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Buying Jewellery

Purchasing from a Shop

If you have bought an item of jewellery, it must be of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose and as described. When you purchase jewellery from a shop you have an opportunity to inspect the jewellery before you buy. Please take your time over this – if there are any visible faults, marks or imperfections, then this is the best time to question them – if necessary ask the retailer to show you how to use a jewellers loupe (or eyeglass) and take a close look at your purchase. Once you have left the shop it will be harder to argue that any marks, scratches etc were not caused by wear and tear.

Ask whether the retailer has a returns policy which extends your statutory rights. Because many large retailers extend your statutory rights, do not assume that smaller jewellery shops will do the same. You have no rights if the item does not fit when you have had the opportunity to try it on, or if you simply change your mind or the person you have bought the item for does not like it. Fair wear and tear is not a fault and you have no rights if a problem arises because you failed to follow any care instructions you were given on purchase. Do not assume that because other items of jewellery tolerate a level of wear and tear that all items can be treated the same.

Asking about Returns

If you suspect that you may need to return the item, then ask the retailer’s agreement and ask for the return period to be written on the receipt. Under your statutory rights you are not entitled to a refund unless there is a fault which was not caused by misuse, an accident, normal wear and tear or by not following the care instructions. Locate your proof of purchase. Remember - it is up to you to show where and when you bought the item.

Contact the jeweller straight away and report the problem. If you bought the items locally, visit the jeweller. Take the item, the packaging (if possible) and any proof of purchase with you. If you cannot take the item back to the shop, either phone or write to the trader who will normally ask to inspect the item. If you can take a photograph of the item showing the problem or fault, this is advisable.

If a minor fault was present at the point of sale, but you have worn the item a few times, it is reasonable to accept a repair. This won’t stop you claiming a replacement or refund if the repair turns out to be unsatisfactory. A repair should be carried out within a reasonable period of time and without causing you significant inconvenience. Any repair should restore it to a satisfactory condition. If this does not happen, you are entitled to a replacement or compensation. This could be a sum of money or the cost of repairing the item. If the item cannot be replaced or repaired economically, you are entitled to a refund.

Purchasing from a website, TV channel or by mail order

If you buy jewellery from a website, a TV channel or by mail order you will be relying on images and descriptions to decide whether to make your purchase and here the law affords you additional protection. Under the Distance Selling Regulations, you have seven working days to cancel a contract for goods ordered by telephone, mail order, email or fax, except for those goods which are made to order.

When your order arrives, you have the right to return or cancel your order for any reason. If you don't like the goods or have changed your mind, you can cancel the order. This is usually within a seven-day 'cooling-off' period. You can cancel at any time until the end of the seventh working day after the day on which you receive your goods. To cancel your order, you must tell the seller in writing - by letter, fax or e-mail but not by telephone. If sending a letter, send the letter by Royal Mail Special Delivery, so you can prove that you sent it and track its progress. If you have already paid for the goods or services, the seller must refund your money within 30 days of your cancelling the agreement. The money refunded must cover the original purchase and delivery costs but if it is specified in the contract you will have to meet the costs of sending the goods back to the seller. The seller cannot make any further charges to cover, say, administration or restocking.

Valuation Certificates

If the jeweller has supplied you with a valuation certificate and the valuation exceeds any single item limit on your home contents policy then remember to advise your insurer. The valuation certificate should give enough information to enable your insurer to arrange a replacement item should it be lost or stolen. If the valuation includes a digital photograph this will be helpful, together with a full description of any precious stones.

 

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The National Association of Jewellers
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10 Vyse Street
Birmingham, B18 6LT, UK

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