10 Rules You Should Follow When Shopping Jewelry Online

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Online shopping has become incredibly popular in recent years, and that trend shows no signs of stopping, with e-commerce sales expected to grow by 56 percent by 2026. 

The convenience of being able to shop from the comfort of one’s home is very appealing. However, when it comes to shopping for jewelry online, extra caution should be taken. Jewelry is a high-value item that can easily be misrepresented on a website. 

According to a 2022 report by the Federal Trade Commission, more than 2 million reports were made regarding losses to scams. And US Customs and Border Protection have reported that 15% of all counterfeit goods seized comprise watches and jewelry. Given those figures, it’s important to stay well informed and cautious about where and how you make your online purchases. If you follow these simple rules, you should be able to navigate the dubious waters of e-commerce. 

1. Research the Seller Thoroughly

Before buying anything, spend time vetting the merchant. Search for reviews on platforms and look them up on social media to see if they have an established presence. Also, check how long they’ve been in business – longevity suggests a reliable company. 

For those interested in large quantities or making their own pieces, consider checking if the seller also offers wholesale jewelry supplies. This can be a good indication of their credibility and industry reach.

You can also contact customer service with questions to assess their responsiveness. If anything seems amiss, it’s best to avoid that seller entirely. Stick to well-known retailers with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

2. Verify Return Policies

Before you buy anything, double-check that the seller has a good return policy listed on their website. It should tell you clearly how many days you have to send stuff back and if you can get a full refund if you’re not happy with your jewelry for any reason.

Some sellers only give you seven days to return stuff, which is risky if you don’t inspect it right away or have issues with shipping delays. Look for at least 30 days, that’s standard. And don’t accept any restocking fees over 15% – that gets out of hand pretty quickly. A reasonable restocking fee is 10% or under.

Knowing the seller has a relaxed return policy makes shopping worry-free. You can order that necklace or bracelet without stressing out. If it shows up and is not what you expected, you can send it back without issue. Just make sure you document everything with photos in case they give you any trouble.

3. Check Website Security

This one’s important – you have to make sure the website you’re ordering from is secure. Look at the URL when you’re checking out; it should start with “https” not just “http”. That extra “s” means your data is encrypted.

You should also see a little lock symbol in the browser bar. If it’s not there, don’t trust that site with your information! No lock means hackers could access your payment details and steal your identity. 

While you’re looking at the URL, check that the name matches the site, too. Sometimes scammers do tricky stuff like using “ajewelry-store” instead of “ajewelrystore” (which, in this example, is authentic) to fake a real site. Keep your eyes peeled.

4. Only Use Credit Cards or PayPal

These payment methods offer strong fraud protection and allow you to dispute charges if items are misrepresented. Never pay with direct bank transfers, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or other irreversible methods – this gives you no recourse if scammed. 

PayPal is generally safe for jewelry under $750. For expensive pieces, credit cards offer the best protection.

5. Review Shipping Terms

How and when the seller ships your jewelry can say a lot about their legitimacy. Sketchy sites will only offer weird shipping options, like “Standard Mail” which takes weeks with no tracking. Steer clear of that mess!

Opt for companies that use well-known couriers like UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. You’ll get fast shipping with tracking so you know exactly where your package is. Be wary of sellers that say shipping will take more than 7-10 days. That’s an eternity to wait for jewelry! And never accept a seller that uses shady shipping terms or says they’re not responsible after it ships.

Stick to normal shipping practices from places you’ve heard of. It’s the safest bet for getting your jewelry swiftly and knowing it’s coming.

6. Ask About Warranties

Any real jewelry you buy online should come with a standard warranty covering any defects, tarnishing, and damage. A lifetime warranty is ideal, but 1-2 years is normal for cheaper pieces. Make sure this policy is stated upfront before you buy!

If a seller won’t provide warranty info or says all sales are final, take your business elsewhere. You want assurance that your jewelry will be fixed or replaced if issues pop up. Extended warranties are also nice for very expensive items, giving you extra coverage in case of accidents or normal wear and tear.

Bottom line: no warranty equals no jewelry purchase. Don’t risk it!

7. Scrutinize the Fine Print

The fine print on a website might seem boring, but it can contain super crucial info! Before you buy jewelry online, read through the Terms of Service, disclosures, disclaimers, etc., with a fine-toothed comb.

Sometimes, shady sellers hide key details in there, like that all sales are final or the photos don’t represent the actual product. They know most people won’t read it! But you’re not like most people. Scope that fine print out so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to.

Look out for forced arbitration clauses, too — those take away your right to sue the company if something goes wrong. Big red flag. Know what you’re getting into before you hand over any money!

8. Beware of Deals Too Good to Be True 

If you come across a jewelry deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Real precious metals and gemstones have a base cost. So, if a seller is offering them way below market price, something fishy is going on.

Luxury brands like Tiffany’s or Cartier will never be 90% off — those are knockoffs! The same goes for dirt-cheap diamonds and gold that look super high quality. It’s likely that these sellers are totally misrepresenting their products to hook in bargain hunters.

Stick to reasonable deals that seem aligned with real market prices. And remember, you get what you pay for.

9. Request Certificates

When buying expensive fine jewelry with real gemstones, always ask the seller to provide official grading certificates from labs like GIA or AGS. These documents verify the quality and characteristics of the stones.

If the seller can’t or won’t provide certificates, there’s a good chance the gems are not what they claim. No certificates = no sale. Reputable retailers will have these on hand to back up their products.

Only trust jewelry that comes with documentation from respected third-party appraisers. It’s the best proof you’re getting the real deal, not some knockoff diamond being passed off as high quality. Do your due diligence!

10. Trust Your Instincts

At the end of the day, you’ve got to listen to your gut when shopping for jewelry online. If a seller seems off or their website looks sketchy or amateurish, trust those instincts!

There are so many great jewelry retailers out there. Don’t take risks on sellers you have doubts about. It’s just not worth it. Go with your intuition — if a site doesn’t feel right, close that tab and find one that does. Protect yourself and your money by only buying from people you trust fully.

Conclusion

While the internet has opened up a whole new world of convenient jewelry shopping, risks remain when buying from unknown sellers. Following these ten rules will help you make informed purchases and avoid the pitfalls of jewelry e-commerce fraud. Do your research, use secure payment methods, and take time to scrutinize policies. If a seller appears dishonest in any way, take your business elsewhere. Paying attention to details will ensure your online jewelry buying experience is smooth, safe, and satisfactory.

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