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I need your advice.

Newby

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2022
Messages
18
I need advice.
I live in Europe. I purchased pearls from 2 different reliable online pearl companies, both situated in California. I told both, I lived in Europe but I would be holidaying here in the US in September. I purchased the pearls from both companies over the last 7 months, and they were to send them to the address I was staying in the US.
I am here in the US, both companies sent the pearls. I was unhappy with a bracelet from one company, but I had purchased other items, so contacted the company, told them I was unhappy and wanted to return it. They said they had a 90 day return policy, but since I had not seen the pearls within the 90 days I had paid for them, that there was no issue returning them. They generated a return label and it was returned.
I was unhappy with some of the items from the second seller. I informed her immediately. Some were incorrect sizes. She told me that she would generate a label to return the items I was unhappy with. No label was generated, I contacted her a number of times reminding her I was returning to Europe in a couple of days. Still no response. Today I received an email to inform me that she would not be accepting the items back, because it is outside their 90 day return.
What are my rights?
I have a full paper trail?
I am shocked how I have been treated by the 2nd seller. The first seller was pearl paradise. I am not naming the 2nd seller yet.
Thank you for reading this.
 
I applaud the gracious extension of the return window by Pearl Paradise, given your circumstances. They were not obligated to do so but it's kind, and IMO makes good business sense, as a satisfied customer may become a return customer.

Regarding the 2nd vendor, were you still within the 90 day return window when you first contacted her to request a return label? If so then she should certainly have sent you the label.

However, if the 90 day window had already passed when you first contacted her, then I think she was not obligated to accept your return, despite her initial offer to do so. Personally I think she should have accepted it back-- because some of the pearls were the incorrect sizes, and because she said she would-- but I think she would not be legally obligated to do so (but I am not a lawyer!)

It is probably too late to do a chargeback through your credit card company, if that is how you paid for the pearls, but check with your bank.
I'm afraid you may be stuck with the pearls and have only the satisfaction of leaving a poor review.

If that is the case, one option to recoup your loss is to resell them. Loupe Troop is one website many people use to resell their jewelry.
 
One more thought: are you certain the person you were corresponding with is the actual, current owner of their company? If she is not the owner, she may not have the authority to override the return policy.

Is there someone higher up in the company that you could discuss the matter with?
 
A seller is within their rights to adhere to the 90 day return window. Keeping the items for you for when you get there doesn't imply that you can also return them. If you want to be on the safe side in those situations, I would make sure there is an agreement in writing that you can return the items after the 90 days.

There can be any number of reasons why it will be a great inconvenience for especially a smaller company to allow a wider window than 90 days. I do understand, though, that it's frustrating that it apparently worked out and then didn't, especially since the pearls were not described correctly. It does create a different situation. Perhaps they would be willing to give you a credit or an exchange rather than a refund?

Maybe you can leave the pearls with someone in the US while it gets sorted out? (there are people on the forum I am sure would be helpful, I'm in Europe) And if it can't be fixed, maybe what you are stuck with can be made into something you love.
 
I applaud the gracious extension of the return window by Pearl Paradise, given your circumstances. They were not obligated to do so but it's kind, and IMO makes good business sense, as a satisfied customer may become a return customer.

Regarding the 2nd vendor, were you still within the 90 day return window when you first contacted her to request a return label? If so then she should certainly have sent you the label.

However, if the 90 day window had already passed when you first contacted her, then I think she was not obligated to accept your return, despite her initial offer to do so. Personally I think she should have accepted it back-- because some of the pearls were the incorrect sizes, and because she said she would-- but I think she would not be legally obligated to do so (but I am not a lawyer!)

It is probably too late to do a chargeback through your credit card company, if that is how you paid for the pearls, but check with your bank.
I'm afraid you may be stuck with the pearls and have only the satisfaction of leaving a poor review.

If that is the case, one option to recoup your loss is to resell them. Loupe Troop is one website many people use to resell their jewelry.
No I was not within the 90 day return when I requested the label. I purchased the items over the last 9 months.
I received them only 2 weeks ago, the day I received them, I said I wanted to return some of them, because they were not the size I ordered. She told me she would take them back, informed me that she would, and she would generate a label, and now has changed her mind.
 
