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Hi Everyone! HELP! I am at a loss as to what to do . . .
Before Thanksgiving I had some of my pieces at a local Christmas
Art Show, the pieces were on consignment (their portion being
25%) the remainder would be returned to me if an item was sold.
No problem there . . .

Someone purchased a fashion type watch (Legacy watch head) with
a sterling band which I made, on the band were two bezeled
lavander amethysts (odd size- I purchased at a wholesale show)
Anyway, the woman who bought this watch called me within a week
of the purchase and told me the watch’s second hand was sticking
and that it was totally unreliable. I told her that the
movement was under warranty for a year (by the wholesaler I
purchased it from), told her to return the watch to me and I
replaced the watch face. I returned the entire piece to her
within 5 days of receiving it. NO CHARGE. Not even for postage.

TODAY, in my mailbox, I find a large bubble wrap envelope, which
contained: the watch head which had been replaced (which now has
a very large yellow mark on the watch face . . . obviously had
been dropped in water or worn while showering or swimming.) A
note which told me that she also enclosed a receipt and card from
a jeweler in Florida who replaced the watch with one that was
water- resistant . . . the note states that I should reimburse
her for the new watch since the old one was not water resistant .
. . (I never, ever claimed that this watch was water
resistant!!!) and the note continues . …“replace the stone
which is cracked.”

Since the stone was ODD sized, I have nothing to replace it
with! I’m wondering why I should be responsible for her
carelessness with the entire watch??? What would you do or how
would you handle this?

Thanks for any advice!!! Regards . . .


I feel your pain! (lol) I guarantee my work under normal wearing
conditions. Most sensible people know that you can’t get a
watch wet, unless it is a waterproof (not water resistant) or
diver’s watch. Obviously she went beyond “normal wearing
conditions”. If the customer brings the piece to me for
warranty, and the claim was warranted (such as the stuck sweep
second hand) I will take care of it. If they chose to bring it
to another contractor, I feel it is out of my hands, since I
can’t be responsible for somebody else’s work. As for the stone,
if it wasn’t cracked before when you sold it to her, she probably
cracked it herself. I would either 1) refund her money she spent
on the band and send her back her replacement watch face, she
sounds like a pain in the butt and for me customers like that are
not worth keeping anyway. 2) Refuse to reimburse her for the new
watch face, your obligation would have been to replace the watch
with the same one in working order. Tell her that in order to
replace the amythest, you’ll have to wait until the next whosale
show comes around and see if you can match the stone and CHARGE

Hope this helps!
Wendy Newman

I would tell the lady that you know the watch was damaged by her
dropping it and there is a limit to what a warranty covers, it
is one thing to be responsible and another to be ridiculous. I
believe in the customer is always right unless they are
completely wrong, unfortunately in this business we are put in
all sorts of positions that most people are never exposed to like
ie: I received a treated stone and then when the filling came out
he didn’t fracture fill it, I asked him what he thought the best
procedure would be since we had just picked up the stone and he
sad he would have a lapidary man look at it and then return it to
the stone supplier.

If I had called the Stone Supplier and said i would like to
return the stone because it is fracture filled, she would have
said no way not my stone and therefore you try to be as honest
as you can without paying 700.00 TWICE for a stone and lossing
money on the whole deal.

I think you learn how to prevent these occurences only by
experiencing each problem or Learning by each others mistake,

I managed a watch department and I told everyone your watch is
guaranteed for one year against mechanical failure, BUT not
against any problem caused by IMPACT which can be determined by
us at the time of repair under warranty.

Whew!!!Sorry to be so winded!

Dear Madam, I am so sorry that the beautiful watch that you
recently purchased at the Christmas Show at, has
been damaged. It was a lovely piece. If you had looked on the
back of the watch you would have noted that this timepiece was
not marked “water-resistant”, nor was it marked,“water-proof” as
is standard with watches that are designed to be used in and
around water. In addition, I did not indicate to you at any time
that this watch was suitable for use in water. As the original
intact watch was not returned to me personally for repair, I
know that you cannot expect me to be held responsible for damage
to the piece caused by misuse no matter how inadvertant.

