Author Topic: caveat emptor?  (Read 9258 times)

Offline firegypsy

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caveat emptor?
« on: December 01, 2011, 09:15:14 AM »
I have a question for you knowledgeable people.  If this is not the right section please let me know.

I have an estate jeweler my me that I love.  I've bought many things from him over the course of a decade, and he's a nice guy.  Everything I've gotten has appraised exactly as it was sold.  I feel that he is an honest and trustworthy person.

IN the beginning of the year I bought a bracelet from him.  It's an 18k yellow gold estate piece.  I loved it, asked how much if I paid cash and said I had to think on it.  Dh offered to do it for my birthday so I called him, asked him to hold it and told him I'd be in the following day with cash.  Which I was.  Walked in, handed him the money, he put it on me and I left.

Well, this past weekend I had reason to find out it's not 18k gold.  In fact, it's not gold at ALL.  I had him triple check for me before I bought it.  He checked via a loupe and pointed out the hallmark, though I couldn't see it.  There is SOMETHING there, but it's not 18k.  So here I am, many months later after paying cash for something that is not what it was sold as.

My plan is to go see him today.  It's possible that he'll want to make it right and correct the mistake.  I don't know.  My question is, where do I stand?  I don't have  receipt (he didn't give me one and I didn't ask) it's been a long while, but I paid many hundreds of dollars for something that is essentially costume.  Is this on me?  Is it MY fault for not having a second appraisal?  My fault because I couldn't identify the hallmark myself even with a loupe?  My fault for trusting him and now the time has passed where I could do anything about it?  Or do I have a leg to stand on to push for a refund?

Thanks for your thoughts, and I hope this is okay to ask here.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 09:28:08 AM by firegypsy »

Offline Mrs Mitchell

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 10:04:03 AM »
How upsetting, firegypsy. Sorry this has happened.

I think the first thing to check is the law in the state where you live. In the UK, we have the Sale of Goods Act, which, along with common law rules covers pretty much every transaction. I would imagine you have something similar locally. Check specifically if second hand or estate goods are exempted from statute and what the position is for them.

Usually in a retail store, you have the right to rely on the description and verification of goods by the seller, who is presumed to have sufficient expertise. You aren't expected to be an expert and you aren't required to have the seller's claims verified by independent appraisal for the transaction to be validated. If it's sold as 18k, it needs to be 18k and you're entitled to rely on that (ie it isn't your fault for not checking / knowing). In that sense, caveat emptor does not apply.

Months later isn't a problem, as far as I can see, since there was no time-limited action on which the contract was dependant, eg you didn't say you'd have it appraised in 7 days or whatever. Within a year is not an unreasonably time frame to discover that goods are not as represented at the point of sale. Again, check your state's legal position.

However, without a receipt, I think the problem will be that you have no real proof that a) you bought it from him and b) that it was misrepresented, either wilfully or carelessly.

I think your best recourse is to know the local laws, and to go with that information in mind, to speak politely to the seller, to ask how he would like to resolve the situation.

If you've shopped with him before and trust him, there is a possibility that it is a genuine mistake and he will be keen to make it right.

I'd stick to DBL in future (but then I'm hopelessly biased).
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 10:04:55 AM by Mrs Mitchell »
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Offline firegypsy

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 10:15:13 AM »
already done, Mrs. M!  Nothing but DBL from here on out.  No question.

I kind of figured the same.  I expect to go in and present the issue being very clear I don't fault him, because I don't.  I really do feel it was an honest mistake.  I'm hoping if I can keep it non-confrontational he will work something out with me.

I don't know if it's too transparent to go in stating that there's an issue with something I bought from him though I am quite sure it was an oversight?  I don't want him to be defensive, I want him to hear me.  I am hoping if I'm clear that I have bought several things from him and been very pleased with all that he'll have in mind two things-a. that I'm not being a jerk or overreacting and b. that he wants to keep me as a customer.

Sigh.  Dh says I should go in and ask to trade it in for something and see what he says.  IF he says it's worth nothing I can be shocked and say, "but you sold it to me as 18K!" and we'll know he's not really on the up and up.  If he says it's fine and to go ahead that he'll give me credit for it I can be comfortable that he was truly duped himself.  But that wouldn't feel good to me because I don't want someone else ending up with it.