One more thought: are you certain the person you were corresponding with is the actual, current owner of their company? If she is not the owner, she may not have the authority to override the return policy.

Is there someone higher up in the company that you could discuss the matter with?
She claims to be the CEO, in all correspondence.
 
A seller is within their rights to adhere to the 90 day return window. Keeping the items for you for when you get there doesn't imply that you can also return them. If you want to be on the safe side in those situations, I would make sure there is an agreement in writing that you can return the items after the 90 days.

There can be any number of reasons why it will be a great inconvenience for especially a smaller company to allow a wider window than 90 days. I do understand, though, that it's frustrating that it apparently worked out and then didn't, especially since the pearls were not described correctly. It does create a different situation. Perhaps they would be willing to give you a credit or an exchange rather than a refund?

Maybe you can leave the pearls with someone in the US while it gets sorted out? (there are people on the forum I am sure would be helpful, I'm in Europe) And if it can't be fixed, maybe what you are stuck with can be made into something you love.
The value of the collection of pearls is $52, 000. Who can I trust in the US, to leave the pearls with? She told me that she did not purchase her pearls from another vendor....she actually put the other vendor's jiffy bag in the end of the box.
I cannot believe that I am left with pearls that are not as described, and not the correct size, and the seller was leading me on that they could be returned, and I am left with them.
 
What happens if I just return them?
This vendor knew what she was doing.
I am shocked to have been treated in this manner, to purchase items, not the correct size, and have no comeback. She took advantage of me, being a European.
 
So sorry this is happening to you. That is a lot of money.

I would absolutely not send them back without authorization. At the minimum, you would undoubtedly have to pay shipping to have them returned to you-- plus customs duties, if you were to have them shipped to yourself overseas.

I'm afraid unless you had it in writing before you bought the pearls that they would be returnable after the stated 90 day window, you likely don't have legal grounds to return them. Again, I'm not a lawyer. You could consult a lawyer if you wish. They could advise you if you have grounds for a lawsuit. But lawyers and lawsuits are very expensive. You may be better off trying to resell the pearls. The wrong size for you may be just the right size for someone else! For example, my favorite Tahitian necklace was sold to me by someone who bought them from an online vendor and didn't like them.

CEO does not mean owner. Companies do change hands. The CEO may have wanted to refund but had her hands tied by the actual, current owner. The jiffy bag of the other company could indicate that the company you bought from and the other company whose jiffy bag was tucked in are now owned by the same, larger, entity.

The whole situation is very unfortunate.
Please see your private messages.
 
The importance of relying on a reputable vendor...simply cannot be overstated.
What does your bank statement say? Who charged your card? That is the actual vendor, in case you need to "fight it out" (you don't have to inform us).
But I agree wholly with @Pearl Dreams : there should have been an agreement in place before you purchased the items. This would have been your safe spot.
I am so sorry to hear about your woes @Newby
 
Perhaps they would be willing to give you a credit or an exchange rather than a refund?

This could be a viable alternative. The company may not be willing to lose the sale but may be willing to issue credit. (Of course the question is, do you trust them to get it right the next time?)
 
I appreciate all your suggestions and replies, and kind words.
It is hard to be in a foreign Country, to trust a business, who are suppose to be reputable, and for them to take advantage of me. I had no idea that I needed a written agreement that I could refund them after the 90 days. I trusted this business. She said she would take them back, and she would send me a return label, in writing. In my Country, that would be enough.
I do not want credit from the company...I will never purchase anything from them again.
Perhaps people can suggest where I can leave feedback, and warn other potential purchasers.
I certainly will be on twitter when I get home.
 
There's the Better Business Bureau for starters. Find the one for the district your vendor is in.
 
I think it was very good of PP to honour a return after so long.
As for the second seller: It sounds like the issue would be sorted with a simple exchange since it's just a matter of incorrect size ... I don't know if this is a question of pearl size or necklace length . If they shipped the wrong item then I'd think they would exchange it as the sale remains intact. It sounds like they might not have been totally clear as to what was happening if this was multiple purchases spaced out over months .
 
