David bought a charm bracelet from Kay Jewelers last Christmas, and allowed an employee to upsell him to a different type of clasp for an extra $20. After the second time it broke, they tried to exchange the bracelet for one with a sturdier lobster claw clasp, but were denied–Kay would have to refund the difference in price, which they weren’t about to do. A few months later, assuming the bracelet issue was a fluke, David bought his girlfriend a ring at the same Kay store. He presented it to her this Christmas, and one of the diamonds fell out within days. And the charm bracelet broke again. He made another trip to the store to get these two items replaced. Likely his last trip to a Kay store ever.
Okay, feel free to give me flack for patronizing a chain jewelry store, but I figured such simple jewels would be of decent quality. I thought wrong. Here’s my story.
Last year for Christmas, I purchased a nice charm bracelet for my girlfriend from the local Kay’s. I wanted to get her a simple lobster clasp; however, the saleswoman talked me into forking out an additional twenty dollars for an oval shaped clasp. This salesperson told me that it would be worth it since that type of clasp was more secure. Knowing very little about jewelry, I accepted her advice at face value and purchased the more expensive bracelet.
My girlfriend opened her gift on Christmas and liked the bracelet. It was very nice…for about a month. After one month my girlfriend told me that the clasp wasn’t working all that well. About a week after that it fell off and she lost one of her charms under her car seat. It took a few days of searching around to finally find the charm. I went in to Kay’s the following week and had the bracelet replaced. The same saleswoman told me that she’d never heard of there being any issues with it and that it must have been a rare case.
Three months later the bracelet broke again. My girlfriend expressed that she wanted a lobster clasp bracelet to replace it. When we went back and asked for this they said that since it was a different price (cheaper) they wouldn’t be able to do it because they would have to refund me the difference between the bracelet my girlfriend had and the less expensive lobster clasp. They could trade it and I could spend more money for the more expensive different clasp though. I asked my girlfriend what she wanted to do and she stuck with exchanging for the same bracelet, hoping it would work better.
On October 22nd, I decided to do some early shopping for Christmas. I went to Kay’s (stupidly) and started looking at promise rings to get an idea as to what is out there. I had no intention of buying; however, they pulled out a ring that really struck me as something my girlfriend would like a lot. I was hesitant because of the bracelet issue. I figured it had been five months with the latest bracelet and there hadn’t been any issues. I asked about the return policy and the saleswoman ([redacted]) told me that there was a 90 day return policy. Seeing as how there was more than 90 days between then and Christmas, I went ahead and bought the ring.
In November my girlfriend told me that her latest bracelet had started malfunctioning. This irritated me a lot. Because of the busy holiday season we weren’t able to get into Kay’s until the weekend before Christmas. We asked to replace it with a lobster clasp this time and this is when we started getting more attitude. The first person to “help” us was an older woman who didn’t seem to really know Kay’s policies. She started to get things in order to replace it with a lobster clasp and refund us the difference in price when another younger woman stepped in and told us that it was past the refund period, therefore they could not do the exchange. They told us that they could give us the same bracelet, yet again, and that we could replace it again if need be. We gave up, with me telling my girlfriend that we would get a new lobster clasp bracelet from Pandora. We asked to get the bracelet replaced so she could at least wear her charms for a little bit before I got her the new bracelet. They were out of the bracelet she needed.
Christmas came and my girlfriend opened her gift. It went over very well and she liked it a lot. Everyone she showed the new ring to thought it was really nice. Then three days later one of the accent diamonds fell out. I was set over the edge.
The very next day I went into the jewelry store with my mom and went straight up to the counter with both the bracelet and the ring. They asked how I was and I told them honestly “I could be doing better.” I pulled out both the ring and the bracelet. I told them that the diamond had fallen out. I had a “protection plan” which had been thrown in at the same price. They immediately went to work replacing the ring (as if it had been done numerous times). I asked, once again, to have the bracelet replaced with a lobster clasp and explained how many times I had to deal with getting it replaced. They stayed firm on not replacing the bracelet. The saleswoman/manager ([redacted]) of the store, the same one who sold me the ring, stated that the oval bracelets had numerous issues and that they were being returned frequently. They had plenty of bracelets on hand for just that reason. THESE BRACELETS ARE STILL SOLD REGULARLY AT A PRICE OF $50. They are knowingly selling faulty jewelry to people on a daily basis.
That statement sent me over the edge. I asked for a full refund on the ring. They refused saying that it was past the 60 day money back period. I said “I thought it was a 90 day return policy?” to which Kelly, the manager, replied “60 day money back, 90 day exchange.” So not only are the selling faulty jewelry but they are also utilizing misleading wording in regards to their return policy.
I’m certain that the back of the receipt covered in small print does state this, as the manager told me. I didn’t even bother double checking. It’s just the way they phrase it to you, making sure that you don’t know there’s a difference until it’s too late. They asked me what I wanted to do. I said replace the ring and I’ll get a new bracelet at Pandora. They asked if I needed anything else and my mom asked if we could have a bag for everything. They told us they didn’t have bags. I held out my hand for the ring, took that and as I turned around muttered some obscenities back to her after she told me to have a great day in a very sarcastic tone.
I walked across the way to Pandora, bought a new bracelet (with a lobster clasp) and went to work lambasting every review site I could find for that particular Kay’s store. You may not shop at chain stores, but I plead you to let your friends and relatives know about this story, so that they will be forewarned of the risk they run when they shop at Kay’s. This is the first time I’ve submitted a story for the consumerist, but it isn’t the first time I’ve been deceived and taken advantage of by a store. I can’t sit by idly anymore.
The parent company of Kay (as well as other regional brands) is Sterling Jewelers, which in turn is a subsidiary of UK-based Signet Jewelers. Using customer service ninja methods, try contacting someone on the US side of Signet to see if they can help.