Getting Ripped Off by a Jewelry Store


May 7, 2011
What would you do if you found out you've paid for diamonds but instead the store gave you cubic zirconium? This is what happened to me at the Fred Meyer Jewelers Meridian, ID location. As a victim of diamond fraud, I feel I have the responsibility to others to warn them, so they won't be ripped off by any jewelry store.

Beware if you had bought diamonds from FRED MEYER JEWELERS because you might have received cubic zirconia instead of diamonds, but had paid the price of diamonds.

Back in Nov/2010 I paid well over $2,000 for a pair of 1ctw Princess Cut DIAMOND earrings that came with its GSI report; everybody knows that these reports guarantee the quality and state of the purchased merchandise, right? Well, that's not the case here, because when I went back to the store with the intention to return them, the store manager, Josh Wittchow, performed an inspection test which at the time, I wasn't aware of since I'd never returned any jewelry before); to my great astonishment he informmed me that they weren't diamonds but CUBIC ZIRCONIA set on sterling silver! I was just dumbfounded by this news, especially because the first thing he asked me is if I had switched the original ones from the box or if anyone else in my household had done it???? He didn't accept the return and offered to get in contact with their Loss Prevention department and with the supplier of the diamonds, then he or someone else would contact me with their findings. To this date (5/7/2011), I haven't heard a word from him.

I had sent a written complaint to Peter M. Engel, President of Fred Meyer Jewels, Inc. (Portland, OR), who in reply to it delegated the problem to his Regional Supervisor, Abir Elaimy, who called me not to find a resolution to my complaint, but just to inform me that they couldn't have sold me cz earrings because they don't sell any, they're a "very reputable nationwide jewelry retailer", and because their sales reps. are diamond certified??? Why she said all this, I don't know because it doesn't explain why the cz earrings ended in the jewelry box they gave me, instead of the diamond earrings the sales rep. showed me before I bought them. I asked her if they had done anything to determine I'd been a victim of fraud by the store, meaning if they had reviewed the security feeds surrounding the time since they got the diamonds from the supplier until the date I bought them. She didn't give a solid answer to this question. Although, she get very upset when I suggested to her that it might had been one of their store employees who swapped the merchandise.

Long story short: Nothing is being done so far to clear my name from the fraud knowingly and willingly committed by someone else at the store or their supplier.

I've been thinking that I or any other customers buying diamonds are not diamond experts, so why is it that jewelers don't perform an inspection test on diamonds in front of the customer to guarantee that they're taking home with them, what the store says is selling to them; regardless if the merchandise comes with a Gemological Report.


Mar 14, 2009
I'm sorry that this happened to you!

If you're worried about diamond fraud, It's always a good idea to get to diamonds with a report that include a detailed inclusion map, and to get to know your diamonds by double-checking the inclusions with a loupe.

I hope the store discovers what happened! I could easily imagine a scenario where a clever thief would ask to try on the earrings and then swap them with CZ doubles when handing them back the sales associate. Most people don't really look closely at earrings, especially if the settings are generic.

I hope your problem gets resolved quickly!


Apr 14, 2008
Is the metal stamped .925 or is it stamped 14k?


Sep 3, 2000
You said that you bought these in November last year. When did you go to the store with the intention of returning them? Why did you wish to return them? What you describe may be totally innocent on your part, but it happens to meet the scenario of a consumer switch of diamonds for cz just as easily as it makes just as much sense that a store employee or a tricky consumer switched them before you made the purchase. There is nothing wrong with GSI reports, at least to the extent that they would never intenionally report diamond grades on a pair of cz stones. Accidents happen, but not on purpose. The same goes for Fred Meyer Jewelers. Few retailers never have a problem with a sale or a customer. Every so often something goes wrong and how the store seeks to resolve the issue says a great deal about how the specific firm deals with their customers. Obviously, some stores react in better ways than others and the specific nature of the problem may also play a large part in how they decide to act. For certain, Fred Meyer does not intentionally sell cz earrings calling them diamonds. It may have happened to you, but it would not be the intended sales technique of the corporation. It might have been a crooked sales person, an innocent error on the part of a sales person who allowed a previous customer to pull a switch, or some other substitution in the show case before you arrived. However, looking at the situation at a distance, one must ask what motivated the return of the earrings, how long you had them, what means did you use to prevent a switch where you keep them, do you know how safe your place is from people who might not be trustworthy? What is your own personal history surrounding insurance claims and other related frauds? (Don't respond to this, of course, as it is just part of the rhetorical exercise in coming to what may have happened) No one wants you to give a public forum your personal information.

I understand that your belief is that by taking this public, you are using the power of the word on the Internet to pressure for a response and a hoped for result. Can't say I blame you for making the attempt. Hopefully, the firm will make their best effort to resolve your problem quickly. However, saying a firm is dishonest and/or using bad practices may make them quite defensive rather than more willing to help you. You need to balance your demands using both the carrot and the stick because you simply cannot hope to use a tiny stick to beat up a large firm that has a decent reputation and also has as many lawyers as they need to jam you up for years to come.


Jul 21, 2004
I agree wth the above that it's unlikely that the store sold CZ's set in silver as diamonds in gold but I don't know ANY of the facts. I'll take the assumption that what you have NOW is CZ but even that doesn't strike me as especially well confirmed. That said, f you feel that you were defrauded on a purchase, you can sometimes get recourse thrugh your credit card company and if you feel that the earrings may have been switched somehow after the purchase it's usually a covered losss under most homeowners insurance policies. Talk to your homeowners company or your jewelers insurance company if you have one.


Apr 30, 2005
I don't know whom to believe.

I'm sure the store itself does not have a policy of ripping off customers, but the store employs humans.
No matter how well they evaluate them employees can go bad.
Yes, of course if an employee did the switch the store is liable, but it seems impossible to prove which side pulled the switch.

It seems unfortunate the jewelers name is being smeared here when there has been no independent trial.
We are only hearing from one side.

You suggested there be some verification process during the sale.
Did you verify the inclusions under a loupe when you bought the diamonds?
Even when a transaction occurs at Tiffany the customer is not going to pull out their own diamond tester or be accompanied by their hired GG.
Trust will always be a vital element in diamond sales.

Do you have a maid or other worker who had access?
Have you hosted a party or could anyone who was in your house possibly have any kind of expensive drug problem?
It happens.

I'm very sorry this happened to you, but I for one will not automatically lower my opinion of this vendor.


Nov 17, 2009
Does somebody have the right to return such an item six months after the purchase, unless he or she wishes to upgrade?
And would you mind sharing with us the reason for which you decided to return the earrings after all this time? Because i should admit that this part of the story seems very suspicious to me. I don't have any intention to insult the poster but this doesn't make any sense to me...
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