Hey… I’ve been e-fleeced (op-ed with Ted)

Every week someone’s new internet “bargain” comes in for appraisal and every week I shake my head over the blatant misrepresentations out there on the web, particularly e-bay.

Much of the public thinks that any official-looking “appraisal” validates an item’s authenticity and value. WRONG. I routinely see fraudulent grading and value statements up to ten times a realistic retail value. The money spent is often close to my appraised value, meaning you got what you paid for but no bargain.

There seems to be no end to the number of “labs” creating paper for some unscrupulous jeweler (yes, most of the sellers aren’t individuals but within the trade). The “labs” ought to be taken to task as well as the sellers who know the real value of what they sell.

It really hit home a few months ago when I got a call from an individual who was buying something on e-bay with an “NGL” certificate. Since I had not dealt with the stated jeweler and do not do “presale” appraisals for the trade, I was obviously curious. Well, National Gemological Laboratory had provided the document (I have seen several more since) and either I am losing my gemological bearing, or they grade two to three grades higher than GIA standards!

But I can only look at one case at a time. There are several reputable dealers on the internet—they have web sites (not just e-mail addresses), customer support, return privileges, etc. There are a couple of old adages I would like to leave you with. “There’s one born every minute” and “If it’s too good to be true….”


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