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independent appraisers and verification

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DBM

Shiny_Rock
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Oct 24, 2006
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Just so there shouldn''t be any confusion i''m a vendor and I''d like to understand better the concept of getting a separate appraisal/verification for customer requests..how does it work? say a customer from out of new york (if they''re in NY i just go with them to the GIA or EGLUSA lab) wants to buy a diamond but wants to get a third-party appraiser. I''m not about to ship a diamond without having the full dollar amount of it in my bank account so how could i send to a non-affiliated appraiser out there in yahopitzville? from some of the posts i''ve seen on here it seems that there is some sort of third-party appraisal system in place even before the stone is payed for...?? can anyone enlighted me? much appreciated.
 

avlis

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
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237
NP..

and i reply to your post.. ill just copy my reply from the other thread that ispired this thread:

"well, i would think there is a known differnce in the industry between ''trusted'' verus ''affiliated''

affiliated sounds like a partnership between appraiser and vendor, and that would be bad.

trusted would indicate that the appraiser has a reputation in the diamond industry that isnt worth risking over a single stone.

i wouldnt expect a vendor to send a stone to joe blow diamond appraisal at risk, that no one outside of hazard county has ever heard of, but i also wouldnt expect mr big time appraiser to be favorable to any one vendor or thier stones.

but i an just a newbie, hoping that the world is a good one, seriously."
 

Regular Guy

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Daniel, I hope you get the answer from another vendor or appraiser you're looking for...and I saw your post on another thread on this, and responded there, too.

By the way, if you work this out right, I think this can only work to your benefit. Before I bought my first diamond, I had gone down to NY to the diamond district, was interested in a diamond, and had some representative from the vendor's place walk with me to some lab in NY. The vendor's rep was then seen by the lab...and whether or not what the lab said was authentic or not...I really felt that system was totally wired and in cahoots to provide assistance to the vendor from the appraiser.

Admittedly, there may be no substantive difference between that system, and one where the diamond is instead sent by the vendor to the appraiser, where the appraiser knows the vendor, still. But, at least this way, the shopper more clearly may have an opportunity to develop an independent relationship with the appraiser, leaving the feeling that they are truly direct customers of the appraiser.

See the US Certed site, again at the upper righthere under Resources, and section 12 at the left for another example. To the extent that vendors such as yourself do not have to reinvent the wheel, others have certainly gone before you.

Finally...though it's generally regarded as a best practice for the diamond to be purchased no strings first from you...where you do have a return policy...and only then the diamond is brought to the appraiser, without the appraiser knowing or having to care who the vendor is, to make it a clean arrangement...the middle way, where the buyer is without outlay until the independent appraiser does a review of the diamond to the buyers satisfaction is, as reported, frequently done, it seems. My purchase did the worst of both worlds...having paid first, and then sent to an appraiser by the vendor for later checking, ostensibly for convenience & savings.
 

DBM

Shiny_Rock
Joined
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thx i looked at the us certed site and the list of appraisers... i''ll be honest i don''t think i have the nerve to sleep at night shipping out a diamond to an individual, even if they are a GG and what not. If i was paid first then by all means, but to suddenly have to create a national network of relationships with appraiser across the globe and then have to handle the shipping, and the keeping track of shipping costs, and everything.. isn''t a diamond dealers life hard enough already :)

only half-kidding. thx so much ira for the resources. I''ll look into the "laboratories" that you showed me on the abazias website.

honestly speaking, i hate having to do this. but if it''s where the trend is moving i''ve got no choice huh? :)
 

Regular Guy

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Date: 12/2/2006 11:57:57 PM
Author: DBM

only half-kidding. thx so much ira for the resources. I''ll look into the ''laboratories'' that you showed me on the abazias website.
Though that list is tidy and workable, I can share that Leonids national list at the upper right has already removed at least two of the noted appraisers on the Abazias list, for whatever reason. Leonid had sent each of his noted appraisers, too, a set of questions, and he''s included their answers, where available.
 

