Several months ago I began the long pain staking process of shopping for an engagement ring. This is a process that the leman knows very little about and without proper guidance or referrals one can find themselves spending far too much money for a product not worth its price.
As I did some research I found that the jewelry industry is racket all in itself with price mark ups and fraudulent stones stories dominating the market. So I took care in selecting my jeweler. Upon referral from a close friend I made a visit to Vicki Antons jewelry ignoring the poor reviews and articles that I read online.
Vicki was the first person to greet me when I first entered the store. She was a very energetic, friendly business woman eager to help me select the right stone to match the band that I had selected. Ill be it, her office and her business may be run in a manner for which I am unaccustomed to with file cabinets exploding with papers, lose paper estimates scattered over her desk, missing paper work (in fact she misplaced the original quote she had given me.
Had I not kept the information written down for myself we would have been in an interesting situation), and a group of sales persons whom know nothing about customer service. My overall feelings about the jewelry shop after my purchase of the engagement ring was very good. However, after completing my sale with Vicki and promising to return to shop for the wedding band my thoughts have since changed.
I feel this is due to the poor customer service I received from the sales staff for which Vicki employs. In all 3 of my dealings with her sales personal they seemed either one of the following or a combination of all; uneducated in practical customer service tactics, lacking an overall jewelry knowledge, or extremely unorganized.
My fiance and I followed through with my word and stopped in one afternoon to look at the matching bands for the engagement ring or other bands. Vicki was not in that afternoon and we were approached by a sales person to help us.
Within 2 minutes of speaking with us she was called away by another sales person to reach something for her. She returned and was again called away from us. This happened several times and became quiet annoying. We pointed out some bands that we were interested in but the sales person was in no hurry to pull the selections out of the case, so we stood there pointing at rings buried underneath an inch and a half of glass.
Finally they pulled the file on the engagement ring that I had bought to check the style/design number. This took a while considering half of the files in the cabinet were protruding from their shelves.
Finally after wasting 30 minutes of our time they came to the conclusion that they did not have the matching band and since they would not show us any of the bands they did have we moved to another subject a bit frustrated. They did note that they would order the matching band and contact us to look at. I agreed and told them to call me when it came in. We then moved over to the mens side to look at male wedding bands.
We selected one that we liked and relayed our interest to the sales person. This time we told her to take it out of the case so that we could better see the item. She did so and we selected the one we wanted. She wrote down the information on the male band and sized my finger for the ring. While the sizing tools were out my fiance told the sales person that she needed to get her engagement ring resized because it was a bit big on her hand. The sales person told her to just go to Claires accessories in the mall and buy ring sizers instead of taking the time to resolve the issue properly. We said no and slipped the tool on her and showed the sales person that the ring was a full half size to big and needed to be fixed. The sales person said wait and see if the change in seasons would cause the ring to fit better. Needless to say I left with a bad taste in my mouth and questioning my original assessment of this jeweler. The next day Vicki herself called and thanked me for coming by and gave me a reduced price quote on the bands we had selected telling me that she would give this information to her sales person and they would order them for our final review.
Three weeks passed and I called to see the status of the rings ordered. To my aggravation I found that they had not yet been ordered. The sales person apologized saying that they had misplaced the order form and would find it and order them. Later that afternoon Vicki called and apologized saying that the rings would be in her store within the week. At this point the frustration was building. Later that week I received another phone call letting me know the rings were in (or should I say the 1 ring). My fiance and I came into the store that weekend looking for a better experience then we received the previous visit.
Again Vicki was not in the store and we were greeted by a different sales rep. We started by looking at the womens wedding band they ordered to match. The one that they ordered was way too big for her finger and would have to be resized. Then we asked about the mens ring and they hadnt ordered it and lost the paper work on it. So we went back over to mens section showed the ring to the sales person and watch her fill out another information card about the band. We also wanted to send the engagement ring in for resizing. The sales rep took down the information about the resizing and said it would be taken care of. We asked that it be done as soon as possible.