I am going to ask a simple question, without taking sides on whether or not the return should have been honored: why didn't you just have the items shipped to you directly?
I think I should give you the full context of my story, and my involvement with 3 reputable pearl sellers in California.
I will name 2, and withhold the third one for the moment.
I have purchased pearls previously in Europe, not my own Country, and from Pearl Source online.I had planned to travel to the US for 4 weeks in September. I was interested in purchasing a strand of golden south sea pearls. I was prepared to pay a substantial sum of money for the right strand. I want a quality strand. I decided to do some research. I wanted a reputable company, but I wanted to try a different company. I felt since I was going to the US, that I should look at other reputable sellers. I was attracted to the seller, I related with her personal story and struggles. Her site was easy to follow, and her online brochures had quite a lot of choice, and it was possible to get a personal strand length, and even matching bracelets, earrings, rings etc. Most importantly she also had good reviews...and was reputable.
I was going to a special function 2 months later, and my thought process was that shipping them to me would be sensible. I contacted the seller's customer service to ask whether they covered international import charges, and she said no. Pearl Source does cover these charges, I think they maybe the only US vendor to do so, but could be incorrect. They are very expensive about 30% of the sale, but it is not possible to have these import charges reimbursed if you return the item. I did ask the other seller whether she covered it, and they said no. I told her I was travelling to the US in September, and that I could have them shipped to where I was staying. The seller agreed. I wanted to see the pearls first. She told me that she had arranged the shipping of pearls to another European customer, to her hotel when she was in the US. I asked could I pay a deposit to secure the items, and that I would pay the full amount 3 weeks before I travelled. I was told that this was not possible. That I had to purchase them immediately which was February, I believe it was for the Valentine sale discount, and that another discount would not be available until Labour Day. However I could have them shipped in September. I was beyond surprised to find further sale discounts for St Patrick's Day, Easter, May, Mother's Day and others, afterall I was lead to believe that the next discount sale was in August/September.....so I could have purchased the pearls later in the year. I did contact the seller, and she passed it off that her it was a last minute decision suggested by her partner to have these discount sales, but watching her site and others, these discount sales are normal at different times. As a pearl lover it is hard not to fall in love with other pieces. I decided to add other pieces. I spotted a lower priced necklace and ear rings, but good quality, that I liked, unique to Pearl Paradise. I had the exact same conversation with them, they did not cover the International import charges, but I was coming to the US anyway, and was having pearls shipped to me, and would be in a far better situation, as I would be able to view and examine all the pearls at the same time, and if unhappy return them.
During the interm months, I became concerned that there were a couple of independent sellers were using identical pearl online brochures, but more concerning, when one item was out of stock on one site, the identical item was out of stock on the other sites. I became very nervous. I asked some questions on this site. I do not want to go into what happened, but I did find evidence that was very concerning, I confronted the owner, she denied it, and admitted when presented with the evidence. I asked for my money back then. She apologised, and admitted she was wrong to have mislead me, but wanted to show she was trustworthy, and genuine. She offered me a further discount, but it was not a further discount I was interested in or wanted. I wanted pearls sourced by the business I was going to, not pearls purchased from another site and sold to me as their pearls. She sent me photos of the pearls and guaranteed they were her's, presently in her vault, but because of rearranging the company other business relationships were involved, but she could not elaborate. I did not communicate with her for many weeks, I needed to have some surgery for a cancer related issue (preventative, as I am a cancer survivor). To be honest, I was very fearful. I put the whole purchase to the back of my head, and just concentrated on life. Pearl Paradise had further discount sales and I did purchase other items from them. I was looking at replacing the items that I wanted from her, but Pearl Paradise did not have it, nor did others.
Could I trust her or not? I was not sure. Could I trust other sellers, I was not sure. The only way was to see the pearls in person, and make a decision. In Europe warranties are given when you receive the items, not when you purchase them. I did in the meantime contact another seller, I had a productive conversation with him, but he only wanted to sell the items closer to the time. How I wish now, I had gone with him. I would have had a return warranty.
She contacted me a number of times, claiming she wanted me to be happy, love the pearls, and they were far better than in pictures. Certainly from the photos sent they were. After many weeks, I told her I would go ahead, I told her that I was nervous, that trust had been eroded, and that I might need to get the pearls independently assessed once I received them, but if I was unhappy I would be returning them. She agreed always to take them back.
I made arrangements with both Pearl Paradise and her, about where I was staying...I was not staying in a hotel. I gave the address, but stated to both, I wanted them shipped to me during the first 2 weeks I was here, so I had time to examine, evaluate, and even get an independent assessment and if unhappy return them. Pearl Paradise were initially concerned, but I reassured both sellers. I did not want to return them, but reminded them both to double check sizes. I received Pearl Paradise shipment first. I contacted them immediately to tell them I was unhappy with one item a bracelet, but give me a couple of more days. After a few days, I knew I would never wear it. I contacted Pearl Paradise, who have the same 90 day return policy, but admitted my situation was unique, and that I had not seen the pearls. A shipping label was organised and I returned the item. The other pieces, I got from Pearl Paradise I absolutely love, and very happy with them. I then received the items from the other seller. There were some items, I loved immediately, others I was disappointed in. The sizes were incorrect in some. I communicated this straight away on the day I received them to the seller. Hurricane Ian arrived, my family needed to be urgently evacuated, issues with pearls were not to the forefront. I also had time left. When I organised new accommodation, I made contact with the seller, and told her I was unhappy with certain items, due to not being as described on the website, or the incorrect size. She told me she would organise a label for return. The attached label, I could not access, she claimed it was due to my home address, as the contact address, but she would sort it out straightaway and get back to me. Nothing happened, I made contact with her twice, no reply, and then the email arrived stating she was not accepting a return of the items due to the 60 day return clause.
I apologise this has been very long, but it explains in detail my situation.
 
