Unlike most online purchases, the decision of buying real 22K gold and diamond jewelry from an International jeweler can be a difficult one. The quality of jewelry, reputation, price and customer service can vary from one International retailer to the next. While International online jewelers have great designs and collection, that doesn’t always mean that they offer good prices and service! Based on my own personal experience, I have written this blog to help our readers make an informed decision when they buy from International jewelers. Here I have compiled our pros and cons of buying 22K gold and diamond jewelry from an International jeweler.
Variety of Designs:
Most International jewelers may have a wider selection of jewelry designs and collection because of closer access to manufacturing units and sub contractors. Customers can definitely get their choice of jewelry with these retailers. For example, if you are looking for high-end bridal diamond necklace sets or uncut diamond jewelry collection, India will definitely have better variety of designs compared to the US.
More Open to Customization:
International jewelers will be more open to custom make a jewelry item as they may have the facility of a manufacturing unit or they may be able to sub contract the work easily to other local jewelers.
A peek at our 22K Gold Collection:
Increased Shipping Time:
Most International jewelers take minimum 35-45 days to ship an item overseas. Buying from an International jeweler when you need an item urgently or for a specific occasion may not work as frequent delays are likely to be expected.
Slammed With Expensive Custom Duty:
Customers often do not realize that when they buy jewelry from overseas, they get charged with a 6% custom duty on the value of the jewelry. The custom duty is not explicitly mentioned to the customer by the International jeweler at the time of purchase. An invoice for it is typically sent by the shipping carrier like UPS or FedEx 1-2 weeks after they have delivered the goods to you. The delay is because of the shipping carrier's policies- to first ensure that the package is delivered as soon as possible to you, and not wait to receive the custom duty bill from the customs department which takes 1-2 weeks.
The International jewelers' take advantage of this situation and usually do not mention anything about custom duty to their customers. Many a times, customers are led to believe that there will be no custom duty or that the high shipping costs that is charged by the International jeweler also includes custom duty. The International jeweler may write about the custom duty in some fine print under their terms and conditions or elsewhere which is not easily visible. At this point, you do not have the option to inform the shipping carrier that you do not wish to pay the custom duty as you were not informed about it earlier. Now, you are kind of stuck with the item because you have already accepted the package and most likely opened it immediately to ensure all your valuables are in place and it is too late to return it. Also, note that the custom duty is charged by the government and not by the shipping carrier. The shipping carrier is only collecting it on behalf of the government. If you do not pay, it will be the government coming after you with high interest and penalties added.
Limited Customer Service:
Due to the time difference where the International jeweler is located, you may have limited options of communication with them. If you call before or after their store's working hours, you will not be able to communicate with them. If they do return your call, it may be in the middle of the night or early morning for you and not a convenient time to engage in a jewelry purchase conversation. If you send them an email, expect replies after 1-2 business days. This only increases the time for you to make a purchase as well as to receive your item.
Returns & Exchanges is Hard:
After your International jewelry shipment arrives, if for any reason you do not like the item or find yourself to be in a situation where you need to return or exchange the product, your options are almost non existent. Now when you contact the International jeweler, they will ask you to ship the products back to them in their country at your expense, pay for the custom duties again (in addition to the custom duties already paid by you 1-2 weeks after you got the package), and ensure the product is received by them in a time frame as per their policies which is usually extremly small. So literally you are left with no options at all. The bottom line is that you are stuck with the item and have no practical recourse.
Additional Credit Card Fees and Wire Transfer Costs:
When you pay an International jeweler using your credit or debit card, most banks charge a 2% International transaction fee, this cost can add up and become substantial when the purchase amount grows. In case you do a wire transfer, it will cost you $50 in wire transfer costs and you need to consider this cost in the total amount you pay. Also, keep in mind that if you send a wire transfer, you have absolutely no control over your money, that money is gone and anything you do, will not get that amount back. Even if the International jeweler does not hold up to his promise and does not mail you anything, there is noting that you will be able to do.
Absolutely No Options With Damaged Goods and Future Repairs?
If the product received by you gets damaged in transit - like for example, the product gets bent or stones fall out - what can you do? The International jeweler has no presence in your country, he/she cannot get it fixed for you. Both parties involved in the transaction know that it is not practical to ship the product back to the International jeweler for repair, and for them to ship it back to you again. In such situations, you may be asked to find a local jewelry repair facility and will probably need to get it repaired on your own locally. The International jeweler may be willing to pay a small amount for the repair - However, the amount they will pay will be no where close to the actual amount that it will cost you to get it fixed here because repair in USA is expensive. They will only pay what they actually pay directly to their manufacturing unit for the cost of the repair in their country. For all future repairs, you will need to outsource to a local jeweler and not have the facility of getting it repaired from the jeweler you bought it from. Again, this is a helpless situation you don't want to be in.
Limited Options for Guarantee/ Warranty ?
If you need to resell the product back after a few years, you will have to do it only at that International jeweler's retail location in his/her country which is not always practical. What if you realize that the product is not of the quality and purity that it originally stated to be? To avoid this difficult situation, do a thorough research before embarking on an International jewelry purchase. Try and look for local jewelry stores such as Totaram Jewelers, based in New Jersey and invest time to view their jewelry collection so you can be assured of getting the designs you want, reliable customer service, product care, and a peaceful buying experience.
Tips to Buy Jewelry Online-
- When you’re buying a piece of jewelry, compare quality, price, and service from several different jewelry retailers. Consider asking family members, friends, or co-workers for recommendations. If you’re unfamiliar with a seller, check its reputation by doing an online search. Enter the seller’s name and the words “complaint” or “review” in a search engine.
- Get the details about the product, as well as the jeweler's refund and return policies, before you buy.
- Look for a street address or phone number in case you have a question or problem.
- Call the number to test it. You may want to know if the seller is in another country. When considering a major purchase like a piece of jewelry, it’s best to make a few decisions before you begin shopping.
- If you decide what’s important to you up-front, you’re less likely to make an impulse purchase that could lead to a remorseful buying experience.