My fiance had an older ring that she wanted to wear as a temporary replacement while her engagement ring was being resized. An older family member had given it to her and she wasnt sure if the stone in it was a diamond or not. While we were at a jeweler we thought that they would be able to tell us the type of stone. It was passed between the three sales people (the same three people who have been very unhelpful through all of our other visits) none of which knew anything about stones or how to use the diamond tester they had in the store. We left that afternoon again feeling unsatisfied by the quality of customer service, their inability to keep anything organized, and the lack of their jewelry knowledge.
One week later my fiance called to check the status of her engagement rings sizing. She was told that it was not ready. She called again 3 days later to check the status and was told that it wasnt in yet.
Finally she called and was told that the engagement ring was going to take over a month to be sized because the company that was sizing it wanted to wait to size the wedding band (which was on back order) with the engagement ring. How could we have seen a back ordered band just a week ago? Why would they wait to size them together when we gave explicit directions to have the engagement ring sized as soon as possible? This is and was the last straw.
I finally received a phone call that the engagement ring was in and correctly sized. I go in to pick up the ring and pay for the sizing, which other places do for free, and tell them to cancel the order on the wedding band we are taking or business else where. Instead of inquiring why or finishing the sale the customer service representative immediately calls over another sales rep that is occupied with another customer. She does this so that she can immediately call the ring manufacturer to cancel the order. Why couldnt that have waited two seconds for us to leave the building?
Two days pass and my fiance and I go else where to look for wedding bands. While there the sales associate notices substantial damage has been done to the ring. We had noticed what appeared to be a nick in band and thought that it had be a result of banging or everyday wear and tear. The jeweler showed us while looking through a loop that the ring had been poorly resized and damaged due to mallet or other blunt tool strike. Also she pointed out that one of the diamonds on the side appeared to be a different color which means it was either reset improperly or replaced with a different diamond. Upon discovery of this the word irate doesnt even come close to the feelings and blood that was pumping through my veins and body.
It took me three days to muster up the patience and control to contact Vicki Antons and tell them of the discovery. I was told by our new jeweler that the ring really needed to reconstructed or replaced from start. I related this request to Vicki and was asked to put everything in writing for both her and the ring company. All of which was done and I dropped of the damage ring along with the paper work.
My fiance was again left without her ring for over a month. The ring took about four and a half weeks to be replaced. I was contacted to pick it up and did so. We had come close to selecting a band to match and went to the new jewelers the weekend following. Once there she tried on bands with the engagement ring to see what look best. The ring was again sized or built too big and would need to resized yet again.
UNBELIEVABLE. This time there was no way I was going to ask Vicki to do anything. The new jeweler said not to worry and took care of it for us for free. It was done in 6days and costed us nothing. Upon receiving our band back I realized that I had paid Vicki to do this and it wasnt done. I again tried to take the hirer road and maintained control. I contacted her and passed along the newest discovery and asked that she refund my money since she was paid to do a job and did not do it. She responded with an offer of resizing it for us. There was no chance that I was going to entrust her with anything of mine again and told her that it had been done by another jeweler. With that she said, No, you most certainly can not have your money back. On that note I figure Vicki can keep my eighty dollars with the comfort that if she keeps running her business the way she is she needs it a lot more then I do.
My business has since gone else where; somewhere with a knowledgeable customer friendly staff with the great service before, during, and after the sale. We enjoyed the new experience so much that my fiance and I have purchased each others wedding gifts there and realize that not all jewelers are like Vicki Antons. The questions previously mentioned and several others (How can a business like this stay open?) have run through my fiances and Is mind throughout this whole ordeal.
But one thing is for certain I will never bring my business back to this Vicki Antons nor will I recommend it to any one. The inability of Vicki and her staff to maintain a customer friendly service and properly operating business has made this process more frustrating and upsetting then the pleasurable experience it is suppose to be. I cannot express enough displeasure in how bad this experience was for me. I dont suggest you make the same mistake.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana