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This old pro would like your thoughts

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by Wink, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Wink
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

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    by Wink » Feb 10, 2019
    Dear Pricescopers,

    I am losing sleep over a mistake I made and what has followed. A colleague suggested that I share my situation with the community and collect opinions from the educated jewelry enthusiasts here.

    Last year I was approached by a shopper. We worked for a long time on a high value diamond purchase. In the end she flew to Boise to compare my diamond to one she already owned. She loved my diamond, confirmed the purchase and we made the deal. That deal involved three components. Credit for trade-in of her outside diamond. Cash paid, and reimbursement of her trip to Boise.

    Before coming she sent me the grading report for the diamond she proposed to trade-in. A reliable trade-buyer offered me $63K sight-unseen, which I offered to her as trade-in credit. She told me she had paid $83K retail at another store and wanted that full amount in credit. I explained on the phone how retail compensation is simply not possible. I can only give what a trade-buyer is willing to pay me. I also suggested she see if her original seller would pay $63K+ to take it back. They would not. So I continued searching on her behalf, and eventually found a buyer who stepped-up and offered $70K (almost 85% of what she paid retail). I told her this was the absolute best I could do. I further said, if accepted, her old diamond would be sold immediately and could not come back. She agreed to all of this.

    I also lowered my retail price, so she could pay an even $50K additional to seal the deal at $120K. Finally I agreed to reimburse her trip to Boise if she bought my diamond. When I did that it lowered the $50K due to $48,500.

    All told I received $70,000 for sale of her trade-in diamond and $48,500 she paid in cash, totaling $118,500.

    In terms of writing up the sale she had insisted for full retail-price of her old diamond to be reflected. This made sense to secure proper insurance, so I granted her request and cited its value as $83K. Technically that inflated the paper-value of the transaction by $13K over what I received but it was intended to be helpful.

    I was surprised weeks later when she said she was returning the diamond, but that was her right. This is where my mistake comes to the surface. Somewhere during our emails she had asked if a return would be “on the whole amount of money I paid for my new diamond.” In this, she was referring to the inflated value. My usual return policy is full refund so I reflexively replied “yes” without stopping to consider how the numbers had been written, or consider our trip-reimbursement arrangement. In hindsight I should never have made that reflex one word reply. I’d like to think I am careful in most things but I am also more trusting than I am cautious. I never presumed what was to follow.

    For her return, in addition to the $118,500 which was transacted she insists on an additional $13K, giving her the full retail price she originally paid to another store for her trade-in ($83K) instead of the $70K I received when selling it for her. She also expects to keep the $1,500 trip reimbursement, as she considers that part of “the whole amount of money.”

    I have apologized for the email mistake, but she continues to ask for $13K additional for her trade-in and $1,500 trip reimbursement, despite knowing this would put me severely in the red. There is added confusion because I did confirm she could receive the higher amount as “upgrade-credit” if she upgrades, rather than returning the diamond. That would still be a windfall for her, and doable for me because it would create a new transaction on my side, allowing me to negotiate with my supplier on terms for a new diamond, thus cushioning the loss.

    I’ve been doing business with wonderful clients for 40+ years and did not see this coming. She had such love and excitement for my diamond. She knew her old diamond would be sold and could not return. She told me in-person she did not plan to return the new one. She repeated that in the email which I mistakenly replied “yes” to. She knew trip reimbursement was conditional on keeping my diamond. But here we are.

    Pricescopers, I am asking for guidance. Should I continue dialoguing with her, hoping for some kind of understanding and middle ground, human to human? Or do I just send her the additional $14,500 and try to somehow swallow the loss?

    I imagine the bottom line is to suck it up, pay the lady and explain to my wife why we cannot take any vacations for the next two years. But I wanted to ask for thoughts here. This is an unusual situation because I am usually here to provide advice, but I find myself in strange territory. I want to be clear that I am not disparaging this person. I am, however, struggling with the scope of the misunderstanding.

