European Jewelery Horror Story! Long but should be worth reading...
I am finally deciding to make my "experience" public here on the internet so other consumers can make a wise choice before spending thousands upon thousands for a store that hardly seems to really value each individual consumer. Certainly like anything in life some people will have great experiences and some horrific. Normally with purchase of such luxury items you are far too excited sometimes to even realize or care but as the situation got worst for me it became time.
To introduce my story i'm a young watch collector who has brands such as Raymond Weil, Fortis, Omega (sadly) and soon Rolex. Have dealt with jewellers all over Ontario and even a few in USA with pleasant experiences. The things you will read a little further down will hopefully ensure you get better service from another dealer or speak up about things as most do not.
Summer 2007 I started a new job in downtown Toronto and of course one of the main things on my list to experience was a new watch to the collection. Considering all the local dealers and brands my obvious first choice was Rolex but wanted to take small steps and work my way up having nice variety to the collection. A second place childhood dream was the Omega SeaMaster Professional so a lot of comparing was done in terms of dealers and models. After the first visit to European Jewellery in the Toronto Eaton Center there was definitely a tough choice to be made, being the way I am sometimes it is a pain to wait too long especially when your favorite brand is planning updates on the model you want. That day in European Jewellery all that was done is a quick browse of the Omega display case.
This now brings us to visit number two, because of course this is no impulse purchase. In the afternoon I had left the office dressed in business attire (Hugo Boss shirt and Armani tie) not that it matters, but wanted to go have a closer look this time to try figure out this tough choice. Arriving at the Eaton Centre from the Yonge street entrance of course I'm headed directly to European Jewellery. The store was not busy at all at that particular time, so after a few moments an older gentleman approaches me and asks if he can help. Responding to him I say yes of course and explain how I'm considering this watch but want to have a closer look. With my knowledge of the watch industry it is known to me that after a watch comes out, gets popular and does really good sales the retailers can and will offer you deals of 15%, 20% and sometimes near 30% off list price. Having with that in mind well examining the watch in my hands I asked him what it was selling for there, he quoted me the list price of $3, 800.00 CAD. Knowing the other dealers had given the discounted price with including tax of $3, 200.00 CAD ish I just bit my tongue and told him how i'm considering the Submariner which at the time was $5, 750.00 including tax but had a list price of $6, 260.00 CAD. He then continued to give me this look as I noticed from the corner of my eye well looking at the watch and literally stated "Do you even have the money for this watch?" That really shocked me, the fact he would say such a thing regardless but especially to a person who is well groomed and dressed in designer business attire. Frustrated as hell I obviously left and did not pay any attention to that ignorant salesman due to the turn over rate in that job also knowing he was not even wearing a watch himself, which really should not matter anyways.
Keeping in mind now that this is the doing of one silly employee and not the company, I decided a while later to call them on a Saturday and see if they still had the watch in stock for me to look at and try make a choice based on what they offer me. The reason for obsession with price is the fact that Omega watches have terrible re sale value unless it is kept for years and develops some special demand similar to those old North American Muscle cars sold at the Barrett Jackason auction in USA. Car's that when new cosed no more than $15, 000.00 Max in most cases sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars restored like new. The lady who answered the phone in the watch department said to me, "We are having a BIG sale". This got me interested so asked her what it was selling for, their policy was they do not say on the phone which I respected and knew some places don't but funny thing is every other dealer called before was able to quote me on the phone or at least give me a range within a few hundred so I know if it is a waste of my time for now or not. She said the only way she could tell me is if I go down to the store.
Figuring to myself ok that sounds fair if the sale is as big as she claims but would have still been nice to get a range. Living near Ajax, Ontario it is quite a distance to travel down to the Toronto Eaton Centre. Being such a big interest of mine I just went. Being it was the weekend I wanted to dress more comfortably instead of the shirt and tie worn each and every day in the office. Wearing a pair of Blue jeans and an Adidas light spring jacket I'm on my way, waiting for the Go Train to begin this long trip. Upon arrival when she saw me and realized that it was me who called she gave me this strange look, told me the price which was virtually list price and took the watch out to show me. Having seen it before it never hurts to handle it again to make the choice easier. Knowing they have security procedures was obviously no issue to me but the way this was done was hardly "procedure". From the corner of my eye again noticed a sales person further down behind the other counter give this head nod motion to a salesman standing n the middle who then walked over to the door. That of course if fine be me and even better so no one walks in and tries anything. What was strange is how he stood faving me and staring right at me the entire time. Personally I love the stores that you need to be buzzed into, I feel safe in there with my money and looking at watches with a security guard or two around. This was now strike number two and my anger level was rising.
