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How to Safely Buy a Diamond Online - Part 1 of 3

By Michael Bradley

It is now possible to save 40% to 60% by purchasing a diamond engagement ring from an online diamond retailer, rather than from a bricks-n-mortar High Street jeweller. Online diamond retailers don't have retail shops, sales staff, large diamond inventories and other associated operating expenses and are therefore able to pass on the cost savings to consumers.

Of course, a diamond might be one of the largest one-off purchases made in one's lifetime and so it is understandable that many people may be uncomfortable paying for a diamond before it has been seen and examined.

However, as long as the correct research and precautions are taken there should be no reason to be fearful about buying diamonds from Internet diamond merchants.

The three most important aspects of the pre-purchase checks that must be carried out are:

1. Assurance that the diamond business is legitimate,

2. Assurance that the payment method is secure,

3. The risk of merchant fraud or failed delivery is mitigated.

In part one of this three-part series we examine the first aspect which is assuring that the diamond merchant is running a legitimate business.

Assurance of legitimacy of diamond businesses

Physical Address

The physical address of the online diamond retailer should be prominently displayed somewhere within the website. It should give the full street address and postcode. A PO Box is not acceptable. Conduct a search on the full address using Google and make sure that other results are returned that include the name of the business along with that address to check that the physical address is not a bogus one.

Landline Phone Number Active & Manned

A contact landline phone number should be prominently displayed. Ring the landline number given and make sure that either a salesperson or the proprietor of the business answers and is helpful and knowledgeable with questions about the company and diamonds.

Testimonials Available For Inspection

All businesses should have records of customer testimonials. Ask if a few of these can be emailed or faxed through for inspection.

Company Number

Is the diamond merchant's business registered with UK Company House and does it display its Company Registration number? This registration number can be entered through the UK Company House website to check the registered business details of the diamond merchant.

If the diamond business is registered then this gives you additional reassurance that it is a legitimate business. If the diamond business is not registered this may indicate the business is being run as a sole proprietorship, or it may indicate that the business is not legitimate.

VAT Number

Is the business registered for VAT and is the number displayed on the website? If it is then this is another positive indicator that the business is a legitimate and profitable one. The threshold for taxable supplies for VAT registration is "60,000 so most diamond merchants would have the need to be VAT registered.

Trade Association Membership

There are several jewellery industry associations in the UK. If the diamond merchant that you are considering purchasing from is a member of an association then this gives further assurance of the reputability of that merchant. Some of the most prominent associations are the British Jewellery Association, the Assay Office and the National Association of Goldsmiths. These can all be contacted to confirm any claims of membership.

Key Staff Named With Photos

Another reassurance of the legitimacy of the business is when key staff members are named and have their photographs displayed within the site.

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