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Gold-by-the-inch fraud — Dude, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On August - 16 - 2007

As an ombudsman  I receive a lot of e-mails regarding consumer issues with cruise lines.  Recently, I received an e-mail from a distraught young man regarding a jewelry purchase he made onboard a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel.  The man purchased a gold bracelet for his girlfriend and presented it to her during her cruise.  She was happy, he got lucky….at least for a few weeks anyway.  

A few weeks after their return home the bracelet (ah-hem) turned her wrist green and started to discolor.   Young man got some ‘splainin’ to do.  See, he told the girlfriend it was an expensive gold bracelet, but it was really one of those gold-by-the-inch specials all big cruise lines do outside their jewelry stores.  Young man said he paid good money and was told it will never tarnish or discolor.  Not true.  These items do discolor when worn a lot and they don’t cost a lot of money — maybe $40.  The young man tried to get a refund from the cruise line and asked for my help.  I told him, dude, you were duped now go buy your gal pal a real gold bracelet….   I heard back from the young man and he sadly told me that he and his gal pal are no longer together. She has gone on to more ‘golden’ pastures.

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31 Responses to “Gold-by-the-inch fraud — Dude, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do”

  1. Joe Wiliams says:

    I have had my “Inch Of Gold” chains I bought on a cruise for a few years now with no problems. I reallt love how they made it any size i wanted! Anyway the address of the company (on the guarantee I got) if that guy wants to get his (girlfriends) chain replaced for free is:

    IOG Customer Service
    3975 Investment Lane
    West Palm Beach, FL 33404

  2. Ralph Pena says:

    Carnivals gold by the inch is a scam. I am between jobs and tried to cash in my neclace and bracelet. No gold content is what my jeweler said. He also said they intentiaonally sell the jewelry in “international waters” so there is no retribution with any law enforcement or regulatory organizations. The purchase is out of their juristdiction. They suck!!!

  3. I was on a cruise last November on the Caribbean Princess and bought several pieces of “gold by the inch” It was so much fun picking out and designing my own things!! The person selling the “gold by the inch” to me, made sure that I clearly understood that this wasn’t real gold that I was buying and handed me a slip of paper explaining the care of the metal and I knew right away that it wasn’t real because of the price, but it sure looks real and it still looks as beautiful today as it did when I purchased it!!! I wear one of the necklaces all the time and it’s become one of my
    “signature” pieces……lol. Trust me, I have a lot of gorgeous jewelry, but this product was worth every penny. It definitely looks and feels like the real deal.

  4. Patricia Spoerri says:

    I bought my “inches of gold” on the Coral Princess. The crew was careful to specify that it was 18K “goldwash” i.e. goldplated. The literature, along with a 15% coupon, in the cabin clearly explaines how these products are manufactured and provide the name and address of the headquarters in Palm Beach, Florida . I wear the bracelets all the time and experience no deterioration. I would sugest that the product not be exposed to bleach or harsh chemicals. If they look a little dull it’s usually from normal wear and exposure to dirt/dust, lotions/creams and sun screen. The same dullness happens to the real gold rings I wear all the time. A drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid will remove the grease and the pieces will sparkle anew.

  5. B boy says:

    My parents bought me a inch of gold chain when i went for my graduation and they paid like 150 for it and no one of my friends know the diff from mine and there 3 to 5000 chians that they have other then my friends that came with me and know its not real and mine never fades or anything and always cleans right up.

    P.S magnets slightly stick.

  6. Contessa says:

    Moral of the original story – don’t try to pass off “fake” as “real” – I’m not surprised she dumped him. As far as the other person trying to sell off his gold, did it ever occur to you that you’re paying 28 dollars for a gold bracelet that would cost at least 10 times that at a jewelry store?

    I’ve had my Inch of Gold bracelets for a number of years and wear them almost daily, with very little deterioration in the quality of finish.

  7. Peter H. says:

    I’ve bought a necklance and a bracelet and the seller told me clearly that they were real gold. I thought it was too cheap for being real gold, so i asked him: is it real gold? so the seller cut a chain and showed me it telling me: Look at “inside” it´s real gold… They sucks! it´s a good false jewelry… I would have bought it if they had told it was fake as they were still cheap, but they way how they act to persuade clients buy the products is so dishonest…

  8. Rose says:

    My co woker just went a cruise with carnival last week she came back with a gold necklace and bracelet she said she got a bracelet also for her grandmother. She said her and a friend were on the ship Triumph from New York to Canada saw a sign first 100 people gold 4 dollars an inch and some sales were 5bucks and inch getsome stuff free . She said thy told her they can sell the jewlery for that price because they are on international waters… Beautiful jewlery the weight makes it unbelievable for the price. Of course i want the gold so i came to look up the reviews about this gold rush sale on ships… I do not want a green arm. Thanks for all the reviews I will give it a few weeks ask her how is her gold doing …. I will inform her of the reviews I read. She told me on her way back from Cnada they did a sale on silver jewlery…

    I rather fly to the middle east Kuwait and get the real thing thn to be jipped.

