7 Questions to Ask To Confirm if a Watch Dealer is Legitimate
Many fraudulent items are available on the internet. From anything to high-end tennis shoes, to fake apparel, to watches and jewelry. Watches & Jewelry account for about 24% of the counterfeit economy and the industry of counterfeit items is valued at $502.8 million. While some major companies who have not entered into the eCommerce space attack the internet and stereotype the web as a place full of scams, it can be a safe, cheaper, and hassle-free place to shop for watches/jewelry. The counterfeit economy is vast & goes deep into the underworld of crime, so it is important to make sure you are buying a legitimate product from someone on the World Wide Web. Here are some questions to interrogate a “sales rep” or dealer to confirm their authenticity.
“What do some of your clients say about your business?”
“How many reviews do you have?”
Always dig around the internet for reviews to see what other watch buyers have said. Read a handful of reviews to see if they all sound the same, possibly written by one person or if all the reviews have different voices to them. If a large amount of reviews appear, but all of them are very recent it could be a red flag. If the business has been around for some time, they should have some regular clients. Despite all these signs, if something still feels wrong ask the state the business is located in and look up the local consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau and search the business Reviews should be from all periods.
2) Company History
“How long have you been in business?”
“How did your owner or founder get into the watch business?”
Most dealers will be involved in the International Watch & Jewelry Guild or have been involved in the business of collecting or selling watches for a very long time. It is rare for a business owner to spontaneously decide one day that wanted to enter the space of luxury, vintage timepieces and jewelry. Our own owner, Joe DeMesy has collaborated on multiple guidebooks on pocket watches & wristwatches. Use some time to do an internet search of the business owner’s name and see if they have been involved in auctions or other trade shows in the past.
3) Physical Location
“Where are you located?”
“How many employees do you have?”
“Do you have a store front?”
“Can I make an appointment to view the watch before sale?”
While many online retailers choose to not have a physical storefront, every business, including ecommerce businesses have a space where they handle everyday business, phone calls, and packages. They may have some employees such as content creators that are outsourced, but there must be a central location for sales representatives, packing, or for the watch specialists to check items for legitimacy. Small questions such as asking how many employees work at the company shouldn’t take much time for an employee to think through. If you are in their area, see if you can stop by their showing room or if you could make an appointment, they are most likely to say yes.
4) Upfront fees
“Why do I need to pay $100 before paying for the rest of the item?”
This scam often is symmetrically with the if it sounds to be good to be true category
Often, scammers ask for a smaller amount of money relative to a watches price. Take a Rolex Submariner for example, generally these items can range on average from $5,000ish USD to $8,700ish USD depending on model and dial. The scammer may not ask for the entirety of the payment and ask for a “down payment” or a payment to confirm you are interested. If you are buying an item, it will be in its entirety at once unless the business offers a payment plan, which if legitimate will be discussed in detail.
5) Vague answers
“Can you tell me more about this item?”
“Where do you get your items from?”
Legitimate watch dealers and sales representatives are very knowledgeable about watches and other related merchandise. Consider this scenario, if you have been working with cars for the last five years for 40 or more hours a week. You will have a plethora of knowledge to share. A personal favorite car or a story about a vehicle you once owned. The horological expert you are speaking to should be able give you an accurate description of the watch you are looking. Along with being able to supply accurate information of where items are traded from and what the inspection process is.
6) If It sounds to be good to be true
“How much does this watch usually retail for?”
“What do you think this item is worth?
If an item is worth $8,000 MRSP and only selling for $500. It is very likely something fishy is going on. Everyone makes mistakes, but it is very irregular for a sales rep to make the conscious decision to sell a watch at a huge loss. As stated, many of these employees interact with these watches every day and have an estimate of what most items are worth. Usually this fraud will either end up with you receiving a counterfeit watch or something with an incorrect bracelet or movement. Examine the photos provided on the website or ask for more pictures. It only takes a few moments to send someone more pictures of an item through text message or email. Research the item on competitor’s websites. Why would this item be for sale at such a low premium compared to competitors?
7) Delivery Time
“What is your standard delivery time?”
“How many days does it take to receive my item?”
This answer should be very easy for a salesperson to answer. Online businesses ship out bundles of packages every single day. If there is confusion or hesitation over the phone, this should put up some red flags. While some items need time to be supplied, it can be very unusual for an expensive item to take 2-3 weeks to ship. While in some cases of international shipping, items do take longer, the seller should provide a tracking number along with other information on shipping.
In short, always stay vary of online deals especially when buying expensive items.
These tips & tricks should allow you to confirm if your salesperson is a fraudster. If you ever feel hesitation do not be afraid to back out of a deal! There are a multitude of legitimate sources to buy watches online. If one source does not feel comfortable, you can easily transverse to another one. Make sure to reach out to the business before purchasing a watch. Click around the website, and look for dead links. This list does not compromise of all ideas needed to avoid a fraudulent watch dealer. Always stay vigilant!
DeMesy Fine Watches & Jewelry is not an authorized dealer of any of the brands that we offer, which allows us to offer our watches online and at substantially less than the manufacturers retail. We offer both unused and pre-owned watches. Our unused watches are sourced from authorized dealers and agents within the U.S. as well as internationally. Unless noted in the description, the only difference in these watches and ones purchased from an authorized dealer is that the warranty for your watch is provided by DeMesy Fine Watches & Jewelry.
Check out DeMesy’s BBB Rating of A- here.
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