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Lpearls.com warning - they will rip you off - NOT akoya

jshepherd

Natural Pearl
Joined
Jun 22, 2004
Messages
5,661
I received a sad and disturbing telephone call yesterday. A gentleman and his wife had seen one of the "Open an Oyster" parties on Facebook and decided to start their own business.

The man had ordered a few hundred shells online, opened them and took the pearls to a local jeweler. The jeweler had (unfortunately) confirmed they were saltwater pearls. He even identified the black pearls as Tahitian pearls instead of dyed freshwater pearls like they really are.

He had purchased the shells from AliExpress via a company called lpearls. They have a website, lpearls.com. I remember this website from nearly a decade ago using gray and black-hat SEO techniques to rank on Google. The website still looks the same today.

Believing they could start their own business, the gentleman put all the money they had into buying more shells - several thousand dollars. This week they received a shipment filled with empty boxes from lpearls.com. Lpearls then deleted their account and sent the tracking number to PayPal in an attempt to prove they had shipped pearls in an oyster to him.

I advised him to fight it out with PayPal, which typically sides with the consumer when there is fraud involved.

This is the site information for LPearls.com:

Registrant Name: ZHANG XIAO YUN
Registrant Organization: LPEARLS
Registrant Street: GUANGZHOU CITY,GUANGDONG PROVINCE
Registrant City: GUANGZHOU
Registrant Postal Code: 510507
Registrant Country: CN
Registrant Phone: +86.2087642246
Registrant Email:

I know a lot of the members here have strong feelings about the "open an oyster" fad. But now real people are being harmed by this and I am posting this thread in hopes that other people considering starting this sort of business will use extra caution when dealing with companies in China that might have no problem ripping off an easy, gullible target.
 
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JerseyPearl

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
5,858
This is unfortunate, and should be reported not only to PayPal but also to the FTC. Misidentification/mislabeling of pearls with the intent to defraud is a federal crime.

I am also very concerned about the potential for hazardous materials to be shipped without scrutiny. The method to preserve these oysters needs to be explored...are they using formaldehyde or other dangerous chemicals to preserve these things? Are consumers (the small entrepreneurs) disposing of the waste products properly in consideration of the chemical hazards? There is a lot of who-ha here that needs to further scrutiny. This whole fad is a bad thing.
 

Pareltje

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2016
Messages
1,492
Ssshhhhh that's very unfortunate for the gentleman and his wife! what a shame! I hope PayPal helps them with this case and I hope they get their money back. If not, I think they can still get money back via their bank card company (Master Card or Visa) if they can provide them with legitimate evidence. Report it as FRAUD. Usually MC or Visa is very cooperative although the process might be lengthy, time and energy consuming. It's certainly worth trying.
 

CathyKeshi

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2014
Messages
4,469
Wow, that's horrible. Thank you for the details and specifics of the guilty company, Jeremy. I hope PayPal will help this couple get their money back, and that they pursue it via PayPal and their credit card. They should compare the weight of the first shipment, which contained actual shells and pearls to the shipment of empty boxes. Pound for pound, gram for gram, whatever ... the weight should be enough heavier on the first shipment to help prove the second shipment was lacking shells and pearls. Thanks again, Jeremy.
 

anonymous

New Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2016
Messages
2
Thank you for posting this story Jeremy. I am unfortunately the guy he wrote this story about. This is a very bad situation for myself and my family especially before the holidays. The open a pearl live business was so much fun for myself and our consumers. I have been reading threads on here over the past several days and educating myself, and I already know that many of you think we as open live people are scam artist etc. I can assure you this was not our case personally, I felt as if I did my homework I studied for weeks before ever making my first purchase and at the end of the day still fell short. I even went as far as bringing them to a "real" jeweler and allowed him to cut some in half to see what we actually had. He said his findings were surprisingly good, he himself even acted surprised of the quality of our pearls. Well I believe the good lord lead me straight to Jeremy (Kind of strange the first person I call happened to be him.)After speaking with Jeremy I felt like I was punched in the gut. For now I would like to remain under an anonymous name until I can figure out what legal obligations I have to take from this point forward.

Just to follow up on the story, we do all business transactions through Paypal we even have paypal debit cards. Paypal had a buyer protection policy however so far our story isn't seeming as if we are going to have a happy ending. Paypal stated a police report has to be filed before we can be refunded our money. Police came to our house and "investigated" the situation. The end result was they had no proof we were not shipped our items and there is no charge that is black and white that they could charge the company with since they are international. So as of now it seems as if we just lost out on the money we spent.

To add to detail that Jeremy himself did not hit on, one of our orders was placed on the ninth at 10.55.11 pm they even sent paypal a tracking number from 4 am on the ninth almost 19 hours before the order was even placed. :(
The box total weight did not add up either, The box had a weight of 3.6 lbs and was roughly 8x8x14 this box was suppose to include a large volume of oysters 100 jewelry boxes and nearly 165 pieces of sterling silver jewelry. So as if the weight of the box was not a dead give away I sure wish someone would teach me how to pack all of this inside of this small of a box.

