitar in 1998, and played the local scene throughout his teen years before running away to work on ships. These days his passion is budget guitars, amps and pedals - though he's not afraid of the finer things.