    Thank you for listening and for any thoughts you may have. As anyone who knows me might imagine, I am heartsick about the situation. I am also wearing thick skin, so fire away.

    Wink
     
    


    


  2. Gussie
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Gussie » Feb 10, 2019
    Wow, that is terrible! I would think that she would only be refunded what she actually paid us the trade in, $118500. So she is saying that the trade in is really 83k instead of 70k. Do you have an attorney? This lady sounds like a swindler. I am so sorry!
     
  3. tyty333
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by tyty333 » Feb 10, 2019
    I can't imagine that anyone would attempt to get back more money than they received or for you to make them "whole" again out of your pocket.
    This person knew the deal and agreed to it. Do you think they thought from the beginning that if they returned your stone that they would be made
    "whole" again? Just curious? I would fight this tooth and nail, however, I'm not a business owner and can not take into account how this may affect
    your business. I really dont have any good advice but just to say that I'm mad for you Wink. You are being taken advantage of. I would not give
    her any more money than what she is entitled to and I would probably quit responding to her. I dont want you to say anything that can be used
    against you if it goes to court. If she gets a lawyer and takes it to court then you'll have to start dealing with her again. You can always preempt with
    your own lawyer but you have to weigh in the cost. I wish you luck and for Pete's sake hope its resolved using common sense.
     
  4. nala
    Ideal_Rock

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    by nala » Feb 10, 2019
    This situation makes me sick to my stomach. I would never dream of putting my jeweler thru this. My first thought it how? How is it possible for her to get away with an outright swindle? How does she feel entitled? How does she have no conscience! Sorry for the rant. But I begin with those questions bc I really don’t understand why you have to acquiesce. Is it legal repercussions that you fear? Hopefully a PS lawyer can chime in!
     
    


    


  5. Jelly88
    Rough_Rock

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    by Jelly88 » Feb 10, 2019
    My opinion is that you should definitely not swallow the loss. To me, I would interpret the "whole amount of money" as the actual MONEY that you received - so the $70K from selling her trade-in diamond and the $50K cash that she paid. The cost of the trip reimbursement was based on her buying your diamond. If she returns the diamond, then she did not "buy" it in the end and therefore reimbursement should not apply.

    You never received that additional $13K she is asking for in money, so there is nothing for you to "refund" over the $120K.
     
  6. Cabochon1
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Cabochon1 » Feb 10, 2019
    Wow - not in a good way. What a miserable situation for you. I can’t comment on legality or usual custom as I have never lived in the US but it occurred to me that she maybe doesn’t believe you regarding the trade in value of her diamond. Is there an option to prove to her how much (or little) you were paid for it? This might not be standard practise but I can’t imagine why she would insist on reimbursement of that part of the money if she believed you.

    I am mostly only a lurking member of this forum - but you always seem so nice and everybody speaks so highly of you and your diamonds, I just wish this hadn’t happened to you! I am sending lots of lucky wishes your way.
     
  7. Dmndsr4evr11
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Dmndsr4evr11 » Feb 10, 2019
    I am so sorry this has happened to you, @Wink. I hope there is some email exchanges regarding the price negotiated for her diamond so you have proof it was sold for $70k and not $83k. Also some wire receipt. Did you have email communication regarding putting $83k as sale price for her diamond only for insurance purposes?

    I don’t think it’s fair for you to suck up the $14,500. The trip reimbursement was also contingent on her keeping the diamond. So, if she said “whole amount of money I paid”. So, she should only get back what she paid.

    Hope it all works out.
     
  8. JPie
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JPie » Feb 10, 2019
    She’s trying to swindle you, plain and simple. I hope you are able to resolve this without giving her more money than she paid. Sorry you have to deal with this!
     
  9. Gussie
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Gussie » Feb 10, 2019
    Isn't there an attorney on ps that people tag? I can't remember the name, starts with an m???
     
