Taking a Caribbean Cruise Holiday? Beware of Jewelry Scams

If you are new to cruising, one of the first things you will notice onboard is “personal shopper,” who hosts shopping presentations the day before arriving in ports of call. The onboard shopper will inform you that the Caribbean offers the best prices on jewelry, rings, and watches.


What many people do not know is the onboard shopper does not work directly for the cruise line. Rather, they are an independent consultant, who represents several of the “preferred” and “recommended” jewelry stores in the Caribbean. During the presentations, the onboard shopper will entice you to visit the stores they represent by offering free items, like a charm bracelet, charms, or earrings.


Once in the store, the sales people will use various sales tactics, among which the most popular one, is telling you that you will not find the piece of jewelry or ring for a better price in any other port. The prices on fine jewelry, wedding rings, engagement rings, and other pieces are often reflective of current market prices worldwide.


What this means is that the prices you see in the Caribbean are often comparable to the prices you can find at home at a local jewelry and engagement ring store in Toronto. Where some people are misled is in the conversion rate of currencies, so the price seems less because it is in the local currency.


Another tactic they sometimes use is attempting to get you to “upgrade” that freebie in exchange for another item of greater value, but at a so-called “discount” price. Unfortunately, many people are caught up in the excitement of getting something for free from a jewelry store, so they tend to make impulsive decisions, only to discover later, they really did not get much of a “deal” as they were led to believe.


Aside from these tactics, there are also numerous jewelry scams you need to be aware of ahead of time including:


  • Selling the item for less than the “appraised” value. Appraisals in the Caribbean tend to be over inflated above their real market values here in Canada. You are led to believe you are purchasing the item for less than it is worth, only to arrive home, take it to a local jewelry store and discover you paid more for the item than it is worth.


  • Offering guarantees on jewelry. These guarantees are hard to enforce after returning home. If there is a problem with the piece, it is difficult to get it resolved and could require a return trip to the Caribbean and the store where you purchased the item.


  • Telling you there is no tax on the piece and it is duty-free. In many cases, the taxes are already included in the sales price, so it appears like there is no additional tax. In addition, you could be required to pay import taxes once you arrive back home in Canada, too.



Cruising can be a fun, exciting, and relaxing holiday when you remember these tactics and purchase your watches, jewelry, and wedding and engagement rings at home in Toronto from Serli & Siroan. We invite you to visit our store or contact us at 416-944-3863 to discover our newest arrivals and customization services.