Know before you go...

Posted on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 2:34 pm by Rita


Will you be going on a cruise this summer?  A trip of a lifetime should never end in disappointment so we are preparing you for some cruise-ready jewelry tips!  The cruise ship travel industry estimated that there were over 16 million passengers traveling on their ships. The subsequent revenue generated for the US economy was over $37 billion. You heard me right that is a ‘b’ for Billion. These statistics present a titanic, “no pun intended,” opportunity for deception and shall I say “puffery” from jewelry stores affiliated with the travel business, and vacationers looking to be entertained. Even more so are those who want to bring back a treasure or a memory of their trip. Unfortunately for the traveler, a.k.a. the customer, you are in a position where they have you at your weakest moment and most vulnerable state and they are not likely to ever see you again. Why not layer it on thick. So here are a few tips before you buy:

Do Your Research Before You Go: Even if you aren’t planning on buying gems or jewelry, arm yourself with some information regarding the establishments that you are likely to see at your ports of call. Find out if there have been any problems for previous travelers.
Read the Fine (Faded, Light, Tiny, and Copious) Print: Read the “guarantees” and “return” policies! Particularly if they are conditional. Be careful here; some sellers will offer a “guarantee” that states something like; “If the item appraises for less than we sold it for, we’ll give you your money back.” What if the diamond appraises for what you paid for it or a even little more, but the quality grades are not as stated? For instance, the ‘I’ color diamond you thought you purchased grades as ‘K’ color? You won’t be able to get your money back because the condition on the back of your receipt states that there are no returns for diamonds unless they grade at least 2 color grades different. These are conditions! Don’t buy unless all conditions are removed! If you can’t get an unconditional guarantee from a would-be seller, make a purchase from someone who will.

Check the back of the sales receipt for a contract before signing a sales receipt. Ask yourself—why would I be asked to sign a sales receipt in the first place? Turn the receipt over and see if you are agreeing to the seller’s “sales contract” at the same time.

Such a seller will not make it easy for you to make a return. It is not unusual for large stores to throw up smokescreens in order to discourage you from returning an item. They might state that they won’t take it back because they won’t know if the item is the same as what they’ve sold. Or, if you’ve had an appraisal, they might say that the appraiser is not “independent.” They won’t return your calls, or they might insist that you get another laboratory report or yet another appraisal. This will cost you not only money but valuable time, effort, and energy.
If You Buy: Insist these items be included in writing on your receipt:
    1. You are able to get a full refund for any reason, that is, an unconditional money back guarantee. Make that a condition of sale.
    2. Insist on specific quality information; for example, G color, VS-2 clarity, NOT “superfine white” or “eye-clean” or other non-standard language.
    3. Do not rely solely on your cruise line lists of recommended jewelry stores. Many stores are owned by the same corporation, and if one doesn’t get you to buy, the other one will. Like Area 51, the fact that the cruise line companies actually partly own these companies might not be urban legend!
    4. If a lab report does accompany a diamond or gemstone, insist on one from a reputable independent laboratory, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or American Gemological Society (AGS).
How To Pay For Your Purchase: How you pay makes a great deal of difference. Always pay with your credit card! Utilizing your credit card will give you an advantage if a problem should arise and you want to make a return. In-store financing does not give you any leverage (refund) in case of disputes.

In final, a few points to remember
  • Get your guarantee in writing
  • Never sign their sales slips; you might be signing a contract.
  • Think clearly and unemotionally, don’t be pressured into the “once in a lifetime deal.”
  • As one of billions of travelers these stores see a year, if you purchase the item, it is not “wholesale.”
  • You will not be able to profit from your purchase.