Today there are some new laws affecting all consumers. The main one affecting businesses like ours is the one of returning goods that are faulty.
The law has changed so that consumers can demand their money back if an item is faulty. However, both at Charles Hart and Vintage Tom we have refunded in full our customers should they request it, sometimes six months after purchase.
We want our customers to feel fully confident when they purchase an item. In fact we refunded a customer a few months ago for an item they purchased over nine months before. No quibble, no argument. They were so impressed that they drove nearly 100 miles to buy something else from us. The purchaser said we had gone beyond the usual requirement of excellent service.
In our opinion service to the customer is never second. We always want to be there to help, advise, assist. If we cannot rectify a situation we can always refund.
Second hand and vintage items are more of a problem as they have inherent wear to a point when purchased, so the buyer needs to treat some items with more care than perhaps usual with a new item. However, we still want the buyer to be happy and enjoy their purchase. Old watches can be more difficult. If we sell a pocket watch for example that is 80 years old for £300, it can often cost £100-£150 to repair, and that is in the trade. A refund is the preferred option, or we trade it for a small profit and then the buyer takes the risk.
Indeed, trading items is often a good solution for us providing the buyer remains aware that it is like buying at auction, and any problems arising is down to the buyer, it is the risk one takes when buying at trade.
We will usually stand by an item for six months, and often a year. We are very flexible as we want customers to come back if they have received good service. After that period we do advise that full All Risks insurance is taken out on valuable items (we can advise and offer insurance at very low prices), and that articles are examined on a regular basis, especially claws on rings.