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James Allen review and warning: awful workmanship and terrible customer service

Deone23

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
4
I have discovered that James Allen is one of those hit-or-miss companies where the quality of the ring depends entirely on the skill of the jeweller assigned to your order. I thought I'd post this online to warn others.

I bought a ring from James Allen earlier this year with no issue, perfect setting and perfect inscription.

The second ring, however, had so many issues. As soon as I got it, I noticed the inscription was uneven and unclear (which by itself is disappointing, but not terrible), so I thought I'd send the ring back, get them to fix the inscription and at the same time maybe upgrade to a slightly better diamond I had found a few days ago. So they started a new order and added a note about the inscription.

Then a few days later, I started to notice the claw prongs were snagging on things and catching fibres. On closer inspection it seemed all the prongs were lifted, one very obviously. I researched this and found out this is a sign of poor workmanship and the diamond might be at risk if it keeps going. So I mentioned this to them and they added a note to the order to make sure the prongs are tight on the new ring.

Then a day later I noticed the diamond was tilted in the setting! I took a photo of this and sent it to them, my faith in them decreasing, to make sure the new ring would be sitting straight in the setting. Then I got a horrible customer service agent named Heather who made it sound like it was my fault I was noticing all this. She said "since there's so many notes, it's getting a little complicated so I'll pass it onto management and they'll get back to you. But there's a chance they can't guarantee everything you want." She said it's because every ring is custom so it's hard to guarantee, or something weird to that effect.

Just to clarify: what I want is for the prongs to be tight so the diamond is safe, for the diamond to sit upright in the setting and for the inscription to be even and clear, like in my first ring. And they said they might not be able to "guarantee" this. I was stunned.

My anxiety peaked after this phone call. We poured our money and hearts into this ring and its quality is severely lacking and we don't even know if this diamond or the new one will be safe. My friends suggested demanding a refund instead of asking them to fix the problems, which was definitely the right choice.

But I knew I couldn't handle the anxiety of sending my ring all the way back to the US (I live in Sydney) and wait weeks and weeks for another rude customer service agent to tell me they can't refund my ring. I have really really bad anxiety when it comes to things like this, and it's not even worth the money putting myself through it (and it is a LOT of money )

So I cancelled the repair/upgrade order. I went to a reputable local jeweller in Sydney (who confirmed they deal with at least 5 or 6 JA rings with multiple issues every week - wish I had known that earlier) and had them tighten the prongs. They don't want to fix the diamond tilt within the setting because they said that would require the prongs to be lifted and tightened which might be bad for the prongs (not sure if this sounds right? But I had no choice but to trust them) So the snagging has stopped but I've been left with a tilted diamond and a slightly botched inscription.

I think in a few years when I can afford it again, I might have these local guys set my ring properly in a good setting and with a straight inscription.

But in the meantime I'm just so stunned that JA could have sent me such a bad quality ring. I'm baffled that it passed quality control. It almost ruined an otherwise perfect engagement. I just wanted to let people know of my regrets in case it helps them make a more informed decision. 20210514_215235.jpg 20210512_171014.jpg
 

jp201845

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
514
I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience with James Allen. All your requests are reasonable and I would also be upset with the shady craftsmanship on the setting. It really amazes me how a big company like James Allen went downhill in unpleasant customer service and inconsistent craftsmanship. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone on this forum.
 

Deone23

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
4
I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience with James Allen. All your requests are reasonable and I would also be upset with the shady craftsmanship on the setting. It really amazes me how a big company like James Allen went downhill in unpleasant customer service and inconsistent craftsmanship. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone on this forum.

Thanks so much. I did hear they've been going downhill recently possibly due to being bought by Signet. Wish I'd heard the negative reviews before I bought from them.
 

Tourmaline

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
2,035
Please take it back to the local jeweler and get them to totally renotch the prongs so it is secure and attractive. I can see a prong tip not making contact with the diamond. It will snag again. It needs to be renotched and fixed. Stop wearing it until it has been fixed, please.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
23,831
I too am sorry you had to deal with this @Deone23 . I think I would have sent it back and asked for confirmation of what they could
actually fix and what they could not. If they said they could not fix something then just ask for a refund. I know sending back from
Australia is a pain! I would have been nervous too!
 

whitewave

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
11,145
Do you have insurance on it? If not, I would purchase immediately now that it’s fixed.
 

marymm

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
4,658
Every vendor sends out something that misses the mark, and I agree JA's quality is hit or miss, but JA has a 30-day no-questions-asked return policy - had you posted about your situation I would have encouraged you to return it - there is no reason JA wouldn't have refunded your purchase. Now you have a ring setting you are unhappy with, a diamond you wanted to change, and you even put more money into the ring via local jeweler who only did a partial fix (fwiw, I do question that they deal with 5-6 JA rings "per week").

