It is an unquestioned fact nowadays that people today are shopping online for virtually everything–from books, flowers, chocolates, and wines to gardening tools, furniture, and household cleaners. Many are even turning to the Internet for such major purchases as wedding bands and jewelry. But is this a good idea and more importantly, are you protected as a consumer for high-end and personal items such as jewelry?
Things to Check When Buying Jewelry Online
Shopping for jewelry online can be one of the safest and most worthwhile experiences, if you take a few simple precautions prior to finalizing your purchase. Not only can you compare jewelry items from various jewelers side by side, by you can comparison shop to make sure you are getting the best possible price from a trusted jeweler. Not only will your selection be exponentially vast, since you have the global market at your fingertips, but you can shop from the comfort and ease of your own home, without a salesman influencing your decision (sometimes in a way that you may later regret).
Here are 5 simple guidelines that will ensure a safe, happy experience when buying jewelry online:
1. Be Sure to Read The Return Policy
Shopping online requires a little more responsibility on the part of the shopper. The first thing to check is the prospective store’s return policy. Do they offer a 100% Return Guarantee? What are the exceptions? How long do you have to return an item? Any serious contender should offer at least a 30 day return policy. Some online jewelers, like Apples of Gold, offer an extended 45 day standard return policy, a few others may even offer longer periods. Be sure to check policies on customized or personalized items, such as rings that you plan to engrave. If in doubt, call the customer service phone number and/or email customer service during off-hours.
How transparent is the company’s information? Is the “contact” page easily found? Or is the customer service number obscurely hidden? Is there an “about us” page that clearly explains the company’s ways of conducting business? Is there sufficient information on the detail page of each product? Most professional sites will also now have a jewelry blog and facebook page. All of these things communicate the idea that a company wants to be transparent about its brand values, its products, and its service. Do not trust a site with little to no information that was quickly thrown up onto a web page with a few products. Professionalism and attention to detail can make all the difference.
3. Company Credentials
Does the jewelry company you plan to make your purchase from belong to any trade organizations or objective, third-party outfits that evaluate the efficiency of that business? Any reputable jeweler should belong, at the very least, to the Better Business Bureau and maintain a high rating. Customer reviews should also be present. What have past customers said about the jeweler?
4. Website Security
Most websites are secure in terms of handling your credit card when they use Secure Check Out. But online jewelry companies, especially, should take extra steps when it comes to credit card security. Make sure there are added layers of security, such as Hacker Proof daily monitoring. This is just another indicator that a website is operating on an above par professional level, which means that it is more likely you can trust them as a whole. Websites must now also be PCI compliant, which means that the website’s servers and internal networks are scanned for vulnerabilities regularly.
This is sort of the consumer’s final trump card. If any jeweler fails to deliver on its promise, you can always seek the protection of your credit card company to dispute a charge that you deem unfair. You should always first try to resolve any issues with the business directly first; but in the case that a company becomes unresponsive to your legitimate requests, you can always call in your credit card company that you used to make the purchase (or Paypal if the merchant accepts Paypal) and dispute the charges. You are 100% protected in the case of non-delivery or if a jewelry store fails to uphold its own return policies.
There really is nothing to fear when deciding to shop online for jewelry. Just take the above steps and do a little research about the site before clicking the final Check Out button! Another quick tip: search the company’s name in Google followed by the words “reviews” or “scam” to see if any dissatisfied customers have written about their experiences with the jewelry company. But remember, even the best of businesses is bound to have a dissatisfied customer or two; so be sure to review the company’s overall rating and see if there are any repetitive patterns or negative trends that really stand out from customer to customer.
Then relax, sit back, and enjoy browsing through the many thousands of options that will open up to you when deciding to buy your jewelry online!
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- Must-Read Tips for Buying Jewelry Online
- Apples of Gold FAQ: The “Ins and Outs” of Buying Jewelry Online
- The Rise of Online Jewelry