How do you know that the website you've landed on when following a link or an advert is honest, above board and selling genuine jewellery products?
With so many sites appearing now, it can be difficult to spot the fakes. Pricing is usually a dead giveaway; if they appear to be selling branded jewellery at rock bottom prices, it's definitely a case of buyer beware. The site might not even be supplying any products but merely setup to collect money without shipping goods and then disappearing into the night, only to reappear under a different domain name at a later date.
Cheap doesn't always mean fake however. It is possible the genuine article is being sold off at a discounted price to move old or discontinued stock
Is the site using encryption?
Check the URL in your address bar to see if it starts with https://
Some web browsers now display a warning to indicate that a site is not secure and you should proceed with caution. The problem is that data sent over http:// (note: no "s" on the end meaning data is not encrypted) can be intercepted by third parties when passed between the two systems. This can be addressed by using a secure version called https://, where the "s" stands for secure and involves the use of an SSL certificate (SSL stands for secure sockets layer), this creates a secure encrypted connection between the web server and the web browser and should be a requirement for any site taking payments over the internet.
Check for contact and company details along with a telephone number.
Are they hidden away or not even visible on the site at all with just a simple form for contact? Do they show a returns address? Is the site peppered with grammatical errors? All simple stuff to look out for and if these details are missing and it's a legitimate UK site, they're probably breaking the UK distance selling regulations.
Look for organisation accreditation.
If the seller belongs to a UK jewellery organisation, you should be able to contact the organisation to check the credentials of the designer/maker, but don't rely on a trust symbol image being genuine, it's far too easy to copy an image and add it to a website. Some trust symbols have added usability and, if clicked on, open up or link to display further information. Here again, it isn't impossible for the developer of a fake site to recreate a facsimile of a genuine trust symbol but they will be unable to link it to the particulars of a genuine member of the organisation.
Guild of Jewellery Designers members have the capability of adding a script to their own site or Odissa shop which displays their eligibility for PPL insurance or affiliation with the guild. Gold Plus or Gold Extra members have cover for products and public liability up to £5,000,000, so you can be confident when buying from one of our members. Clicking the GoJD logo on a member profile opens up a new box on your screen confirming their membership and, if in doubt, we are more than happy to confirm their membership if you'd like to contact us. If the member has filled out their profile correctly with the GoJD, their accreditation display will link to their GoJD Designer Directory listing which can only be authorised by the guild.
By taking precautions and making a few simple checks before parting with your hard earned cash and you should have a pleasant jewellery buying experience.
Author: Alan Hadley