We are all buying more and more luxuries over the internet these days, it stands to reason that online only shops have lower overheads and in turn lower prices. But how do you know that you're really getting a bargain? What can you do to protect yourself when buying jewellery online?
1. Know your rights. You have more rights when buying online than you do on the high street. Consumer specialists Which have a great page that lets you know all your rights when buying anything online. You can see exactly what information should be disclosed on websites that take your money upfront. Find it here.
2. Check the website you're on is displaying a geographical address (a PO Box is not legally sufficient) and telephone number. These are required by law. If you're handing over money to these people, it stands to reason that you want to know where they are. I always worry that a website that doesn't supply this information has something to hide.
3. Check the website's terms & conditions page, if they don't have one, beware. Again, it's a legal requirement to have a set of T&C's to protect the consumer and the business. Make sure you are made aware of the returns policy and complaints procedure.
4. If a UK site is selling items as 'Sterling' or '925' silver then they should display an dealers notice explaining the different marks you need to look for when buying precious metal jewellery. Sterling Silver pieces over 7.78g HAVE to be hallmarked under the UK Hallmarking act 1973. Items under this can carry a '925' mark. BUT, anyone can stamp a piece of white metal with the numbers 925 (the market is flooded with silver plated jewellery carrying the 925 stamp) so if the price looks too low then beware. The old adage of 'if it's too good to be true then it probably is' is very apt in this case. For instance, you fall in love with a Sweetie style bracelet in sterling silver. 5 websites have similar bracelets, hallmarked (as they are definitely over 7,78g) for an average of £100. You come across a site which carries a Sweetie bracelet, marked 925 priced at £30. Alarm bells should be ringing. The chances are that it's silver plated base metal that's been stamped 925. You then have no idea of any nickel content which could cause nasty reactions, also you'd be out-of-pocket as the plate will soon wear off.
There are far too many websites out there who don't provide the above information, sell cheap plated metals as precious and mass-produced jewellery as handmade. By learning about your rights and knowing what information you're entitled to see before parting with your hard-earned cash, you can help make sure the internet can become a safer place to shop.
Thanks for reading...