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The Goldsmiths Con


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This issue started just before christmas 2006 when my wife took her TAG Heuer watch into Goldsmiths for what seemed like a battery change, we have both had our timepieces for over 10 years so we knew the traits. Goldsmith took the watch and a £30 deposit for a £45 battery change and then sent the watch away for the work to be carried out. Approximately two weeks later they called my wife and explained that the battery change would not repair the watch and that it needed a service at a cost of £145, indicating since we had already paid a £30 deposit, we only needed to pay a further £105. When my wife consulted myself about this I suggested we get a second opinion, at this point she explained that a £30 deposit had already been paid, so we decided to go for the service and I paid the difference of £105. I summised to myself that this may have been the case as during the times we have had our watch we have had at least a couple of services, it's to be expected, even though the last service for both watches was carried out fairly recenetly by a friend of ours who is a watchmaker for a very exclusive make of watches (sorry better not name brand as I would not want to get him into trouble).


Soon after this incident my watch battery expired and seeing as my wife was heading in that direction, I asked my wife to drop my watch into Goldsmiths, but I asked that she debate the deposit as £30 for a £45 service service is silly, especially when you are handing such an expensive watch into their keep. When she handed in the watch they asked for a £5 deposit which was paid and considered acceptable. Although I found this strange and inconsistent to the deposit required in our previous encounter.


Soon after dropping in my watch I run into our watchmaker friend who on hearing that we had been sending our watch to anyone but himself, firstly had words with us on always giving him the watch for repairs, but he only ever charges us a small amount and we feel too embarrased to keep asking him. Anyway, he then told us of the times he used to work at Goldsmiths while he was at University. He then went on to explain that during that time he was constantly asked to refer watch battery requests for service repairs to 'bump up the commision'. He told how they would take the watch and a deposit then after a short period they would inform the customer that the watch was taken to TAG and they could not repair the watch unless a service was carried out, at a greater cost.


Armed with this information Goldsmiths called me later that week and low and behold, they told me that my watch needed a service, of which I told them that I will be collecting my watch as is and I also wanted a letter from themselves explaining that they claim they sent my watch to TAG and TAG said it needed a service.


When my watch had returned to the store I popped in and picked up my watch and a letter from Goldsmiths explaining just as I asked. I then took my watch elsewhere who sent my watch to TAG, TAG changed the battery and I picked it up soon after for £40. When I picked up the watch a letter was provided stating that they took the watch to TAG and they changed the battery and returned the watch. At this point I did not want to give the watch to my watchmaker friend as I needed a second opinion and felt another store carried more weight as I did not want to involve my friend in anything like this.


So now I have two letters dated accordingly, one from Goldsmiths explaining a costly service is required on the request of TAG and another explaining TAG took my watch , replaced the battery and returned without the request for service.


Now I do not think TAG have anything to do with this, but I have wriiten them a letter asking for the history of records on my watch in relation to this occurence. And I have also called Goldsmiths, who promised a full investigation, but I have not heard anything since I called which was just over a week ago.


For me resolution is that we are refunded for the deposit I paid, refunded for my wifes service and possibly a little more for the trouble and time spent on this.


I would also like some advice on how to approach this, as if I do not like what Goldsmiths have to say I will not hesitate to take this to the small claims as I believe I have a strong case.


Please Help


Thanks in advance :)

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First thing I would do is put together a letter to Goldsmiths explaining what has happened and proving copies of all letters. i would also certainly contact Trading Standards to let them know what's happened. In your letter you can ask for the deposit etc and see what they say, sometimes a threat to expose them may be just enough to make them get their cheque books out!

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Yes; definitely report this to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. What CD should then do is forward your complaint to the relevant Home Authority Trading Standards department for the retailer, so TS can investigate if they wish.


Bear in mind that TS can only investigate the potential matter relating to misleading consumers in general, and won't be able to assist with your own civil case.


Do as Sar says and write them a letter backing this up with copies of any other letters you have, let them know what you would like from them and give them a reasonable date for their response.

Please note I'm not insured in this capacity, so if you need to, do get official legal advice.

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I have just left my Tag watch with Goldsmiths for a battery change! Very worried now they might try the same thing. I have had to about 10 years, never had it serviced, but it works o.k. I'll know the 'con' if they try it on with me!!

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I don't think this practice is confined to Goldsmiths. I took my Breitling Aerospace to an authorised Breitling dealer for a battery change. They proposed a charge of £140 to change the battery and conduct a waterproofing check. I declined and took the watch to a watchmaker I used for other watches - he changed the battery and tested the proofing for £15. The only difference, apparently, is that the authorised dealers guarantee that the battery change won't affect the waterproofing.


I sold the Breitling and only have automatic watches now - I dread to think what my Panerai will cost to service when the time comes.

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There is nothing wrong with the watch, so why should it be serviced?

I asked at Goldsmiths and hey do not have a recommended service interval, as the do with cars.


like your car may be running fine now - see what happens if you don't service it regularly and there are reccomended service intervals for watches.


A service is generally done when nothing is wrong, to stop something going wrong whereas when something is wrong its not called a service its called being FIXED

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