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Thread: Caveat emptor ?

  1. #1
    First-graft Pearl Masik's Avatar
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    Angry Caveat emptor ?

    I have a question, that've been struggling with for some time...
    We all familiar with dishonest people on eBay and other web platforms, trying to sell us FWP as anything but. They are (usually) in a faraway country with no way to appeal or apply law to punish them for a fraud.
    But what if this is happening right here in a B&M store?
    Many San Franciscans (and us from Bay Area) familiar with a Grace Jewelry store across the Macy's in San Francisco downtown. They have horrible reviews on Yelp and such, being in business long enough to change the name but still operate same shady practice. The owners are pesky and annoying if you step foot inside, but ok, that permissible. I did not walk around that store much, all 3 times I was there (with different company) I went straight to their pearl counters, and every time we were told that what clearly is CFWP are a/Japanese Akoya and b/South Sea pearls, c/Tahitians. With price tags in $$$$ to match.
    They are not on eBay and in China, they are right here and they deceive customers in a broad daylight in the American city. Their reviews say they sell cultural stones as natural, cracked stones as whole and nice, and so on. People complain and return. But they also sell one (well. many) thing as another. Are they not committing a fraud, punishable by law? I wonder how they stay in business and nobody put them out for good for a fraudulent practice... ugh!

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Vote with your feet; spend your money elsewhere. Unhappy customers can complain to the BBB, but if they get a refund, that would be considered a resolution of their complaint.

    I can't see law enforcement caring enough to get involved, especially as customers generally are not experts and could be making invalid complaints. An expert would have to show (with lab results etc.) that a number of items were not as advertised-- but proving that it was deliberate fraud is another matter. The store could claim its suppliers had deceived them, etc.

  3. #3
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    I can walk into any little jewellery store (B&M) in downtown Adelaide and find any number of people selling Fireballs as baroque South Sea. Grey Fireballs as Tahitians. However they are priced more like good Freshwater Fireballs. So they aren't being overcharged for what they received, but they didn't receive what they thought they were getting.

    Some sellers are just dodgy , some sellers are ignorant and some just make a mistake. Anytime you buy jewellery you need to know what you are truly looking at...between man made diamonds, heat treated stones sold as natural, oil filling, glass filling , there are no end to the scams in the search for a dollar. Many of these take place before they hit the jewellery store.

  4. #4
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    They could indeed be prosecuted in the EU for applying a false trade description to their merchandise, which is a criminal offence. Trading standards (county council department) would take action
    The EU has lots of consumer protection from fake, unsafe and simply not good stuff (we have the no-nickel rules for eg)
    Of course for the UK that is only until next march. After that, who knows?

  5. #5
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member ericw's Avatar
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    In case of pearls, the biggest problem is the expertise of merchandises. A judicial complaint is valid only if it's well argued with an expert's advise, and there are not a lot to have accreditation of the (french) courts, anyway, it's an expensive request.
    Last edited by ericw; 06-23-2018 at 12:30 PM.

  6. #6
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Lady_Disdain's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, the use of misleading terms is rampant, not only in the jewelry industry. Just to start with, Etsy's definition of handmade is clearly against FTC's definition of handmade.

    Generally, it isn't worthwhile, resource-wise, for authorities to go against an independent store unless there is a lot of complaints about it. They focus on the big guns, not small peanuts. An individual buyer can probably sue in civil court.

  7. #7
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lilliefuzzysocks's Avatar
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    You may be able to clean them up by contacting the Attorney General's office in CA or the Federal trade commission. Both have websites. You may have to buy something , have someone appraise it then return it as a fraud to do this, but it may be worth it.

  8. #8
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericw View Post
    . A judicial complaint is valid only if it's well argued with an expert's advise, and there are not a lot to have accreditation of the (french) courts, anyway, it's an expensive request.
    I've given opinions a couple of times. both times really poor quality freshwaters

  9. #9
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilliefuzzysocks View Post
    You may be able to clean them up by contacting the Attorney General's office in CA or the Federal trade commission. Both have websites. You may have to buy something , have someone appraise it then return it as a fraud to do this, but it may be worth it.
    THIS!!!! Also, your county may have a consumer bureau where you can also file a complaint.
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