Blue Nile Sends E-Mails From Actual Human, Provides Free Earring Back

Steve purchased diamond earrings from Blue Nile for his wife back in January, and contacted the company because the back of one earring was starting to turn black. Concerned that there might be a problem with the metal, he contacted Blue Nile, and was thrilled that an actual human responded to him, and offered to replace something as simple as an earring back.

Here’s Steve’s original e-mail:

Hello,

I purchased a pair of diamond earrings from Blue Nile in January, and now one of the two earring posts is turning black around one of the joints. It is not dirty (cleaning it has no effect), so we are concerned that it is some kind of decay or other problem. I’m concerned about my wife continuing to wear the earrings, and risking loss of the diamond if the post breaks.

I would like to request that Blue Nile repair the earring, since it is nine months old and this appears to be an issue with the earrings themselves. Please let me know if these arrangements can be made. We are otherwise very happy with the earrings, and would like to continue to use Blue Nile and recommend it to our friends in the future.

Thanks for your assistance.

Blue Nile customer service replied:

D

ear Steve,

Thank you for your email.

As platinum is a noble metal, it is impossible that the metal itself has tarnished through wear, and extremely unlikely that that it has discolored by coming into contact with a foreign substance. In my experience, this sort of circumstance has always been the result of a foreign compound adhering the surface of the metal, thus making it very difficult to remove, but which is easily removed by professionally cleaning the piece.

If you prefer, we would be happy to perform this service for you in our shop here in Seattle. There is no fee for either this service, or the overnight shipping of the package back to you when we are done.

When you are ready, please secure the earrings and their *original diamond grading report* in a cardboard shipping box. You may then take the shipping box to the post office and mail it to us via USPS Registered Mail, fully insured. As a requirement for the insurance, the post office may want you to cover the seams of the box in a 2-inch-wide paper mailing tape. I usually recommend not attaching the return mailing label to the box until the tape has been applied.

If you have the peel-off return label that came on your packing slip, please write the return authorization code — XXXXXXXXXX — in the space provided. If you do not have that label any longer, please write the return code clearly on the outside of the box and mail it to:

[redacted]

Once we have received the package it takes about a week to go through our quality assurance procedures and for our jewelers to inspect your item. If there is any additional information we need, we will be in touch, otherwise we will plan on shipping the earrings back to the following address:

Steve D
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

If you would like to expedite the return, we do have a method for you to insure your item and ship overnight.

Below you will find the link for returning your order through G4S International, a service that provides secure overnight shipping for high-value items. Please enter your RMA number and e-mail to begin the process:

[redacted]

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any further questions and thank you for shopping at Blue Nile.

Steve examined the earring again, and answered:

Thank you for the detailed reply. I examined my wife’s earring again, and it is actually just the backing that has the black spots on it, rather than the post. So the piece that needs work is not actually physically connected to the diamond.

As such, would it be cheaper to send this piece in for cleaning or just order a replacement? Is this something I can replace locally, or is it a specific size that only you can replace?

Thanks again for your assistance.

Blue Nile replied within twelve hours:

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your reply.

Normally the platinum earring backs are $30 to replace- however, if it’s just the one back that has the issue, I would be happy to send one free of charge as well as a complimentary jewelry cleaning kit. Should this go back to the same XXXXXXXXXXXXX ship address?

“As you can see, a real human typed out at least three interactions with me, and then provided me free replacement jewelry parts for a product not under warranty,” Steve notes. Nicely done, Blue Nile!

Comments

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  1. astraelraen says:

    Blue Nile is expensive, I would hope they would have exceptional customer service. It is good to know, at least in this circumstance they do.

    • dickgrogan says:

      No, diamonds are expensive. Blue Nile is relatively less expensive.

      I just went through the American engagement ritual myself, and local jewelers showed me some really crappy stones (many inclusions visible with the naked eye from the top) for the price that I got a decent rock from BN.

    • Quake 'n' Shake says:

      Expensive yes, in that that sell jewelry. But relative to other dealers, they are much cheaper. My wife and I bought our platinum wedding bands from Blue Nile and their prices blew away nearly every other respectable dealer.

    • Jason Litka says:

      Not really, I’ve bought from them before and will continue to do so for anything with diamonds. Their prices are well below any of the stores in my area, all of which are operate with extremely high sales pressure, and the free overnight shipping clinches it.

