Guest columnist Joel Hassler is a long time member of the BIG family. Joel is the Founder of Von Hasle Jewelry Advisers, and offers a full range of jewelry services for consumers and consulting to retailers.  Joel has great industry perspectives to share based on his background of 17 years as an employee and co-owner/President & CEO of a multi-generational family owned retail store in Wisconsin.  We hope you enjoy his insights on the Repair process!

By Joel Hassler

For those who don’t know me, I do independent appraisals and consulting for retailers, primarily on their internal systems and policies.  After a situation that I’ll explain below, I began looking into take-in and delivery policies in the repair department.  Something I didn’t think I would need to do since I always thought these procedures would be pretty standard.

One jeweler I work with, to avoid litigation, recently had to settle with a customer over a missing ring.  The customer claimed she never picked up her ring, while the store showed the job as delivered, but only in the computer!  They didn’t have the customer sign anything saying she was taking the ring with her. (Oh, and it was more than a year ago so, understandably, that meant security camera footage wasn’t an option.)  Classic case of “he said, she said” with my friend being on the losing end.    Adding to this, if you do have a spot on your repair receipts for a customer to sign, and choose NOT to use it, an attorney could potentially make a case for willful negligence: Having something to protect yourself, but choosing not to.

Without bogging down this note with a boring detailed step by step of what it should look like (and the verbiage to use and the disclaimers your receipts should have) your best practices should include:

Taking in the repair:

  • Writing a detailed description of the items(s) being left with you. (Sure, a picture is worth a thousand words, but often those pictures aren’t that helpful or clear)
  • If you don’t already own a current lab-grown diamond tester, buy one and test everything upon take-in!
  • Write a detailed description of the work you’re going to perform.  Try to avoid the jargon that is understandable to your goldsmith and staff but might as well be ancient Greek to your customer
  • Once you’ve printed their receipt, go through it with them one more time, confirming the work to be done and the quoted price
  • Have them sign that they’re approving the work as described
  • Remind them to bring their claim check with them (Oh, give them a claim ticket!)

Upon delivery of the repair:

  • Ask for the claim check or verify an ID if they don’t have it
  • Have them sign that they’re happy with the work and that they are taking the items with them

Keep those job tickets stored for 7 years. (Don’t have the room? Don’t think you’ll need them? Make room! You should be keeping receipts and records for the IRS for 7 years anyway.  I’d argue there’s a higher chance you’ll need to refer back to one of those tickets to prevent a potential issue than you are of being audited and needing your receipts.)

Repair take-in procedures should be given a lot more attention and detail than most stores currently do.  It’s the professional thing to do and can set you apart from your competition.  Because for most stores, if you look at traffic and receipts, we service a lot more repair customers than we sell new jewelry.  But some of our greatest liability lies in handling the priceless items our customers entrust us to fix. Whether we think they are priceless or not, they always do.

Think about this every time you bring your car in for an oil change… Sign here.

If you’d like to have a conversation about this, or are interested in Von Hasle Services, feel free to contact Joel Hassler at:

Joel Hassler
Ph: 262-498-0074