Since most local jewelry stores do not carry heart shaped diamonds in their inventory or had grossly overpriced their diamonds, it was time to seriously consider buying a diamond online.
1) Why are the prices so drastically different? Is this too good to be true?
2) Will the diamond that be switched and not match up to the grading report?
3) What if a payment was made to the online jeweler and they disappeared on me?
4) What if the delivery gets lost?
5) What if the delivery guys (i.e. FedEx or UPS) tampered with the delivery and exchanged the ring with another item?
6) What if the ring arrived and it didn’t meet my expectations of it?
I know I might be sounding a little paranoid here, but these were all legitimate security questions that were at the back of my head. If you aren’t familiar with making purchases over the Internet, I bet that these would be similar questions on your mind.
1) Online stores do not have huge overhead expenses like rental and salaries for sales staff. The lower operating costs translate to better prices being passed onto the consumer. Does this makes sense? Well, it did to me.
2) If I bought the ring online and get it independently appraised by a local gemologist, I could verify the authenticity of the diamond. This would only cost me an additional $35 in appraisal fees and I could have a peace of mind. In fact, this is something I would do even if I purchased my diamond from a local store.
3) Online stores that had been around for some time would already have built up a customer base. Doing your due research on the company you intend to buy from is definitely a must. Likewise, the same logic applies even if you intend to shop in a local store.
Would you purchase a stone from a makeshift store by the alley or buy from some unknown jewelry store in the mall without conducting prior research?
No, you wouldn’t.
4) Delivery is always fully insured to protect both the vendor (sender) and consumer (recipient). After all, you aren’t the only party involved and concerned about safe deliveries.
5) In a fully insured delivery, the delivery guys like FedEx and UPS are very unlikely to “mess” around with your parcel. Even in the unlikely event of a tampered item, the jewelry store would help you sort things out and file a claim against the insurance company.
With further research, I realized that “high value” items are delivered via courier services all the time. If there were so many issues with courier services, FedEx or UPS would probably be out of business now. Admittedly, in rare occasions, parcels can still get lost and occasional screw-ups might happen. On this note, you are protected by point #4 where the insurance policy would come into play.
6) Having a good return policy is an indication that the vendor fully stands behind their product. Personally, I would only do business with stores that offer an unconditional money back guarantee as it would eliminate risk. In the event you do not like the piece of jewelry after receiving it, you could always return the ring back for a full refund.
Do take note that some online sellers (most notably eBay sellers) would charge a restocking fee should you return an item. I do not recommend buying from such vendors as there is a higher chance of running into problems.
As you can see, even if any unexpected problem arises, you are always protected at each step of the sale process. In fact, you would be pleased to know that out of the hundreds of readers I had personally helped so far, not a single one had met with any shipping issues.
Now that we had addressed the security issues of online purchases, I will show you both sides of the coin when it comes to online shopping.