Seven years on ebay and I just got taken...or did I?

  1. Bought a red/pink vintage "natural" spinel ring for $1035....from (what I thought) was a reputable seller of vintage jewelry on eBay. [Several positives noted that items had appraised for multiples of what had been paid. Lots of repeat buyers. She sold authentic vintage Yurman. Some auction items had been appraised professionally. She sells gemstones, stays away from diamonds. She knows her stuff. Stones were classified as synthetic if they were and priced accordingly. Vast majority were natural, mined stones. Most of the time you could tell pieces were truely vintage based on the styles and look/condition. Few negs for slow shipping but over 6 years and thousands of feedbacks only a few that were somewhat concerning. But with vintage jewelry you're going to get some noise. I figured there was no real issue.]

    I purchased a smaller item from her a few months ago and it was fine. Probably worth about 3x what I paid - although it's not sotheby's quality - it was nice. Stones seemed authentic - gold was 14k as advertised. Nice weight and quality. But for an item listed as 'estate' it sure seemed new to me. Anyway, I kept her as a fav seller.

    I corresponded with her about the ring when she listed it. She had worn this ring a few times as her own. She had been told it was natural - not synthetic. She had louped it and accepted that it was natural. This wasn't her first rodeo. She had no doubt. She listed it for $700 - high end for her listings.

    I was so taken by her pics and description of the ring I HAD to have it. And here's where I get stupid. Very stupid. I offered $1035 and she stopped the auction. (There were no bidders.) I paid by postal money order (!!!) Stupid enough for you?

    She sent the ring and it was just as pictured....BUT not only did it seem very flimsy, the stone was crooked in the mounting. Oh my! I immediately took it from the post office wrapping to my local jeweler. Now understand that my local jeweler is very traditional. He would immediately dismiss an 'eBay' purchase as a fake. So....I fibbed a little. Given that the ring did at least have the look of a 1950s cocktail ring I told him it had been given to me by a friend of my mothers. (Mom does have a friend with a small collection of cocktail rings - hey, it could have been hers.)

    Anyway, my heart stopped as he louped it and stared at it all around for a good long minute. Then he said 'Well, it's very nice. It's very pretty - and the diamonds are probably real." The DIAMONDS? (There are about 25 points of the tiniest stones I've ever seen around the perimeter of the spinel.) He took out some sort of light meter and blinked it off and on and said 'yep, those are little diamonds'. I was stunned. I managed to sound a bit casual (I hope) and asked 'what about the stone, what do you think it is?'. He said 'It's supposed to look like a ruby. But it's not important. It's not a precious stone. Nice of her to give you this, though.'

    OMG. So, I went ahead and had it sized down 1/2 a size. Why not? Lets just add to the stupid. I couldn't imagine how mortified I would be if I grabbed my plastic ring right out of his gentle hands with a maniacal grimace on my face shouting "NOOOO, I bought this on eBay and it's a FAKE.' comes back Monday or Tuesday.

    Yes, of course, I've emailed the seller very very nicely requesting a refund and assuming she never realized it's synthetic. The odds this ring is not straight out of a Russian flux furnace are practically zero.

    I haven't heard back.

    Ugh. Any advice other than to retire from Ebay?
  2. i'm not very familiar with the eBay dispute process, but if the item is not as listed (natural vs. synthetic) and you have proof (appraisal from your jeweler), then i think you should be able to get a refund.
  3. Oh, I'm so sorry you have to go through this. The problem is that you have now had it sized, which means that it is not in the original state that you received it. Additionally, since mid January, Ebay no longer offer buyer protection (they have offloaded it to Paypal), so there is no protection for people who pay with money orders, cashiers checks etc.

    I think you may either have to throw yourself on the mercy of your seller, or resell it on ebay yourself. Either way it looks like you may be losing some money. I hope you haven't given her any feedback yet - wait until the situation is all finished & then give calm, factual feedback.

    Your last option, of course, is to keep the ring (especially now it fits), forget about the bad stuff, and learn to love it.
  4. Yeah, I have no recourse and haven't since the beginning, since the auction was ended by the seller with no bids. This is officially an 'off Ebay' transaction. No feedback. No hope.

    My fault entirely. I did think of all that in the moments before I decided to have the ring sized. I knew I'd have to throw myself on the mercy of the seller no matter what. And, since she sells 'used' rings of all sizes all the time it's not so much about depreciation - it's all about whether or not the stone is natural. 90% of the value of the ring is in the stone. The setting is worth far less than the stone.

    So, that was my thinking when I had it sized. She's either going to understand that I overpaid for the ring given it's synthetic and offer me a partial refund or she's going to blow me off entirely. THere was really never an option that she would completely refund given the lack of leverage I have in this.

    Oh well. It feels good to type this and read the responses. It's therapuetic. Dh was only very slightly sympathetic. He thinks I should just give up and wear it and be happy. Oh, and then never, ever ever EVER buy jewelry on Ebay again. I know I should take a page from his book.
  5. I am so sorry I can't offer any practical advice. I am so sorry you have been 'duped' BIG *HUGS* though!:yes:
  6. Wow - I'm really sorry about your situation, but that was a fascinating account! After all is said and done, I imagine the ring is really pretty on its own merits, though I know it can be hard to get over that "d'oh!" feeling when you look at the object of your stupidity (I speak from my own experience here...). But I don't know that it should put you off eBay altogether - maybe just prevent any future off-eBay unprotected transactions...
  7. Yeah, Louisey, it is a stunning ring. It glows pink, practically, and it's slightly included like an emerald. That's what natural spinel looks like. It's a good imitation - not a great one if you can tell under the loupe. But, frankly, I can't tell visually and I suspect neither could my jeweler. So, according to dh, that means that it 'doesn't matter' that it's not a natural stone.

    I told him it DOES matter because it doesn't have any value (above $200 or so for the gold/diamond vintage setting).

    But, yeah, I plan to do one of two things: 1) stash it deep in my jewelry drawer until the sting goes away and 'rediscover' it with a laugh in a few years and then wear it, or 2) anticipating a credible argument from the seller that it really, really really, really is natural, I DID find a local American Gemological Society cerified gemstone appraiser a few suburbs away. (My jeweler *could* be wrong [cut to dreamscape]). So, I could casually drop by and pretend that I'm not a rube who bought a plastic ring on Ebay for $1000. :wtf: I could have it appraised - or for less expense - maybe just ask him a yes or no 'is it natural?'

    Oh well. This was good. I feel better.
  8. Call the District Attorneys office in the sellers county and file a report. Thats alot of money for plastic. Her accepting your money order, and sending the ring through the mail is also mail fraud as long as she told you this ring is real. And I believe the over 1000.00 mark also makes it a felony? It won't cost you any attorneys fees as the DA takes care of this.
  9. Oh summertime I feel for you. I myself have been on ebay since 00 and yet clearly remember those few moments of clear stupidity. But the rush of the moment is impossible to resist. When you seemed to have found the "perfect" catch, it's just too hard to stop and go through the usual process of taking precautions. Especially when you base your judgements on certain preconceptions, which in hind sight are all castles in the air, of course.

    Take solace in the fact that we don't make those mistakes often. Ebay is basically a gigantic garage sale. If you frequent vitange shops/estate sales often in real life, you get taken once in a while too! It happens to my friends all the time.
  10. Goodness, what a nightmare! Well, if you like the ring, I'd keep it. I used to collect David Yurman jewellery and now I know it's pretty, but it's not really worth a whole lot. I still wear my pieces, though. I just like them! So I think it's a matter of what your preference is, although I hope the seller offers you a refund, at least. Good luck!