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Friday, January 23, 2009

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT, RIGHT? NOT THIS TIME! NEITHER WAS HIS GEMOLOGIST!

Today I want to share a horror story with you. Well it has been a horror story for us and it's centered on that beautiful ring shown above.

First some background: in our SHOP AT RUBY LANE, we pride ourselves on accuracy and go out of our way to make sure what our customers are buying is what we say it is. In many cases, we get written appraisals done on our more expensive rings. In the case of the gorgeous ring above, we didn't have a written appraisal, but we had the verbal confirmation, on 2 separate occasions, that the primary gemstone in the ring above was a natural sapphire with a slight color/hue change. This confirmation was provided by our regular gemologist, THE JEWELLERY JUDGE, who is regarded as one of the very best in Canada. This gentlemen does work for the RCMP, Birks and other major companies. He also lectures across Canada. So when he told us the stone above was a sapphire we added this ring to our shop, fully confident of what we were selling even though there was no written appraisal.

Enter our customer. He purchased this ring just before Christmas. He took it to his jeweler to be re-sized. His jeweler looked at the stone and told our customer it was merely an amethyst. Our customer was furious. They took it to their gemologist who did an appraisal. He too said it was an amethyst. By now our customer was livid: he demanded a refund, threatened court action, derided us in emails and amongst his friends. Without our own written appraisal, but only the word of one of Canada's best, we had no argument. We asked the ring be returned for full refund and we even paid for the appraisal the customer had done. If there was one good thing about that appraisal it was that the appraised value was 3 times what the customer had paid.

We couldn't wait to take the ring to THE JEWELLERY JUDGE to see what he would say. His credentials and knowledge were now being questioned, just as our credibility and integrity were being attacked. We now have the Jewellery Judge's written appraisal for this ring, stamped and signed on January 22, 2009: PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE WRITTEN APPRAISAL.

His writtten appraisal, and his recognized excellence in his field was all we needed to come to one final conclusion: THE CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT and neither are some appraisers! This customer's appraisal, for starters, came in at less value than that given by the Jewellery Judge. Secondly, the diamonds in the ring were of higher quality than that stated by customer's appraiser. Thirdly, it's obvious the customer's appraiser did NOT apply the usual tests required to determine the difference between a real sapphire and an amethyst. There are criteria and tests. The jewellery judge used those. The customer's appraiser did not. So his conclusions were wrong. So was our customer!

So while we now have the satisfaction of knowing we were right all along in our description, and that our reputation is intact and that our customers have nothing to fear when buying from us, we do have a horrible experience that won't be easily forgotten, for more than just what you've read above.

But here's the final irony and the one that's made me so mad I had to blog about it: when the customer was bringing the ring back, he insisted I refund in cash. So I walked up to the bank, got out the cash, put it in an envelope and headed back home. Somewhere en route, I lost the envelope. I immediately retraced my steps but it was gone. Maybe buried under the snow piles the trucks were clearing; maybe picked up by someone who didn't have the honesty to turn it into the local police station. It's gone: all of it!

I suppose we have to write this one off as an occupational hazard. There's nothing more we can do. It's done, over. But at least we feel justified if many dollars poorer for the experience. All in a day's work.

Well that beautiful ring is back up for grabs in our shop and if you are looking for an exceptional ring for VALENTINE'S DAY, take a look at it, along with the many others in our SHOP AT RUBY LANE.

We've taken a risk posting this story here but we know we've done nothing wrong. And there's another reason for posting: if you're a jewelry buyer, be careful who you're buying from. There are tons of rings on eBay. Many come with huge $$ value appraisals. Our appraiser evaluates on the low side, meaning the ring would probably appraise higher with someone else, provided he/she knows the difference between an amethyst and a color-change sapphire LOL! But better low than BS. Research the appraiser before you buy. Not all appraisers are equal ... obviously!

4 comments:

bobo said...

You are so calm about having lost the envelope!! All after being duped by the buyer, who obviously had second thoughts about the purchase. It is a beautiful ring--if only I had some $$$$.

CRUISEROO said...

Thanks for condolences. I'm not calm. I'm still seething but what can I do? The money's gone and it's been 2 weeks so I know I'll never get it back. Police station's sick of hearing from me. Then I've got this woman who claims she found it and turned it in, calling me weekly to see if I've claimed it and telling me that if I don't claim it, the money's hers! But according to police, she hasn't turned it in. So now I have a crackpot to deal with as well LOL! For what it's worth, we heard from the customer who caused all this last night. He's apologetic in his own way for causing the loss and just maybe a bit chastened as he's now asked for a copy of our new appraisal to take to the person who said it was an amethyst. I'd appreciate it more if he at least offered to send us back the $30 he insisted we pay for his worthless appraisal! ARRRRGGHHH!

Yes, it's a gorgeous, gorgeous ring. By the way, we do take layaway :))

Carl said...

What a horrible story! It's a shame when customer's jump to conclusions and mistakes happen. Thank you for sharing this cautionary tale, and good luck selling the ring during Valentines Day Season!

CRUISEROO said...

Thanks for your comment Carl. I'm happy to say your wishes for us have materialized: the ring has been purchased today by one of our loyal regular customers. She researched the stone in this ring and found it was quite rare and hence, collectible. We're happy to see this beautiful ring go to someone we know will appreciate it.