I have noted the stone that was cracked after it left my studio,
possibly during the replacement of the damaged watch by the
Floridian Jeweler indicated on the repair receipt that you
forwarded. This setting was made specifically for this
individual un-calibrated stone. Ergo, replacement of the damaged
stone is not a simple matter. An entirely new setting would have
to be constructed for the replacement. I would only undertake
the replacement of the setting for the nominal amount of,, paid in advance. If you
would like the stone replaced at this price, please notify me at
your convenience. Enclosed you will find your watch. Sincerely,

Maybe skip the part about the other jeweler. Wouldn’t want to
saddle anyone else with this lunatic. Good Luck!!! …Boy I hate
the after-Christmas parade of squirrels.


Excellent letter Lisa… I think the finishing touch would be
to return the watch C.O.D. . -Pete-

O.K. - here’s what I would do about it.

  1. Photocopy the invoice for the new watch face, and her letter
    to you stating her “demands”.

  2. Write her a letter stating that the watch had been modified,
    and therefore was no longer under warranty, also (If you want to)
    the stone could be replaced for a fee of $. and pack up the
    whole mess and ship it back.

I really hate deals like this. Stones are fragile, with the
exception of Corrundum and diamond, and even they will break. To
me a customer expecting you, the manufacturer, to replace the
stone free of charge is the same as going out and buying a car
and upon breaking one of the windows, expecting the dealership to
replace it free of charge- we all know they would laugh you right
off the lot, so why are we as jewelers treated so differently?
The company I work for has a “no questions asked policy” even
though I disagree with it, we fix our pieces free of charge. Even
when others have “Tampered” with the pieces, or it’s obvious to
me that someone had used one of our necklaces with their Dodge
Ram to remove a stump from their front yard. (Just an example, I
don’t think anyone has tried it YET) I’m not a lawyer, (Thank you
Lord!) but I think you’re in the clear, since she blatantly
admitted having the watch altered. Still, the ball is in your
court. -Be Strong!!

Tim Goodwin

Oooh…nice touch Peter. Fishbre, take note. :wink: Lisa

since she had another person working on it, the warranty is
void. period.

Sierra Betamillion Great Danes & German Shorthaired Pointers: For
Show, For Love, For Life!

Attention all artists: This is a great time for a little
hine-sight. A small typed guarantee stating a warranty period of
90 days to 6 months with a disclaimer that all warranty is void
if item is tampered with or mishandled upon the return for
inspection to the artist. Every other business does the same.
Most jewelry stores have a very very strict guarantees.

As for your piece. I would send a typed letter on business
stationery stating that after close inspection you have found the
item to be tampered with and although you had stated over the
phone that you would be happy to fix the watch, you are unable to
replace an item under another warranty (the watch itself) because
it shows signs of water damage when it was not marked as a
waterproff watch. As for the stone, tell the customer that the
orig. stone was one of a kind and it’s replacement will be
impossible. Then perhaps reimburse some of her money, or replace
with a similar stone. Try to do the best thing for the customer
but better, don’t get taken by the customer. Joy

Hi Fishbre,

Ahhh… the joys of working with the public! :slight_smile:

I recently received a watch from my department at my “regular"
job as a 5 year service award (just a couple years late…). It
does not say anything about being waterproof. I have the common
sense to assume that, since it does not say “water resistant” or
"waterproof”, it is neither.

I would refuse the reimbursement for the watch face on the
grounds that she never indicated a preference for a water
resistant watch when she had the opportunity, that you were not
obligated to provide one… and never represented it as being
such. If she chooses to then replace it, or due to negligence
is forced to replace it because of water damage, it is her
responsibility to pay for it.

I don’t know what to say about the stone. If you feel that it
was damaged due to abuse or misuse, I think you are not
responsible. Was the stone a good solid amethyst, or was it
"iffy"? As I’m sure you know, it would take a lot of effort to
crack an unfractured amethyst! If you can’t clearly justify a
case for negligence on the customer’s part, I’d see about having
a replacement stone cut by a lapidary friend, or possibly
replace the bezel and use a different stone? I guess it comes
down to a question as to whether it was abuse or defective
materials… it would have to be one or the other, wouldn’t it?

Just my instincts, based on the you provided.

Good luck with this one!


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)

sense to assume that, since it does not say “water resistant” or
"waterproof", it is neither.

