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I bought a set of rings in Aruba. I traded my wedding rings in on the set. They told me not to declare them they were going to send the paper work to me in the mail. I got a receipt, and we got back on the ship.

Meanwhile, they had told the on-board marketer that they had put the wrong diamond in the setting and wanted her to go get my ring. We did not know any of this until the ship had sailed. We did not declare the rings. Now that we are home they are calling us wanting the ring back or $3500.00. They are even threatening to turn us over to customs and the border patrol. He tried to sell us this ring in the first place for $9700; we told him we could not afford this.

What should we do? Call customs and tell them what we did, report Noble Jewelers, pay the other $3500.00, or give the ring back?

UPDATE as of 7/14/14:

I called customs today. They thanked me for my honesty and said they could not do anything with this since I am already home, but they did tell me the duty would have been less than $100.00. They also said if the product was made in the USA you don't have to pay duty. Haven't heard anymore from the Jeweler the last time I talked with them I asked them about the ring I was suppose to have gotten. I also told them I could not pay $3500.00 more for this ring. I had a jeweler here look at it. It is a more expensive diamond than the one I purchased.

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Well, the only one who committed a crime here, that can still be prosecuted here, is YOU. Make the declaration first and pay any fine(s), then pursue the Aruban jeweler possibly through diplomatic channels. –  wbogacz Jul 13 at 18:42
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This sounds like some weird scam. Why would they tell you not to declare the goods? That's fishy right there. You might also want to get an appraisal from a local jeweller just to see whether you actually got what you paid for. –  Greg Hewgill Jul 13 at 22:33
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Greg's right- this has "scam" written all over it. Jewelers don't make mistakes like that-- also it's plausible that jewelry may be duty free under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act exemption- you can call the customs folks and ask about the duty rate for what you bought (are "thinking about buying") from that country (assuming you believe it originated in Aruba). –  Spehro Pefhany Jul 14 at 0:07
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When you say "on-board marketer", did you get put in contact with these jewellers through a cruise ship employee? If so, and it turns out to be a scam, you might try reporting it to the cruise line and give the name of the 'on-board marketer'. They may be in on the scam (in which case the cruise line will fire them) or they will stop recommending these jewellers. –  DJClayworth Jul 14 at 15:11
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Does it have a different description that the one you were supposed to get, or is it just valued at more than you paid for it? –  DJClayworth Jul 14 at 20:36
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2 Answers 2

This is definitely a scam. They suckered you into compromising yourself and are now blackmailing you for $3500. Most cons involve playing the subject's greed. Given what you already know they're doing, I would get the rings appraised locally because odds are they're actually glass or flawed and otherwise worthless. Why take someone for a small amount when you can take them for a large one? That will be how they're thinking.

It's not clear how compromised you actually are, you could talk to a lawyer about that. They're most unlikely to go through with their threat though (they don't want the police attention) and in any case, there isn't even that much proof of wrongdoing. The odds of the paperwork being in-order are low and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to even arrive. Does it have your signature? What turns up, if anything turns up, may not be genuine anyway, they're clearly already pretty fraudulent.

If you pay them anything at all, they'll probably come up with some new 'fee' that you need to pay or they'll go to customs etc. Once they sense weakness, expect them to keep digging until you eventually call their bluff and then they put you in the 'done' pile and look at the next victim.

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My thoughts exactly. They're running a scam. A scam in which they give you a more valuable diamond than what you paid for? Unlikely! –  200_success Jul 14 at 6:02
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You may need legal advice, just a few hints: According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customs_duties_in_the_United_States goods must be declared within 15 days of arrival, so you might be fine. I personally would think that if you aren't caught but declare things yourself as soon as possible, you might be fine, but as I said, get legal advice.

You will have to pay some import duty. I would declare the facts that I know (that I bought what was I thought was a $6,200 ring, paid $6,200, and they claim it is $9,700) and let the customs people decide.

The other problem is the $3,500. Again, you might want legal advice. I would base my decisions on the facts that

  1. You had no intention of buying a $9700 ring
  2. You left the shop with what you thought was a $6200 ring that you paid for
  3. It was their mistake
  4. Jewellery has high profit margins, so they will survive their loss
  5. They are trying to force you to buy goods that you don't want by unethical means (they advised you not to declare the ring at customs and used this to try to blackmail you)
  6. there's probably not much they can do
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Add 7. the ring may not be worth more than $300. Get it appraised locally. –  wallyk Jul 14 at 16:32
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