  2. FatLynn says:

    It’s good customer service, but I don’t think you should buy jewelery online to begin with, if you live in a city with real jewellers. You don’t know what you are really getting from guys like this.

    • johnva says:

      I have to disagree with this. I found most of the reputable online places to be a lot less shady and more transparent about what you’re buying than the local places. And I shopped around a lot. But then again, I don’t live in a big city. Yes, there a million crappy Internet jewelry retailers, but there are also plenty of reputable ones. It’s just like the real world: you need to do your homework and shop around.

      It’s just not true that you “don’t know what you’re getting” online. Again, when I bought a diamond online I reviewed all the detailed grading reports, etc and bought from a place that had an ironclad return policy (so I could have returned it with no problem if I hadn’t been happy with it). Furthermore, my diamond was laser etched with a report number, which I verified myself by looking at it through my microscope. So I had pretty strong assurance that it matched the GIA report that I was looking at. It was also a much nicer diamond for the money than what was available at most of the local places. Remember that not everyone lives in New York.

    • kelbear says:

      It’s weird, but I feel that this online retailer is more reliable than most of the b&m stores.

      The b&ms’ll rip you off because they don’t have a reputation to protect, they will still get plenty of walk-ins even if their name isn’t recognized.

      Online retailers are for more reliant on their reputation in order to get customers, because they have to overcome the inability to look the customer in the eye and give them a sense of comfort.

      You never really know what you’re getting unless you get all your purchases reinspected too. My father bought a 4k gift to my mother turned out to be worth only $800 upon reinspection, and the certification he was given was a forgery. The b&m he got it from just pulled up roots and left by the time he found out.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Local jewelers do have a reputation to protect – Kay’s may not care because it has 8,000 locations but that local jeweler with only one or two locations will most definitely care if a customer walks away upset and tells his or her friends. In fact, my decision to not work with one local jeweler came as a result of a friend telling me about his experience.

        • johnva says:

          Word of mouth is a less efficient way for a bad reputation to spread than the Internet is. I agree that local places do also rely on their reputation, but again, if you go to a well-known, reputable Internet retailer it’s not really any different. The OP of this subthread was trying to insinuate that online places will rip you off and fail to give you what you paid for, which is just totally false.

    • Mama Mayhem says:

      I disagree. We bought my engagement ring and wedding band from Blue Nile and not only did they completely reset my stone when my ring was too big (versus trying to size it) they did so free of charge and have always had amazing customer service. I’d trust them over my local store any day of the week.

    • Skankingmike says:

      Fail, Blue Nile is a real Jeweler and quite frankly better than most you’ll find in your area. In fact it can sell you unset diamonds which most jewelers cannot.

  3. SkokieGuy says:

    Bravo to Steve for his well written message to Blue Nile. He states the problem, asks for a specific resolution and indicates that he’s otherwise happy and hopes to continue to recommend them.

    He is the type of customer that companies want to retain and are easier to assist.

    This is so unlike the complaint letters where vent their outrage, make no requests, or outrageous requests and inform the merchant that they will never use their services again. These types give little incentive to satisfy them.

  4. apd09 says:

    My wife used Blue Nile when we were talking about getting engaged to create the ring she wanted, then i took a printed version of it to other places to try to get a better deal. I ended up getting a lab grown diamond from Diamond Nexus because my wife is very big on environmental issues and animal welfare and did not want a real diamond that was either a blood diamond or one that displaced or harmed animals. I got great service from them including resizing of the ring and replacement of a baguette that became loose.

    Blue Nile did seem expensive compared to other jewelers but it is good to see it was not just a website and had good service.

    • travel_nut says:

      I

      • apd09 says:

        ?

        • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

          Someday, people will learn that you can’t use that cute little “less than 3″ to indicate “heart” or “love”.

          Today is not that day.

          • psm321 says:

            Or maybe someday websites will become a little less draconian with their filters :-D

          • travel_nut says:

            I actually had a whole reply typed out. Somehow it disappeared.

            Anyway, what I was saying is, I have a DNL stone and it’s great. Looks just like the real thing and didn’t cost a small fortune.