If memory serves me correctly, the term “waterproof” is an
illegal term in the U.S.A. All seals will break down given enough
time and/or pressure. “Water resistance” can be used and is ofter
accompanied with “atmospheres” or a suitable number of feet.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
e-mail: @Bruce_Holmgrain
snail mail: pob 7972, McLean, VA 22106-7972
phone:: 703-593-4652

  since she had another person working on it, the warranty is
void. period. 

Not just another person “working on it” she had the entire watch
face replaced. And wants me to pay for the replacement!!!

Lisa, I must say you have composed a lovely letter. I have a
tendency to say something like “AAAAAAAWWWWWW Shaddappp yew
whiney thang yew” (How did you like the accent?) A couple of
slaps and that would take care of that!! Aren’t I nice? I’m on
fertility drugs and they make me uncontrolably snotty as opposed
to my regular snottiness by choice!

I really do admire your approach, it is very pleasant and
businesslike - like a Southern Lady as opposed to my
Northeastern snot!

Of course I would NEVER consider addressing any other Orchidian
in a manner other than true admiration and respect … unless it
was a whiney thang!

warmest regards, Mary Public Relations Erdman!!

 Oooh...nice touch Peter. Fishbre, take note. ;-) Lisa >>

Lisa, Peter, and all the others who have responded to my cry of
HELP! I have to admit, since the initial reaction of total
disbelief, I had to stand back (actually sit) and laugh at the
entire thing! I wanted to say (initially) that I thought this
person was a total idiot, but thought that “in the business
sense” that would not be accepted. So that’s why I asked for

I am going to replace her purple broken stone . . . I found one
that is very inexpensive (20 or so cents!) that may actually fit
the attached bezel! I am planning to write (with a few
modifications) Lisa’s letter (I loved it!) I would LOVE to
return the package C.O.D. but have not yet built up the courage
to do so! (Talk me into it!! Won’t take much convincing!!!)
I will NOT remit the amount she paid to purchase the
water-resistant watch face, that’s her expense, she did that
without consulting me, but looking back, I expected her to do
something like that! Next time, I will be smarter and quote the
Warrenty specifications on the sheet which is submitted with the
id numbers of consigned items!!! Since I wasn’t even at the show
where she purchased the “fashion watch” I have no idea what
"they told" her.

I thought about keeping the band, and returning the face, but
then I thought, what about the percentage that the art center
(who profited) what about their percentage??? Hey, I’m only out
a few bucks, better than returning the full amount! I WILL MAKE

Now, will the entire group make me feel better about my best
gallery outlet that closed today??? I’m crushed! ; )

“Aw shucks Mary”, says Lisa,(scuffing the floor, and looking
like the cutest lil’ ol’ thing you ever did see), t’warn’t
nothin’. My modus operandi in outrageous situations is to nice
’em to death with an underlying sentiment of,“you’ve GOT to be
joking”. Hmmmm, and I don’t even have fertility drugs as an
excuse. Of course even I’d be sweeeet to a fellow Orchidian.
Oops, sounds ominous. sorry, Lisa

Fishbre Fishbre Fishbre, Word-up girl…This woman WAS a total
idiot, and geeez you are nice. …I think I hear a chorus of,
“C.O.D.” in the background… This is one of those unfortunate
situations, where the more you do to be helpful, the harder the
suction of the quicksand pulls you in to the pirahna laden
stream. Do no more, ship it back. This isn’t business you’re ever
going to get, or want again, unless of course you like annoyance
as a steady diet. Chances are that the replacement stone won’t
be,“quite right” for her anyway. Call me psychic. Hey, I live
in L.A., everybody is. Best wishes. :slight_smile: Lisa

