A Prominent Jewelry Store Doesn’t Honor Diamond Warranties nIt seemed pretty straightforward Dennis bought Debbie a sparkling 1 carat heart-shaped engagement diamond for $6000 at Shaw’s Jewelers in Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA. As part of the package, Dennis received a diamond warranty if Debbie brought the ring to the store for warranty inspection and cleaning every six months, then if anything happened to the diamond, the store would replace it free of charge. Over those same couple of months, Dennis & Debbie would also buy their wedding bands, wedding gifts, and several other jewelry items, bringing their total expenditures to approximately $10,000. As you might imagine, Dennis & Debbie developed a relationship with the store manager, Shana. nFor a couple of years, everything seemed fine. Debbie would bring her ring to the store, and the store manager, Shana, and later Jeff, would greet them warmly, have an associate clean and inspect her ring, and, Debbie thought, make an entry into their database crediting her with the visit. Debbie, perhaps foolishly, did not request nor keep paper documentation why should she? How many of you plan your visits to the jewelry store for your ring’s warranty checkup? Debbie certainly didn’t she would stop in when would find herself at Fair Oaks Mall for other reasons, so carrying around her warranty paperwork just wasn’t realistic. Besides, when she did visit, she made an entry in her Palm Pilot for her records, and she had watched the store personnel record the visit in the database. Or so she thought. nHowever, at the last visit on October 17, 2004, Debbie received several unpleasant surprises not only did her diamond have a crack, but Shaw’s claimed to have no record of her visits and would not honor the warranty. She was told that without proof that should have been documented on her paper warranty, Shaw’s was not obligated to honor the warranty. To compound the problem, the two store managers Debbie had developed a relationship with were no longer with Shaws, and thus could not vouch for her visits. nDebbie’s subsequent conversations with the current store manager, Georgie, resulted in the same answer. Debbie took her complaint to the district manager, Terri, who had his assistant, Sherri, talk to Debbie, who then gave her the same answer without paper proof of her visits, they couldn’t help her, but suggested she talk to Shaw’s Customer Service. Debbie called Shaw’s Customer Service, and spoke to Sarha. Sarha again explained that Debbie was required to produce printed documentation of her visits. When Debbie questioned why Shaw’s was unwilling to honor electronic records, Sarha answered that Shaw’s could not guarantee their ability to retain such records. Debbie, an Information Technology consultant of 20+ years, commented that she found it unbelievable that a company that moved millions of dollars of merchandise a year did not have disaster recovery procedures to maintain their financial records, and was it asking so much to expect them to provide a few pennies worth of storage space per year to record her warranty visits? After continued conversation, the end result was only marginally better Sarha offered that Shaw’s would replace the diamond for 50% of the appraised value and reinstate the warranty after the replacement. Debbie then tried one more time to give Shaw’s an opportunity, and asked to speak to a Customer Service manager. After two more months of being passed back and forth from corporate to the local store, Debbie was left with the same 50% offer. nIn this era of e-commerce, why must we carry around a piece of paper every time we visit the jewelry store to prove that we have had our diamond inspected? Doesn’t having spent over $10,000 and continued patronage to the store count for anything? In addition, how would the last warranty inspection have made any difference on whether the diamond got damaged? If the diamond had been lost, Shaw’s may have had an argument if the ring had been inspected, Shaw’s would have been assured that the setting was intact. But there was nothing wrong with the setting when they inspected the ring in October; the only problem was that the diamond was cracked. This is simply an easy out to avoid replacing what was obviously a defectively cut diamond. nBuyers beware despite this era of e-commerce, don’t expect Shaw’s to provide e-commerce customer service and still honor their diamond warranties. nDebbienVienna, VirginiaU.S.A.
11729L Fair Oaks Mall Fairfax, Virginia U.S.A.