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Timothy D. Smith
Timothy D. Smith, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2044
Experience:  10 years practicing IP law and general litigation
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I had my engagement ring reset into a custom made ring and

Customer Question

I had my engagement ring reset into a custom made ring and band by a jeweler while on vacation in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I was promised the ring back to my home in Connecticut in two weeks. I received it 6 weeks later. Within 1 day of receiving the ring, I noticed a small diamond had fallen out of the setting and then a few days later another was missing. I called the jeweler and he told me to hold on to the ring for a while to see if any others fell out. I did. I then noticed that my large engagement stone was loose. I sent the jeweler an email explaining how upset I was with the workmanship of the ring, I stated I would send it back and wanted all stones checked, the large stone secured and asked them to fix the setting so that it would not catch on everything because it was. I shipped it back at a cost to me of $40 overnight mail. I just received the ring back on Monday, 3/18. As I looked at the ring this monring, Thursday, 3/21, I noticed once again, a small stone is missing. What recourse do I have with this jeweler. I have no confidence that they will be able to fix this ring so that this does not continue to happen.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.

I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. In similar situations like this in the past, I have found success by taking the following course of action:

(1) Send the jeweler a certified letter with a return receipt in which you inform him that the work was still not completed satisfactorily, and that you are going to send the ring to another comparable jeweler in your immediate vicinity to have the work done correctly. Tell him that you are going to send him the invoice for the work to be completed unless he, within 7 business days from the date of the letter, sends you a full refund for all work that he has completed and that you have paid for. Tell him in the letter, if you do not hear from him in that period of time, you are going to take that as an acceptance of your demand and a willingness to pay for the work, or reimburse you for the work that will have to be completed by someone else.

(2) For your protection in appearing reasonable, I would get written quotes for the work to be completed from three jewelers in your area. Keep those quotes and probably attempt to use the middle priced quote for the work.

(3) Invoice him for the work that was completed to fix his mistakes. With the invoice, tell send a letter (once again certified with a return receipt) that states he has 30 days to pay the invoice or you intend to take him to court over the issue to receive reimbursement.

(4) If he does not reimburse you, then you may have to take him to court. You may be able to use small claims court, dependent on the amount sought for reimbursement. Unfortunately, unless he comes to Connecticut to do business, or unless he advertises in your state, you may have to go to Maine for court.

Documentation and your appearance at being reasonable will be the key to winning in court and getting made whole as a result of his incompetence. This is why all correspondence should be via certified mail with return receipts. Obviously, make copies of all letters sent as well. This will be your evidence in court...if things progress to that point.

Like I stated before, I have used this method successfully mainly times before, on both large and small amounts in question. I feel certain it will benefit you as well. The jeweler really has no leg to stand on as a means of defense.

Let me know if you have any other questions or comments.

Best wishes going forward.

Timothy D. Smith, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2044
Experience: 10 years practicing IP law and general litigation
Timothy D. Smith and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks so much for this information. Can you clarify your statement "that you are going to send the ring to another comparable jeweler in your immediate vicinity to have the work done correctly... and that I am gong to send him the invoice." Do you mean I can have another jeweler not just replace the missing stone, but check the entire ring and work on the actual design and structure to ensure that it is not going to lose any more stones and have the jeweler in Maine pay for that?


 

Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.

Yes, that is exactly what I mean. It would be inequitable towards you to have to travel to Maine to find comps. Since you live in Connecticut, and since the entire ring needs evaluation, it is entirely equitable, or fair, for you to take the prescribed action.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks very much, I just sent the letter.

Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
Awesome! Let me know how things progress if anything tricky happens.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well, I went to a jeweler who has been making custom designs in my area for 40 years. The jeweler looked at my ring and evaluated it under a microscope and will not work on it because it is fraught with problems. She said the only way they would work on this is if they completely remade the ring. They did not want to risk their reputation trying to fix someone's else's mess. I'll be going to another reputable jeweler in the area this weekend to see what they say.

Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
That is amazing. If the Maine jeweler is responsible for the damage, then they are liable for the costs to fix it. See if you can get these jewelers to put their opinions as to the ring in writing. That may benefit you down the line if litigation ensues.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I tried, they will not. I am anxcious to get to another jeweler now to see what they say. So my next question to you is, if I cannot find a jeweler who will "fix" the ring because of all the problems. Can I recoop the costs from the jeweler in Maine in court, along with the original costs I paid them, if I actually have to have the ring remade by someone else. I'm hoping at this point, they give me my money back, but if they do not would you suggest going to the BBB.

Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
You can absolutely recoup your costs associated with fixing the ring as well as costs paid. You may also be able to recoup damages in an amount that reimburses you for your efforts...keep gas receipts and such that go in conjunction with having to go to different jewelers. You may even be able to recover attorney fees.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well, I certainly hope it is not going to get to all that. At this point, I'll be happy if they return my money or agree to pay for me to have it fixed. If not, I guess I'll have not choice but to go for it all.

Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
I agree completely. Hopefully the Maine jeweler will see the writing on the wall and do the right and honorable thing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hi, I have not heard from my jeweler yet, which actually surprises me. This prompted me to reread the letter I sent them and I know have a question. I'm now concerned regarding this statement I put in the letter:


 


"If I do not receive a full refund from you within seven (7) business days from the date of this letter for all work you have completed and I have paid for, I am going to send my ring to another jeweler that does custom design jewelry, in my vicinity to have the work done correctly. I will then send you the invoice for the work completed, and it is my expectation you will make payment within thirty (30) business days." My concern is that I failed to mention the part about failure to respond assumes acceptance of my terms.


 


So, my question to you know is I mailed the letter on 3/21 so the seven days will be up on Monday, April 1. If I do not hear from them by April 1, should I send a follow up letter stating I consider their no reply as acceptance of the terms to pay for the costs to have the ring fixed/remade (meaning what ever needs to be done so that the ring is corrected)?

Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.

In short, yes. I say this because that is the most clear legal way to prove to a court that you have given this person every opportunity to fix the problem. Even if you did not send the second letter, you are fine. However, sending the second letter more assuredly would illustrate to any court your due diligence in the matter. Good thoughts on your part for sure.

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