  10. Morenita21
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Morenita21 » Feb 10, 2019
    You need to stand firm on your position. A prudent person would not ask what she’s asking for. How is it that she gets more money out of the deal and you lose money. There is such thing as common sense and being reasonable two traits she definitely doesn’t encompass to her core. Stand firm and make sure you get everything in writing. Explain to her that the “yes” was only for the money she spent out of pocket for the diamond and because she is returning the diamond, you are not responsible for the trip and the refund due to her will reflect the expense of the trip. What is wrong with people these days? I see a sense of entitlement on her part. Not very becoming of her.
     
    


    


  11. Karl_K
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

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    by Karl_K » Feb 10, 2019
    @MollyMalone
     
  12. cokitty
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by cokitty » Feb 10, 2019
    Wink, sometimes you have to fire a client.
    Her getting the full amount of the diamond was contingent on the larger sale. This person is in effect has stolen time from you and is now attempting to steal money.
    If you have all of this in writing I would not pay the additional amount, nor would I pay for her travel. This person has not acted in good faith. If she is not going to keep the diamond sold I would not only not give her the extra monies, I would charge her your typical commission for find a buyer. At this point you have invested quite a bit of time and energy into a deal that was not set up in good faith.
     
  13. JoJa12345
    Shiny_Rock

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    by JoJa12345 » Feb 10, 2019
    She is either trying to swindle you OR she truly doesn't understand (I hope it's the latter). In any case, she is only entitled to be refunded the amount in which she paid you ~ not more, that doesn't even make sense how she could expect to be refunded more than her out of pocket money (paid to you). She should not be reimbursed for her travel as that was a perk of her purchasing a diamond from you (a VERY nice perk might I add).
    I'm so confused as to how she thinks she is right in demanding a refund greater than the amount actually paid to you.
    I think you should absolutely stand firm and not give her more money than what her refund should be (and no reimbursement for travel). While you may have hastily written "yes" via email that was obviously a mistake, not one that should cost you thousands of dollars. You could easily argue you wrote that without looking into the matter and also because 99% of the time your clients are honest people that wouldn't put you in this position.
    I'm so sorry you have to do through this. Good luck and hopefully she will understand that she is wrong in this situation.
     
  14. stonewell
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by stonewell » Feb 10, 2019
    Oh my... count me in the group that hopes she’s merely confused or misunderstanding the situation than intentionally trying to unfairly profit from the transaction. I’m not an attorney, but I agree with the others here that it seems unlikely she can yield more that she paid.

    @Wink, you had noted the sales documentation list the full value of her trade-in for insurance purposes - was there any language to that effect? Regardless, I have to imagine any one with common sense can piece the course of events together and see the situation clearly. I’d get an attorney’s opinion to confirm before I paid her one cent. This may even be quickly cleared up with one attorney letter.

    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with such a situation. Hope this gets sorted out soon for you.
     
  15. MissGotRocks
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by MissGotRocks » Feb 10, 2019
    I would refund her only for the amount she paid - and not a penny more. The cost of the trip would be on her dime as well.

    You are a wonderful soul and as honest as they come. Keep your documentation and all emails exchanged. You have explained this here and we all understand the numbers. Should she attempt to take legal action, I can't believe other people deciding this would see it any other way either.

    For a clean, honest transaction, it involves two people. One being honest and the other being underhanded doesn't end up as a winning combination. Stop raking yourself over the coals on this one and don't pay her a dime more. She should be glad she sold her former stone and was refunded the amount paid for the new one. She ends up with an appreciable amount of money to start over wherever she wishes. Even on a much smaller scale, many would be happy to be in her position!
     
    


    


  16. Swirl68
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Swirl68 » Feb 10, 2019
    Would this have resulted in less sales tax for her?
     