Ick.

Offline lovecolor

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 10:28:40 AM »
   :furious3:   I'd be really angry Firegypsy,  I do hope this vendor is fair with you!  I wish you Good luck and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you... :cross:

Offline Mrs Mitchell

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2011, 10:37:55 AM »
I would be very upfront. You did nothing wrong at any part of the transaction (but for the lack of receipt, and that is only 50% your doing).

I would approach it from the "there has been a mistake" angle. If he doesn't want to make it right, then look into your options, but since you've worked with him before and seem to think he's a decent guy, I'd give him the chance to put it right first.

Good luck - let us know how it goes, yeah?
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Offline firegypsy

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 10:40:05 AM »
will do.  at worst it was a very expensive lesson.  I mean, I still very much like the piece!  but yes, I will report back.  if I can stop shaking long enough to do so.   ::)  I'm such a wuss.

Offline Mrs Mitchell

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 10:42:51 AM »
Not a wuss, just a nice person! Most people don't enjoy confrontation, or the anticipation of it anyway. Also, that can be made to work in your favour.  If the vendor is a decent man, and his error has made you nervous and unhappy , he should be even more inclined to fix it!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 10:43:15 AM by Mrs Mitchell »
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Offline Trinkette

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 01:25:23 PM »
Oh dear. I am sorry this happened. I agree, though, without a receipt, it is difficult to "prove." Heck, even WITH a receipt, I can imagine a scenario where a jeweler could say, "I sold this customer a genuine 18K gold estate bracelet, I even showed her the hallmark when she bought it.  Now, she has returned with a spurious claim and a counterfeit piece made to look EXACTLY like the genuine one that she was happy to have when I presented it to her..." He could be a cheat, or he could be an honest fellow; either way, his claim would be powerful.

OTOH, if the jeweler is on the up and up, and remembers the piece and the circumstances, if a refund it out of the question, then, perhaps he will exchange the piece for something else. I think that might be fair, under the circumstances.  :dontknow:

SO sorry.

Offline DiamondsAreForever

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2011, 02:10:20 PM »
Treat it as an honest mistake, but I'd have the PPW showing that another qualified person tested the item and found it to not be real.  You DO have THAT paperwork, right?  (just kidding).  I wish you luck.

Offline firegypsy

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 04:03:45 PM »
well, it ended well enough.  I brought it back in, all smiley and whatnot (that's generally how I am anyway) and instead of presenting it as a "you sold me junk!" I simply told him the story and asked if there's was anything we could do.  I told him I had no real expectation of anything since I didn't have the receipt.  He was great.  He told me he had the records and remembered selling it to me (I thought he might, he really raved about it and that's not like him.)  He offered to buy it back from me.  I didn't get all of what I paid for it, but close to it.  I was happy with the outcome and feel comfortable with his business practices.  I really don't think he sold me a line at all.

The long story is that I had sold it to raise some money for the holidays.  I sold it in good faith and it was bought by someone I "know" online.  It was she that had it tested by two separate people and told me that it was not gold at all.  I of course was mortified and refunded her immediately.  She returned the piece promptly.  I didn't have documentation it wasn't real, but I believed her that her jewelers found it wasn't.

When it came down to it he didn't test it in front of me, and I didn't feel like it was my place to demand that he did that.  He just kind of scoffed and said, absolutely it was gold, but if I was looking to raise some cash he was happy to buy it-that he had been sad to see that one go.

So for me, from now on it's DBL all the way.  No looking back, no questions, just the safety and comfort or having everything be clean and clear.  Thanks for the support!

Offline Diamondsbylauren

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2011, 04:06:51 PM »
Thank you so much for letting us know what happened- this had ME upset on your behalf!

So glad it was a positive outcome
David
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Offline Mrs Mitchell

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2011, 04:18:06 PM »
I'm glad it worked out well, but what a strange thing - someone, somewhere isn't testing gold very accurately!
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Offline lovecolor

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 04:31:16 PM »
          :dontknow:     I'm glad you got most of your money back...but why wouldn't he refund the whole amount?  If he wanted to keep you as a "happy"  customer, I think he should have...Well, I'm never going there again!   >:(    :-\ 

Offline firegypsy

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2011, 04:43:56 PM »
Lovecolor, I guess because it wasn't misrepresented as far as he was concerned?    I don't expect to go back, but I do think he handled it well given that it's been as long as it has.  I really couldn't have asked for much more.  As it was I felt like I was on shaky ground without a receipt and given the length of time that had passed.  I'm definitely happy with the resolution.   :)

David is working on one of my rings right now and when I get it back I will be happily blinged out on both hands and ready to begin acquiring pieces from him and him alone!

And, Mr DBL...I'll have you know that he went nuts over Gypsy Rose when I was there!  I'm telling you, the man knows quality!  He couldn't stop looking at it and asked about the company once again, expressing appreciation for the design and execution.  I felt very proud.   :angel:

Offline lovecolor

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 04:53:17 PM »
I think I'm getting more grouchy as I get...on in years.   I might have been "afraid" of confronting someone years ago...but now, look out...    :thewife: 

(I'm really a nice person, if I feel I'm being treated right that is... :angel: )

Offline clgwli

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2011, 05:06:49 PM »
Oh my goodness, what a story.  I am glad it worked out for you, but I can say that at least in my eyes I wouldn't be so trusting of that person again.  Fool me once and all.  I'm incredibly picky about quality of items and I would be furious if someone sold me something like that w/o proper testing.  A hallmark doesn't mean near as much as testing (particularly vintage items) in my eyes.

I feel so bad you had to go through that, but it is great to know that you got most of your money back.  Hopefully this guy will have it properly tested before he tries to resell it again.
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Offline DiamondsAreForever

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2011, 05:14:28 PM »
Yay!  I'm glad it worked out reasonably well for you.  You know, prior to finding David, I always thought I had nicely made pieces of jewelry, and I do have some nice things, however, you cannot compare the craftsmanship of his jewelry to anyone else.  I've been eying up a new diamond of his, but the funds aren't there for me.  Plus, I want to set my light pink pear soon.  Sigh!

Offline firegypsy

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2011, 05:39:17 PM »
Thanks all!   I'm glad to have it be over!

LC- I hear you!  I'm actually fairly good at standing up for myself when I know I'm in the right.  Had I been equipped with a receipt I would have felt MUCH more confident. But, then what?  I'd have had him test it in front of me, show me the hallmark and verify it and I'd have been holding a bracelet I was going to walk out and try to sell again.  This was the best possible scenario, short of getting every penny back!  And I didn't have to get all cranky about it.  LOL.

DAF, yanno, I've been blessed (dh says cursed) with a good eye.  I can't tell you WHY I like things and dislike others, but I have been fairly lucky in terms of having had nice jewelry.  Not top notch, but nice.  Things in the mall just generally look off to me, though I couldn't verbalize why and don't have the training or language to try.  As a result I often go for estate pieces that were better quality.  I haven't ended up with many things that aren't well made because I'm so terribly picky.  The downside is that dh won't even try to buy for me, so no suprises!  BUT I can now tell him I do have 100% confidence in someplace!

Offline oldmancoyote

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2011, 06:12:10 PM »
Um. May I offer a slightly different take?

Oh, well, I suppose I will.

First of all - all is well that ends well, and it seems to me that this has ended pretty well. Secondly - I don't understand one thing: you have a guy who makes a living out of this and whom you trusted (until a few hours ago) who tells you the bracelet is gold. And you have someone that you "know" (your quotes, not mine) online that tells you it isn't. If it were me, I know who I'd believe, and it's not the occasional acquaintance.

Did she show you a written statement from a jeweller that the item was tested and found wanting? No - she simply said "I've had it tested, and they told me it's not gold; I want my money back". Which is fair enough, but what if it is "I've changed my mind and want my money back, but am afraid to tell you this because you may not want to, so I'll make up an excuse" instead?

