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  • Customer Refunds

    I am currently making up jewellery to launch in the spring at craft fairs. Can anyone tell me the legal situation re how long silver and gold plated items will last. When I asked my local bead shop the owner said something along the lines that you do not expect them to last long, that's why they are cheap, I said I thought there was something in law that says items should last at least 12 months. She just compared things to a jumper only lasting 3/4 months. Personally I would be very annoyed if that were the case and would expect a refund. Would appreciate your advice.

  • #2
    The law (put simply) says that anything you buy must be "fit for purpose" and last a "reasonable" time with "reasonable" usage. If you (for instance) buy a domestic washing machine and proceed to use it for 15 hours a day to run a laundry, taking in all your neighbours hotel and B&B washing; and the machine last 3 months, one might expect the manufacturer to state that a domestic machine, used under unreasonable conditions was never going to last more than a few months. However, 'reasonable' is pretty subjective - Your bead shop owner seems to think it reasonable to sell something that "won't last long" - I'd disagree, but that's just my opinion

    If you sell earrings to me that are made with gold or silver plate and they only lasted a few months and I wore them twice - I would expect a refund from you. Someone else may feel that, since they were cheap they didn't expect much more use from them.

    I'm waffling because I'm tired But my point is that, as a trader, you need to decide what YOU think is reasonable, then decide if you are willing to refund people who question that decision. My advice would be to find a supplier with a little more faith in their products or be prepared to pay a little more for a better quality product. Then you won't have to worry about customers asking for a refund

    Hope this helps

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    • #3
      There must be some information somewhere on how long plated items will keep their plating in that mythical, hypothetic thing, normal wear.
      At least you need to know how thick the outer precious layer is - different manufacturers plate more or less thickly. And watch american suppliers - some manufacturers there put in a layer of nickel which means that you can't sell them legally in the EU.
      There's no legal rule that all items have to last 12 months. Items which should last 12 months should last 12 months..if that makes sense. The law on fitness for purpose and durability is pretty pragmatic


      • #4
        I don't know the answer but wonder why you would want to spend your time making something that will only last a short time. You'll never be able to compete with the sweat shops anyway. Have you considered maybe making better quality jewellery that people will pay good money for?
        Carole x


        • #5
          I think its one of those areas where really you have to feel confidence in your own product and that it offers good value for money for its price. If you feel un-easy, it might mean your gut is telling you the materials you have chosen are a little too cheap?

          If you have metals that are prone to tarnish, you can use something like Renaissance Wax to put a protective layer. I don't advise my customers to use the wax on ear-wires, but its great for everything else (although a little tricky to apply to wire and chain of course). Actually I feel like every week a customer is emailing me to share a new use they've found for the wax they bought from me!

          For earrings I always use our Niobium or Titanium wires now and prefer them to even sterling silver. They do not tarnish at all and the niobium wires come in some great anodized colours too. Its so nice when selling earrings to know that the wires simply CAN'T tarnish and it is just a non-issue.
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          • #6
            I am not into jewellery of any sort, but I have traded as a craft worker/maker/artist even for more years than I can remember. The one rule that I never ever break is "do not sell poor quality goods". This has stood me well over the years as some of my customers have been with me for more than 20 years now.I would find it embarrassing if I had to give a refund and I cannot remember a time when that happened. People will always buy quality.
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            • #7
              Thanks everyone. I have already changed over some of the findings and chains I use from plated to solid brass ones for charm bracelets. I am going to do this with all my findings and chain. I find it very difficult to know whether a plated product is a good quality or not as no indicator of this is given of the thickness of the plate in shops or websites, and I am afraid that I have found that price is no indicator of this, have paid good money before for poor quality items. I will have to increase the prices I will charge but am pretty sure the branded product I now intend to use is of a high quality that items will last.