At the end of the day this is unfortunate and I pray this does not happen to anyone else. I still have 30+ customer orders to fulfill and no jewelry to put it in. As Jeremy stated in the beginning I had taken everything to reinvest into the business. This has been one terrible way to have to learn.
 

jshepherd

Natural Pearl
Joined
Jun 22, 2004
Messages
5,661
I'd recommend filing a "item not as described" claim with PayPal. I'd also recommend getting someone on the phone and not just dealing with them via PayPal. If you succeed in the "not as described" category, you'll have to ship their empty box back to them.

You may also want to send this thread to LPearls. They will likely realize this is going to be the #2 result in Google for their company name in a few days.
 

JerseyPearl

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
5,858
Thank you for posting this story Jeremy. I am unfortunately the guy he wrote this story about. This is a very bad situation for myself and my family especially before the holidays. The open a pearl live business was so much fun for myself and our consumers. I have been reading threads on here over the past several days and educating myself, and I already know that many of you think we as open live people are scam artist etc. I can assure you this was not our case personally, I felt as if I did my homework I studied for weeks before ever making my first purchase and at the end of the day still fell short. I even went as far as bringing them to a "real" jeweler and allowed him to cut some in half to see what we actually had. He said his findings were surprisingly good, he himself even acted surprised of the quality of our pearls. Well I believe the good lord lead me straight to Jeremy (Kind of strange the first person I call happened to be him.)After speaking with Jeremy I felt like I was punched in the gut. For now I would like to remain under an anonymous name until I can figure out what legal obligations I have to take from this point forward.

Just to follow up on the story, we do all business transactions through Paypal we even have paypal debit cards. Paypal had a buyer protection policy however so far our story isn't seeming as if we are going to have a happy ending. Paypal stated a police report has to be filed before we can be refunded our money. Police came to our house and "investigated" the situation. The end result was they had no proof we were not shipped our items and there is no charge that is black and white that they could charge the company with since they are international. So as of now it seems as if we just lost out on the money we spent.

To add to detail that Jeremy himself did not hit on, one of our orders was placed on the ninth at 10.55.11 pm they even sent paypal a tracking number from 4 am on the ninth almost 19 hours before the order was even placed. :(
The box total weight did not add up either, The box had a weight of 3.6 lbs and was roughly 8x8x14 this box was suppose to include a large volume of oysters 100 jewelry boxes and nearly 165 pieces of sterling silver jewelry. So as if the weight of the box was not a dead give away I sure wish someone would teach me how to pack all of this inside of this small of a box.

At the end of the day this is unfortunate and I pray this does not happen to anyone else. I still have 30+ customer orders to fulfill and no jewelry to put it in. As Jeremy stated in the beginning I had taken everything to reinvest into the business. This has been one terrible way to have to learn.

I am very sorry that this happened to you, and I absolutely think you made the right decision to come here and share your experience. Your experience teaches a lesson; one that can help others learn from your mistakes. It takes courage to share, so thank you for doing that.
 

MSC

Natural Pearl Lover
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
2,828
I am also very concerned about the potential for hazardous materials to be shipped without scrutiny. The method to preserve these oysters needs to be explored...are they using formaldehyde or other dangerous chemicals to preserve these things? Are consumers (the small entrepreneurs) disposing of the waste products properly in consideration of the chemical hazards? There is a lot of who-ha here that needs to further scrutiny. This whole fad is a bad thing.

This. China just does not have the same level of consumer oversight as the US. About 15 years ago I was working for Colgate and there was a massive recall because a large shipment of counterfeit toothpaste had been brought in from China and was on the market, found to have contained some pretty heinous ingredients.
 

amti

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
1,847
I am so sorry. I hate it when someone is scammed. I have had good luck getting reimbursed through paypal (using ebay) by filing items was fake and not as represented. I am not sure how to do a claim just through paypal. I wish you luck in getting your money back and hope others are not deceived. Scammers can rot away as far as I'm concerned, and that's putting it nicely.
 

amti

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
1,847
This. China just does not have the same level of consumer oversight as the US. About 15 years ago I was working for Colgate and there was a massive recall because a large shipment of counterfeit toothpaste had been brought in from China and was on the market, found to have contained some pretty heinous ingredients.

I remember that recall. My mom is Japanese and when she lived there, the Japanese stopped buying anything made in China because of the quality. Pot stickers were found to contain cardboard. Fresh vegetables were grown using waste water, fish were in contaminated waters, and plastics and toys contained large levels of lead. Produce that was sold with country of origin, and even cities and farmer's names on them, sold for higher prices while those items made in China sat on shelves.
 