Offline firegypsy

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2011, 06:32:38 PM »
You know, that did cross my mind, after I refunded her.  At first I was just so upset-I've sold many things and only had stellar transactions.  I really didn't even consider initially that she wasn't being truthful.  It was only later that I did question it and she DID send me a photo of the marking through the loupe that she said looked like plating that had worn off.  That is why I was upfront with the jeweler and told him the whole thing.  But having no paperwork and her saying it was NOT gold I felt I had to refund her.  Yes, you are 100% correct that it could have been a scam.  I don't believe that it was, but who knows.  The jeweler had no qualms about buying it back so I'm rather inclined to believe he was being honest all along.  Whether he was right or not I do feel he was honest!

I may have approached this very differently were I not looking to sell it in the first place.  If it was just a matter of knowing if it was gold or not there would have been a different process.  But I got the end result I was looking for in any case, with a bit of a hiccup in the middle.  So I'm holding on to that!

I really don't feel that he's not trustworthy.  I just spend so much time looking for high quality pieces that are affordable which is HARD because I don't have the knowledge I need for such an endeavor.  I also hadn't found a vendor for whom I fell with such astonishing alacrity.  I'm not actively avoiding him at all, I just prefer to spend my pennies with DBL where I know the piece is new, but beautifully made and that he'll stand behind it and work on it when needed.  I just feel glad to have found him!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 06:36:14 PM by firegypsy »

Offline oldmancoyote

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2011, 06:55:37 PM »
You could always ask a friend to visit the jeweller and "be interested" in pieces like the famous bracelet... if it's for sale as gold, I would think it very likely that it is and your "buyer" either got bad information or simply changed her mind.   >:D

Offline firegypsy

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2011, 07:29:46 PM »
You are GOOD.   ;D

Offline clgwli

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2011, 07:38:37 PM »
I would want to know if the guy who sold it to you if he actually tested it or just used his loupe to look for a marking.  So if I had a friend check it out for me, I would ask for that.  If he does not test, I wouldn't say he is dishonest, but not very wise in checking things out.  I wouldn't trust his ability to check into things before selling and that would make me want to pass him by.

I understand buyers remorse and all... really do.  Did you have a return policy on the bracelet or not?  Because if you did, why would the person who bought it lie about it not being gold?  If you didn't then I could understand why they said it.  

I do totally understand OMC's point, but I will say the guy could have easily bought the bracelet back too because he *did* know and didn't want to cause a stink.  I'm not saying one is right or wrong, but unless you get the bracelet tested yourself I am not sure you will know who is right or wrong.

I admit I am curious to know who was 100% truthful in all this... but I'm nosey like that LOL
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 07:39:12 PM by clgwli »
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Offline firegypsy

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2011, 08:34:22 PM »
Ha!  I'm nosey when I'm not involved.  This?  I just wanted to be done with the whole mess.

I always have a policy when I sell things where people can return if it's misrepresented.  So yes, there was an out there if it wasn't the right karatage.  She also said it did not fit her, which in and of itself wouldn't have necessarily been a reason to return it.  You can have jump rings added, and I accurately stated the length in the listing.

I don't think we'll ever know for sure.  You're right, he could have bought it back to avoid a scandal.  Absolutely.  But you know how you just get feelings about things sometimes?  I did NOT get that feeling from him.

I myself could see no evidence it wasn't authentic.  It was clearly an old piece in great shape, but well worn....and yet the color was exactly as gold should be.  It had that deep orangey tone that older yellow gold pieces do (different alloys I guess?) and matched rings that I have in 18k from the same time period.

The whole thing is odd.

Offline DiamondsAreForever

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Re: caveat emptor?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2011, 09:12:27 PM »

DAF, yanno, I've been blessed (dh says cursed) with a good eye.  I can't tell you WHY I like things and dislike others, but I have been fairly lucky in terms of having had nice jewelry.  Not top notch, but nice.  Things in the mall just generally look off to me, though I couldn't verbalize why and don't have the training or language to try.  As a result I often go for estate pieces that were better quality.  I haven't ended up with many things that aren't well made because I'm so terribly picky.  The downside is that dh won't even try to buy for me, so no suprises!  BUT I can now tell him I do have 100% confidence in someplace!

Mall Jewelry = Mass produced and low grade diamonds.