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Does this shipping / insurance sound suspicious ?

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anne_h

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I am from Canada and have bought several jewelry items from a couple different US vendors (some on eBay, some not). The shipping always worked out fine. In a few cases, the vendor under-declared the item''s value to help lessen the duty I was charged by customs. In these cases, I was always warned that if something happened to the package, I would only be able to claim the declared value from the shipper. Okay, makes sense.

But now I am going to purchase from a new (to me) vendor on eBay. They are based in New York, have sold a lot of items, and they have a lot of positive feedback. However, their certificates are from NGL, which makes me a little uneasiness. But anyways. They told me they ship to Canada often and will help me save "a lot" of duty, by underdeclaring the value. So I asked what would happen if the item was lost and I needed to make a claim. They say the ship with FedEx, who does not insure jewelry at all for international shipments. They said if anything went wrong, I''d have to contact FedEx, who then would need to verify that I did not in fact receive anything. If proven, FedEx would then alert the seller, who would then reimburse me (by certified cheque). And I asked who would reimburse them... he said they are insured by Lloyds of London (I hope I got the name right).

Does that sound plausible? This company is supposedly a large volume jewelry buyer who usually sells wholesale only.

I am grateful for any opinions. Please note the seller will provide me with a refund (less shipping) if I don''t like the piece. I wouldn''t buy from someone who doesn''t allow returns.

Anne
 

kenny

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Feedback Shmeedback, don't buy off eBay.
It is too risky.

If they are selling to you they are not selling at wholesale prices.
That's a lie.
(What else might they be lying about?)

NGL? No thanks.
I'd only buy stones with GIA or AGS paper.
(If I was 10 times more sophisticated and knowledgeable than I am, I might also cautiously consider EGL USA stones.)


Sorry, but if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
 

anne_h

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Thanks for the feedback Kenny. I know some people are wary of eBay sellers. I have had only good experiences (so far).

Any thoughts with respect to the whole FedEx / Lloyds insurance thing they told me about? Does that sound like a realistic way for a company to operate?

Thanks,

Anne
 

starryeyed

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Hi Anne. I would agree with Kenny - you have to be very careful with eBay vendors. There are some great ones, but there are also some crooks. Bottom line - I would get the policy in writing - they can tell you anything over the phone.

Except for on eBay, I''ve never heard of NGL. I''ve read several complaints here on Pricescope about a certain vendor with NGL certs. Apparently they have much looser standards than other credible certifying labs, so folks have been less than satisfied with their purchases. I guess it depends on your standards and what you expect.

I''ve heard of Lloyds of London, but can''t comment on their pay-out policies. Basically it sounds like you would be relying on the vendor''s insurance.

Rather than think about all of the positive feedback, look at the negative or neutral feedback - what were the issues? If they were issues about quality or return problems, I''d steer clear. Good luck.
 

RockDoc

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Lloyd''s ..............

I believe if it is insured through Fedex, it is not covered by Lloyd''s. If I''m not mistaken Fedex self insures.

Lloyd''s is like many insurance companies, they like to settle claims as inexpensively as they can.

I know from personal experience as well. I was an opposing expert in a claim where a jeweler had a stone stolen that was given to him on consignment. It had an endorsement for $ 30K specifically issued added to the jeweler''s block policy.

Lloyd''s insisted on settling the claim for $ 19,000.

Needless to say it was a cumbersome predicament that ended up in litigation.

Lloyd''s is really not an insurance company. It is a group of many sub "re-insurers" that buy the risk. Claims are sort of under the control of the group that "bought" the risk.

Do your due diligence by asking the ebay seller for a copy of the policy, read it thoroughly so you know what is and what is not covered.

Might be "smarter" to catch a flight to NYC and see the stone in person. Definately less costly than shipping it back and forth through customs.

Rockdoc
 

kcoursolle

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please do a search for ebay before purchasing...just to know what you might be getting yourself into.
 

denverappraiser

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It sounds to me like they are claiming that they have a Lloyds policy that covers them for shipping via FedEx. This is entirely plausible. For Lloyds to approve a claim it would be necessary to get a statement from the seller, you and FedEx that a package was shipped and not delivered. Naturally I can''t comment on whether they actually have such a policy in force or what the terms might be if it is but this sort of insurance is available and it would not surprise me a bit if Lloyds was willing to provide it. It worth noting that in this situation the policy holder is the seller, not you. The insured amount is likely to be their cost and if a loss claim is paid it will be paid to them. It will be up to their own policies to decide if and how much to pay you - Lloyds has nothing to do with it.

I agree with Kenny, we''ve got 2 strikes against this seller in a single post. In addition to lying about the wholesale thing, they are happy to cheat the Canadian tax collectors. These are not good confidence builders about whether or not they are cheating you.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

oldminer

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You might be knowngly entering into a conspiracy to defraud the Canadian taxing authorities. This might be a civil or possibly a criminal offense in Canada. You ought to inform yourself if there are legal ramifications for underdeclaration of value even if you are ONLY the recipient. I have no way of knowing, but it sure might put any claim to insurance for more than the declared value in some jeopardy. Likely as not, all would go well with the shipment, but if it failed to arrive, I think you are not in an enviable position.
 

