The pitfalls of buying jewellery abroad

This is an old e-mail from a ValueIreland.com that I just came across recently:

I was wondering if you could possibly offer me some advice or guidance. My partner and I recently visited New York and got engaged. Whilst we were there we purchased an engagement  ring from a jeweller on 5th Ave. Since we have returned back to Ireland the ring ( $3.000) has broke (11 days later) and we are somewhat dishearten by the whole outcome. I emailed the Jeweller asking them for some advice and guidance on how to rectify this situation and was hoping they may offer some option on how to get the repair paid for. They replied

“I apologize for that crack you mentioned in the ring and our jeweller is excellent, but sometimes things do happen with wear etc.  I suggest you take it to any local jeweller and they should be able to easily repair it there in Ireland for you.”

My argument is, the responsibility of repairing the ring lays with them and not me. Personally we feel as if the jeweller was happy to take are money and now we are back in Ireland its a case of hard luck. I’m sure your probably inundated with similar request for advice, but we would be really grateful for any professional guidance on how to rectify this situation and what  if any consumer rights we may have.

Unfortunately, my response probably wasn’t what the reader was hoping to hear:

I appreciate the difficult situation that you find yourself in at the moment, but I think unfortunately you’re finding now one of the potential pitfalls when purchasing items abroad.

I’m not familiar with consumer legislation in NYC, but I guess that if you were to return in person to the jeweler themselves in NYC, I presume that they would be more than happy to assist with any repairs. If you were to look at things from their perspective, they could feasibly not expect to have any responsibility to look after someone who buys something and then leaves the country.

I appreciate that this doesn’t meet your requirements, but unfortunately I don’t believe that there are any consumer regulations (either here or in the US) that could force the jeweler to repair the ring in the current situation.

Have you tried to see if there is any half way arrangement that might satisfy both sides? It could be worth asking what they would do to resolve the issue if you did actually show up on their doorstep with the broken ring. Would they fix it then? Would they do it for free, or would they charge you?

If it is the case that they would repair the ring at their expense if you arrived on their door-step, maybe you could get agreement from them that if you paid for it to be fixed here that they would refund you the costs. They might want to see a quote for the fixing before going ahead with this to make sure it won’t cost them too much.

As I said, it’s unfortunate that you’re finding the downside now of buying cheaper abroad, but consumer legislation here doesn’t cover such situations, so I think that the best you could get is to try to come to some sort of agreement with the New York jeweler.

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