DBM

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
404
i just looked at leonid''s appraiser link now.. not bad :)

I think i''ll put a link to that on my website and offer customers the option of going wherever they like after they''ve paid for the stone. what do you think? unreasonable?
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 12/3/2006 12:13:44 AM
Author: DBM
i just looked at leonid's appraiser link now.. not bad :)

I think i'll put a link to that on my website and offer customers the option of going wherever they like after they've paid for the stone. what do you think? unreasonable?
1) Read more closely above, where that may represent the worst of two worlds...maybe...depends exactly what range of options you'd want to articulate with them.
2) Main thing is to offer a reasonable & attractive return policy...sorry...what is it? (eta I see it's 14 days...better than some, worse than others...)
3) Then, at least, post the Pricescope link as a resource and a service.
4) Alternately, to provide custom help for picky shoppers, you could offer your wrinkle, with the idea that after appraised, the appraiser will ship it back to you, and for you to put the diamond into a ring...and then perhaps back to the appraiser...so in effect, the appraiser helps in the coordinating process.
5) But, if either a) the ring will be mounted elsewhere, or b) the ring will be mounted first, better to just offer the list or appraisers as a resource to the buyer. Because it's not really clear where the "service" being provided is, otherwise.

Just some thoughts.
 

DBM

Shiny_Rock
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404
worst of two worlds how so?? i have no affiliation with Pricescope and the list of appraisers on Pricescope are certainly not affiliated with me.. what do you mean?
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 12/3/2006 12:32:27 AM
Author: DBM
worst of two worlds how so?? i have no affiliation with Pricescope and the list of appraisers on Pricescope are certainly not affiliated with me.. what do you mean?
Well, in the best of two possible advantages, when using an an appraiser to articulate the sale...at least from the buyers point of view:

a) if using an appraiser before an outlay of cash...I''ve committed no funds, and am free as a bird to look with my appraiser, and see if it''s worth investing in.

But I paid instead first...not sure why...it was requested, and I offered it. It was OK, but not the best of two options, from my point of view, and if it was an important criteria to me, or if I felt another option would not ask me to do this, I might shop elsewhere.

b) and then...if...with a good return policy in hand, pay in full first, I can walk into the appraiser''s office with the diamond, and the appraise will have no idea who the vendor is. This makes me clear no such knowledge will affect the appraiser''s opinion.

Alternately, by having the vendor send to the appraiser directly, the appraiser, unless developing some internal system to make this sending blind to them, will definitely know who it came from. Though their practices may make this information without bias...don''t you see that inevitably...it will be in the vendors best interest to not use a certain appraiser...after he sees a pattern of rejected choices from that appraiser, where it would be in the shoppers best interest to use the best appraiser available to him. Keeping this relationship blind can only be a good thing, really

I, on the other hand, had the diamond sent not to my wife, which I might have done, also working out of state, but in the government, where it could get lost, but to the appraiser out of state, where he knows how to handle such packages, etc., so it''s convenient, but where this non blind circumstance maintains.

Maybe these things are relatively trivial, particularly for item (b). But, for such a big expense for such a little thing, are these details really so trivial?
 

avlis

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
237
offerring a no-questions-asked 30 day return for refund policy is the way to go to gain the trust of customers. internet buying is ALL about trust, and if i dont think i can buy, look at and then decide against a stone i buy from you, i wont look there.

to prevent abuse it is not unreasonable to have the buyer pay for shipping (both ways if returned), but no restocking fees!
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
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Daniel, I read from your site:

"Free appraisals for all purchases are available upon request."

I don''t think you mean to offer this, do you? Others don''t do this. It''s a service that would take you out of pocket for up to several hundred dollars, if that''s what you want to say, so a possible incentive? Also, though, it could make a shopper suspicious of the value of this, as has been documented occasionally here.

I think just offer the link, with free nothing. Not sure what kind of text you want to add further. Just sort of an fyi, perhaps, if shoppers, during their eval period, want to take advantage of these guys, on their own, it could be a good idea. That sort of approach may also leave a better impression, even.

BTW, Knox jewelers in MN gives I think 90 days. James Allen & GOG give 30 days. I think Nice Ice give 21? WF gives 10. That''s about where you fall out.
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
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OK, so I think I misread what you intend where you say:

"Free appraisals for all purchases are available upon request."

1) consider changing existing text to read, "Free appraisals offered from DBM for all purchases are available upon request," in light of the additional text.
2) though the addition in (1) may do it, you may want to re-position the additional text slightly, so other folks are also not confused.

Best,
 

DBM

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
404
Date: 12/3/2006 1:11:14 AM
Author: Regular Guy
Daniel, I read from your site:

''Free appraisals for all purchases are available upon request.''