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  17. carbonfan
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by carbonfan » Feb 10, 2019
    This is truly horrible and I am so sorry that you are going through this, Wink! You are one of the most trustworthy, patient, honorable vendors in the business and I think that this individual is being unreasonable at best and very possibly deceitful and unethical as well. You went above and beyond by negotiating an incredible trade-in offer for her, covering her travel expenses to Boise, and providing her with an absolutely amazing CBI diamond. Yet she is not satisfied with your more than generous gestures. My sense is that this is a reflection of her true colors more than anything else, and this is probably not the first time she has employed such tactics with a vendor. Hopefully it is nothing more than a misunderstanding that can be easily cleared up, but in any case I am so sorry you have to deal with this. You can rest assured that you acted in good faith and did your very best for her. Your gracious gestures and the return of the exact sum of cash that she paid should be more than sufficient.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  18. mrs-b
    Ideal_Rock

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    by mrs-b » Feb 10, 2019
    Hi Wink -

    As you say, you made a mistake in your one word 'yes' response. However, since her statement did not spell out exactly what she wanted a refund for, your 'yes' is to the question as you understood it and on the basis of the exchanges you had already had. Since what she was asking for was (in retrospect) unclear, and since she hasn't given you what she's now asking for back, I don't see that she can convincingly argue that you owe her an extra $13k.

    I agree with you, that it became far more complicated when you wrote up the sale, reflecting the 83k as retail price. This, to my mind, is where you made the far larger mistake, and it's also where she might have standing for her argument. You said - in writing - that her diamond was worth 83k, and the fact that she only got 70k for it, she might argue, is neither here nor there, and she can claim ignorance as to what arrangement you might have had with the person to whom you arranged for her to sell her stone (ie she might argue you received a 13k kick back).

    I don't think you have ANY obligation to reimburse her for her travel expenses since she didn't keep your diamond - that's just bald faced cheek as it seems this was spelled out pretty clearly.

    So, if it were me, I'd argue on the basis that her question was not clear - but the sale write up of 83k might have you over a barrel; this is an example of trying to do something nice for someone, and it coming back to bite you. To my way of thinking (and you did say you were wearing thick skin on this, so I'm going to be blunt) her sale write up should have reflected exactly what it was - 70k - and this is where you're vulnerable.

    Consequently, I'd argue for no added reimbursement to her - she did, when all is said and done, sell a second hand stone, so 85% is an excellent price, and she did indeed get a trip to Boise to do her shopping - but in my back pocket, I'd keep the idea of being willing to go as far as splitting the 13k with her, meaning I'd be willing to go to 6.5k out of pocket. Past that, I'd be lawyering up.

    I wish you a fast, easy, and stress free solution to what is clearly a horrible situation.
     
  19. SandyinAnaheim
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by SandyinAnaheim » Feb 10, 2019
    My dear Wink, I am so sorry you are having to deal with the stress of this unsavory person. I am not a lawyer, as you know, but a paralegal. My first impression is that the "yes" you stated was misunderstood by her to be the full value of the diamond that she originally paid, not the full value of the diamond paid to her on the trade-in, as had previously been agreed upon. I don't believe that your "yes" is binding in this regard as you were both talking about different values. Because she didn't keep your stone, I don't think she is entitled to the trip reimbursement.

    I have two suggestions. The first would be to see if this unscrupulous woman wants her original stone back, and then use your considerable wiles and charm with the buyer of the stone to try to get it back. There is a possibility that it may still be available, and the buyer might be willing to help you out if you have a relationship with them. If this can be accomplished, you return the stone and the money, and decide if you want to reimburse the trip or not. Worst case scenario is you are out $1500 which you can write off as a business loss, and chalk it up to lesson learned. The lesson being that every single detail of a negotiation, especially one of this high value, needs to be spelled out in writing by you, and agreed to by the purchaser, before the transaction moves forward. Essentially, a binding contract with no wiggle room.

