Help, Kay Jewelers Destroyed My Wedding Ring During A Routine Cleaning!

Kay Jewelers deformed Lisa’s wedding ring during a routine cleaning and refuses to provide a replacement ring. Lisa first noticed that a tiny diamond was missing, which Kay Jewelers found stuck in their cleaning equipment. In the process of reseating the diamond, Kay again deformed the ring, scratching out the ring’s beaded edges. Kay decided they couldn’t repair the destroyed ring, but rather than ordering a new one from the manufacturer, Kay decided to remake the ring using a low-resolution picture of the original as their guide. Shockingly, that ring didn’t work out either. It’s now been three months and Lisa wants her wedding ring back.

Lisa writes:

My name is Lisa. My husband is a USMC Sgt. who recently left for his third deployment. He has been stationed at Camp Pendleton (I live in Oceanside) but was most recently stationed in Jacksonville, NC. Before he left I took his wedding ring to be re-dipped in gold to make it look nice before he left. It takes about a week and is about $40 (any store can do it). I picked the Kay Jewelry store in the local Jacksonville mall because it is a well known chain. While I was there the salesperson asked if she could clean my rings for me. I let her. The next evening we were out of town when I noticed my wedding band had a (tiny) diamond missing. I had no clue where I lost it.

A week later I picked up my husband’s ring from Kay Jewelers. While I was there I half-jokingly asked the salesperson if they found a diamond in their cleaner. Crazy enough – they had it. It was scotch taped to an index card with no name or notes, by the register. They happily took my wedding ring and agreed to repair it. We were again out of town when it was ready so the day we returned I sent my husband to the mall to get it before they closed. When he came home I opened it up and put it on. My first impulse was that it wasn’t my ring. Upon closer inspection it seemed to be my ring only it had been made nearly unrecognizable. Among other things, there is a tiny beaded edge on the top and bottom edges of the ring that was completely gone in some spots, but still there to just barely be made out in others. And instead of being one width and thickness it now tapered off where the diamonds stopped and looked, for lack of a better word, “smooshed” at the ends. It no longer sat flush against my engagement ring.

I returned first thing the next morning and gave my ring to the manager, explaining it had somehow been damaged. She was skeptical that it could have happened at their (offsite) repair shop but she took it back. I was upset (in tears) and wrote out a detailed explanation of what was wrong with the ring. When I got home I contacted the store where I bought the ring and they emailed me a photo from the manufacturer. I printed this email and brought it back to the mall the next day so the manager could also send that to the repair manager. It was originally purchased on 7/20/07 (our wedding day) at another jewelry store and I do have all the original receipts.

I was supposed to have the ring back from the second repair in about 10 days. When 14 days had gone by I was calling daily, waiting for it to come back. I was finally told they couldn’t repair my ring but that they would “remake” it, using the same diamonds (as if I could see that they are the same). They wanted to use the email photo to send to a ‘laser shop’ to have the ring cut. At this point I contacted the corporate customer service office by phone. I told both the store manager and the corporate customer relations person it is very upsetting to have lost my (actual) ring now just because I agreed to have it cleaned. Even having it recreated, it still wouldn’t be “my” ring. I’d of course rather have mine repaired to its original state but if that really wasn’t possible I’d at least prefer to have the same ring from the same vendor instead of trying to remake it from a tiny email photo. I asked why they couldn’t just get a replacement from the manufacturer. Neither one could tell me if they could do so or not. They just took the information and said I could expect the ring in about a month.

My husband is now gone on his third deployment and every day I am without my wedding ring. It is traumatic enough to have him gone, to be without my wedding ring is even worse. Because I returned to Oceanside after my husband deployed, the repair shop shipped my ‘remake’ to the Kay store at the Westfield shopping center, Plaza Camino Real. I got a call to come pick it up today. I was optimistic that this whole mess was about to be over and I would have my ring back. However, the ring that was sent was not a good replica of my wedding ring. It was wider and thicker than my ring and while ‘close’ in style, it simply was not the same style as the ring it was meant to replace. My ring was very delicate looking and this was like a brick in comparison. It did not look like a ‘set’ when worn with my engagement ring. I was devastated again to give the ring back to the manager and tell him I could not wear it. The store manager was very sympathetic but didn’t know anything of how the ring came to be in his store. He promised to make some calls tomorrow to the NC store and to the corporate office but I knew there was nothing he could do tonight and I was upset and in tears so I left the store and came home.

The information on the ring (manufacturer and style number) was available but it’s clear no one at the repair shop contacted the maker to get the dimensions of the ring. I was concerned that this ring was going to be remade from a photo in an email (not a decent size photo or even one of high resolution) which is why I gave them the information on the vendor. I have been patient with this process but I have had enough. I told them I don’t want a remake or something ‘close’ again. If my ring is beyond repair I want the same ring, from the same manufacturer. Close may be good enough for a costume piece someone wears occasionally. It isn’t good enough for a wedding ring and certainly not my wedding ring. It has now been several months since this began. My ring was damaged in their repair shop. I don’t believe it was intentional but this failure to replace it now feels malicious and cruel.

Short of hiring a lawyer and suing them I was looking for any advice or assistance you might be able to give me. I don’t want to drag this out. I don’t want anything but my ring back. Any suggestions?

Lisa adds:

I have been told time and again that Kay doesn’t deal with Master Craft (the maker of my ring, style #R9018-026) so I won’t be able to get the same style. I contacted Master Craft myself yesterday and found out from them that they DO in fact, do business with Kay. I am INFURIATED that I have been put through this, lied to and caused so much emotional distress for THREE MONTHS when my ring could have been IMMEDIATELY replaced. I have spent multiple nights sobbing because my ring is gone. And now that my husband is deployed to Iraq, it is even more painful not to have it.

No one at the corporate office or the NC store where this happened has even said “we’re sorry this happened to you”. Instead the store manager and the first customer relations person I’ve dealt with (Carol) have acted like I was trying to scam them. It has been beyond frustrating. I did nothing but let the sales person clean my ring and now its ruined.

Lisa already wrote to Kay’s executive office asking for help. If they don’t respond, you don’t need a lawyer to sue them in small claims court. North Carolina’s small claims courts hear any cases involving items worth less than $5,000. Read our guide to small claims court to help prepare your case.

(Photo: Lucid Nightmare)