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Please Help with Diamond Nightmare (Robbins Brothers)

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creekside

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
4
I''ll start by spelling out my story, hopefully there are enough details to get some quick help from some of the experts on this board.

I''m more or less a diamond noobie, but I started looking into purchasing a diamond engagement ring for my girlfriend in January of this year. Due to my financial situation at the time, I knew I wouldn''t be able to afford the diamond I wanted for at least a few months, but I figured I could start researching. I made my first mistake by visiting Robbins Brothers. They were offering (and are still offering) 0% financing for a year with a 10% down payment. I spoke with a sales associate who came across as being helpful and honest. My girlfriend had already picked out the ring she wanted, a particular Tacori model that Robbins Brothers didn''t happen to carry. At that point, the salesman assured me that they could get the ring made by Tacori no problem. He also assured me that because the ring could take 4-6 weeks to complete and I would have no idea what it looked like until we got it back in the store, their 30 day "best value" return policy would apply once I picked up the ring. I picked out a diamond from their inventory with the following characteristics:

Cert Lab: AIG
Shape and Cut: Round Brilliant
Measurements: 7.17 x 7.11 x 4.59 mm
Weight: 1.51 ct
Depth: 64.2%
Table: 60.7%
Girdle: slightly thick to thick faceted
Culet: none
Finish: Very Good
Symmetry: Good
Clarity Grade: SI2
Color Grade: I

The diamond is eye clean and I was overall pleased with how it looked when I examined it loose. I knew I wasn''t going the cheapest route in dealing with Robbins Brothers, but I figured their lifetime warranty and the free diamond care programs made up for the money I could be saving (huge mistake here I''ll admit). So on January 30th, I payed the 10% down payment with my Visa and signed the receipt. I didn''t take ownership of any merchandise at this time, Robbins Bros. sent the diamond to Tacori to have them set it. At this point, I assumed I had plenty of time to continue to shop around and look for other deals because of what the salesman had promised me and supposedly ran by his GM regarding the 30 day money back guarantee.

While I waited for the ring to be made, I did what I should have done in the first place and researched diamonds on the net and on this website. I soon learned that the AIG cert that accompanied the diamond I purchased was not on par with GIA or AGS labs (which Robbins Brothers also sells), and I have found some good deals on much better diamonds (G color, VS2, VG or EX cut for the same price, etc.). Additionally, in early March, before my ring had been delivered, I was notified by mail that the company was filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. I called and spoke to their VP of sales and she assured me that their lifetime warranty would continue to be honored no matter what happened with the results of the bankruptcy. At this point I was seriously considering returning the ring for a full refund and going a different route to obtain a better deal on the diamond, especially since the financialy future of Robbins Brothers is so unclear. I called Robbins Brothers on March 12th to inquire about the status of my ring, and they informed me that it was at the store. They hadn''t even called me to let me know! I had to call them! I picked up the ring on March 13th and took it home to take the time to have it appraised and show my mom, etc. All the while I assumed I had the full 30 days to return the ring for a full refund (the salesman had reassured me of this multiple times).

I took the ring back to the store on Monday of this week (April 6th, within the 30 days I thought I had) and was told by a different salesman (my original salesman had been relocated to a different store!) and GM that I would not be able to return the merchandise for full price! I was shocked. These people straight up deceived me. They claim that once I examined and picked up the completed ring, I had accepted it as satisfactory and the 30 day money back deal was expired since I purchased the diamond in January. Needless to say I''m irate. I made the mistake of trusting the salesman, but now I''m trying to figure out my options. They claim to be working to find me a better diamond for the same price or better, but I have my doubts since I''ve been getting the run around from so far (their are other details that I could share but this post is long enough).

My question for the board is this: Do I have any legal recourse in this situation? Are there any lawyers out there that can assist me in getting my money back from Robbins Brothers if they refuse to substitute the diamond for an acceptable quality replacement? Needless to say this has become a worst case scenario and I would really appreciate any help anyone could provide. They are also trying to hide behind their bankruptcy, saying that they can''t legally veer from their official return policy (no returns or exchanges after 30 days and no returns on custom orders).