  9. Melody says:

    I have purchased “inch of gold” jewelry on several cruises & love everything I’ve ever purchased. Each time I was told, in no uncertain terms, it’s not gold, it’s layers upon layers of gold plating that’s guaranteed to never fade or turn. Anyone who ends up having a problem with theirs should contact the IOG customer service center. I bought several things in March on our last RC cruise for my mom & myself & we love them. The price is right & they’re gorgeous. I wear my anklet all day every day, in the shower, the lake, the pool, you name it & it’s just as beautiful today as it was the day I bought it.

  10. Toria says:

    I bought inch of gold in the platinum plated. A bracelet and and ankle bracelet and a “gold” colored ankle bracelet. Have had the ankle bracelets for years and no way to tell them from real gold or silver. The silver colored bracelet was really nice and they cut it to fit my wrists which are large. I need like an eight and a half bracelet which is impossible to find. Unfortunately I lost my bracelet after a year or two. I wish I had inch of gold bracelet back!!! I have real gold but I’m glad I have not lost it!!!

  11. Paul says:

    I worked for a cruise line for a few months selling this stuff. I couldent even tell you what it actually is, but its not gold. We were told a number of things to say to customers just to get the to part with their $$$$, and the IOG take pays the biggest % commision for the shop staff in any week, thats why its pushed so hard.

    If people returned the stuff from a previous cruise, again, we just made up an excuse and replaced the chain.

    I agree it should be sold for what it is, but the fact is, the shops on the ships only cares about taking your $$$ and making money.

    Btw, the shops are not owned by the cruise lines, they are concessions

  12. Marion Lang says:

    I buy inch-of-gold jewelry on every cruise we go on….usually a necklace, a bracelet and an ankle bracelet, all matching. I have never had a problem with any of them. I’ve been very pleased with this product. I get lots of compliments on them and have fooled many people who believe it is real gold and that I have lots of jewelry! I do have some real gold jewelry, but I love wearing my inch-of-gold and would recommend it to anyone!

  13. Pretpark says:

    If you don’t have money, just tell her the truth. If she is a golddigger she will leave eventually anyway. I am not rich either, but not al women want rich guys (I hope).

    And I don’t think he should get a refund, it is his own problem that he lied to his girlfriend.

  14. J.D. says:

    Anyone who is buying these thinking they are real must be living under a rock. The business report of nearly every newscast or newspaper clearly announces what gold is selling for by the ounce on a daily basis. To think that what you are purchasing is solid gold jewelry defies the simplest logic. I purchased a 20″ IOG “gold” chain on a cruise a couple of years ago. I very clearly understood what I was buying. It was never portrayed as being solid gold. I received two additional “free” bracelets for my wife when I purchased it. Some deal where if you purchased 20″ or more of total length, you got two free bracelets. The chain is almost a perfect match for the real gold bracelet that my wife bought for me many years back. I have been wearing it nearly every day since purchase. Just recently, it seems to have lost some of it’s finish. It’s dull despite washing….it still looks gold. It did not turn my neck green but rather it gave me a slight rash. I contacted IOG via e-mail about the issue and received a very quick reply asking me to return it and a replacement would be sent. No run around! If I have a problem receiving the replacement, I’ll let you know. My wife still wears the two bracelets oncew and awhile and they still look to be in perfect condition. I am planning on going on another cruise next month and purchasing another IOG necklace of a different style. For the upfront cost which is a very small fraction of what you would pay for real gold, you receive an item that is covered by a lifetime warranty which they apparently really stand behind. So, if I need to mail the chain back for the cost of postage every few years to receive a free replacement……seems to me to be a darn good bargain and no one but me knows if it’s real or not! (During my last haircut, my stylist had to lift the chain to move it for the cut….he remarked about the weight and was surprised when I told him it wasn’t solid gold.) So, it’s not a case of buyer beware, it’s buyer get a clue!

  15. Cave says:

    I don’t recommend it mine change color from yellow to white i bought it one month ago…If I knew I would never bought all these chains,necklace…

  16. Lee says:

    I am interested in several chains to mount some stones (on) for gifts.
    Do you sell different levels of value or are they all the same. I have a few I have purchased onboard cruises and have found them to lose their surface coating in short times. This would be embarrassing should I give them as gifts.