Remembering the first mans comment and this incident I was now out to do what I do best, prove people wrong. Now my mind was made up and to me it was leverage to get a more accurate price. Finally with the amount of money in hand I was told by other collectors to aim for and what they paid, it gave me the power to walk out and go elsewhere but was too determined to show them. The same lady was there, accept this time she saw me straight from the office dressed up in business attire and was kind of shocked it seemed. Offered a proper price and that was it, deal. After an incident with the bank not raising the debit card limit in time I walked from Eaton Center near to Wellington street at the TD branch there only to come back with cash in hand. The watch was taken behind the counter and before I could say anything the tag was cut off. To some of you it may not matter or may be like "it is just a tag" but it turns out from recently contacting Swatch Group Canada they say it should have NEVER been cut off and I should have had it included. That was obvious to me because all the other watch collector friends got it and the tag is a nice keepsake for the future. Being too excited at the time to argue with them after he seemed to place it under the counter they cleaned it, the same lady on my way out said "She did not think I was going to ever come back to buy it" I replied well yep I just did...
Some time passing now realizing that more and more people obtained this it just did not make sense. Contacted the store and the manager said they could not get me one, that they are thrown in the garbage after. That really made me wonder, why on earth take it and throw it out instead of just giving it to the person who buys the watch it was attached to? Took it a step further after retailers let me down, called Swatch Group Canada and before they told me it was standard to give it, they said one could not be issued or re created. Going now directly to the source and making an international call to Omega in Switzerland, they were appalled at the story of my experience, made a formal apologize and have since then ordered me a tag and the lady also mentioned giving me the COSC Certificate too. They seem confident in re gaining my as a "customer" but too late for that now.
Swatch group Canada soon followed, the day after two separate people called me in less than a two hour period to say how sorry they were and how they will make sure this issue is passed on to those further up, and the stores review sales procedure. Deciding to call back the store manager and give him the update on the situation he was not in but the other manger was. After getting the run around I was placed on hold for quite some while until he became available. He was told this ENTIRE horror story and was "Flabbergasted". Claimed they would make it up to me and Tomorrow some lady from their store who is out of the country on business will call me to discuss it. She did call today and did the worst damage control I could ever imagine. Trying so hard to get me to go back and buy stuff overlooking the bad taste left in my mouth and tarnished image. She said to give them a "second chance" but if going back to buy a watch from there after all that stuff is not a second chance then WOW! The conversation ended and as promised to them, regardless to who cares this story will get published on numerous forums, watch blogs, complaint boards etc so future consumers know what to look out for, do not make the same mistake I made of going back and actually speak up because the majority of people let things slide and never bring issues in the open to peoples attention. At first I was like that but as the treatment from Omega and European Jewellery declined it became my duty to make other aware of this experience.
I will now certainly NEVER shop at European Jewellery as long as I shall live, going to make sure none of my family members, friends or any locals on watch forums etc go or at least know this. From this point forward Rolex will get all my business. They treated me like royalty on the phone with Rolex Canada, had all the info needed. The retailers on Bloor street too were incredible and gave me the best experience one could ever imagine. Omega claiming to be going after "Direct competition" with Rolex to me is a joke with service like that and against a brand that even those who know nothing of watches realize it is among the best out there. Hopefully you all speak up about any situations similar to this! It is not only to let the store have their bad things out there but to help protect us, the consumers. The lady that called me today did not want me to post this on the internet but too late they should have thought of this several months ago. If even one person decides not to buy from European Jewellery or Omega due to this article or the love of other brands also I am satisfied.
Thank you for reading.