Buying silver jewellery online is growing more popular in the United Kingdom but there are some precautions any online shopper ought to bear in mind in order to make the experience a happy one. In this article we will examine the advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind should you be buying silver jewellery online.
As recently as 2008, the proportion of homes with a fast Internet connection was low and online stores that needed a lot of bandwidth were not quick enough and frustrating to use. For all websites that sold silver jewellery online, this was a big problem because good quality pictures of the products are essential if people visiting the site are to find what they want. Even if you are only spending as little as 20 pounds, it is only right that you can examine the item rather than have to guess from a photo the size of a postage stamp! Times change and it is now much more common for people to have easy access to a fast Internet connection now. In fact, not only do the public have good enough web access at home, many people are likely to have it on the move in their modern mobile phone. So now the Internet shopper can get access to high resolution product images and really see what they are buying.
One worry that some shoppers may have had when buying silver jewellery online was that they had to hand over their money before they took receipt of the goods, so the first time they bought from a website it was like handing over cash to a total stranger who may have been working out of his bedroom or even another country, might not even have the items in stock to dispatch straight away or worse still, could have gone bankrupt but the website was still taking your money! There are several things that you should do to ensure that your money is protected and that you are buying from an honest retail website. So, what are your first impressions – does the website look professional? Is it well designed and easy to find your way around? Or does the colour scheme look like something out of a children’s story book? Is it pleasing to look at with clear text and good, clear product photographs or is it packed with spelling errors, grammatical clangers and silly mistakes?
If it passes that test then look for a Contact Us or About Us page that gives at least these three things: their real world address, an email address and a telephone number. If the telephone number is a mobile phone, I would recommend that you shouldn’t buy from them. If there is no physical address, again – do not buy from them. But, if there is an email contact and a telephone number, do go ahead and contact them and ask them about the products you are potentially going to buy. This will give you comfort that they are genuinely a professional retailer and your communication from them will hopefully reveal that they are attentive, professional and customer focused. You should not be alarmed if a telephone call is greeted with their voicemail service as many reliable websites operate to slightly different working hours. On the plus side, it is not unheard of for an online retailer to be servicing customers on public holidays or even at the weekend. The key thing is if you send an email or leave a message, how quickly do they come back to you and how they engage with you when they do.
Then, look them up on a reputable consumer feedback website and see if there are any reviews about them. Ideally you should find at least one upbeat review and if you can find several then that is really good news. Even the best companies sometimes get a minority of bad feedback and realistically you can not please all the people all of the time, so if less than 10% of feedback is bad, then they have passed the test. It can be said that 10% negative responses is really more like only 1% of consumers, as 10 times more people take the effort to complain compared to the number of people who give nice comments for great service. Nothing moves quicker than bad news.
Another big help when buying silver jewellery online is being able to buy with a credit card. In the UK, the buyer gets a lot of protection when buying with a credit card (as opposed to a debit card). If the online shop fails to supply the goods or the goods are incomplete or not as described, if the retailer does not give you satisfaction you can go to your credit card provider and they can dispute the charge. If you time it right, you can also buy the goods on your card and not end up paying for it until after they have actually arrived with you.
When it comes to buying silver jewellery online, you must make sure that it is actually 925 sterling silver – this shows that it is 92.5% silver and 7.25% alloy, normally copper – and not a base metal that has been silver plated. It should be obvious, but disappointingly there are websites that go out of their way to imply they are selling sterling silver when in fact it is not. The site should make it clear throughout all its products that they are in fact 925 sterling silver. Any such item must have a hallmark, the number ‘925’ imprinted on it. If it is not stated, then contact the site via phone or email to check. If they haven’t given their telephone and email contact details, you won’t even be searching on their site, hopefully, thanks to the advice given previously!
It is recommended that you also examine their terms and conditions and look for the amount of their delivery costs. Some websites will advertise low prices for goods and it is only when you are buying them are you told that there is a hefty delivery charge. A good website is open and transparent about both their terms and conditions and delivery costs. The main items that you will want to look for in the terms and conditions will be around the returns policy. Typically, you should be able to return goods within 21 days of receiving them, though some websites may only say 14 days as their policy. Ideally this should be for a complete refund, so if this is important to you then get confirmation in advance from them to say that a refund will take place, though this will almost certainly not include a refund of any delivery charges incurred, just the price paid for the goods you are returning, which is fair. Some retailers may offer only a credit note in all cases, but most will have specific criteria for when they will always offer only a credit note. For example, where there has been a one off order for a special size or type of ring or similar that is out of the norm. Also, for hygiene reasons, earrings (except clip on type) are not normally accepted as returnable unless they are faulty or not as described.
Now, when you actually come to acquire the item, there are additional things you can do to make sure the transaction has happened smoothly. You should receive an email notification, if you have given your correct email as part of the buying process on the website, confirming that your purchase has been successful and also providing a reference number or order number of some kind in case you have any questions or concerns. You can also contact your credit card company to check that the correct amount went through without any problems. The website should also give you some idea of when the items will be with you.
When the items are dispatched, you should receive a notification via email if you have provided it, to confirm that the goods are on their way. The delivery options and terms and conditions should state clearly what method of delivery is used: first class post, recorded delivery, special delivery, etc. This will give you an idea of how long the items should take to arrive after they have been dispatched. If they do not arrive promptly, do contact the website to let them know and get reassurance from them as to when the package was sent and by which method of delivery. Having taken all these precautions, you should soon be in possession of the goods and having had a great experience with the website in question, without doubt you will soon be buying silver jewellery online from them again.