    Please advise what is available with thicker coatings of good metal Since the stones I intend to mount on them would be for keepsakes. Pure gold is too expensive right now. 10 Karat would work. Lee

  17. shirley says:

    I PURCHASED OVER EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS OF GOLD BY THE INCH AND THREE WEEKS LATER MINDS STARTED TO TURN A SILVER COLOR. WHEN I WAS ABOARD THIS SHIP WE WERE IN INTERNATIONAL WATER AND THEY EXPLAIN THATS WHY THE GOLD WAS SO CHEAP. WHEN I ASK THIS MAN FOUR OR FIVE TIMES WAS THIS REAL OR SOLID EIGHTEEN K. GOLD HE SAY YES I ASK HIM WAS HE SURE HE SAID YES BECAUSE I DIDNT BELEIVE GOLD COULD BE SO CHEAP BUT THEY EXPLAIN IT WAS A SALE BECAUSE OF INTERNATIONAL WATER THERE WERE NO TAXES AND OUT IN INTERNATIONAL WATER THEY CAN SALE IT CHEAP. TO ME IT IS A SCAM AND LIES TO GET YOUR MONEY BECAUSE THEY USE THE ONE ABOUT INTERNATIONAL WATER TO FOOL PEOPLE. AND MOST PEOPLE KNOW THEY ARE NOT STUPID OR DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO INTERNATIONAL WATER THERE ARE NO LAWS. AND TO SAY THIS IF YOU ARE NEW ON A CRUISE AND YOU KNOW THE MONEY MOST CRUISE LINE TAKE IN YOU JUST DONT THINK THEY TO USE FRAUD ON PEOPLE TO GET THERE MONEY. NOW I DONT WANT TO TRUST THEM ANYMORE FOR ANYTHING.

  18. Louis Gabriel says:

    Hello,

    The only scam is the purchaser who told everyone in the world that the jewerly was 18 or 24 Karat solid gold. It is in fact gold, but it is a thin layer and will last a long time as long as you keep it clean especially in the hot weather. If it tarnises, just send it back to the manfacturer as stated by the retailer when you purchased it. Stop whinning about lying about being taken for a ride when you knew what it was when you made the purchase.

    Have a great day!

  19. Norwegian says:

    About your cruse incident I have to add some comments. here in norway gold plated braclets cost like 40bucks. But what happed to you was probobly the big rom gypsy problem it is in norway. Their selling bad plated and even polished bronze as 18 and 24k.

  20. Sue says:

    I bought Inch of gold, 2 braclets, 1 ankle, I wash my hands all the time, the braclet gets wet all the time, no problems. Everyone at work loves them, I didn’t let on they were not real. No where did it say this was real gold… I met others on my cruise that have bought theres years before, and it still looks great! I am so impressed I wish I had more. I wish you could buy it off the internet. I wonder where you can find a seller in Alabama. There is no way this company tried to fool us, and the choices were endless. I highly recommend this Inch of Gold company.

  21. Greg says:

    For anyone that says plated gold isn’t “REAL”, in most cases, you are wrong. If the company is honest, like mine is, they will tell you that it’s REAL gold but not SOLID gold. Anyone who thinks they can get a solid gold 24 inch necklace for $100 is a fool. Most manufacturers have brass and a touch of nickel under the gold. I have been doing this for 14 years, have done random testing at labs to make sure short cuts weren’t taken by the plating company, and I can tell you at least that what WE sell is REAL gold over brass. I can’t speak for the others, however, but if they are honest, they will tell you straight up that it’s not solid gold. Now there are fraud companies out there that use gold TONE, which is NOT real gold AT ALL. It will look super dull and have virtually no shine to it. Watch what you buy and from whom.

  22. Leon Allen says:

    I brought some from QM2. Looked nice, and very showy.
    Bak home, I broke the clasp while pulling the necklace over my head one day. I took it to the jeweler to get a new link.
    The jeweler (who looked very experienced) asked rhetorically: “Oh, this is 9 carat gold.” I said “no”. The jeweler said “Oh, it’s gold plated then.” I said “No”. I felt ‘smug’ that I fooled an experienced jeweler, and am happy to wear this gold anywhere – even if subjected to the harshest scruteny. Some info I did find out follows:

    WHAT IS THIS CHAIN MADE OF?

    Inch of Gold chain is gold layered, which has been cobalt driven, electrolytically applied and protected with ACRYSEAL. The chain is sold with a FREE UNCONDITIONAL LIFETIME GUARANTEE.

    WHAT IS ACRYSEAL

    Inch of Gold’s exclusive gold protectant which is electrolytically applied, ensuring long lasting wearability.

    WHAT IS COBALT DRIVEN?

    A solution is mixed of gold (60%) and cobalt (40% – and cobalt is extremely hard), then the solution is electrolytically driven into the chain, making it permanently bonded.

    WHAT METAL IS IT OVER?

