The handpan instrument has been rapidly growing in popularity since its birth over eighteen years ago. Not too long ago, it was incredibly difficult to even get the opportunity to purchase one. This situation led to the appearance of poorly crafted instruments at insanely high prices; handpan scams, as they were known. The community did a great job of warning newcomers of these cheaply made instruments, though some still fell victim to them.
Fast forward to the current day.
If someone wants to buy a handpan right this instant, even a handpan of great quality, it’s not a very difficult task. The prices will still be high (for quality handpans), because after all, these are handcrafted musical instruments. So while the availability has drastically increased, the demand for a cheap handpan still exists.
Lately, many scams have come forth from foreign countries. Advertisements for these can be see across various social media platforms, offering ‘handpans’ for as little as $160. Needless to say, many people have already fallen for these ‘too good to be true’ deals and have found out the hard way that they were complete scams. To be clear, these poor individuals never even received a package; the scammers took their money and ran for the hills.
To make it worse, these scammers are using videos, names, pictures, and other media from well-known handpan builders and handpan musicians. Obviously, this is completely illegal, but since they reside in foreign countries, little can be done to completely shut them down.
How Do We Fight Them?
If you see these scams on social media, and you are certain of it, then please be sure to report the post so actions can be taken to prevent more people from losing their money. You can also help out by spreading the word to any friends and family who you think may be tempted by these handpan scams.
For those looking for guidance on the reputable handpans, there are many resources to turn to. There are some groups on Facebook, such as the “Handpan Community” where folks new to the handpan can ask questions. Also be sure to check out Sylvain Paslier’s guide to choosing a good handpan here.