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No more online certs at James Allen

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by tyty333, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. cflutist
    Ideal_Rock

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  2. kmoro
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by kmoro » Apr 19, 2019
    * contains sarcasm

    If they’re closing 150 stores, that would suggest they will want more internet sales, no?

    The three-year “Path to Brilliance” plan, where they take a perfectly successful existing business, complete with name and reputation, and change it completely.

    *Genius.

    Maybe they are just looking for a loss business to reduce tax on profits earned elsewhere.
     
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  3. Rockdiamond
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

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    by Rockdiamond » Apr 19, 2019
    As a vendor who's been here for along time- I very much appreciate the ability to hear what consumers- and prosumers are saying. It would be a shame ( for me and the other responsive tradespeople) to be closed out of discussions like this.
    Thank you to you all for allowing us in:)
    Of course, I'm also very interested in how this is going.
    Strange days indeed.
     
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  4. whitewave
    Ideal_Rock

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    by whitewave » Apr 19, 2019
    So I assume they will be laying off and possibly closing maul stores (which would be on trend for retail).

    I wonder where the James Allen brand stands in this, because it seems to me they need more employees to handle the new inquiries or things we used to be able to access without employee involvement.

    I feel bad for the employees. This can’t bode well for any of them.

    Path to brilliance? Call me skeptical :confused:
     
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  5. the_mother_thing
    Ideal_Rock

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    by the_mother_thing » Apr 19, 2019
    Hi David. I didn’t mean to imply ‘all’ discussions in my suggestion. For example, there have been a few threads in recent history where people have had ‘experiences’ they request PSers’ input/advice on how to handle, yet are hesitant to name the vendor specifically given the vendor is a known member and they don’t want to instigate a pizzing contest on the forum. In some cases the ‘who’ may be pertinent to the advice given or experiences shared.

    In this particular case, JA is using ‘open’ consumer discussions to benefit itself - not help/benefit consumers - while simultaneously blocking consumers’ access to basic information about their product. Their business/prerogative, yes. But IMO, it’s hypocritical, self-serving & shady. In that regard, I suppose it’s good that it’s all out in the open so other consumers can be aware when deciding to whom they open their wallet. Nevertheless, and again, with no offense toward those in the trade, I believe there are situations where a ‘trade free zone’ may be beneficial for consumers.
     
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  6. yssie
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by yssie » Apr 19, 2019
    I wouldn’t put too much stock into the idea that the post on PS is responsible for alerting JA to the oversight that allowed certificates to be viewed. The JA UX is generally very good, which suggests that some test rigor was/is employed in development and maintenance - I’m confident updates to their test automation would have caught it sooner or later.

    I’m honestly quite baffled. I don’t see it as amoral or unethical, just inexplicably idiotic. Every other vendor in every industry is moving toward self-service - people are expensive, automation is cheap, let customers do as much as possible with cheap automation before having to turn to an expensive human resource...
     
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  7. the_mother_thing
    Ideal_Rock

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    by the_mother_thing » Apr 19, 2019
    Fair point @yssie I suspect they have release/update schedules and testing windows that likely extend beyond a week or so.

    And I agree ... why not just go back to the days of door-to-door sales while they’re at it. :lol:
     
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  8. Rockdiamond
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    by Rockdiamond » Apr 19, 2019
    Oh, I'm totally with you @the_mother_thing
    The big guys are getting way too big- not only in the diamond biz.....
    I think that this is a place where the whales and minnows mingle:)
    As a minnow- swimming with the other small fish who do work with the goal of adding value for all the readers, I'm just glad we have this opportunity.
    Like anything else, good comes with bad.
     
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  9. Rockdiamond
    Ideal_Rock
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    by Rockdiamond » Apr 19, 2019
    I am not too sure about this yssie, maybe you're right- but as a "layman", whodathunk it?
    I mean, when the change was made, the folks writing the code must have been smart enough in the tech area to know that it was possible to get the info back door.....
    But again, these are strange days.....
     
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  10. yssie
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by yssie » Apr 19, 2019
    I’ve got a long list of changes I wish I had some superpowers to make PriceScope as a unit fight for, because PS fighting for something as a unit could - would - be so compelling and powerful!!

    My list would probably make me quite unpopular though :mrgreen2:
     
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  11. whitewave
    Ideal_Rock

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    by whitewave » Apr 19, 2019
    Just to let you know, David, I stalk your eBay listings all the time. I love that you have items there. It makes it so easy.

    I’m one of the customers who hates talking to people lol.
     
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  12. yssie
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    by yssie » Apr 19, 2019
    I can attest to missing dumb sh*t like this all the time :mrgreen2:
    Test automation is designed to catch all the stuff you didn’t think to check when you were developing a feature (or redacting a feature) - but in my experience features are often released before all tests have been updated! This release was obviously poorly QA’d - @YoungPapa ‘s explanation that more was removed than intended attests to that.