    • aloria says:

      Thanks for the heads up on Diamond Nexus– I love the look of diamonds but refuse to pay artificially inflated prices for what is essentially a hunk of carbon, especially with all the issues surrounded mining them. I don’t think I’ll be getting engaged any time soon, but might pick me up some pretty earrings.

      • apd09 says:

        You’re welcome. Everything is very cheap on Diamond Nexus and they are just as good if not better than real diamonds, instead of being created over millions of years in the ground they are created in a laboratory in a few days.

        • johnva says:

          That statement is more than a little debatable given that what they sell are not diamonds. They’re not comparable products.

    • johnva says:

      Those are actually not real diamonds, from what I can tell. They are “diamond simulant”, which is why they are so cheap. Google tells me that a number of people have investigated and determined that what they’re selling is actually cubic zirconia, regardless of their claims to the contrary. They are chemically not the same as real diamond. That’s fine if that’s what you want (and it’s a perfectly reasonable choice not to want to spend thousands on a piece of carbon), but they’re not man-made diamonds because they are not diamonds at all. They’re a different substance (what exactly seems to be under dispute) that looks a lot like a diamond.

      There ARE real lab-grown diamonds that actually ARE chemically identical to natural diamonds, but Diamond Nexus’ products are not that. The “real” synthetic diamonds cost quite a bit more, so they’re not a huge money saver. But they’re still a good choice if you don’t want a natural diamond for ethical reasons, etc but want a real diamond as opposed to a good fake one.

      • apd09 says:

        There are lots of conflicting opinions about the lab grown versus mined.

        http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/savinganddebt/p97816.asp

        The jewelry industry are the one putting out all of the info saying they are not real but they are and even are being graded as such.
        “Even the Gemological Institute of America, the foremost diamond research and grading body, acknowledges that these are diamonds. “To say it’s not diamond is really false,” says William Boyajian, gemologist and GIA president. “It’s just man-made diamond.” “

        • johnva says:

          I personally don’t see any real difference between lab grown diamonds vs. mined diamonds, as both are diamonds. So I agree with you on that and I wasn’t arguing otherwise. But there IS a huge difference between lab grown diamonds and diamond look-alikes like the stuff sold by DNL. Their website is more than a little misleading because they claim that their “diamonds” are not CZ (they almost certainly are, with some sort of coating or process that they claim distinguishes them from other CZ). And they try hard to conflate them with synthetic diamond, which they are not.

          As I said, I’ve got no problem with people buying simulated diamond-like gemstones like the stuff sold by DNL, but people should be aware of what they’re buying. A lot of these companies are trying to exploit customer confusion about the difference between lab grown diamonds and fake diamond look-alikes in order to inflate prices for the look-alikes. The proper price comparison to make when shopping for simulated “diamonds” is against other simulated “diamonds”, not against real synthetic diamonds or mined diamonds.

          Mined diamonds are not synthetic diamonds. Diamond simulants are not synthetic diamonds (and are not diamond at all). There’s room for all these products as long as the retailers are honest about what they’re selling: each serves a valid purpose. They’re just not directly comparable products and shouldn’t be used as the basis for a claim that Website A is “cheaper” than Website B when the reason for this is that one is selling real diamonds and one is not.

      • apd09 says:

        but you are right, Diamond Nexus are simulants but other places like Apollo, Gemesis, and Chatham are real.

  5. vipergtsrz says:

    I’ve actually had great experiences with Blue Nile’s customer service. They are very good. I have also purchased a few things from there at lower prices than I could find at local jewelers.

  6. Thyme for an edit button says:

    Kudos both to Blue Nile and OP. OP was polite and explained the problem clearly. Blue Nile responded accordingly and I think went above and beyond with sending a new backing for free. Nice to hear a story where both the customer and the company work together well to get the problem fixed.

  7. KJR52 says:

    Both myself and my father have used Blue Nile and have been very happy with them. When I needed to have a ring sized down a bit, they made the process very easy, and I also received emails from an actual person, rather than giving me a form response. I’d use them again and would recommend them to others.

  8. Melbelle says:

    I love Blue Nile. Glad to see them getting the positive press they deserve! As a bonus: If you have a AAA card, you get 10% off most purchases there, too. Saved a bunch on our wedding bands!

