When the weather is cold and the days are short, you may be attracted to warmer, sunnier climates by taking a cruise. These words to the wise can help you avoid being taken advantage of with jewelry purchases on a cruise.
If you’re on a cruise, you’re relaxed, you’re having fun, you’re in the mood to celebrate. A few drinks may compromise your normal self-discipline and you may be tempted to purchase a souvenir at the ship’s jewelry boutique. But beware: that is what they are counting on because you are a captive audience on a cruise ship.
On-board jewelry shops, as well as some shops at the ports of call, may tell you they are independent retailers, but do not believe it. They are all tied into the management and profits of the cruise company, and it is their job to maximize profits daily. Be wary of a sales pitch that promises an item will appraise for much more. After you leave the ship and get an independent appraisal, it may be difficult to get your money back if the appraisal does not match what you paid and you change your mind.
I have seen this happen many times when clients come to me upset about impulse jewelry purchases on a cruise ship. Problems often arise with the sale of proprietary brands of cut diamonds and diamond jewelry sold only on cruise ships. These products may sell for a 25% premium over diamonds of the same size and quality sold in the non-cruise market. An appraiser may not realistically be able to value these pieces for as much as you actually paid, depending on the current market.
When purchasing jewelry on a cruise ship, make sure you know about the return policy, including the opportunity to get a confirming appraisal, the length of time you have to return and the process for making the return. If an appraisal is needed, be sure to use a qualified appraiser who follows USPAP, the Uniform Standards for Professional Appraisal Practice, and performs appraisals as a regular part of their practice.