I don''t think you mean to offer this, do you? Others don''t do this. It''s a service that would take you out of pocket for up to several hundred dollars, if that''s what you want to say, so a possible incentive? Also, though, it could make a shopper suspicious of the value of this, as has been documented occasionally here.
ahh what i meant was free appraisals of my own company for customers who need it for their insurance providers. yes i''ll have to clarity that. do you think "free company appraisals .. for use of insurance" would be clear?

avlis i would love to offer 30 day return but it''s just not practical for me on the supplier side. i get good prices because i pay/return promptly. Holding onto a supplier''s stone for 30 days and then returning it is a good way of ruining a great relationship. the other "big guys" can probably get away with it but until i become i "big guy" it''ll have to be 14 :)
 

avlis

Shiny_Rock
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Oct 21, 2006
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daniel, nothing personal, but maybe thats why i didnt look at your site for diamonds.
 

diamondfan

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
11,016
Not to sound naive, but wouldn''t you send the stone to the third party on memo? If you are really concerned I supposed you could have the total purchase price put into an escrow type account released to you on approval by the buyer. Many diamond people work on memo so you would not have to pay til the stone is purchased. If not it goes back and no one is out anything. Not sure if that would work but think it covers both parties fairly except the buyer has to come out of pocket with the money when he might want to finance it or something. Maybe you could have the money reversed and work out financing issues if the buyer wants the stone but in the interim you know they have the money and you are not on the hook either.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
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Daniel,


Sending a stone to an appraiser prior to getting payment is identical to memoing it to that appraiser. It’s based entirely on the cooperation and creditworthiness of the appraiser and dealer. The appraiser is assuming liability for the stone while it’s in their possession. It’s not the GG that makes them creditworthy. Check their JBT rating, demand references, proof of insurance and use whatever other resources you have at your disposal to decide if they are worth the risk. Some are, many are not, just like jewelers.


Believe it or not, this approach actually protects the dealer as much as much or more than it protects the consumer. One of the biggest fears of Internet dealers is getting back a return that is damaged or simply not the same as what was sent. Getting payment up front doesn’t solve this problem because the effective first court of jurisdiction is going to be the credit card company. You may win, but the burden of proof is on you, not the consumer and the standards of proof can be pretty high. Talk to your merchant processor about the logistics of how chargebacks are handled. Including an appraiser that you consider to be reliable steeply reduces your risks assuming that you have a reasonable procedure for checking the credibility and creditworthiness of the appraiser.


If you use this approach, make sure that both you and the customer understand how the appraisers fees and the various shipping fees will be handled in the case of a return. Usually the consumer pays the appraiser and the dealer pays one direction of insured shipping and the consumer pays the other. Some dealers will cover both, others will cover neither. I strongly recommend AGAINST having this relate to the conclusions made by the appraiser. Let them return it if they don't like it for whatever reason they wish.


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

 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Date: 12/3/2006 2:15:39 AM
Author: Regular Guy

'Free appraisals for all purchases are available upon request.'

This is a touchy area and different dealers call these reports different things. ‘Appraisal’ isn’t an accurate name for a dealer supplied document describing a new sale but people have been conditioned to use it. ‘Insurance documentation’ is a good name for them that seems to meet everyone’s needs. Most will include this anyway, whether it's requested or not.


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

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Messages
55,052
Date: 12/3/2006 2:21:21 AM
Author: DBM

Date: 12/3/2006 1:11:14 AM
Author: Regular Guy
Daniel, I read from your site:

''Free appraisals for all purchases are available upon request.''

I don''t think you mean to offer this, do you? Others don''t do this. It''s a service that would take you out of pocket for up to several hundred dollars, if that''s what you want to say, so a possible incentive? Also, though, it could make a shopper suspicious of the value of this, as has been documented occasionally here.
ahh what i meant was free appraisals of my own company for customers who need it for their insurance providers. yes i''ll have to clarity that. do you think ''free company appraisals .. for use of insurance'' would be clear?

avlis i would love to offer 30 day return but it''s just not practical for me on the supplier side. i get good prices because i pay/return promptly. Holding onto a supplier''s stone for 30 days and then returning it is a good way of ruining a great relationship. the other ''big guys'' can probably get away with it but until i become i ''big guy'' it''ll have to be 14 :)
Just wanted to say a couple of things in Daniel''s defense. Number 1, there are plenty of popular vendors who have 10 day return periods, so I think 14 days is very reasonable. And secondly, most vendors offer a free insurance valuation report with the stone. I wouldn''t have given the "free appraisal" a second thought, because I think that is completely understood what that is.
 

DBM

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
404
let''s see:

Ira: i''ve got to think about the wording. OFFERED FROM DBM sounds a bit too much for me...

