COLOMBIAN EMERALDS — FRAUD - ATLANTIS, BAHAMAS
My wife and I were shopping for a diamond anniversary ring while were at Atlantis in the Bahamas. At the Colombian Emeralds store in Atlans Resort's Beach Tower, she found two similar rings that she was deciding between. One of the rings was from last season and on clearance, probably 50% off the original price. The other ring was at the regular price but almost immediately reduced by 25% after we asked about the cost. (Both had original sticker prices of approx. $3000.)
When discussing the rings, the saleswoman stated that the more expensive ring had higher quality diamonds (color F/G) whereas the diamonds in the ring from last season had a color of H. For the rest of the sales process, the saleswoman repeatedly referred to the more expensive ring as having color F stones. The store manager became part of the sales process, and she, too, referred to the ring's diamonds as being color F/G and F.
When my wife made her decision that she genuinely preferred the design of the more expensive ring better (and was somewhat swayed by color F vs. color H diamonds), the saleswoman and manager hugged her, said how happy they were for her, and congratulated her on choosing the better quality ring. They then printed out the receipt, as well as a copy of the Certified Appraisal, which they tri-folded and put it in an envelope.
We left the Bahamas early the next morning. A day or two after arriving home, my wife opened the appraisal and read to her amazement that the color of the diamonds in her ring were noted as G/H, exactly the same rating as the less expensive ring!
Both the saleswoman and the store manager had intentionally lied to us! (They clearly knew the ring's specs as they each had looked at the ring's info on the computer screen at different points during our conversation.) Their lies were clearly meant to persuade my wife into buying the more expensive ring...which, of course, meant a bigger commission for the saleswoman and manager.
We called the Customer Service number, and they said they would look into it by calling the franchise owner in the Bahamas. A few weeks later, Customer Service told us that the franchisee's office said that we had, "already received enough of a discount"...end of story. The Customer Service people in Corporate said there was nothing else that could be done. Basically, a big "too bad, so sad".
Seriously?! The salespeople intentionally mislead a customer by committing fraud, and neither the franchisor nor the corporate office will do anything to compensate the customer. No refund, no gift certificate or store credit, no apology, nothing, zip, zippo.
Yes, we did receive a discount off the original sticker price on the ring, but it wasn't out of the ordinary or special. Everyone gets that discount. Just blink your eyes after they say the price, and poof, they'll give you a 25% discount. More importantly, the discount we received was on a ring that was of inferior quality to what we had been lead to believe it was. Had we known the quality of the rings was exactly the same, we would have negotiated for a bigger discount.
We also emailed Colombian Emeralds' parent company, Dufry, and didn't hear anything back from them either, despite a claim on their website that they would work to resolve problems with their subsidiaries.
In the end, my wife is very happy with her ring. Unfortunately, we're very displeased with this entire Colombian Emeralds experience. The treatment we received from the saleswoman, the store manager, Customer Service in Corporate, the Bahamian franchisor, and even Dufry is inexcusable and beyond frustrating. It's extremely bad business to leave your customers feeling as though they'd been ripped off.