Thursday, July 26, 2012

I went to Jared, but never again!

Who do you know that would charge someone $35 for less than one minute's work?  Now I'm not talking doing brain surgery, lifting heavy objects, or doing anything that requires any special skills.  I'm talking about doing something simple and easy, something that I would be embarrassed to even ask someone for a cup of coffee in return. 

In the past two years, I've purchased three pieced of jewelry from Jared in Manchester, NH.  I really have no idea of whether I over paid and I don't really care that much.  Jill loves the pieces and that's what counts.  I'm not dissatisfied with the jewelry, it's the after sale experience that has left a bad taste in my mouth.

A bracelet I bought about 6 or 7 months ago had lost a link that holds the clasp to the bracelet.  We went back to Jared to see about getting it fixed.  Jill also had a silver necklace that had broken.  In this case, it wasn't a clasp link.  It was a break in the middle of the chain, and it was a very find chain.

When we spoke with the sale woman, she said that the repair of the chain would cost nearly as much as buying a new chain and asked if we would rather do that, which we did.

Then we got around to the bracelet.  I'm not a jeweler, but I knew the repair was no big deal.  All they had to do was take a standard clasp link, slip it on, and clamp it down with some needle nosed pliers.  I was guessing that they would just do it while we waited and send us on our merry way, but I was wrong.

She wrote up the repair ticket which included a $35 charge. Since we hadn't paid for the lifetime repair insurance, that's what it was going to cost us. At that point, I told her we would not be getting it repaired.

Maybe if I had made an issue of it, things would have been different, but there is no reason on earth I should have had to do that.  During our conversation, it was clear that we had purchased more than one item from them and that this particular item was less than a year old.

I came home, took a necklace that Jill doesn't use, grabbed some needle nose pliers, and magnifying glass, and headed to my workbench in the basement.  Less than a minute later, the bracelet was as good as new.

We could do silly math like calculating that $35 per minute equals $2100 per hour.  It's nice work if you can get it, but that's not the point.  The fact is we bought items in the past and we just purchased a necklace.  The repair was so trivial as to be laughable. The idea of charging anything is a sign that I'm not a valued customer.  The only thing of value Jared sees in me is my wallet.

The right thing to do was to repair the bracelet, charge us nothing, and have us leave the store as two happy customers who would be back to make another purchase on another day.

Sorry, Jared.  I will visit no more!

UPDATE 1:00 PM - July 7 - If nothing else, Jared customer care is quick.  I posted this link to their web site earlier today and received a reply.  I will continue to update until this exchange is done.  Here's their reply and my response.

On 7/27/2012 12:38 PM, jaredccs@jewels.com wrote:
Dear Arthur Wolinsky, 

Thank you for your email to our Jared website. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns regarding our repair prices. 

I apologize for your dissatisfaction with our repair prices for items not covered under the Extended Service Plan, our lifetime repair warranty. Once past the 30-day exchange period, the warranties, if any, cover the jewelry. Our obligation under this warranty is to repair the jewelry to a wearable condition. Unfortunately if you did not purchase the Extended Service Plan for your wife's bracelet and necklace, there is a charge to have them repaired. I am sorry if you feel the repair charge is excessive. 

Mr. Wolinsky, we value you as a customer and appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns. In order to ensure fairness to all of our customers, we must be consistent in applying our policies. Unfortunately we would not be able to repair your wife's bracelet at no cost, since you did not purchase the Extended Service Plan. 

If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us via email or by phone, at 1-800-527-8229.

Sincerely, 
Lori K.
Customer Care
 Dear Lori,

Thank you for your prompt reply.  However, it contained nothing that I did not already know and did nothing to address my feeling that Jared is interested only in my wallet.  Any company that is so inflexible as to not look at individual cases that may warrant a departure from policy needs to rethink it's policy.

Can you honestly look me in the eye (virtually) and tell me that you think spending 30 seconds to replace a simple link that connects a clasp to a bracelet justifies a $35 charge?

Art Wolinsky

UPDATE 6:30 PM - July 7  - Well the exchange is getting interesting.  I received another response, which went over the same things I already knew, and avoided answering the question I posed.  Below is that response along with my reply and an attempt to have them deal with my specific question.

Dear Arthur Wolinsky, 

Thank you for your response and I apologize if you are dissatisfied with my reply. 

Again, I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with the repair charge to repair your wife's bracelet. The bracelet was purchased in November of 2010 and you did not purchase the Extended Service Plan. If there is no warranty on the merchandise and our jewelers are performing a repair, there is a charge for this service, materials and the workmanship.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. 

Sincerely, 
Lori K.
Customer Care

Dear Lori,

There seems to be misunderstanding as to the question I am posing. 

Here are some facts:
1) I am aware that I did not purchase an Extended Service Plan.
2) I am aware that there is a charge to repair the bracelet.   
3) The price of the single link is pennies
4) The nature of the repair is such that anyone with ANY mechanical ability could do it.
5) I put it on myself in under a minute.

Here's my opinion:
In light of these facts, I feel that your company needs to reexamine it's policy and give your employees some credit for having brains. Allow them to make a decisions that result in a happy customer AND a fair profit for Jared.  I would have been happy to pay $5, and probably wouldn't have balked at $10, but NOT $35.  I feel that as it stands, your policy is so inflexible as to result in gross over charges to customers in cases such as mine.

So I'll repeat my question:  Do you think the facts above warrant a $35 charge?

OK, let's be honest.  I can't imagine that ANYONE would think $35 to put a link on a bracelet is a fair charge.  That being the case, I know if you agree with me in writing, there will be hell to pay, and it's not my goal to get you in trouble.  So here is what I would like you to do.  If you feel I have a valid point, please pass this thread on to someone who might be able to do something to prevent this kind of over charge in the future. 

I look forward to your response.

Art Wolinsky
http://tlrr.blogspot.com

Grandma's Hungarian Stuffed Cabbaage

This is the family recipe for Hungarian stuffed cabbage.  I watched my grandmother teach it to Mom.  There were no quantities, just a little of this and some of that. It was never just the way grandma made it  Mom taught it to me, but it lacked a little something.  Over the past few batches, I've made adjustments to the quantities and have restored it to its former glory.  This was the best batch since grandma last made it over thirty years ago.