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Benee, very few luthiers will build a custom instrument and offer a full money back deal like Jeff was asking about. Different builders will have different payment schedules. I have not dealt with many but those I have are very willing to work with a customer to get a payment plan that works for both. Most will break it down into three payments. First payment is to secure the materials. Second is an in process charge to help off set labour and sub contract costs. Third and final is usually required prior to shipment. As stated above most will refund the amount received to date less a percentage providing the finished instrument can be sold or the materials used on another project.

Check out Josh House's ,Tony Karol's or Sheldon Schwartz's websites to see their price breakdowns.
Michael Greenfield use to have a schedule posted but no longer deals directly with the public.
With the ever fluctuating exchange rate many like George Rizsanyi or Andrew White just ask that you contact them directly to discuss your requirements.
Very few luthiers have a three to four year waiting list. So most build spec instruments to stock or send to retailers. If one of these was to be purchased and found not to fulfill the buyers expectations then it would be up to that builder or retailer and their in-house policy.

By the way, don't take Jeff's comments so seriously. I see this sort of thing on forums all the time. People type things thinking one way but readers may interpret it in another. And the hostility escalates exponentially from there. I'm not taking sides here just stating that one should always take things posted on forums with a grain of salt. (Exchange "salt" for a large glass of your favourite beverage, should you be so inclined.)
 
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