One main legal question would be: At what point does the sale legally occur. Although I paid the 10% down payment and a lender paid the remaining monies on January 30th, I didn''t take physical possession of any merchandise until March 13th. Can I legally argue that the purchase wasn''t completed until the I accepted the diamond? This would push the return limit on the diamond out to April 13th. I am in Texas if that makes a difference due to state law. I am not a lawyer, but hopefully some of the experts on this board can give me some advice. I know I''ve made mistakes dealing with these people, and I''m willing to accept the consequences, but I want to make sure I''m doing all I can to fight this. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THESE PEOPLE!!!
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
42,064
Hi Creekside,

I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. I am not the best person to advise here but I am sure someone will have some help for you presently.
 

creekside

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
4
Thanks, I realize my chances of getting anything out of Robbins Brothers on my own are fairly low. I''m just trying to figure out if there is any legal foothold I can point to if they aren''t willing to work with me. I don''t want to waste time on getting a lawyer, etc. if there is no chance to get my money back in the first place.
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
Have you tried doing a thread search for Robbins Brothers? I know other people have posted about them in the past. It might be informative.
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
42,064
Date: 4/9/2009 1:18:56 PM
Author: creekside
Thanks, I realize my chances of getting anything out of Robbins Brothers on my own are fairly low. I'm just trying to figure out if there is any legal foothold I can point to if they aren't willing to work with me. I don't want to waste time on getting a lawyer, etc. if there is no chance to get my money back in the first place.
I understand, I am sure someone here can give you some good advice as we do have some experts and some in the legal field here who might be able to advise. Did you pay the balance with your visa?
 

John P

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
3,563
Sorry to hear of the situation and your frustration.

Date: 4/9/2009 11:05:34 AM
Author:creekside

...He also assured me that because the ring could take 4-6 weeks to complete and I would have no idea what it looked like until we got it back in the store, their 30 day 'best value' return policy would apply once I picked up the ring.
Do you have this in writing? Any chance this salesperson noted it on a quote or invoice?
 

Diamond Explorer

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
294
The way Robbins Bros. has been operating should be considered criminal. They have not only been deceiving customers, but also are restructuring in a way that is screwing their creditors and suppliers. Here is just part of the story.

Robbins Bros. Shady Bankruptcy
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
I''m wondering if they can (or do) consider this a "custom" deal because they had to order the ring for you and didn''t carry it.

If you had only paid the 10% deposit, I think you would have a stronger case that you didn''t "purchase" the ring at that time in January, but you mention that the remaining monies were paid by a lender at that time, which means it was technically paid off in full if I''m understanding you. Don''t get me wrong, the situation really sucks for you and I feel you were duped, but without anything in writing, and especially since they are filing for bankruptcy, I''m not sure what recourse you have. Hopefully someone else has more advice.
 

creekside

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
4
Date: 4/9/2009 1:25:22 PM
Author: John Pollard
Sorry to hear of the situation and your frustration.


Date: 4/9/2009 11:05:34 AM

Author:creekside


...He also assured me that because the ring could take 4-6 weeks to complete and I would have no idea what it looked like until we got it back in the store, their 30 day ''best value'' return policy would apply once I picked up the ring.

Do you have this in writing? Any chance this salesperson noted it on a quote or invoice?


Unfortunately no, I screwed up there, I should have never taken the guy''s word. I''ve looked over the paperwork and it isn''t noted anywhere. It''s basically his word against mine and he has decided to lie to his boss and myself. The only angle I can see is if there was some way to argue that my purchase of the diamond wasn''t completed and subject to the 30 day warranty until I received the diamond. That has been my mantra with them from the beginning. That way, I may be stuck with the Tacori ring (which I can get for $600 less elsewhere), but I still have a chance to substantially upgrade the diamond for a few more hundred dollars elsewhere. The only other thing is they have security cameras in all of their little "diamond viewing rooms". I asked the manager if we could go back and look at the tapes from when I was there just last week when the salesman offered to let me refund the purchase. In my mind this would constitute a verbal agreement which should trump a previous written agreement. That may be a long shot though...
 

D&T

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
Messages
12,504
do you have their documents with the return policy and the fine print? and what constitute the actual day that the 30 days grace period would actually be enforced? just wondering what you could do with the BBB? I know that I have written to the BBB on two ocassions and have been very satisfied on my outcome because the vendors both took care of the issues immediately after being notified by the BBB. I don''t know if RB even cares with the BBB though? so I don''t know if this is much help? but just a thought.
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
I would probably pursue the route that you are -- arguing that the 30 day return policy does not apply until you take possession of the ring -- and keep the fact that you would accept a GIA or AGS excellent/ideal replacement as your trump card. Just keep insisting on a refund, mentioning the salesman and his promise by name, asking to speak to higher-ups, and refusing to accept that you can''t return it. But if they come up with a better stone as a compromise, it would probably be easier just to take it. You''ve got the Tacori setting that you want, and if you can get a stone you''re happy with, you could be a lot worse off.
 