    However, Idaho, like I believe every other state, has a Statute of Frauds. The Statute of Frauds was created in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of fraudulent conduct. Since many agreements are made on oral terms without a written contract, it can often be hard to provide sufficient proof of what the exact terms agreed to by both parties were in the event that a claim is made against one of the parties. Written agreements, as made necessary by the statute for purchases over $500, include signatures of both parties as well as details about the exact terms of agreement to which both parties may be held in a dispute. It is not necessary for the contract itself to be in writing, but there must be some note in writing signed by the party to be charged, in order for the agreement to be valid.

    As such, I believe that you are protected against this person's manipulations under your state's statutes. Which brings me to my second, and likely better, suggestion. Find yourself a good contracts attorney and book a consultation. Get their opinion on your position and then you will know where you stand. If they deem it necessary, they will write a strongly worded letter to this person and that should resolve the issue. They can also guide you on how to avoid situations such as these in the future. If this person brings a lawsuit, which I find unlikely being as how the jurisdiction would be in Idaho, you would likely win and have your legal expenses paid for by them. However, a person who has $120k to drop on a diamond likely has the sense to know they wouldn't be able to win a lawsuit in another state for an amount that they are not entitled to, regardless of what miscommunication may exist.

    Again, I am truly sorry that you got caught up in this and that you are dealing with such a morally bankrupt individual. You don't deserve this kind of treatment and I am deeply perturbed that someone is even trying to take advantage of you in this way.
     
  20. elliefire99
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by elliefire99 » Feb 10, 2019
    Just to echo others, but to me "the whole amount of money I paid for my new diamond" is very clearly the amount paid in the transaction, which you should have bank/card records for. You MAY have to suck up the flight reimbursement (depending on the details of those emails) but definitely not the 14k.

    So sorry you have been treated this way!
     
  21. Johnbt
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Johnbt » Feb 10, 2019
    "$48,500 she paid in cash"

    How did she pay you? Do you have a copy of her check or wire, a signed receipt?

    That's what she gets back... what she paid... the money that actually changed hands.

    The airfare can be tuition of some sort in the lessons of life. Offer to give her twice the airfare if she'll move farther away.
     
  22. LinSF
    Shiny_Rock

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    by LinSF » Feb 10, 2019
    I'm not an attorney, but I've paid my fair share of salary to their interests. In my opinion the agreement for a purchase does not include reimbursement to her for the difference. An attorney/judge would take a look at her claim and throw it out, she's not entitled to more than she paid with the trade in.

    This would be the same as someone trading in a used car at the dealer rate, buying a new car and not liking it and returning it- then asking for private party value on the car they traded in which was already sold. Not going to happen, and doesn't.

    You conduct your business with the utmost of integrity, I've admired that since I joined Pricescope. I don't think you need to acquiesce to her demands, we all know what an asset you are to the industry and that this situation is ridiculous!

    Maybe pay a lawyer the 15 minutes it would take to tell you are are covered in this situation? I'm sure it wouldn't take much time for them to advise.

    Lesson here? Wink is fantastic and willing to rectify a situation for which he was acting in good faith. And we should all go buy more CBIs from him!
     
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  23. chamois
    Shiny_Rock

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    by chamois » Feb 10, 2019
    So sorry to hear about this disturbing situation a client is putting you through. I would be losing sleep too, many people are so unfair and money grabbing in today’s society, that is what I think is going on here, she is out for as much as she can get and not be out of pocket whether she is entitled or not. The idealistic side of me says to keep to what was agreed upon in your view...however you have to feel comfortable moving forward with whatever you decide to do to resolve this unfortunate experience.

    Wishing you the very best outcome.
     
    rockysalamander likes this.
  24. lovedogs
    Ideal_Rock

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    by lovedogs » Feb 10, 2019
    I agree with everyone else that the "whole amount" is ONLY what she paid you, and certainly doesn't cover the inflated insurance value. She's essentially demanding that you literally give her 13-14K that she never paid you, and which was never involved in the transaction. That's crazy. I would be fighting this and getting lawyers involved. The trip to ID was clearly contingent on the purchase (and keeping) of the diamond, so you aren't out that money either. This is outrageous and I am very angry for you.
     