DiamondFan: do you think Memos/Consignment are any better? I can tell you stories, personally witnessed, of liars and frauds WITH MEMOS. The bottom line is even with memos you need to know who you''re dealing with otherwise you get screwed and that just revisits my point: who has time or energy to build strong ties and trust relationships like that with appraisers across the whole country? you can''t really know someone until you try and who can risk "trying" many "dozens of appraisers in the country" exposing oneself to tens of thousands of dollars of risk all to make a paltry profit margin. it''s just not really realistic IMO. atleast not for me or most of the "old school" diamond dealers in teh district.

Neil: you make excellent points and honestly, from the vibe i get from you i''d have virtually no problem (maybe just a little hesitancy but you can understand :) ) sending you a stone..but on a grand scale, looking up and searching for an appraiser in yahoopitzville and all that, honestly i think it''s a bit much. but you''re definitely right that in concept it would greatly be helpful to both myself and the customer.

Neil: You''re right but "insurance documentation" is just too, how you say, not-flowing :) , you don''t think?

avlis: no prob. we can''t win ''em all :) peace
 

Modified Brilliant

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
1,479
Date: 12/3/2006 9:24:31 AM
Author: DBM
let's see:

Ira: i've got to think about the wording. OFFERED FROM DBM sounds a bit too much for me...

DiamondFan: do you think Memos/Consignment are any better? I can tell you stories, personally witnessed, of liars and frauds WITH MEMOS. The bottom line is even with memos you need to know who you're dealing with otherwise you get screwed and that just revisits my point: who has time or energy to build strong ties and trust relationships like that with appraisers across the whole country? you can't really know someone until you try and who can risk 'trying' many 'dozens of appraisers in the country' exposing oneself to tens of thousands of dollars of risk all to make a paltry profit margin. it's just not really realistic IMO. atleast not for me or most of the 'old school' diamond dealers in teh district.

Neil: you make excellent points and honestly, from the vibe i get from you i'd have virtually no problem (maybe just a little hesitancy but you can understand :) ) sending you a stone..but on a grand scale, looking up and searching for an appraiser in yahoopitzville and all that, honestly i think it's a bit much. but you're definitely right that in concept it would greatly be helpful to both myself and the customer.

Neil: You're right but 'insurance documentation' is just too, how you say, not-flowing :) , you don't think?

avlis: no prob. we can't win 'em all :) peace
Hi Daniel,
In response to your hesitancy in sending a diamond to an appraiser...
It's taken a long time for the industry to accept the fact that we are an integral and important part of the jewelry business. It's only been over the past 3-4 years that we were invited (through the efforts of NAJA) to attend trade shows. I've been attending trade shows since 1978 due in part to operating two family owned retail jewelry stores for over a decade.
Many appraisers, like myself, have been in the industry over 25 years, are well known by our peers inside and outside of our geographic areas. In addition I am listed with JBT, insured fully with Jewelers Mutual ,maintain an office in a building, belong to local Chamber of Commerce and numerous other business related groups. Like every business, everyone operates theirs in a different way, so I can understand your feelings. Thanks for sharing your comments.

www.metrojewelryappraisers.com
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
Daniel, I think a 14 day right-of-return policy (for any reason) with the customer paying upfront and you shipping it to the appraiser of their choice is just fine.

Usually the vendor covers shipping to the appraiser, and the client covers the cost of the appraisal and shipping to them (or return shipping to you). Don''t use "restocking fees" or you''ll kill your internet business.

Once you get to know and trust the players, your policies will probably evolve to where they entice more and more consumers.

You have to start at some point by sticking your toe in the water. If it feels good, you might end up jumping in. The internet is the future (actually it is the now), and it is a sleeping giant (waking up rapidly).
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,672

Daniel,


Personally I find the people in Yahoopitsville to be far more reliable than those in, say, New York City but I guess we all have our own biases. The industry long has had procedures in place to send stones out to 3rd parties without payment in the hope that it will result in a sale. There are plenty of stores where their entire diamond business is based on nothing but this memorandum system and there’s a decent chance that this very transaction is how YOU are in possession of at least some the stones you’re selling. It is, of course, up to you to make a decision of who you want to send valuable property to and I would not make this decision lightly but I think you’re missing opportunities by flatly refusing this type of business.


That said, I much prefer it when the dealers collect the money in advance, send the stones directly to the consumer and they bring it in to me in person. It avoids even the appearance of a conflict of interest because I don’t even know who the dealer is unless the client volunteers it. Since I never take possession of the stone, I’m never assuming the related liabilities associated with that or with contracting the return shipping service if needed.


I have no problem with the 14 days although you might want to cut them some slack if this includes shipping time. Sometimes FedEx and USPS service out here in Yahoopitsville are a little less speedy than you might be accustomed to. The bandwidth of the telegraph lines is a serious limitation as well.