Steel

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
4,884
Date: 4/9/2009 5:39:19 PM
Author: phoenixgirl
I would probably pursue the route that you are -- arguing that the 30 day return policy does not apply until you take possession of the ring -- and keep the fact that you would accept a GIA or AGS excellent/ideal replacement as your trump card. Just keep insisting on a refund, mentioning the salesman and his promise by name, asking to speak to higher-ups, and refusing to accept that you can''t return it. But if they come up with a better stone as a compromise, it would probably be easier just to take it. You''ve got the Tacori setting that you want, and if you can get a stone you''re happy with, you could be a lot worse off.
Yup.

 

Green with Envy

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
970
Since you paid with Visa... I would contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.
 

Feralpenchant

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
427
I am so sorry that this happened to you. I hope everything works out for you


On a lighter note, if you do end up being ''stuck'' with the ring you have now, hey, at least it''s a TACORI! I''m sure it''s beautiful. I''d be happy to be stuck with a Tacori anyday


(Not trying to make light of the situation, just trying to be add a happy note
)
 

Steel

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
4,884
Date: 4/9/2009 6:30:34 PM
Author: Green with Envy
Since you paid with Visa... I would contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.
"Although I paid the 10% down payment and a lender paid the remaining monies on January 30th..."

Seems that the OP has paid the full purchase price already. Only 10% was paid for on VISA, the rest has already been financed and drawn down to complete the purchase.

Best dispute there would be 10%.
 

creekside

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
4
Thank you very much to everyone that has chimed in. The GM of the Robbins Brothers store offered to substitute a diamond with the following characteristics from GIA:

Round Brilliant
Measurements: 6.99 - 7.12 x 4.46 mm
Carat Weight: 1.38 carat
Color Grade: G
Clarity Grade: SI2
Cut Grade: Very Good
Proportions:
Depth: 63.2%
Table: 57%
Crown Angle: 35.5°
Crown Height: 15.5%
Pavilion Angle: 41.0°
Pavilion Depth: 43.5%
Star length: 55%
Lower Half: 80%
Girdle: Medium to Thick, Faceted
Culet: None
Finish:
Polish: Very Good
Symmetry: Very Good
Fluorescence: None

The price they are offering is $500 less than the first diamond I bought from them. From what I can tell without looking at the stone, it appears I''m sacrificing a little bit of weight for much better characteristics (assuming it is an eye clean SI2), but the substitute should fit very well in the existing Tacori setting since the actual diameter measurements are pretty close.

My choices at this point are to: 1) take this substitute diamond and wait another 4-6 weeks for the diamond to be re set.

2) They offered to take $700 off of my current diamond (equates to ~ 9% off) and move on to the most important thing (the engagement of course)

3) Continue to press for a refund which would no doubt require a lawyer and expenses. Chances are I would end up competing with all of the other creditors that are vying for Robbins Brother''s dollars (uphill battle)

I scheduled a time to come in and view the potential replacement diamond in the store and that will likely be the deciding factor. Unless the diamond blows me away or they are able to come up with another replacement that is SI1, I will likely take the $700 and move on knowing that although I didn''t get the best deal possible, I still have a great ring and learned a lot the hard way about dealing with companies like Robbins Brothers.

Although I still feel like I was lied to, I do respect that Robbins Brothers was willing to work with me somewhat. It is unfortunate that this situation had to go down like this, but I''ve made sure the salesman''s boss and boss'' boss are aware of his misrepresentation.

If anyone has any insight as to which of the two diamonds (the one above or the one I posted earlier) is the better deal, I would really appreciate that as well. At least I can take solace that none of my friends or relatives will be making the same mistake of dealing with Robbins Brothers.
 

Pippin

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
45
That diamond is not cut well enough to be a top performer. It scores a 4.1 on the HCA. In my opinion, it wouldn't be a good substitute unless your present diamond scores higher, which I can't tell from your stats. You should probably see them side by side before making a decision, but I personally wouldn't purchase that diamond.

Of course, at least with GIA you know what you're getting.
 

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
I''m sorry that they are giving you trouble. We have heard many bad reports about them.
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
42,064
I wouldn''t take the diamond they have offered as it is a steep deep angle combo and it will not sparkle as well as it should. See if they can find you a diamond with a crown angle betweem 34 and 35 degrees and a pavilion angle between 40.6 and 40.8 degrees - 41 degrees absolute maximum. Try to keep the depth between 60 - 62.4% max.
 

Steel

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
4,884
I would try to get a letter/document/note (written proof) out of them showing they are working to resolve the problem and the offer of a replacement stone/refund.

2 reasons for that:

i) To ensure that they follow through and at least try to make you happy.
ii) If they refuse to replace/reduce the stone at a later date or if you choose to pursue a refund you will have proof that there was a situation which was acknowledged by management which will aid any future claims.

You should approach this very softly. Perhaps just by asking that they kindly make a note of the stats of the new stone v''s the old stone and confirmation of the price discount on the old stone so you can carefully compare their offer.
 
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