  25. kal2021
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by kal2021 » Feb 10, 2019
    She’s running a hustle in my opinion. Do not give her the extra money! Only what she paid you.
     
  26. Austina
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Austina » Feb 10, 2019
    UK & US law are different, but I’m wondering if it would be worth paying the money to get a letter from an attorney pointing out that you are prepared to refund the actual amount of money she paid? Is it even legal for her to try and claim back money she hasn’t actually paid, because she’ll have suffered no financial loss in the transaction. She entered into it willingly, was happy to accept the offer for her original diamond, wasn’t coerced in anyway, and now she’s simply changed her mind. Isn’t that buyers remorse?

    Good luck it’s a horrible situation and I hope you can get it resolved without too much conflict.
     
  27. gm89uk
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by gm89uk » Feb 10, 2019
    Dear Wink,

    I think there is a firm line between excellent customer service and totally unreasonable. I would absolutely insist on the refund the amount spent, not including the travel expenses. You are an honourable jeweller, a passionate gentleman about his clientele, but you not a charity.

    Your correspondence is at the worst ambiguous but her greedy intentions are not, she wants your money for free. At this point there is no logical reasoning with this individual, you know their intentions are malignant. This is not a case of misunderstanding, with a possible light at the end of the tunnel, so I would put my foot firm and finalise correspondence ASAP.

    It is smart to make this public which takes down another one of your clients ammunition to sabotage you. While I am not legally trained I cannot imagine court proceedings and costs being worth the amount for your client, on such a highly risky case with minimal chance of success.

    Enjoy your holiday with your wife, you've earned it.
     
  28. SandyK
    Shiny_Rock

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    by SandyK » Feb 10, 2019
    This is completely appalling and horrific. You absolutely should not pay her the extra money, and as others have noted I would point to the entire course of your dealings as evidence that this was never actually contemplated by or even remotely feasible for you.

    There is no scenario in which a seller should have to reimburse a buyer for the full retail value of a diamond they purchased elsewhere because that buyer decided not to go through with the new transaction. That is just insanity, a complete windfall for her, and simply not done. We all know we are going to lose money if we chose to sell our diamonds. You should not be the one to bear the cost of her decision to seek a new diamond (and exceedingly poor judgment in returning your stone).

    And on a completely petty note, I hope that when she does find her upgrade stone, she completely overpays for something subpar, realizes her mistake, and regrets it forever :twisted::lol:
     
  29. OcnGypZ
    Shiny_Rock

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    by OcnGypZ » Feb 10, 2019
    A couple of things: Insured value does not = Actual cash value which in this case was $70,000. Selling price new stone 120,000 - Actual cash value of trade-in $70,000 = $50,000 balance due. Travel expenses $1500 rebated = $48,500 cash due at sale.

    Now, I look at the travel expenses as a rebate - like a car. If you return a car, an appliance - whatever that has a rebate; if you've sent off the rebate form.. you are not getting the rebate as the sale is now null and void.

    She sounds like one of my clients...or should I say ex-client.

    Hold your ground.
     
  30. Rfisher
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Rfisher » Feb 10, 2019
    What a strange situation.
    My first thoughts are echoes of above. Did the client have this plan beforehand, or are they just bad with math?
    I have no relationship with OP, or his business. As a reader here on PS, I have often read his informative and often kind posts and his business's rave reviews. I understand where confusion may arise, but I'm stumped an owner of a (successful) long time business is perplexed on how to proceed to this degree.
    That aside - how is this appropriate to make public here? Is there a fear of cultural differences between client and vendor or clients possible mental illness?
    Was there some sort of prior research done to find if the client is a member here on PS? What if that person came on here? Either as a longtime member or as a lurker?
    Switch the obviously beloved PS vendor with a not so loved one and the acceptance of this post would be different?
     
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