I am sorry you are disappointed, and more sorry you did not avail yourself of the return policy and start again at another vendor.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
23,831
I question the 5-6 a week also. That's just an extremely large number and I'm sure that we would be hearing more about it on Pricescope
if that quantity of settings were at issue. (I don't doubt that they said it though).
 

Jax172

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2002
Messages
1,150
I would have sent it back to JA. It’s their responsibility to make it right. Customer service reps can be hit or miss and it sounds like you got a bad one. All the things you requested are reasonable and should have been correct the first time. That being said I think your local jeweler is full of crap. There is no way they see that many rings from JA. Also find another local jeweler that will fix the prongs so it sits correctly and is secure. I suggest someone that does a good deal of custom work in case any rebuild of the prongs is necessary.
 

Deone23

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
4
Hi everyone! Thanks for your concern, I should have clarified that the photo above is the BEFORE photo. The jeweller fixed up the prongs so they're sitting flush and not snagging anymore. The diamond is still tilted though.

As mentioned, I'm not availing myself of the 30 day return as I don't want to wait weeks for them to find some excuse to not refund me and then have to engage in some long confrontation, as one customer service agent already sounded rude and unreasonable, and I suffer fairly severe anxiety when it comes to things like this. (I know a lot of people struggle to empathise with mental illness, but again I appreciate your concern). There is simply no way I can handle shipping my ring off back to the US and waiting.

Re the 5 to 6 James Allen repairs a week, he definitely could have been exaggerating (strange that so many of you seem to be so sure, without any real way of knowing? But ok sure) but just today when I was there in their store, a couple came in with a Blue Nile ring that was brand new and had two loose stones already. We exchanged horror stories about purchasing online as we waited for our rings to be fixed.

Also thank you everyone for your advice but the above was posted mainly for the sake of a warning to others rather than for advice. I've been to three different reputable jewellers who have given me both varying and overlapping advice so I have a pretty solid idea of what my options are. One of them can fix the inscription and the other is able to fix the tilt for a fair fee, but since there's no structual issue in a tilted diamond, I'm a lot less stressed. I will decide soon whether it's worth the money and anxiety to get the tilt and inscription fixed or to just enjoy my beautiful 2 carat diamond, which I've been able to do since the awful prong issue was fixed :) :) One of the other jewellers (not the 5-6 JA rings a week guy, this guy says he's had a few but not that many) adored it, he said it's a ring even a blind man would love to see :'D

So I'm trying to put the James Allen anxiety and disappointment behind me and enjoy the ring and my engagement. I won't be following this thread either. Thanks again for your replies, especially JP201845 above for empathising with how frustrating it must have been for me.

Appreciate all your help! And I will keep my fingers crossed for anyone who is thinking of buying online. Hope you'll get as lucky as I did with my first ring, not my second.

20210514_132931.jpg
 
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Deone23

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
4
Please take it back to the local jeweler and get them to totally renotch the prongs so it is secure and attractive. I can see a prong tip not making contact with the diamond. It will snag again. It needs to be renotched and fixed. Stop wearing it until it has been fixed, please.

That was the before picture, I wrote a longer reply above. But thanks for your concern! :)
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,803
Would it be possible for you to keep the diamond but return the ring setting? Have your local guy unmount your stone and get you a similar solitaire setting? And maybe JA would refund the setting? I don't know if that is possible, and I know it would be more expensive.

I'm really sorry that happened. It sucks when things don't go right. But your diamond looks beautiful, and your set looks lovely on your hand. So hopefully you will find some joy in it despite the frustration.
 

munchee

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Messages
616
I've had unfortunate customer service experiences with JA, WF, and BGD...so I guess YMMV since they all get rave reviews here (I know they're sponsors) :twirl:

I just noticed lately since my fam business going from B&M stores to e-commerce. Online customer service is very hard to handle, its even harder than B&M. It is impossible to please every customer, no matter how hard we tried. And with e-commerce its easier to make mistakes, I didn’t imagine that it’ll be this hard. So now when I’m purchasing online, I can understand and more forgiving about CS mistakes. As long as the products I’m purchasing are as expected, and even if there’s an error in the product, as long as they’re willing to make it right I’ll leave everything else in the past. I got a lot of bump with WF earlier this year too, but at the end their product speaks for itself and I understand the pain being an online business so I let it go :D
Sadly with JA, the product didn’t came out as expected and they’re not trying to make it right.
 

musicloveranthony

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Messages
299
@musicloveranthony sorry to hear you had bad experiences with multiple vendors. did any of them do a good job in fixing things?