    Well, I’ve got my popcorn ready.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
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  13. Rockdiamond
    Ideal_Rock
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    by Rockdiamond » Apr 19, 2019
    Awwww- make my day. Thank you so much. I do have to add....
    For all the good of eBay, I so much prefer when people look at our site. eBay is another one of the “whale” companies that care little about their clients. If you make an error in an eBay message, they can - and will- throw you off the platform with no warning. The error can be as simple as asking someone to call you. And if , god forbid, you need to call eBay.....OMG it’s horrible. There’s no place on the eBay site to contact customer service believe it or not. /rant
    At least eBay is still viable for us minnows:)
     
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  14. yssie
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by yssie » Apr 19, 2019
    Do whales eat minnows?
    Why do I have this certainty that whales are herbivores?

    Edit - oh, look, they do. Swim @Rockdiamond!! :mrgreen2:

    Is minnows the plural of minnow?
     
  15. Rockdiamond
    Ideal_Rock
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    by Rockdiamond » Apr 19, 2019
    The elephant starveds before the mouse:)
    Btw- I love elephants and whales... the real ones anyway
     
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  16. TUTU
    Rough_Rock

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    by TUTU » Apr 21, 2019
    I have searched diamonds in JA websites recently for myself. Also notice the change that no certs are being provided like before. However, in the first time chat with a girls, she was happy to give me 8 certs by GIA what i requested. I didn't like those ones because the proportions were not good enough to me.

    The second search is just today, I chatted with a man and requested 4 certs of AGS 3.0 for RB. He instantly advised me to choose the cheapest one as all of them were similar. Again I said I wanted to compare and I personally like the most expensive one which looks more balancing in H&A. He still refused to provide.

    Don't know what is happening to JA or the sale staff himself. I am definitely turning to WF or BG. HPD is a bit pricey for me!
     
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  17. OboeGal
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    by OboeGal » Apr 21, 2019
    @YoungPapa - please see the description of @TUTU's experience. Here you had a motivated and interested customer who wanted to compare stones. She had to request multiple certs to get the information she needed to make an informed choice - enough of a pain in the ass all on it's own, and there's absolutely no way a person can do any kind of a comprehensive search of your inventory that way if you're not going to at least provide ALL the dimensions, including crown and pavilion angles! - and on her second try, got a rep trying to push her to purchase without adequate info based on his say-so that they were "similar" and avoiding giving her the info she requested. He then continued to refuse to provide her the info! That is the type of service one expects from a local **edited by moderator** used car salesman, for crying out loud! It's just frankly disgusting.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2019
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  18. kb1gra
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    by kb1gra » Apr 21, 2019
    I mean, take some time to really look around you and see what people are wearing on their fingers.

    The vast majority, like 95+% especially in the majority nonaffluent areas, will be small maul store specials in janky settings. Maybe now some blue Nile sets but people pick diamonds by price, not by anything else, since the vast majority know nothing beyond that they’re supposed to buy one and they’re expensive.

    I’m willing to bet a lot of people call in asking the rep to just tell them what stone to buy since even picking both pieces is probably more work than they’re willing to put in - and that things like discounts pull people in to James Allen.
    Sad to see them go this way but it is what it is. They’re competing with blue nile who can get you a completed ring in just days. In the “I want it now” Internet age, people like us willing to wait weeks for a setting and want videos from vendors, etc are a vanishingly small minority.
     
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  19. lovedogs
    Ideal_Rock

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    by lovedogs » Apr 21, 2019
    Unfortunately, JA is one of the few places that consistently has light brown stones and/or lower colored stones w slight brown. I was window shopping yesterday and attempting to understand relative sizes (face up) between different cuts. JA no longer even gives you basic info that is needed for that. They give L*W, but no height. No depth, no table size. What the actual F. I had to request 5 certs from a rep. I got them, as separate emails. Which is a huge pain when trying to compare. So so so frustrating.
     
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  20. whitewave
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    by whitewave » Apr 21, 2019
    I’m sorry if I’m wrong, but I think the bottom line is that none of them care what’s going on.

    They don’t care.

    (BTW, “gyp” is pejorative)
     
  21. elizat
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by elizat » Apr 21, 2019
    Maybe enough window shoppers asking for certificate without a sale will show them that this more of a pain for their reps than the value they think it will bring to them?
     
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  22. Lula
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    by Lula » Apr 21, 2019
    Yes, I agree 100%. Poorly-cut diamonds in elaborate halo settings covered in milgrain are everywhere. Most people can't tell the difference between a poorly made halo setting and an expensive halo setting -- this is why my latest upgrade was set into a sleek, modern setting.