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

Modified Brilliant

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
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DBM

Shiny_Rock
Joined
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Messages
404
Date: 12/3/2006 2:49:17 PM
Author: Richard Sherwood

Date: 12/3/2006 2:22:25 PM
Author: Modified Brilliant

Does anyone know the way to Yahoopitsville?
If you start from the Center of the Universe, that is, New York City, Yahoopitsville is anywhere North, West or South of the city limits.
LOL.. oh i know i know. don''t get so defensive. you know what i meant. fyi i don''t even like new york. I lived in chicago for a year and visited the midwest states here and there and really enjoyed it.
 

the other Jake

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
423
Date: 12/3/2006 9:24:31 AM
Author: DBM
let''s see:

Ira: i''ve got to think about the wording. OFFERED FROM DBM sounds a bit too much for me...

DiamondFan: do you think Memos/Consignment are any better? I can tell you stories, personally witnessed, of liars and frauds WITH MEMOS. The bottom line is even with memos you need to know who you''re dealing with otherwise you get screwed and that just revisits my point: who has time or energy to build strong ties and trust relationships like that with appraisers across the whole country? you can''t really know someone until you try and who can risk ''trying'' many ''dozens of appraisers in the country'' exposing oneself to tens of thousands of dollars of risk all to make a paltry profit margin. it''s just not really realistic IMO. atleast not for me or most of the ''old school'' diamond dealers in teh district.

Neil: you make excellent points and honestly, from the vibe i get from you i''d have virtually no problem (maybe just a little hesitancy but you can understand :) ) sending you a stone..but on a grand scale, looking up and searching for an appraiser in yahoopitzville and all that, honestly i think it''s a bit much. but you''re definitely right that in concept it would greatly be helpful to both myself and the customer.

Neil: You''re right but ''insurance documentation'' is just too, how you say, not-flowing :) , you don''t think?

avlis: no prob. we can''t win ''em all :) peace
How about ""Free Insurance appraisals for all purchases are available upon request."

That understandable to me and I am "Joe Blow" consumer...
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
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Messages
8,672
Rich: We prefer the term ‘Yahoser''.

Daniel,
The risk vs. reward thing with regard to Internet diamond sales is still working it’s way out. I agree, it’s prudent to investigate the appraisers and I would be keeping a database if I were you. I would pull a JBT credit report on every single one before sending them anything, I would ring them up on the phone (not just by email) to confirm that they’re legit. I would read their website and scour it for details. My minimum standards would be something like:

1) JBT. One of the peculiar problems of this piece of the industry is that since most of us don’t sell things, we don’t take out a lot of credit from our suppliers and most are rather small volume businesses. Even so, I wouldn’t ship to anyone who isn’t enough of an insider to be listed and with a sterling record.
2) No diamond sales. Call them up from a caller-ID blocked phone and try to buy one. If you don’t get stonewalled, flag their record and don’t ship to them.
3) They must be a current credentialed member of ASA, AGS, NAJA, and/or ISA. Every one of these will let you check credentials online. A long history is better. Getting and maintaining these credentials is expensive and a pain in the neck but its a sign that they''re serious about their business. This is not a business for amateurs. It also gives you some level of recourse if there’s a problem. Every one of these groups requires agreement to a code of ethics and stealing merchandise from diamond dealers would be counted as a serious offense.
4) They must be listed and acceptably rated with their local BBB and have a clean record with JVC.
5) They must have a history and it must be verifiable. Most will proudly advertise this on their websites and most are long time industry veterans. I wouldn’t do this with anyone who hasn’t been an industry insider for at least 10 years. If you don’t know who they are, call up the stores in their neighborhood and ask about them. I’m not sure I would believe everything you hear but we’re generally fairly well known in our local markets.
6) A Googling of their name doesn’t dig up any unexplainable dirt.
7) They must have a verifiable Jewelers Block insurance policy.
8) They must specifically agree to do it and the client must have a confirmed appointment prior to shipment.
9) I would only ship to a commercial address. I know, there are some fine appraisers who operate out of their homes but if I didn’t know them, I wouldn’t memo to them. The client can hand carry it if they want to use them.

In practice, there are at most a few dozen appraisers in the whole country who will agree to accept this kind of work and who meet this list of qualifications. It''s not that hard a task to stay on top of it and, when a potential customer has a new suggestion, create a new record and do your due diligence. For what it’s worth, I won’t agree to accept shipments without doing a similar credibility check on the vendor. This sword cuts both ways.

Jeff: 29 inches of new snow at Vail this week! Come on out.


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