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Fake Appraisal???? Help!

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jack411

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Feb 26, 2007
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I am curious, how can I be sure that the bracelet that I bought is authentic? It seems like it would be very easy for anyone to just print up a fake appraisal. I am having my piece appraised sometime next week. I am curious though, how are appraisals/appraisers regulated? I''m a little nervous because I bought the bracelet online...
 

JulieN

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Why would an appraiser want to just print out a fake appraisal, though? What''s in it for them?

There are credentialing programs and appraiser associations to which many professionals belong.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Did you buy it from someone with a return policy? We''d generally recommend only buying online with that condition if the item is expensive.
 

denverappraiser

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It sort of depends on what you mean by a ‘fake’ appraisal. An appraisal is an opinion of value from someone who is presenting themselves as an expert. Although there are some regulations for appraisers regarding tax matters and real estate, there is no licensure requirements in the United States. Anyone who wants to can call themselves an appraiser and they can produce pretty much any opinion they want. You are quite correct that it’s common for sellers to simply print up a report that says whatever they want and for manufacturers to contract with companies that include statements about the quality or value of the merchandise that have no basis in fact whatsoever.


The credibility of a seller supplied ‘appraisal’ is exactly identical to the credibility of the seller. In some cases this is entirely sufficient but if you’re worried about whether you can rely on the word of the seller, it is no help at all.

If your concern is that the appraisal is counterfeit, meaning that it's not the work of the signer, call them up and discuss it. Most appraisers can easily recoginize their own work. Many (including me) won't discuss the contents with you because of privacy concerns with our clients but we can authenticate our own signatures and letterhead.

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

 

RockDoc

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I think "fake" is the wrong word.

I think the OP is concerned that he will get a "feel good" type of appraisal. Why do some appraisers do a "feel good" type of analysis.

1. It takes much less time, to just "bless" an item, than it does do factually explain, it''s shortcomings to a customer.

2. When this is done, the appraiser doesn''t have the seller angry, and in the case of referral business from that seller, when sellers send to ONE PARTICULAR APPRAISER CONSISTENTLY, they don''t lose referrals from that seller.

3. When a customer is told what "he wants to hear", everyone is happy. No complaints.


Some appraisers value the items high, which even if the gradings are not as represented, the customer feels like "he got a good deal". This is particularly true with the "credit card" type appraisals offered by many retailers provided to the client at the time of purchase.


To answer the question about How are appraisals/appraisers regulated? The salient truth is that unlike real estate appraisers, who are licensed and/or certified by a state licensing body, personal property appraisers are not licensed. In some states there are laws written specifically for jewelry appraisers, such as NY. But if one reads those laws, and interprets them properly, they do not have much basis for protecting consumers. An example is the legal requirement for NY appraisers to add a statement, that appraisals can vary 25%. In fact appraisals can vary much more than this, so even though the legal statute exists, it doesn''t have a tremendous amount of relevance.

There are trade groups that many appraisers belong to, but consumers should check what courses in appraising/ valuation the appraiser has had. General membership to an appraisal organization without taking their courses, just means the appraiser wrote a check to be a member, and has not been tested by that group.

The important consideration is to understand that for jewelry items, a gemological education is separate from a valuation/appraising one in most cases. A qualified appraiser of jewelry and gem items has BOTH a gemological education, as well as an appraisal one. A way to verify this is to read the appraiser''s CV.

Rockdoc
 

jack411

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Thanks for all the responses guys! I am absolutely shocked that there are no license requirements, etc. I was referring to the ''feel good'' type of appraisals that one of the previous posters talked about.

As far as my piece, luckily there is a return policy. The jewelry is not nearly as nice as I thought it was when purchasing it.


How can insurance companies afford to take risks on jewelry insurance if there are no laws regulating an appraisal? It seems like someone could really take advantage of that.
 

RockDoc

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Date: 2/27/2007 10:05:21 PM
Author: jack411
Thanks for all the responses guys! I am absolutely shocked that there are no license requirements, etc. I was referring to the ''feel good'' type of appraisals that one of the previous posters talked about.

As far as my piece, luckily there is a return policy. The jewelry is not nearly as nice as I thought it was when purchasing it.


How can insurance companies afford to take risks on jewelry insurance if there are no laws regulating an appraisal? It seems like someone could really take advantage of that.
Jack

Insurance companies are pretty saavy when calculating risk. There is a certain percentage of fraud, which is factored in the premiums based on their losses.

Insurance companies are sort of like the "HOUSE" in a Casino. The odds are in their favor, either through the amount of the premiums, or in the terms and conditions of the policy, OR limitations/exclusions written into the policy.

Not all insurance companies are "evil". Some really do make a respectable approach to keeping their insured pleased. But there are some that don''t. Look at all the people who have paid homeowner''s premiums over the years, have one claim, and are still waiting to be paid, or get cancelled.

Getting cancelled for a claim, when it happens is most distressing. Not all companies do this but certainly some do. It is for this reason that I suggest that people insure their jewelry via separate standalone coverage. In FL and Lousiana insurance companies have cancelled people or raised their rates because of the storm damage they''ve incurred. It would be a real problem for many people if a jewelry claim caused their homeowner''s to be cancelled. I think we all know that many of the insurance companies operate on a "monkey see- monkey do" type of thinking. If one company cancels you, then no one else wants to insure you, unless you get a high rate/risk type policy, usually at significantly higher premiums. Insurance companies share that info between themselves.

The replacement policy sort of "protects"insurance companies from "faulty" appraisals as far as jewelry is concerned. Regardless of what you insure the item for, they only are required to pay their cost to replace it. So if the appraisal value is exaggerated, they can settle the claim for a lot less, and collect premiums based on the exaggerated value. Underwriters and actuaries are well aware of this. Insure the item based on a high retail price, and pay out a small premium over the actual wholesale cost of the item. For many consumers, who DO have a claim, they never know exactly what the insurance company paid out to the replacing jeweler. If that isn''t bad enough, how about those people who pay based on inflated appraisal values, that don''t have a claim and just keep paying those premiums over the years?

Rockdoc
 
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