I think it was very good of PP to honour a return after so long.
As for the second seller: It sounds like the issue would be sorted with a simple exchange since it's just a matter of incorrect size ... I don't know if this is a question of pearl size or necklace length . If they shipped the wrong item then I'd think they would exchange it as the sale remains intact. It sounds like they might not have been totally clear as to what was happening if this was multiple purchases spaced out over months .
Yes that is correct in relation to the items wrongly sized. But that is now a more difficult option, as time has run out and I am on my way home. The most expensive item I purchased was described as gem quality. When I received it, I knew it was not gem quality.
I also purchased a gem quality necklace from Pearl Paradise, I instantly recognised it was gem quality.
So I am a victim of misleading advertisement also.
 
Well grading is individual - one sellers Gem grade is anothers AAA . That's why it's important to know the sellers you are dealing with very well and what standard they are using. Is there a definition of the Grades on the Web Site so you can see the standard of Lustre and Flaws acceptable for each grade? Sites vary wildly on this ... I have one wholesaler that is regarded as the best of the best for South Sea and when they say 'Flawless' ... it doesn't mean there are no flaws.... you have to watch a video to see exactly what flaws exist.

In the future ( I know this doesn't help now) request a video and more photos including close ups of any expensive pearls .

Can you provide a photo of the strand for us ? Just out of curiosity.
 
Well grading is individual - one sellers Gem grade is anothers AAA . That's why it's important to know the sellers you are dealing with very well and what standard they are using. Is there a definition of the Grades on the Web Site so you can see the standard of Lustre and Flaws acceptable for each grade? Sites vary wildly on this ... I have one wholesaler that is regarded as the best of the best for South Sea and when they say 'Flawless' ... it doesn't mean there are no flaws.... you have to watch a video to see exactly what flaws exist.

In the future ( I know this doesn't help now) request a video and more photos including close ups of any expensive pearls .

Can you provide a photo of the strand for us ? Just out of curiosity.
Thank you for your response. I am aware that there are no standards, and yes sellers have different opinions of what gem quality and flawless is. To be fair, not all her pearls were poor quality, or not up to standard. She did send me pearls that did meet the standard of her description, and I do love them. I was not returning everything. I think nothing replaces actually seeing the pearls. Photographs and video are a reasonable substitute though.
I am on my way home now, everything packed, so I cannot get photos for the moment.
 
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