CathyKeshi

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2014
Messages
4,469
Anonymous, thank you for having the courage to talk to Jeremy and us. We commiserate with you and your family. Even though the local police can't really do anything, you will have some "proofs" for PayPal, and the biggest one should be the weights of the packages; first the one that actually contained pearls and shells, and then the one that didn't. The shipping company records should document the weight of the "empty" shipment could not possibly, as you said, contain what you ordered. That's irrespective of what the pearl company claims they shipped, and is hard evidence. Document every bit of that for PayPal. We hope you get financial recovery on this; I can only imagine how distressing this is for your family.
 

anonymous

New Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2016
Messages
2
Thanks everyone just praying this helps others from ordering from the Chinese companies. This mistake has cost my family dearly and so far not so good in the recovery process. I'll just keep praying that things will turn around and by a little grace it will.

I also found five other company names that have basically the same website as lpearls same pictures and everything just different names
When you click on the contact us in the websites it also shows the same phone number as l pearls... so beware I think it's a complete scamming ring.
Does anyone know if this is something that should be taking to a higher authority branch like FBI?since local police can't do anything maybe they can?
 

Lagoon Island Pearls

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
1,893
I felt as if I did my homework I studied for weeks before ever making my first purchase and at the end of the day still fell short. I even went as far as bringing them to a "real" jeweler and allowed him to cut some in half to see what we actually had. He said his findings were surprisingly good, he himself even acted surprised of the quality of our pearls.

I am going to make a controversial statement, but before doing so would ask others to visit this link first:

https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/content.php?152-About-Pearl-Guide-com

Part of it reads: (bolding mine)

The purpose of Pearl-Guide.com is to

Promote cultured and natural pearls as the world?s most popular and ecologically responsible gemstone
Protect consumer confidence in the online pearl industry
Protect consumers from unethical trading practices
Educate consumers and members of the industry
Promote honest and universal grading systems
Promote honest and ethical pearl retailers and wholesalers
Break the industry's shroud of secrecy through open discussion and debate
Make breaking news of the industry available as it happens

Now, if I may be so bold.

I am going to lay this issue at the feet of the cultured pearl industry. While P-G is motivated to "break the industry's shroud of secrecy through open discussion and debate", other than a small, but terrific group of retailers, there is a woeful lack of contribution from the industry itself. It's a sad day, when a near-indigent, semi-retired deep sea diver is the go-to guy for field information or scientific education.

Firstly, in the industry's defense, it's important to understand most pearl farms employ non patented, site specific and highly nuanced proprietary techniques in their respective operations.

That said, the fear of competition has undermined transparency and disclosure standards. It all began at the turn of the 1900's with the co-option of work done in Australia, namely that of William Saville-Kent by Japanese national interests. Not only was his intellectual property co-opted, he was not even cited for nearly a century.

Debunking-a-Widely-Held-Japanese-Myth

Even the cultural methodology itself was controversial among the Japanese industry. The patent, otherwise known as the Nishikawa/Mise procedure was an acrimonious, highly contentious legal fray. Authorship was dubious (if not outright plagiarized), back dated and suppressed.

In fact, Japan invoked racially charged, highly protectionist laws preventing it's citizenry from even discussing pearl technology with non-nationals. These laws remained on the books only until recent times, having since been repealed.

To detract from the dark side of his involvement, Kokichi Mikimoto deliberately embarked upon perpetuating the proverbial "grain of sand" myth. While grains of sand can be implicated for the onset in a minuscule percentage of natural pearl occurences, it's never used in cultural operations. However, to this very day... the greater part of the world's population believe it to be true.

To that end, given the level of ignorance among the masses, it continues to be low hanging fruit for fraud and misrepresentation. The sheer volume is epidemic and insidious. Even when folks make a conscious effort to research intensively, they're often misled, obstructed, even eschewed for doing so. I've studied pearls since I was a boy of eight. As I near retirement, I've never met another established pearl farmer in person nor been invited to attend their sites. Mainly for fear of "stealing" their technology, when really the opposite is true. Don't get me wrong, I don't deride pearl farming, only this aspect of it. Otherwise, I have nothing but the highest respect for farmers, their good stewardship, fine products, hard work and right to do so.

Natural pearling in history is not without it's reputation, either. The greed and reckless abandon of crass commercialism has devastated, if not extincted massive tracts of shellfish stocks on a global scale. I am infinitely grateful to have near-exclusive access to one of the last remaining intact bio-masses on the planet. I have a lot of eyes on what I do, but take extraordinary measures to be self-regulating in a spirit of co-operation in conservation, science, education, public health and safety. I'm no threat to anyone or anything, except to those who would do others wrong.

My work is open source, for the most part. It's not my sole purpose to produce objects of vanity, insomuch as understanding the ecology of all living things and to uphold a clean, bountiful environment for all beings.

The pick-a-pearl, pearl opening party is little more than a pyramid scheme and a sham, perpetuated by ill-informed neophytes. The lack of knowledge, bogus grading (not to mention poor handling of highly toxic materials) and allure of shoddy trinkets have bilked consumers away from otherwise reputable, genuine and sustainable producers.
 
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