Action 9 investigates risky diamond deals on cruises

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Two families said their cruise vacations were ruined by shopping nightmares at stores promoted by the cruise lines.

The stores promised amazing deals on diamonds and jewels with a 30-day guarantee. However, after discovering the families lost thousands, and no one would help, they turned to Action 9's Todd Ulrich.

A fifth anniversary cruise was so special, Adam Weinstein bought his wife a diamond ring.

Onboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the couple went to its shopping lecture, where Diamonds International was highly recommended. Weinstein said he heard, "Your purchase is guaranteed. We back these people, they are the most reputable."

At a Diamond's International in Belize, he bought a .9 carat diamond and paid $5,500. Back home, the couple said they had it appraised for insurance coverage.

“I was completely devastated. My entire 5-year anniversary ruined, and I’m still dealing with it,” said Weinstein.

Juanita Addeo, a master gemologist appraiser, found the diamond was flawed and its value was $3,000.

“It was a badly cut diamond. If this gentleman ever wanted to sell this diamond, he would have a really tough time,” said Addeo.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Diamonds International has a complaint pattern involving defective jewelry and low appraisals.

“Now, I'm really upset. So much so, now I feel like I could cry,” said Sylvia Jones.

She found out her alexandrite pendant from Diamonds International appraised for less than half of what she paid, and it's not the authentic stone.

“It's not in the ballpark,” said Addeo.

Jones followed Carnival Cruise lines shopping recommendations.

“You trust somebody, then they kick the rug right out from under you,” said Jones.

Like most cruise lines, Carnival offers a shopping program, where stores pay fees to be recommended to passengers. In turn, customers are told there’s a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

But Jones and Weinstein turned to Action 9, claiming the store didn't honor the policy.

After Ulrich contacted the jewelry chain, it said appraisals may not show true value, but it reviewed both complaints and already gave Jones a full refund.

“I had that gut feeling that something just doesn't feel right,” said Jones.

It's still reviewing Weinstein's claim, and Diamonds International said it has millions of satisfied customers and few returns.

The company apologized for any misunderstanding.

Diamonds International sent Action 9 a written response:

“Diamonds International issues refunds and exchanges pursuant to our established policy.  Both of these guests' claims either have been reviewed or are in the process of being reviewed pursuant to that policy. Appraisals can vary from appraiser to appraiser, as the art of appraising itself is a very subjective business and does not always reflect the true market value of the purchased item.

Diamonds International has millions of satisfied guests who shop with us yearly, and the company has an insignificant amount of returns and customer issues. That being said, we stand behind our quality products and are happy to assist any individual guest with their purchases. In addition, we apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding that may have occurred.”