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Brat673

Defective ring

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In February we bought a Sapphire and diamond ring. It was a new ring with second hand stones. I tried on in the shop, fine. Placed in its box.

 

It was looked at and tried on in home and secure in its box.

We decided not to go further with the relationship so contacted the retailer with the knowledge that we would lose a fair amount if they purchased it back.

 

They declined, but advised that we could try to sell elsewhere.

Two other retailers looked at the ring and said that it was very nice but it had a chip out of it.

 

We returned to the original retailer who said we must have damaged it.

We said not so , but they refused to help.

 

We were not advised that the stone was damaged or had any defect when we purchased it.

It needed a jewellers glass to find it.

Advice please

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Well I suppose it's going to be tricky because of course the question of the defect is your word against theirs.

 

Under the consumer rights act, within the first six months there will be an assumption that the defect existed at the time of purchase and the seller must be given an opportunity to repair but if not you can then insist on a refund or a replacement.

 

Clearly in this case a repair is not possible. The problem is that the CRA rule is really intended for mechanical items which are defective rather than damaged.

 

The rule that you assume that the defect existed at the time the item was sold can be rebutted but I suppose they would have to produce evidence that it was not. On the other hand you would have to make a case that it was. The presumption, of course is in your favour.

 

You haven't told us what you paid for the ring and also I wonder if it has a value in its damaged state and what that value might be.


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The cost of the ring was £2250.

It is doubtful if we would have purchased it as according to 2 other jewellers it would have needed the chip to have been ground out (reducing the size?).

 

We had a valuation certificate given for insurance purposes giving costs way above the purchase price. Purchased with credit card.

Edited by Brat673

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Well your rights are as I have set them out above.

 

If you think that you are prepared to take a county court action for that sum of money – which I suppose will cost you about £200 or so to issue the claim and then maybe £200 or £300 for the hearing fee, then I would suggest that you write them a letter before action giving them 14 days to refund your money or you will see them in the County Court.

 

If you win, you will get all your money back. I think the chances are that you would win but of course you can imagine that they will challenge the fact and they will try to say that you damaged the item. I think that it is certainly helpful that it is not visible to the naked eye.

 

If you decide to take this course of action then I would spend a day or two understanding the County Court claims steps and also get an account with money claim and start understanding how it works.

 

When you think that you understand the general way forward, then send your L BA. However, do not imagine that you can bluff. You will simply lose credibility. If you make the threat then you will have to be prepared carried out as soon as your deadline expires.


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You say that the stones were second hand?

Were they declared as treated or untreated?

Are they light in colour or dark?

How are they described on the valuation?

 

Your problem here is that there are just so many variables.

If the stones were treated to alter their colour, or contained inherent flaws after cutting then they can and do chip fairly easily and no retailer would offer any sort of extended guarantee unless the clarity and grading was fully certified.

 

Even then, there is no way of telling whether the ring was dropped on a hard surface or the stone knocked against something causing a chip to the stone.

 

You don't say how long the ring was worn for before trying to sell it, but my opinion is that any Court would struggle to determine whether the damage was present at the time of sale beyond reasonable doubt and in the light of any expert opinion from a Gemologist as to the nature of gemstones and their tendency to become damaged in certain circumstances

 

Valuations for Insurance purposes are always higher as they have to reflect a number of factors.

 

Did you insure the ring? If so then it might warrant a claim to get the stone replaced or reground.

 

Alternatively it may be worth investigating a claim as suggested by BF above, but I would be wary for the reasons given above


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Those are very interesting questions about the stones. It goes to show that you can learn something new every day.

 

What I can say is that there is a presumption in favour of the defect being present at the time of sale. If there is no convincing proof on where the other that the judge will have to default to the finding that the defect was present at the time of sale and in that case you win.


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Stones can last for ever so resetting them is not unusual. So, cane we presume that you bought the ring as a piece of jewellery rather than getting them to set the stones? Yes, they can get chipped, either on a thin part such as the girdle or sometimes by the claws if they get knocked during wear. Now, where is the chip located? If not at one of these places then the damage was undoubtedly there before you bought it. not saying that a chip on a thin girdle or under a claw is your fault, just that it is the normal damage. I would ask the other 2 jewellers that you visited if they have a mamber of staff who is a member of the Gemmological Association and if so could they appraise the STONE and answer the questions sidewinder raised. MOST sapphires are heat treated to remove the green tinge from a blue colour or to make a lilac coloured stone pink. Some have flaws filled by laser welding glass into them, some have jus a wx treatment to enhance the colour when they have a lot of tiny surface flaws ( more common with emeralds which are nearly all oiled).

Once you have that then you have avery good claim against the original jeweller for selling misdescribed goods ( that will massively alter the value) and that will make a claim for a refund much easier. This then moves away a little from the problem with the chip but it makes your case better as it shows the jeweller didnt show reasonable care to start with in their appraisal, description and valuation of the item whe they put it on sale. When that is all done you write tot hem outlining what your have found out and invite the to refund you or you will take them to court to recover your loss under commom law tort.

They may well want to settle rather than appear in the local paper afterwards trying to tell prospective customers that they can still be trusted despite this.

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