They were communication shortcomings - so I don't think there's much that they could have salvaged.

Like someone pointed out, online commerce is hard. I think a lot of these sites have the challenge of several people handling the same account. The more handoffs the more room for error. I think a lot of the processes could be streamlined with one concierge handling from start to finish. I understand how that doesn't work in every setting, nor for every business, though.
 

munchee

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Messages
616
that's the key part, right? everyone screws up but do they make it hard for the customer to get it rectified?

@musicloveranthony sorry to hear you had bad experiences with multiple vendors. did any of them do a good job in fixing things?

Yes, thats the most important thing! everyone makes mistakes, I’m not a perfect customer too. If vendors still trying to make it right, we as customers will still comeback. But if they don’t feel the need to make it right, we off course don’t feel the need to comeback. Falling in the same pit once shame on you (them), falling in the same pit twice, shame on me. :D
 
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evergreen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Messages
593
I think JA is making a mistake allowing customers to get script engraving on thin-shank rings. I recently got a pear sapphire, bezel set, from them and the workmanship was perfect... Except for the engraving. I didn't pursue it because I felt it was my bad for choosing an already-hard-to-read script, but also, neither you nor I was warned this might not be a good choice.

It reads, "She persisted" -- and it's just for me, so i don't mind it's super hard to read, and it was free, hahaha, so I do feel like I got what I paid for... But I think it's just as bad as yours! PXL_20210518_001322675.jpg

PXL_20210518_001333996.jpg
 

Ceilimom

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 5, 2018
Messages
409
Would it be possible for you to keep the diamond but return the ring setting? Have your local guy unmount your stone and get you a similar solitaire setting? And maybe JA would refund the setting? I don't know if that is possible, and I know it would be more expensive.

I'm really sorry that happened. It sucks when things don't go right. But your diamond looks beautiful, and your set looks lovely on your hand. So hopefully you will find some joy in it despite the frustration.

This is a great suggestion
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,385
I am sorry you are disappointed, and more sorry you did not avail yourself of the return policy and start again at another vendor.
As mentioned, I'm not availing myself of the 30 day return as I don't want to wait weeks for them to find some excuse to not refund me and then have to engage in some long confrontation, as one customer service agent already sounded rude and unreasonable, and I suffer fairly severe anxiety when it comes to things like this. (I know a lot of people struggle to empathise with mental illness, but again I appreciate your concern). There is simply no way I can handle shipping my ring off back to the US and waiting.
Ditto @marymm.

OP, your decision and explanation are both irrational. Return policies exist for a reason. A “no questions” return policy means exactly that - you can dislike it, have workmanship problems, change your mind - it doesn’t matter, they’ll take it back and refund you in full.

It was your choice to give yourself illogical and wholly-unwarranted anxiety over a policy that’s stated in writing. The customer service rep handled your service request badly (JA’s CS is known to be questionable, unfortunately), but based on what you’ve told us - at no time did she indicate that JA would refuse to accept a return. If she had - that’s where you point to written policy and ask for her manager. By taking the ring to another jeweller, you needlessly eliminated your return option, needlessly created extra expense for yourself on top of “pouring a LOT of money” into it originally, and ensured that you’re needlessly stuck with a ring you don’t love.

I too would be angry about poor workmanship and a rude customer service rep. No question. But what are you warning other consumers about, exactly? The correct advice here is to always buy from a vendor with a good return policy, which you did. I hope that other customers in your situation would choose the easiest, safest, and most cost-effective path forward and simply return.
 
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yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,385
**edited by moderator to ensure policy compliance**

OP didn’t even bother to mention JA’s extremely generous return policy in her first post. She instead made the situation out to be JA mistreating her (true), and liable to leave her in an expensive lurch with no options for remediation besides whatever damage control she could find locally (provably false). The reason OP is not whole is because she chose not to be. Other buyers should be advised to do exactly the opposite - to take advantage of generous return policies whenever needed or desired.

