From: email address withheld from blog
Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 1:13 AM
Subject: Question about Jewellery stores.
Can you help me figure out how to protect myself from potential over inflated prices on
Jewelry? I recently got 2 quotes on custom wedding bands from 2 Jewelers in Winnipeg.
Vandenberg's and Roger Watson.
I used exact details down to karat weight, style, size, width and gold content weight. The
rings were quoted according to illustration I had supplied.
I was expecting similar quotes, but instead I received 2 quotes that were out by tremendous
numbers. one place quoted $1400 for a band the other only $850.
When I queried the more expensive place for the reasoning, they claimed that the cheaper
location uses lower grade gold. How is this possible when I specified 18K?
What can I do to protect myself against either overpayment or shoddy quality in an industry
that so few people understand? Are there laws that ensure that an item stamped 18K is in fact
18K? Are there particular laws or Code of Ethics these companies must comply with?
Frustrated and confused Couple,
The reply I got was a little less than spectacular. The reply was:
From: "Better Business Bureau Inquiries" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 2005/04/27 Wed AM 10:13:03 CDT
To: email address withheld from blog
Subject: Re: Question about Jewellery stores.
Unfortunately, a company can usually charge what they feel is fit for a product.
You may wish to contact the Jewellers Vigilance Can. Inc. for further information. They can
be reached at (800) 636-9536.
Thank you for your inquiry.
Okay.. That now totally took the wind out of the sails. Am I at the start of a wild goose chase? Ugggg..
So, I collect my thoughts and check out this Jewellers Vigilance Can. Inc. They have a website. http://www.jewellersvigilance.ca I went there and sent them the exact same email I sent the BBB.
No reply for several days.
So I decided to call them.... Voice Mail
This Tuesday. Carla from the Vigilance finally called back and left a message for me.
I called back yesterday as I was on training classes. She told me some interesting facts. As I was writing this blog, some things she told me didn't sound right so I did a quick search online and have changed some things. I've corrected these here.
DID YOU KNOW???
There is a federal act known as the Precious Metal Markings Act. This is a Federal Law that is what protects consumers against Price Fixing and other such things. It states that it is unlawful for a dealer to incorrectly mark precious metals. therefore you can be assured that if the dealer is with in operating within federal law that your 14K necklace is 14K. If your jewellery was incorrectly marked, the jeweller can be fined no more than $500.00 however this only applied to the first year.
That a Jeweller may decide not to offer any warranty on custom work even though they offer warranty on non custom work. They do not need to inform you of this either. Even if they tell you there is a warranty, if it's not written down it's nothing more than hearsay.
There are 2 types of appraisals. There is what I was called an "Insurance Replacement Appraisal" and a "Today's Market" appraisal. I don't know if these are the actual names. The first one is valued higher. I don't know how they can appraise the value higher than it actually is, but it's done. The Insurance Replacement appraisal is used by businesses to sucker you into the store. Big signs flashy ads, get these earrings appraised at $900 for only $600.00. WOW! Great deal? ummmm.. maybe not. People base insurance riders on this appraisal value also, problem is, the insurance companies charge your premium accordingly, but won't payout to that value very often. The Today's market Appraisal takes into account what the precious metals are worth today. For more info on this read this warning from the Competition Bureau of Canada.
So How do I protect Myself?
Well unfortunately it's a true jungle out there. Buyer Beware in every sense of the word. But here's what I've learned..
- Don't believe the Appraisal sheets the jewellery people drop in front of you.
- Shop around at different stores to see how prices match.
- The Jeweller doesn't care about you, he cares about his business and sales. He won't tell you unless you ask, and then he may beat around the bush too.
- Know the Federal Competition Act and the Precious Metal Markings Act enough to put your fears at rest, but don't assume all are abiding by the laws as the punishments appear quite minor.
- Always get everything in writing. Including a guarantee that if an independent appraiser believes you over paid they'll refund the difference.
- If possible, especially when the jewellery is over $1000.00, have it appraised by an independent appraiser for the "Today Market" value not the Insurance replacement or value. Do not accept appraisal for consumer resale these are inflated.
I'm sure I missed an awful lot too. I feel better about what I've learned. I definitely don't feel stoopid anymore. Am I stoopid? Maybe.. but Considering the warnings from the government, and lack of concise information from the Jewellers and their watchdogs, I definitely conclude that the Jewellery industry is crooked and corrupt.
I hate jewellery. To any family of mine... if you're toying between jewellery or anything else for my birthday gift... don't pick the jewellery. You're just fattening the wallet of the jeweller who's most likely taking you for a ride... After my wedding band, I don't think I'd want any more jewellery.