Richard is absolutely correct. This is how it’s done. Retail
customers often buy diamonds and other jewelry over the Internet
without actually looking at it based on photos or the paper grading
report, but rarely will a professional in the business ever commit to
buying anything of value without seeing it first, so the trade uses
memo. Memo is a short term loan of the merchandise for examination.
It is customary for good customers to return either a check or the
goods within a fortnight, but it’s usually OK to ask for an invoice
and pay that a week or two later. Just decide quickly and pay it
within 30 days… Basic Good Manners 101.
The tradition is that if you ask for it, or someone asks if they can
send you something to look at and you say yes, send it to me, you
agree to pay shipping. If you purchase it, or a substantial portion
of the memo, they will usually pick up the shipping. There are
companies that offer free shipping both ways, they use it
promotionally to attract and keep customers. Truth is, even when they
pay the postage, you’re really paying it. Right, Beth?
In response to the folks that say don’t pay it, I acknowledge some
valid points. However, there is a trade organization called the
Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT). They rate jewelry businesses on their
creditworthiness specifically for vendors to use in verifying the
existence and size of the business and their credit history. Unless
you are a very small business and choose not to be listed (which
carries a message to suppliers all of it’s own), it is not at your
option whether you participate or not. If you’re a hobbyist or part
time goldsmith, and don’t really care about your credit rating, you
are probably too small for JBT to care about and most suppliers will
only ship to you COD anyway, at least until you establish a
relationship. But if you want to be a professional and run a real
jewelry business, which means buying from memo, you really need to
pay the man.
Word travels fast in this business. Even in these days, it is a
tightly knit community and people talk. If you get a reputation for
not paying shipping, or returning merchandise after 30 days, or any
of a number of other little violations of the “rules”, you won’t be
able to buy from a lot of people without paying in advance. Only you
can decide if in your particular case the $40 is worth it or not.
They’re not likely to let it go, and there’s a good chance that
starting about six months from now, every time you try to order
something on memo from a supplier and they ask the JBT if you’re
listed and rated, a little note will pop up saying “refuses to pay
shipping on memo goods”.
Would you rather be right, or would you rather be rich? Your call.