If I brought a ring to a jeweler to have a stone set, can the jeweler charge for an additional repair that was been done without my approval?

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If I brought a ring to a jeweler to have a stone set, can the jeweler charge for an additional repair that was been done without my approval?

I am having a ring set with a new stone and have a written agreement with the total cost. Along the way the jeweler apparently found a flaw in the ring, drilled a hole and filled with new gold to repair it, and is now requesting payment for the repair. I was not notified of this extra work beforehand and it is outside of our written agreement and outside of my budget, Can I still get my ring returned to me with some assurance of the jeweler not holding for ransom?

Asked on May 4, 2011 under General Practice, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The jewler--or any vendor, contractor, store, repair person, etc.--cannot do work without the item's owner's approval. That approval may sometimes be given orally or verbally, and may also be given casually--e.g. "just take care of it" or "fix anything you find"--but approval is still required. Work done without approval is generally at the vendor, etc.'s risk; the risk of nonpayment.

You may wish to consider, however, (1) was the work necessary or at least helpful; (2) was it done well; and (3) is the price fair. If so, you may find it better to pay (even if you negotiate the price a bit) rather than fight. The reason is, if the jewler tries to claim that he, for example, had called you and you told him over the phone to go ahead, you could end up in court fighting over the money and to get your ring back; even if you win, this could cost you significantly more (not to mention being deprived of your ring for a time) than simply paying.


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