I made the mistake years ago of a “customers are always right"
policy, mostly because I lacked the self confidence in my work,
and believed that if something fell off or broke, it must have
been my fault. And this started mostly with my friends, so if
they brought something back, I did not want to charge for the
repair. For example, I made large, domed silver earrings, with
French wires on the back instead of posts. Everyone liked them
because they don’t stab the sides of the head, actually the
mastoid process, while on the phone! Well, some people can’t get
the hang of outting them through the ears without bending the
wires out, then back. Well, as I later explained, even a coat
hanger breaks after you bend it back and forth a few times. So
some of my friends were bringing earrings back every few months
for new ear wires, and for the simple ones without stones,
soldering and repolishing was not much of a chore. but if there
was a bezel set stone, or some type of surface decoration, it was
a lot more work. I have been in business now for about 14 years,
and I still get earrings back for FREE repair, some 10 years or
more old!!! I had a neighbor who would routinely call to make
an appointment to buy something new, and bring the contents of
her jewelry box to me for “just a small repair…” Then she’d
bring out a piece or two that she had bought from me, saying that
she didreally wear it much, and could she return it for something
else. I made the mistake of doing this a couple of times, and I
began to feel really used. I finally told her that this wasn’t
a lending library for jewelry, and she hasn’t been back again. I
have since followed the policy that I will replace a stone that
"falls out” only if the piece does not show signs of damage or
excessive wear. I will replace an ear wire if it comes off at
the solder joint, not if the wire breaks from excessive bending.
And damage from hairspray, perfume, chlorine, etc. is not my
fault and will not be repaired for free. My confidence is back!!

Anyway, I think you are completely off the hook on the watch,
and you shouldn’t even offer to replace the stone. If you do,
you are letting yourself in for more headaches if she changes her
mind or damages the new stone. She is obviously not very careful
with her possessions. You can suggest that she find a local
jeweler to take care of it in the future.


Boy, does this sound familiar! When I first started teaching
myself, through books, how to repair jewelry, I asked women at
work for broken pieces for me to practice on. I did the repairs
for free, just for the experience. I later began to make rings
and such. When I sold a ring, I would size it as part of the
deal. This was a given, and I had no problems doing it. I also
had the experience of having someone bring in several pieces of
garbage for me to repair while they also sought to purchase
another item–an item I may see sometime in the future! It
seemed that people found it easy to take advantage of me, which
really hurt my male ego!

Just last week I had a couple come to see me about buying a few
rings. They were foreign, from India, and liked high carat gold
and sapphire mostly. The woman did all the talking. She picked
out a few rings and began talking price. I quoted a modest
price allowing for a modest profit for myself. She looked at me
like I was crazy and then asked why it was so expensive. “You
would find it hard to find another place where you could get it
less expensive,” I said while trying to remain calm. She then
proceeded to ask me to verify that each diamond on every ring,
accent stones included, was genuine. I sat there with my tester
and touched these 1 and 2 pointers until steam started to shoot
rings, but she did not have enough money for them. We bartered
a bit more, and then she picks out another ring, this one for
her friend. I say I would give her a package deal on the
three. She then pulls from her purse several large
bills–showing me that she not only had enough money–but needed

I later went home that night and gave my self a good talking to.
I agree with you people. Enough is enough. My pride is more
valuable than making a sale. If a person wants and appreciates
an item, then they will buy it. If they don’t, they will go
without. I will not let these things happen to me again.

Thanks, I feel better now, and I didn’t even have to see a



There are always people out there who want something for
nothing. Case in point: I work Scottish/Irish festivals for a
living, selling my Celtic jewelry. I travel with my partners who
sell Celtic instruments, music books, plus cd’s and tapes of
Celtic music. At one festival last year, Wolftrap Farm Celtic
festival, we had on display a magnificent Bouzouki for sale,
inlaid with mother of pearl and ebony wood, hand crafted, just
gawjus. The tag said $1450 in bold numbers. We watched one woman
stand and check it out for a good twenty minutes, asking very
knowledgeable questions. Finally, she told me “I’ll take it”, and
handed me a twenty dollar bill.

Go figure, huh?

On another note, beware when someone comes in your store in
teams like that. The woman may have dominated the conversation
and had your constant attention, while the man looted another
case. It has happened.


Which brings up an interesting point. Some customers just
expect to haggle over a price, and with that expectation, assume
that what you’re quoting them is a starting price. In the
U.S., it’s not a standard practice. I’ve seen people from other
countries trying to bargain down prices on new items at a
department store. (Since it wasn’t me behind that counter, it
was a bit amusing.)

So in a multi-cultural environment, how do you deal with that
fairly? Some customers walk away from a price and really mean it,
others are waiting for you to come down in price.

The best compromise I’ve found so far is for the customer to
ask, “Is that your best price?” To which the vendor can reply
either, “Yes, that price is firm.” or “What are you going to
offer me?”