Frequently Asked Questions

(Updated 23 December 2016)

1. HELP! I can't find anything.
2. Q. How do I order?
3. Q. Why doesn't my shopping cart have anything in it?
4. Q. What are the payment options?
5. Q. Is the item or items I want in stock?
6. Q. What about back orders?
7. Q. What about items I don't see listed?
8. Q. What are your shipping options to the United States?
9. Q. What are your international shipping options?
10. Q. What about insurance?
11. Q. Where is my US order?
12. Q. Where is my International  order?

1. HELP! I can't find anything.

A. We have now (July 2010) implemented a new search feature that searches the shopping cart database and returns a list of all the items that match. You can order directly from this list if you wish. You can search for composer (recommended), title, publisher, arranger, and catalog numbers (ours and the most common ones such as ISBN, manufacturer's, etc.). Access to this feature is now on the main menu bars at the top of each page. We have included links to the full description for all items.

There are a couple of limitations: One is that only terms that are 4 characters or longer are indexed.

Another is that the titles of pieces on CDs or in music collections are not included. However, our previous search method which does include these (but only displays which page they are on) is available from the new search screen (near the bottom). Once you have opened a page using this method you can search for a title, author, composer or any other text on that page by using the Edit menu Find command in your browser. You can also use the shortcut Ctrl+F or on a Mac Command+F).

2. Q. How do I order?

A. If you wish to order by credit card, we suggest you order over the internet. You may initiate an order for an item from web pages with merchandise on them or directly from the shopping cart by clicking on the shopping cart button. When you check out you will enter your personal and credit card information, and then the order is sent to us by encrypted email. It is not stored on the server. You must have a reasonably up to date browser with javascript and cookies enabled to use the shopping cart. If you have problems with the shopping cart, you can use the Secure Order Form (accessible from the initial shopping cart page) instead. See Q & A 4. for other payment options.

If you wish to order by mail or fax you can download one of our catalogs and use the order form it includes. Or you can make an order on our website without entering your credit card and send us a check instead. Send it to Van Cott Information Services, Inc., PO Box 9569, Las Vegas, NV 89191 or fax it to 801-650-1719.

If you want to order by phone or have a question, give us a call at 702-438-2102. The best time to call is 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Monday-Friday and frequently 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Saturday. But we are often available at other times. If you get our answering machine please leave a message and we will call you back as soon as we can.
3. Q. Why doesn't my shopping cart have anything in it?

A. You must have cookies turned on for your shopping cart to work!

Our web site uses both non-secure and secure servers. This makes the most common method of ordering a two step processes.

First you click on the graphic for the item you want. This loads a page that displays the item you have selected and general information on payment options and shipping. On this page you can increase the quantity if you want more than one. To confirm your order YOU MUST CLICK THE Confirm BUTTON  Confirm button You will see a dialog box confirming your order. You have not put the item in your shopping cart unless you have clicked the Confirm button.

When you are ready to check out click on START CHECKOUT at the top of the same page with the confirm button. This will take you to the page for entering shipping information. You can make changes in your order, including deleting or changing the quantity of items. You can check the cost of shipping and you can go back and add more items to your cart if you wish (a limit of 16 per cart). If you need more than 16 items, submit multiple orders and we will combine them.

4. Q. What are the payment options?

A. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards. We accept checks and money orders drawn on US banks and payable in US dollars (this includes Canadian and International Postal Money Orders if payable in US dollars). All checks must have the bank and account numbers printed (in magnetic ink) and the bottom left of the check.

We can accept bank to bank transfers from the Euro zone, UK, Canada and probably some other areas. Credit cards probably have a better exchange rate, but if you have a purchase of more than $200 and no other way to do it, contact us for details.

We accept US cash (registered mail suggested from overseas).

A number of customers have sent us money by Western Union. While this is an expensive method, it is available and is faster than any option except credit cards. It is important that all addresses details are correct or we will have difficulty getting the money.

We do not use PayPal or collect on delivery (COD).

All orders must be paid in advance except for US based university libraries, music departments, book stores and similar. For these orders we must have an official purchase order mailed, faxed, or sent as an email attachment.

5. Q. Is the items or items I want in stock?

A. We now stock more than 5000 items. We generally have at least 98 percent of them in stock. However, we do sometimes have delays in restocking popular items due to temporary out of print conditions and slow supplier response to orders. Contact us by email, use our form for requesting information, or by phone to inquire about specific items.

6. Q. What about back orders?

A. If an item is not available when you order, we will let you know (by email) when we expect it to be back in stock and give you the option of a partial shipment. Shipping charges apply to all shipments.

If you have elected to wait for all items to arrive (or you have just one item) we will automatically ship to you within 30 days of your original order.

If we have made a partial shipment or more than 30 days have passed since your original order, we will check with you before we ship.

7. Q. What about items I don't see listed?

A. Please ask about anything else you are looking for. There is sometimes a delay between the time items are received and listed on the web site so we might already have it. We are also happy to try to find other items.

8. Q. What are your shipping options to the United States?

A. To the US we offer Media Mail shipping (this was previously named book rate). It is $4.95 for the first item and 50 cents for each additional item. As identified in the catalog, some small items are free as additional items and a few others are heavy so the postage is based on the weight. However, you will always be charged at least the $4.95 minimum. If you are paying by a credit card, shipping on orders with 8 or more items or items marked as heavy in the catalog, may be computed at the USPS shipping cost plus a $2.00 handling charge at our discretion. If you want to pay by check, ask us in advance and we will tell you how much the shipping will be. Media Mail can be slow but is faster than it used to be.  About 95 percent of orders are delivered within 8 days but that means the others take longer, in a very few cases to 4 weeks. We have recently modified the shopping cart system to charge cost plus the $2.00 handling charge for Media Mail orders which include an item marked [Heavy]. We also ship Media Mail orders by First Class if they are light enough.