  9. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    If nothing else, I’ve learned that replacement backings for their diamond stud earrings are $30. My wife lost one of hers a couple of months ago. I was going to contact them, but by some great stroke of luck, I found it on the floor in our hallway.

  10. RosevilleWgn says:

    Blue Nile has excellent service and product quality. Purchased our wedding bands and engagement ring. I wasn’t willing to go into debt to purchase a ring (Not a great way to start a marriage), so I got the highest quality (Cut, clarity, color) that I could get for my money. It wasn’t a huge rock, but my wife loved it all the same.

    /derail

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Kudos! I’ll never understand why people who don’t have the cash to toss around (and who does these days) will spend so much money on rings, then start a marriage in debt. The same goes for an outrageously extravagant wedding. That money would put the down payment on a house.

      • travel_nut says:

        Yeah, I don’t know either.

        I know a couple who got married and then bought the ring afterwards. The wife simply took the entire contents of the husband’s bank account, went to the jewelry store, and spent it ALL.

        They had to live with his parents for months afterwards because they were so broke. But she had a big shiny ring!

        I think my engagement ring was about $400 and my wedding band was $500. I did get synthetic diamonds set in 14k gold, but it was what we wanted and what we could afford.

      • kalaratri says:

        I flat out told my husband that if I found out he spent a ton of money on my engagement ring that I wouldn’t marry him.

  11. MustWarnOthers says:

    Almost all of the reputable online jewelers can offer you just as good, or better products than any of the local Jewelers.

    Obviously you give up that direct, face to face service, but as far as Diamond quality goes there isn’t any difference.

    Usually the only difference is that local jewelers get lots of name-brand Diamonds, which actually no difference on the beauty and quality of Diamonds.

    Take for example Lazare or Hearts on Fire. Both of those are just Diamonds sold by companies who use a very strict quality set when selling their name branded Diamonds. If you go on Blue Nile or any online jeweler, you can get the exact same or better diamond. As long as they are certified by AGS or GIA, with great qualities in the 4C’s as well as good dimensions, you’re going to get an amazing Diamond.

    So the abridged version is this:

    Online Jewelers are great, the prices usually can’t be beat, and the service is usually top notch. I went through James Allen when I bought my fiancee her ring and it floored me how amazing the ring and diamond look.

  12. stanner says:

    I bought my wife’s ring set from Blue Nile years ago. She recently lost the engagement ring. I called Blue Nile, they looked up the original order, and realized that unfortunately the setting was no longer made. A few days later they called me back to let me know they had gone on and checked with the setting maker, who was willing to make me a custom one just like the original, and for about the same price.

    I for one, think their service is very good, and prices competitive.

  13. Link_Shinigami says:

    Am I the only one that kept reading Bill Nye and not Blue Nile? I was very confused till I read the entire thing ~_~

  14. Jack Straw from Wichita says:

    “this idiot bought diamond earrings at sticker price, we really need to keep him as a customer”

  15. Skankingmike says:

    I bought my wife many things off Blue Nile I find their selection great and their products amazing. Never had a problem. In fact after getting my wife’s engagement ring there It’s appreciated in value over double what it was purchased for. Which means I suppose nothing now but I’m sure my kids will appreciate it one day when they don’t want mom’s “ugly” ring.

  16. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Its nice to hear a positive customer service experience, and its made me interested in buying stuff from this company!

  17. WagTheDog says:

    It’s sad to me that this is considered newsworthy. It really shouldn’t be.

    For all the criticism leveled, this union government employee always answers emails to the support box immediately, and I answer the phone on the first ring if I can. No matter what, I get back to you within 24 hours with your answer. That is actually better than Consumerist, which took a week to answer my email that one time.

  18. BytheSea says:

    The hell, earring backs are thirty dollars? They’re made of tin and they don’t show! Get a dollar pair from a thrift store or use one from your other pairs.

  19. whyt says:

    I bought one gift from Blue Nile, a special gift for my daugher’s 21st birthday. It wasn’t the cheapest version that I could find on the internet, but it seemed nicer than the cheaper ones I saw at other places. When I had to return it because my daughter received duplicates, I was pleasantly surprised by the fast and helpful customer service. It was probably one of the two best customer service experiences I’ve ever had. Too bad I had to return the jewelry — it was remarkable.