    A thin rod of semi-precious jeweler’s metals (brass, copper and nickel).

  23. Jeff Sanders says:

    I have never has a problem with any Inch Of Gold I have ever purchased.

  24. Barbara Bourdeau says:

    I bought my first piece of Gold by the Inch in 1999. It is an anklet. Although I do not wear it every day year round, I have enjoyed it for over 10 summer seasons. There was full disclosure at time of purchase that it was not “real gold” so I have never worn it while swimming in the ocean or a pool …. have only cleaned it in chemicals specifically made for costume jewelry.

    Think the scam was made by purchaser who tried to palm it off as “real gold” to girlfriend. What kind of an idiot whould think that he could purchase even 10 carat gold for $1, $2, $4 (etc) an inch.

    I have just returned from a NCL cruise where I purchased a $3.00 per inch Silver By The Inch anklet. Again, it was made perfectly clear this was not sterling silver. I wore it every day …. even when swimming in the pool and with the dolphins in Tortola. It has not tarnished or turned green.

    I was so pleased with my plain silver anklet, my friend bought me one with gem stones for dressy occassions.

  25. Smilez says:

    You can just return it, for fresh new one and its guaranteed for life.

    I have had mine for 3 years and it only changed twice and I just return it without a receipt.

    http://www.starboardcruise.com/PriceGuarantee_New.htm

    IOG Customer Service
    3975 Investment Lane
    West Palm Beach, FL 33404 USA

    E-Mail: ioginc@aol.com
    Phone: 561-842-3103
    Toll Free: 1- 800-854-3434
    Fax: 561-842-5572

  26. Robin says:

    Hi, my wife and partners are owners of ” Inch of Gold” a retail online site http://www.inchofgold.ca that sells and services the product worldwide! They are the flagship retail store based in Canada, located at 111 Main St East, Merrickville, Ontario.

    They have a full inventory of the “Inch of Gold” line in the store, and do a large retail business. Most of the comments on this site are accurate, it is an 18k layered gold and silver chain, as the description above. And most clients that purchase are return customers! There are a very few, like in any business, that are not satisfied with the product, but most are very happy!, and if a chain breaks or discolors for any reason, they give a 100% guarantee! just email the site at http://www.inchofgold.ca

    As for some of the negative posts, well if your looking for 100% gold at $1,900 an ounce, this is not the site or product for you. But if you are looking for an affordable alternative, that looks great, feels good, and makes you happy!, This product fits the bill!

  27. Chris.C says:

    Hello everyone! I was just searching for my moms site (hidden treasures inch of gold) and I seem to have stumbled upon this chat/forum. I Would like to throw my ten cents at this discussion.

    My mother recently bought one of the oldest stores in the inch of gold chain (located in Merrickville, Ontario); So we have had the pleasure of learning a lot about this business and approach to consumerism.

    First i’d like to say that NO “Inch of Gold” is NOT a scam. It is what it is, a business. We get customizable lengths of gold and silver chain from our IoG supplier in the states and sell them out of the store.

    The gold is 18 Karate not 24 which most people assume and classify as “not real gold”. It is a different type and different style; You can tell 24 karate gold apart easily..because it bends as easily as play-dough. The reason it is called “18 karate” is because the 18 out of the 24 metal alloys are gold, the other 5 are various coppers and metal alloys that strengthen and add durability to the chain, hence why they are tough and eventually fade.

    The chains, as we see it are a niche. Some people love them and the idea and come back time and again whereas others find them less “interesting”. I can tell you right now that the chains will fade, eventually because nothing lasts forever. I have seen customers come in with chains they bought 3 years ago that are still in perfect condition save a few scratches and others I have seen turn completely silver in a month. Luckily we offer a 100% guaranteed and free repair(s) for every chain we make, which in my opinion is better then a $5000 piece of jewelry because our chains are a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the cost and mimics it in almost every aspect and can be completely replaced every time it is broken, scratched or worn!

  28. Tom Gallagher says:

    Hay Dud,
    You have to be pretty stupid to buy gold chain at $3.00 an inch and think is is solid gold. Hello!!!!

  29. adrienne says:

    Think of it as buying costume jewelry at Walmart…..it is inexpensive COSTUME jewelry…”gold colored”….you get what you pay for. I have several pieces I wear only on cruises…I do NOT expect it to last,…but so far so good.

  30. Susan says:

    Yeah, I didn’t really think the $30 starfish anklet I bought was 100% gold, but it’s gold enough to cover any nickel which I’m very allergic to, so that’s good enough for me.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] items as a gift be upfront that it’s not real gold. As one reader found out the hard way when passing off a by-the-inch bracelet to his fiancé as the real thing. “It turned her wrist green and I no longer have a […]


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