For Priority Mail shipments paid by credit card we charge cost plus a $2.00 handling charge. Our shopping cart computes the rate automatically for your location. If you want to pay by check, ask us in advance and we will tell you how much the shipping will be. The postal service has flat rate envelopes and boxes that we use when appropriate. We have incorporated the Flat Rate Box into our rate calculations where we think it is most likely to apply. Most Priority Mail orders are delivered in 2-3 days. Please use Priority Mail if you are in a hurry or have a deadline.

On rare occasions we use FedEx or UPS for some shipments. Please ask us about this if you think it might be better for your order. The Flat Rate boxes are usually about the same cost as FedEx or UPS ground, which is why we rarely use these carriers.

We recommend insurance for order over $75.00 for Media Mail (which is more likely to be damaged) and over $125 for Priority Mail. See insurance details below.
9. Q. What are your international shipping options? 

A. Our shopping cart computes estimated shipping on international orders to most countries from which we have ever received orders. Shipping may be slightly less than shown and infrequently more. If shipping is more or has not been computed, we will inform you of the shipping charges prior to processing your order. Insurance can be computed by the shopping cart but is not available for all countries. Surface shipping is no longer available through the postal service.

For order up to a maximum of 4 pounds we use First Class International. The USPS (Jan 2016) has established new international rates. The number of rates have been reduced to four: Up to 8 ounces, 9-32 ounces, 33- 48 ounces, and 49-60 ounces. The best value is for packages that are slightly less than 2 pounds (32 ounces). Some tracking information is available for First Class International Orders. See answer 12. 

Parcel service for heavy mail is now called Priority Mail International. We normally use this for orders over 4 pounds only since First Class International is cheaper for the lighter orders. Shipment tracking is available to some countries with Priority Mail International.

More information about international mail can be found on the USPS web site:

Other overseas shipping options such as UPS and FedEx are very expensive (typically four to five times the postal charge) and will only be used it they are charged to the customer's account with these carriers.

10. Q. What about insurance?

A. We only offer insurance through which we use to print our mailing labels. We have found this to be easier in every way than USPS insurance and it is also cheaper.

Important information on Insurance Claims: If your insured shipment is lost or damaged you must complete and sign a simple form that we will send you so we can file the insurance claim. This is required for you to be reimbursed or have the items replaced at no charge and must be done within the time limits specified by the insurance company.

In the US, insurance is $.85 per $100 of valuation. So insurance for a package valued from $1.00-100.00 would cost $0.85 and for $100.01 to $200.00 would be $1.70, etc.  For Canada the rate is $1.10 per $100 of valuation.

Insurance for international shipments using this insurance is $1.65 per $100 of valuation. This insurance is not available to: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola (Cabinda), Belarus, Bosnia, Burma, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Croatia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Herzegovina, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, Libya, Moldova, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Korea, Paraguay, Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Togo, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. For shipments to Mexico the package must be handled only by the postal services. 

11. Q. Where is my US order?

A. For nearly all US orders we send you a tracking number when we email you the shipping confirmation. You can use this information to check the status on the or USPS web site.  The postal service seems to be converting to most mail actually being tracked instead of just delivery conformation. All Media Mail (except local to Las Vegas) goes to the processing center in Bell Gardens, California (Los Angeles area) before it is sent to the processing center that services your area, and then to your local post office for delivery. About 95 percent of Medial Mail is delivered in 8 days with the rest sometimes taking as long as 3-4 weeks.  Please contact your local post office immediately if the tracking for your order says it has been delivered but you haven't received it. If you have not received your order in 30 days please contact us.  Please use Priority Mail if you are in a hurry or have a deadline.

Priority Mail is sent directly to your post office and often isn't scanned until it is delivered. Most Priority Mail is delivered in 2-3 days.

The delivery time for overseas mail is highly variable. We have had orders delivered in 4-6 days on a few occasions, but 10-14 days is more usual. Sometimes the delivery of these orders may be held up for the collection of duties and taxes.  Please check the tracking for all US orders and for international orders to the countries listed in answer 12. We send tracking information for all orders.

In all cases it is extremely rare for orders to be lost. Generally we have only 1-2 per year out of about 3,000 orders.

12. Q. Where is my International order?

A. Some tracking information is available for First Class International Orders. Usually this tracking shows when the package has arrived in Los Angeles for its dispatch to its destination. However mail to some countries is supposed to be tracked through delivery. Tracking to Canada started in January 2013. Tracking to the following countries began in late July 2013:
Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, France, Netherlands, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Israel and Brazil. Tracking to these countries starts 26 January 2014: Estonia, Finland, Gibraltar, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Portugal, and Singapore.

Note the message below from the postal service. We have not had any problems with shipments to France, Denmark and Portugal. Shipments to Italy have frequently been slow and  we have noticed that Brazil is very slow in getting mail through customs.

Effective June 12, 2014 the Postal Service is temporarily suspending Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International™ service to the following countries: Brazil, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Italy, Luxembourg, and Portugal. Read the USPS communication for more information.

Most Priority Mail International (heavier orders) can be tracked (depends on the destination country). We will send you the tracking information.

In all cases it is extremely rare for orders to be lost. Generally we have only 1-2 per year out of about 3,000 orders.

Van Cott Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 9569
Las Vegas, NV 89191, USA
Phone: 702-438-2102  Fax: Contact us by phone or email to arrange

Email:  Or fill out our: Request Form