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Valuing Repair Merchandise

What do you do when taking in an item for repair, and you and your
customer disagree as to the value of the item?

Yesterday a customer left a bridal set at my store to be repaired
because the prongs were snagging her clothing. My new employee
understood the value of the set to be in the ball park of $250. But
the customer insisted that the value was $2,500 !!! My employee, not
wanting to offend the customer, wrote in as the value “$2,500 ‘per
customer’”. I was surprised to see a repair handled in this manner.
My employee explained that in the previous stores she worked in,
that’s how it was done and that by putting “per customer”, that
would protect me from liability. I disagree with how this was
handled, but I may be living in the Dark Ages. What do the rest of
you do?

Thank You in advance.
Dale Pavatte

We have used the “per customer” statement occasionally because it
puts the onus on the customer to prove the value in the event
something happens. They would have to either present sales slips in
that amount or an appraisal in that amount. It is, as all of these
situations are, a little risky regardless but there isn’t much you
can do about it. You risk either completely offending the customer
or possibly having to pony up for something with an inflated value.
I think this works best in the event of a robbery because yes, it
would then be up to the customer to prove value to your insurance
company.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-234-4392
www.spirerjewelers.com

    What do you do when taking in an item for repair, and you and
your customer disagree as to the value of the item? 

We use the take-in envelopes from Impact Specialties
www.isiprint.com/ Under the top section for customer
there is a place labeled "Description and customers’ stated value."
For insurance purposes, it is important to write down what the
customer believes their pieces are worth. After three robberies in
our store, the insurance company has paid full value on all items
that were logged in this manner.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFl

Has a lot to do with how you ask:

“What value shall I put on your item while we have it in our store?”

I don’t ask what it’s worth. I’d probably give or take 30% of what
they say. If it’s worth $3000 and they say $4000 I wouldn’t say much.
On the other hand A $5000 diamond and the customer says $15,000 is
another matter. In this case I then ASK how they came to that. It
it’s a struggle at this point I tell the customer “I can not give you
a receipt for that amount. It would sell in our store for $5000 -
$7000. If you’d like I can do the job right now rather than have you
leave it, we can do it while you wait and the charge would be (we
quote 50% higher).”

That usually seals it.

David Geller

JewelerProfit, Inc.
510 Sutters Point
Atlanta, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565 Voice
(404) 252-9835 Fax
david@JewelerProfit.com

I have a similar problem. Would be nice to be able to charge for
insurance, just like the post office does. Doing this would offset
insurance costs, plus it would help the customers keep the values
real since they would be paying the insurance cost, based on their
stated value. What do others think?

-Stanley Bright

 Would be nice to be able to charge for insurance, just like the
post office does. 

While this may sound like a good idea I think you will get more
people who balk and have an issue with it (and will want their work
done immediately so they don’t have to leave it). However what you
should be doing is figuring this factor into your prices to begin
with and charging accordingly. If you are going to be paying
$2000/year for the part of your insurance that covers customer’s
goods in your possession then you should look at how many jobs you
do a year that have this as a factor and divide the $2000 figure by
that number and add it into your fees to cover it. However this isn’t
to say that in certain cases you can’t charge more because the risk
factor goes way up. If you are taking in pieces that dramatically
increase your need for insurance coverage during a specific period
it might be worthwhile to have an additional charge, if in fact, you
have to ask for more insurance from your company and it costs more.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com

I think you missed my point. It wasn’t to cover the cost of my
insurance, (though it would be nice…:slight_smile: ) It was to get the customer
to put down a rational value on the merchandise they are leaving so
that if something does happen they would be covered, but the store
wouldn’t be raped. This gross overvaluation only happens maybe four
times a year. I can see it now. Yes Mrs. Jones, it will cost $525 to
size down your ring. lol… Maybe I’ll try it next time.

David Geller- I’m surprised you didn’t jump all over this idea.

-Stanley Bright

David Geller- I'm surprised you didn't jump all over this idea. 

A. I did post a response.
B. This is the post:

  Has a lot to do with how you ask: 
      What value shall I put on your item while we have it in our
      store?
  I don't ask what it's worth. I'd probably give or take 30% of
  what they say. If it's worth $3000 and they say $4000 I
  wouldn't say much. On the other hand A $5000 diamond and the
  customer says $15,000 is another matter. In this case I then
  ASK how they came to that. It it's a struggle at this point I
  tell the customer "I can not give you a receipt for that
  amount. It would sell in our store for $5000 - $7000. If you'd
  like I can do the job right now rather than have you leave it,
  we can do it while you wait and the charge would be (we quote
  50% higher)." 

  That usually seals it.
  David Geller
    I think you missed my point.  It wasn't to cover the cost of
my insurance, (though it would be nice..:-) ) It was to get the
customer to put down a rational value on the merchandise they are
leaving... 

Sorry, you’re right, I did miss the point of your question. In those
cases I just tell the customer that the insurance company wouldn’t
cover their stated value. Then, I give them the value for which we
could have it remade in-store if it became necessary. If they refuse,
they get turned away. That kind of customer is trouble, since nothing
would ever be enough for them.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFl