As some of you know, I’ve had a very busy year, and I rarely treat myself but thought I’d buy an agate pendant and I really liked the blue ones I saw. I had a shop on Facebook looking, but she hadn’t found one she liked through her suppliers, so I looked on Etsy.
I narrowed my search to UK sellers with blue agate pendants. I found one I liked and the photos looked fairly true to colour too. The shop (ClaireElizabeths, I’m not going to put a link on here) didn’t follow the EU Consumer Rights Regulations for returns and refunds, but I wasn’t expecting to have to use them. How wrong I was….
I bought it — this one here. I also had another person make me a 26″ cord with lobster clasp to go with it, as I wanted a long cord not a chain. (I got that quickly and it’s perfect).
I received it quickly. Thought “Hmmm….” about the outside packaging, which was narrower than the box inside and only a flimsy thin cardboard box. Opened it up, pulled out a jewellery box in an organza bag, with a £1 coin as I said I didn’t want the chain, just the pendant. There was also a business card and a ‘Thank you’ postcard with a handwritten note from the seller.
I took the pendant out of the box, where it had been rattling around in as there wasn’t any extra padding in there except for the earring pad that must have come in the box. I flipped it over, to see this:
I looked in the box to see if it had been damaged in transit. Nothing. Then I looked at the listing to see if I missed anything out. Nope, no mention of any chip — and no photo of the back of the pendant either. There was the statement: “This is a natural stone that has been polished, please look carefully on the photographs for imperfections such as nicks, chips or scratches.” If there are “nicks, chips or scratches” on an item, any item it is up to the seller to point them out, not for the buyer to scrutinise the piece to find them. The seller must accurately describe what they are selling when selling online, not play ‘hide & seek the damage’ with the potential buyer.
So I emailed and said how disappointed I was that the piece was chipped as it wasn’t mentioned in the listing and that I would like to return it for a full refund including return postage as it ‘wasn’t as described’. 6 hours later, no response.
I posted in a FB group I am in about my disappointment and no one was very impressed that the chip hadn’t been mentioned – it is 5mm x 5mm so not a tiny one. I received a full refund about an hour after that, no message from the seller, and no return postage. She had also cancelled the transaction, so I knew I had a limited time to leave a review.
This is the review I left, with 2 stars: “Item was well packaged and sent quickly, however the pendant had a large chip out of the back that the seller did not state in the listing or show in the photos. So disappointed as I wouldn’t have purchased had it been accurately described. Seller refunded quickly, however, I received no communication from her at all.”
Accurate to that point in time, factual and to the point. The seller did not respond until the following day with 2 messages: “Please do as you wish, I don’t wish to argue with people over a couple of pence.” then almost immediately a message demanding I return the pendant along with everything else “including the £1 and Thank You card” and that if I “remain unhappy you can open a complaint with Etsy”. She also replied to my review, so even if I wanted to (had her response been more professional), I can’t change it. Her reply: “Item was either damaged in postage or on receipt. A full refund was issued immediately and a message sent with refund saying ‘Please except a full refund with best wishes’.”
The agate pendant wasn’t damaged in transit or on receipt, and there was no message with the refund (grammar not withstanding…)
I told her she had to pay return postage for me to send it back under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as any return had to be: “free of charge, at no inconvenience to the consumer, and in a timely manner” for faulty items. I also stated that I would not be raising a complaint with Etsy but would hold onto the pendant as long as Trading Standards instructed me to as they were the body enforcing Consumer Rights Regulations.
She eventually sent me £3.30 by paypal, however I had 31p taken off the amount for fees. I should then have kept back 31p out of the £1 but didn’t check before I sent it back in the same packaging she sent it to me, taped up with new labels by 1st Class post.
Her responses were rude and unprofessional. No buyer should ever have to quote any legislation regarding returns for any item. It is part of running a business, knowing the relevant consumer rights laws and following them. I am quite sure that she has not changed her policies to reflect them from her attitude to this return. I will not be buying from this shop, ClaireElizabeths, either on Etsy or her shop on Folksy again and I can’t recommend her customer service to anyone, even if the item arrives in perfect condition, as my agate pendant did not.
The Saga of the Agate Pendant, Part 2, the next blog post!