This is a consumer forum. Reviews must be honest. Responsibility for an unfortunate outcome must be assigned appropriately.
 
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wifelife

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Messages
39
I also live in Australia, so I can sympathise with the idea of wanting to avoid expensive returns. But in saying that, it would give me more anxiety to live with a ring that wasn’t structurally sound or made properly than returning.

It sounds like OP knew that a return would cause her anxiety, so she effectively bought the ring knowing it was non refundable.

So what I take from this review is that JA’s quality is a bit hit and miss at the moment. However, the return policy is great- you just have to use it! When ordering a good that needs service, like jewellery can, it is important to keep in mind the expense and time of return shipping. Otherwise if you don’t want to return, for whatever reason, then you run the risk of being responsible for the costs that may result from said poor quality.
 

jp201845

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
514
jp201845 I'm afraid I don't recognize your handle and I can't recall having interacted with you before, but judging by your post prior I'm assuming I've disagreed with you in the past :))

Post history is public! I'm comfortable being judged by mine. I leave adjudication of this thread to the moderators. Just for reference to anyone reading - even if a particular poster doesn't permit others to view their full profile, hovering over a username will yield a pop-up that displays prior threads and messages.

@jp201845 Just for your info - I've reported both your post #28 and my post #31 as unconstructive to this thread. As always, I leave it to the moderators to do as they feel best.

All you are doing by saying that is covering your tracks which is quite laughable, do what you feel is best. All I did in this thread was be a voice to the OP which otherwise went silent and probably was overwhelmed to defend herself.
 

gm89uk

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 26, 2015
Messages
1,473
Yes shame about the workmanship and shame about the lack of use of the policy designed to reduce anxiety with these online purchases.

Although I sympathise with the OP about the quality of the product, the review is lacking emphasis/clarity that the decision not to pursue a refund was personal rather than any blockage from the vendor and implies that even attempting a refund would have been futile.

Therefore, the subsequent posts to add clarity are essential for future consumers reading this thread to make an informed choice; I wish the OP all the best with the ring.
 

Ella

Brilliant_Rock
Staff member
Premium
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
1,439
Folks, it's really inappropriate to be pontificating on someone's mental health on Pricescope. Full stop. We've removed numerous posts here that were problematic or quoting problematic posts.

Please do not do it, whether someone brought up their own diagnosis or not. And please for the love of all things do not quote problematic posts. It makes it so much harder for us to remove offensive or problematic content.
 
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autumngems

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 24, 2003
Messages
1,860
Just to clarify: what I want is for the prongs to be tight so the diamond is safe, for the diamond to sit upright in the setting and for the inscription to be even and clear, like in my first ring. And they said they might not be able to "guarantee" this. I was stunned.

These are all things you expect when getting something made, custom or not. If you can't "guarantee" common things such as this they have no business being in the business of jewelry making. Sad
 

adlgel

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
150
These are all things you expect when getting something made, custom or not. If you can't "guarantee" common things such as this you have no business being in the business of jewelry making. Sad

I disagree. Mistakes happen. No company has a 0% defect rate. In my opinion what's more important is how they handle situations of a product defect and how high their defect rate is.

Having a no questions asked return policy is pretty much the best you can hope for in terms of how the company handles product defects so James Allen has that going for them. So in effect they do "guarantee" these common things by making sure you don't have to pay for any item you consider to be defective.

Whether their defect rate is higher or lower compared to other online jewelry retailers is something that I'm not sure anyone has any reliable data on. Perhaps frequent and long-time posters on this forum have a sense, anecdotally, based upon threads posted here which vendor seems to come up more often as it relates to defects but I have not been a participant long enough to develop a personal point of view on that.
 

Rfisher

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
3,591
but using posts here for data-anecdote on that wouldn’t be accurate, in my opinion, at all.

Which also brings up there’s a good amount of ‘not perfect’ experiences not posted.
because the vendor rectifies them, or the buyer sucks it up. and the experience is kept off board or in closer conversations.
sanitized experiences or great experiences abound.

I absolutely agree it’s what happens after the mishap, in how to judge a vendor when something goes awry.


I understand some/many think it’s proper to keep a (resolved) wrinkle tucked away from the public reveal.

someone else has a not great or odd experience and it’s natural to think it only reflects on themselves, after reading all the shiny clean success stories.

I’d think there were a way to recount wrinkles without ‘bashing’ a vendor or upsetting anyone.
 
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