    But I digress. I continue to be concerned how difficult it will be for the average consumer -- who is indeed JA's market -- to compare diamonds beyond price, carat weight, color, and clarity. (Just like the good old days, pre-internet). Especially when the feedback that consumers are getting from JA reps, as reported in an earlier post in this thread, is "go with the least expensive stone because they are all the same."

    For example, I did a quick search for and "ideal cut" 0.75 carat H VS 2 diamonds on JA's site. You can still search for lab; the choices under "ideal cut: are IGI, AGS, and GIA. The search produced 5 GIA Excellent stones: none were cut well, and clarity, even though all are VS2, varied greatly.
    Two were average cut and priced within $10 of each other:
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6958706
    $3060
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6128326
    $3070
    Three were below average cut and prices were all over the place:
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6745262
    $3020
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6508128
    $3190
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6814253
    $3210
    How is the average consumer possibly going to make sense of this? In this case, "going with the cheapest ($3020) because they are all the same," would yield the consumer a poorly cut GIA excellent stone, with questionable VS2 clarity. For $40 or $50 more, the consumer could get a slightly better cut and better clarity as well. If you don't know what you're looking at in the videos (e.g., table size, clarity characteristics, LGFs which affect size/width of arrows) and if you don't know how to guess depth/girdle by comparing spread, even those consumers saavy enough to search by GIA ideal/excellent cut are still buying blind. It's a real boost for cutters producing marginal stones that just squeak by as GIA Excellent grade stones. But the consumer loses. They get the bottom of the barrel as far as GIA Excellent cut grade, but the price they pay doesn't reflect that. Don't even get me started on how difficult it will be for consumers to judge whether the stone has clarity issues resulting in reduced transparency and/or if the stones have a brown, green, or grey tint, which are also downgraded (or should be) in the market.

    ETA: And then there's this from JA's site: "By clicking this button, a diamond expert can instantly share their screen with you, and walk you through the attributes of this diamond in Super Zoom magnification." Why in the world would I want to share my screen with a virtual (literally) stranger?!? No thanks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
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  23. OboeGal
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    by OboeGal » Apr 21, 2019
    Ah - I did not realize that - my bad. Is there any way to edit a post at this point so I can remove that?
     
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  24. Lula
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Lula » Apr 21, 2019
    Click on "report concern" and ask the mods to remove it.
     
  25. Wewechew
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    by Wewechew » Apr 21, 2019
    If you don’t mind hunting, and don’t want to pay a premium, there are other sites (Blue Nile, B2C, etc).
     
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  26. lissyflo
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by lissyflo » Apr 22, 2019
    This is exactly why JA have made this change! If their customer base is largely unchanged (and, based on their research and analysis of historical sales, we can assume it will be), then they have instantly muddied the waters and can make higher profit on stones.

    The only thing we can do is hope that JA customers see this thread and decide to make a transparent and informed purchase (i.e. purchase elsewhere!). Maybe this thread could be pinned so that it instantly shows up for all future users of the site? My fear is that some people may not realise the information being withheld from them. Although, I guess the majority of those may not have used the certs anyway, as JA said. But at least the info served as a measure of pricing transparency for others....
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  27. TUTU
    Rough_Rock

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    by TUTU » Apr 22, 2019
    I'm now searching in WF and BG. After reading and gaining some knowledge about diamonds, I can't find any beautiful diamond in BN or ED or B2C.
     
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  28. Miss Marple
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    by Miss Marple » Apr 22, 2019
    Going back to the original response from @youngpapa,I find this particularly disingenuous:

    “...To start (and as unbelievable as it may sound), many people don't even look at the certificate. Seriously. And for those who do, most don't really understand what they're seeing. ...”

    Based on what I’ve seen here, many people become very concerned about inclusions they see when diamonds that are highly zoomed in images but that are perfectly eye clean at actual size. This concern makes people think they need to spend more for a diamond with higher clarity. I don’t see JA getting rid of their highly zoomed images to avoid confusion.
     
  29. Swirl68
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Swirl68 » Apr 22, 2019
    There is a way to see the table and depth without requesting certificates. (for now anyway)

    On my laptop, if I right click somewhere on the page and press “Inspect”, it brings up a section that will include the table and depth of the stone. It might be different depending on your browser, under developer tools maybe? I have a MacBook Pro with Chrome so YMMV. Go down the page a bit and it will be under the section that starts with: <div itemscope itemtype=http://schema.org/Product>

    This may help a little bit in weeding stones out before requesting certificates on them.

    I wish I could figure out how to do it on my iPhone though.
     
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  30. kmoro
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    by kmoro » Apr 22, 2019
    While I appreciate your good intent, table and depth don’t tell much of the story. Now that this is posted, JA will probably block that as well.

    As I said on the other thread, I would rather just pretend that JA doesn’t exist anymore.
     
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