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Real Deal

Real Deal: The Case of the Mysterious Switch

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[dropcap cap=I]t all started with a phone call, as most bizarre situations seem to. Marc Darryman took the call on a busy Friday morning, from a man who identified himself as a regular customer of his southwestern store. Eric Sager claimed to have purchased a round solitaire engagement ring from Darryman Diamonds a little over four years before. He read from the paperwork that came with the ring that the diamond weighed 1.03 carats, that it was a G in color and a VS1 clarity, and that it was a very good cut. The setting was platinum. He started to sound a bit angry as he said that he paid over $9,000 for the ring. He said that he and his fianc?e had broken up just a few months after buying the ring, and that it had been sitting untouched in a lock box, complete with his sales receipt and store appraisal, from that time till just a month ago.[/dropcap]

Eric told Marc that after seeing all the signs around town, hearing the TV and radio ads offering to buy gold and diamonds, and being out of work for nearly a year, he’d decided to sell the ring. His first stop was back at Darryman’s, where he met with Jackie, the store’s new buying expert. He didn’t mention that the ring had come from the store, and Jackie did not ask. He was surprised that she didn’t even ask for the paperwork. She looked at the stone briefly, weighed the ring, and checked the stamp in the setting before telling Eric she could pay him $2,000 for it. When he told her that was far less than the ring was worth, she apologized, and said that resale was not about purchase price or worth – but rather, about a profitable transaction for the buyer and fast cash for the seller. She also mentioned that he probably over-paid for the ring originally. He thanked Jackie for her time, and left the store angry and confused.

He went on to describe his next stop, at a very prominent, exclusive store in town. There, he said, he met with the store owner, who asked if he had any original documentation. She took a good deal of time to look the ring over and to compare the stone to the description on the appraisal document. Eric said she looked at it under a microscope and used a tester of some sort on it before telling him that the stone in his ring was not the same one described in the appraisal. In fact, she told him, the stone in his ring was not even a diamond. Rather, it was a good quality cubic zirconium – a diamond substitute. Eric told her that was not possible – that the ring had not been worn for several years, and that Jackie at Darryman’s had just looked at it and had made an offer – albeit it pitifully low one. The store owner told Eric he should have taken the $2000 – that Jackie had made a careless mistake in not properly identifying the CZ, and that it would have served Darryman’s right to have bought back what they sold.

At this point in the conversation, Eric made it very clear that he believed he had been deceived by Darryman’s from the start – that the store had given him a CZ in place of the diamond he had selected, and that he had paid over $9,000 for next to nothing. He told Mark that he wanted his money back – all of it – or that he would make a call to his attorney followed by one to the police. After listening calmly and asking a few questions, Marc asked Eric for 24 hours to do some homework – to track down the original transaction and to see if he could determine what might have happened. Eric reluctantly agreed to bring the ring back into the store the next day.

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Marc went to work immediately, locating the original transaction and finding the store’s copy of the diamond certificate. He noted that the diamond was sold loose and set in his shop – by a jeweler who left the company and moved out of town about a month after the sale was made. He also reviewed the notes he made during his conversation with Eric. He was especially interested in a comment Eric made about his former fianc?e keeping the ring for several weeks after their breakup. Marc felt very confident that the ring left his store with a diamond in it. He also felt confident that Eric might have reason to talk with the police or his attorney regarding his missing diamond – and his former fiancée.

[h3][b]The BIG questions:[/h3] As he sat mulling over the situation in preparation for Eric’s visit, the number of questions in his mind continued to grow. Could he really be certain of his former jeweler’s integrity? How should he handle the situation with Jackie? He couldn’t decide which piece was more troublesome for him – her offer on a CZ, her failing to ask for original documentation, or her comment about Eric’s overpaying for the ring originally! And then there was the situation with the owner of the other store… Most importantly, how should he handle Eric’s demand for a full refund? [/b]

Editor’s note: Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories, but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved. The names of the characters and stores have been changed and should not be confused with real people or places.

 

[span class=alert]To be eligible for publication in INSTORE, responses must include your name, store name, and the city and state in which your store is located. [/span]

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