RockDoc

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Date: 12/24/2006 12:28:20 PM
Author: oldminer
You might be knowngly entering into a conspiracy to defraud the Canadian taxing authorities. This might be a civil or possibly a criminal offense in Canada. You ought to inform yourself if there are legal ramifications for underdeclaration of value even if you are ONLY the recipient. I have no way of knowing, but it sure might put any claim to insurance for more than the declared value in some jeopardy. Likely as not, all would go well with the shipment, but if it failed to arrive, I think you are not in an enviable position.
Gotta agree with the last sentence that Dave wrote......

But I''d add that IF the taxing authorities got involved they would probably turn to the person who would benefit most in avoiding the tax to prosecute. That would lead one to think that the ONLY person in the mix to have an incentive and motive to avoid the tax was you. As Dave said..... not an enviable postion!

Rockdoc
 

anne_h

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Thanks to everyone who offered opinions to try and help/educate me.

denverappraiser - Thank you for addressing the plausibility of the Lloyd''s thing in particular. This seller stated specifically that they will not discuss the insurance/customs thing by email (probably for legal reasons). So I will not be able to get the policy he told me by phone in writing. Not good, I know.

I have searched pricescope forums for any posts about this vendor specifically, but couldn''t find anything. So if I *do* proceed with the transaction, I will definitely post back with its outcome.

BTW, I am not buying a loose diamond, but a 4ct 18k WG diamond tennis necklace (not sure if that makes a difference). I do love the idea of going straight to NY myself instead, but I have a small child now and that''s not very possible.


As far as the customs/duty thing, I admit that I am fully aware of what I''m doing. It''s akin to what some other Canadian posters here confess to doing...which is purchasing diamonds/jewelry in the US and driving back across the border wearing it without declaring it. No one likes to pay large amounts of duty (I''ve paid it myself a few times, it sucks). I know that avoiding paying duty is NOT the right or responsible choice, but I still do it on occasion. Some "legitimate" sellers do help with that, and some don''t (ie: they state up front not to ask them to underdeclare items'' values).

Okay, so enough about that issue in particular.

Again, thanks for the feedback. I will do as another poster advised and go see what the seller''s negative feedback related to. There wasn''t much, but it''s worth it to see if it related to quality or returns.

I am supposed to wire the payment for the item in a few days (they don''t accept PayPal or credit cards from internation buyers). So I need to decide before then.

Thanks again!

Anne
 

smitcompton

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Dear Canadian,
Fed-X does not insure. As was stated they make good on their losses themselves. The seller, I suspect will declare their actual cost so if the need arises for Fed-X to reimburse them they will be covered. If they are a decent company they will refund the full price of the item to you. This has happened to me on ebay and while it took a little while (6 weeks to settle) the vendor sent me a check immediately. Unless its a very expensive piece I doubt Lloyds of London will ever enter in to it.
I have nieces in England who I send Jewelery to. Customs opened one such package and sent my niece a bill and notice to pick up the package at the post office once she paid the duties owed. No one made any charges although I had devalued the item on my declaration. You won''t go to jail. You''ll have to pay a tax. They charged my niece !00 pounds. She protested, they reduced it 50 pounds so I sent her a check for the difference. You won''t have a criminal record. Just pay the tax if necessary.
BTW I wouldnt buy anything too expensive on ebay.
Thanks.
Annette
 

starryeyed

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Hi Anne. I feel very nervous for you - WIRE?? That means you basically have no recourse. Once you wire money, it''s bascially gone. Yikes! I would never do that on an untested vendor. I wish you wouldn''t!

I bought an absolutely stunning 7-carat diamond tennis bracelet in 18k gold, G/H, VS, from Facets. They are a REPUTABLE eBay vendor. I have visited them personally and have done business with them for 3-4 years. You will not get stuck with them and they will give you a great price on QUALITY stuff. The website is www.thefacetscollection.com. Call them and ask for David.
 

anne_h

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Hello Starryeyed (and everyone else),

I promised to post an update, and I do have a partial one.

So in the end I decided to dive in and try this vendor, and wired them the money. They shipped overnight as promised, and I received the piece.

It *is* similar to its phots on eBay. However, I do not "love" it. As expected, the NGL color/clarity grades are generous. Some of the smaller stones are little too included for my tastes (and in same cases, even too brownish or yellow). I had the item appraised, and the color, clarity and carat weight was lower than advertised (as expected). However, the appraiser *did* mention he would guess it would retail for $500-1000 more than I paid.

So I''ve told the vendor I would like to return it for a refund (as per his policy). He has agreed. I am currently waiting on return shipping instructions. After they receive the piece, I will need to wait for my refund cheque. Of course there is a restocking fee, which I am trying to have waived. ;-)

So...so far, so good. Or at least, not bad. Although I needn''t have put myself in this position to begin with. Assuming I *do* get my refund, I will buy something nicer from a known vendor.

I''ll post again when I have another update. :)

Anne
 

canuk-gal

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HI:

The excise tax on jewellery was eliminated in May 2006. Hence "duty" is no longer charged on items bought across border. Just GST on the purchase price at the current exchange rate. Is this what you mean by "declared value"?

cheers--Sharon
 

anne_h

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Hi Sharon,

Yes, that''s what I meant.

I was totally unaware about the duty thing going away!! That''s great! Thanks for sharing.

Anne
 
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