Thursday, September 4, 2008
Okay, I'm ticked off! I keep hoping that sometime, somehow, with all the changes on eBay and all the talk about consumer protection and eBay's setting up a "vero" section, and after being told by PayPal service when I got scammed months back that they investigate all these sellers each time a dispute is opened and that if the seller gets too many negatives or disputes opened on them, that PayPal and Ebay take that very seriously and look into it and blah, blah, blah ... ! Well I hate to say it, but I don't believe a word of it. Here's why:
I've been wanting to branch out with my vintage jewelry line and one of the really popular lines is that called "Juliana", created by Delizza and Elster. Juliana jewelry is gorgeous, highly sought after and fetches a big dollar. But there's one problem with it: none of the Juliana pieces were signed! That leaves today's vintage jewelry lover wide open for being victimized by fraudsters passing off this and that as Juliana. And you, the buyer, have little protection against being scammed unless you know what to look for when buying Juliana.
To help me out, I've just purchased and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a book on "The Art of Juliana". I'm hoping it will educate me better on what to look for. In the meantime, thank heaven for the members of JEWEL COLLECT. This week, as I looked for some Juliana on eBay, I came
across the very pretty set shown on the left. Something about it didn't look right. I took a look to see who was selling it and alarm bells sounded. My face flushed. I recognized the name of the seller who had scammed me on 3 Schiaparellis. I couldn't believe it. Despite my dispute and 4 other negatives lodged against this seller in the past few months, and despite another dispute against him/her that I know was awarded in favour of the buyer, this scammer is still selling happily on eBay. What the heck is going on here?
I approached my jewelry group. I needed confirmation of my fears. They responded. All agreed: no way was this Juliana! Some of them reported the seller to eBay. Others emailed the seller and told him/her this isn't Juliana. It was water down a duck's back. The set above sold for over $105 US. Some other poor buyer just got scammed. How is this being allowed to go on? Sure, it's impossible for eBay to catch them all but when a person is repeatedly reported and disputes are constantly being opened, surely there's reason to suspend this seller. I won't say why I think he's still there. You figure it out.
Folks, I can't say it enough. If you're going to buy on ebay, check the feedback before you bid. Surely when someone has a slew of negatives and the response by the seller is belligerent, there's reason to hesitate. Of course, we don't get to see all the negatives. Those get buried. But I have a found a very useful site that I use to check feedback. It's at www.toolhaus.org Just go there and type in the seller's Ebay ID and it will bring up all the negative feedback for not just past couple of months but years. It's quite an eye-opener.
Oh, before I forget, the gorgeous set at the top of this post, is a real Juliana. How do I know? Well look at the photo on the right. It shows the construction of the underside of the bracelet. Notice the number of links: all Juliana bracelets used only 5 links and most looked like this one does, construction-wise. Note the open-backed design on the stones. Again, typical Juliana.
It's knowing this that made me suspicious of the other set of so-called Juliana being sold on Ebay this week. (See photo below) Again, it's a very pretty set. This time, the seller's feedback looked okay so that was no help. I asked the group. They agreed again. Nothing about it suggested it could be Juliana. There was a photo of the underside but it was all one-piece construction ... no typical Juliana 5-links. Of course, it's possible this seller had no idea this wasn't Juliana. She/he might have been told it was when he/she bought it and knew no better. I did that myself in the early days of collecting vintage designer jewelry. It was a buyer who pointed out to me that what I was selling was pretty but wasn't Juliana! I nearly died and have been cautious ever since.
You see, as vintage jewelry lovers and collectors, we need to be ever vigilant. We need to educate ourselves, buy some books, consult with experts and buy from reputable dealers. Where can you find reputable dealers? Well, for one, visit RUBY LANE where we have our shop. Ruby Lane sellers are screened and watched. There are other sellers, often experts in their field, who patrol the shops and items being listed and who will flag an item if something doesn't look right. Ruby Lane then contacts the seller and asks them to correct it, remove it or explain it. If we don't do something about it, Ruby Lane will remove the listing. Of course, you can't catch all the scammers on the net. There's just too many of them. So that adage "caveat emptor" will always apply when you're shopping online.
Now I feel better. So how was your vintage jewelry shopping today? I've just listed a gorgeous SHERMAN in our Ruby Lane shop, along with the killer EMERALD/DIAMOND Eternity Ring shown below. Click the photo to go over now and take a closer look!