What is a Restocking Fee? What is Horsekeeping’s Policy?

What is a RESTOCKING FEE?

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The restocking fee is the amount that is charged by the seller for the acceptance of any merchandise that is being returned for a refund. (Black’s Law Dictionary)

Are retail sellers in the United States required by law to accept returns?

No. In the United States there is no requirement or law that says that sellers must accept returns.

In addition, it is perfectly legal, acceptable, and customary for a retailer that DOES accept returns to charge a restocking fee.

The retailer might not charge a restocking fee if the customer is exchanging the item for something else but might charge a restocking fee if the customer wants a cash refund.

In some locations and instances in the US, it is required that a seller conspicuously post or require that a buyer read the return policies before the buyer can place an order.

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Why do retailers charge a restocking fee?

Retailers charge a restocking fee when someone returns an item and wants a cash refund for several reasons – all related to the seller trying to recover part of the costs of a sale that has been reversed.

1. When someone places and pays for an order, the seller pays up to 5% to have that payment processed by a credit card processor or PayPal.

2. When the seller issues a refund to a buyer, the seller pays up to 5% for the credit card refund transaction. (Pay Pal transactions do not charge a fee for a refund.)

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3. Often a seller provides free shipping or low shipping to customers but when an item is returned, the seller is out the extra shipping and handling that may have been provided.

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4. When the item is returned, the seller must determine whether the item is still salable as new and unused.  The item must be prepared for resale and put back up for sale. In the case of internet sales, this means relisting the item. The time and handling costs for this are part of what the seller is trying to recoup.

5. If an returned item is determined to be unsalable as new and unused, then it must be sold as used, usually at a reduced price.

SALE_PRICE_LABEL_36. While the item is in transit between seller and buyer and back to the seller, the item is off the market and unable to be sold. This is especially relevant with one-of-a-kind items such as art and hand made jewelry.

What is a customary restocking fee?

If a retailer accepts returns and the customer receives a return authorization from the seller, the restocking fees usually range from 10-30% depending on the circumstances.

If a customer does not follow a retailer’s return policies, there may be no refund at all.

To give you an idea of how various internet business use restocking fees:

amazonAmazon sellers “can charge a restocking fee up to 20% of the item price if the buyer changes mind due to buyer remorse or price difference.”

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ebay-logo-redesign-1eBay sellers “can charge a restocking fee on returns as long as the policy is stated in the listing.” No limits are set.
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What about Horsekeeping?
CaptureHorsekeeping has a policy page that is posted on the website. Every buyer must check that they have read and accept the policies before they can complete a purchase.
Our return policy is YES – ((except for a short list of non-returnable items)) – we DO accept returns within 7 days of your receipt of an item. If you don’t like something or it doesn’t fit, you can return it for its FULL ITEM VALUE in an exchange for something of equal or greater value  – the exchange must take place within one week from our receipt of the return.
However, if you are not going to exchange, but want a cash refund, then the moderate restocking fee of 15% will be deducted from your refund if you paid by credit card. If you paid by PayPal, a flat fee of $10 will be charged for restocking.
This restocking fee covers:
  • our credit card processing fee to accept your initial payment
  • our credit card processing fee to issue your credit refund
  • the excess shipping and handling fees that we did not charge you (we charge low shipping or provide free shipping and often pay for the balance of the shipping, the insurance, the signature confirmation and other packaging charges out of our own pocket)
  • our handling of the returned item to get it ready for sale again
  • possible lowering of the price of the item (we often put returned items as used in the Pawn Shop or Bargain Barn)
  • our webmaster’s fee to relist the item.
Some people say that the costs associated with returns should just be absorbed by the seller as they are just the cost of doing business.
Well, it wouldn’t take too many returns for a seller to feel the need to raise prices across the board on items or shipping and handling.
Here at horsekeeping, we would rather keep our item prices fair and charge reasonable shipping and handling fees.  It wouldn’t make sense for us to penalize the majority of our customers by raising prices or fees to cover the costs of returns by a few. Instead, we feel the responsible approach is to have the very few customers that want to return things pay the appropriate restocking fees.
Returns are costly for a seller. Read my previous post which has some interesting examples:

How Returns Affect Buyers and Sellers – Two Case Studies

paula-best-sigTo view our full list of articles or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

http://www.horsekeeping.com/native-american-jewelry-artifacts.htm

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htm

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping

http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn/pawnshop-vin.htm

If you send us unsolicited jewelry, it could get tossed

Every day we get numerous queries from people who want to sell their Native American Jewelry. The buying selling process is outlined in the article. Do We Buy Used Native American Jewelry?

Most often it involves 5-20 pieces but we have purchased 1-1600 piece collections. We only purchase authentic Native American made items. There is usually a back and forth of 5 or 6 emails where I look at photos and the seller’s asking price and then if the lot is something we think we might purchase, the seller sends the items to us for a formal appraisal and offer.

Well in the last little while we have received some unusual unsolicited packages. And honestly, it makes me sad for the people who sent them, so in hopes of avoiding future mishaps like this, I’m sharing a few stories.

Package Number 1:

Seven pounds of costume jewelry, or what is sometimes called “junk jewelry” arrived from someone we had never had any contact with.  It was all the stuff that is in the big tubs at the thrift stores. This photo is not of the actual stuff but gives you an idea of the tangled mixture that arrived.

junk jewelryInside the package was a long, hand written letter saying she knew it was really valuable and if we wanted to make her an offer etc…….well…….we didn’t even open the large zip lock bags as we weren’t interested in one single piece. We could tell just looking at the items through the bags, no Native American items, nothing sterling silver, just a jumble of silver tone stuff, lots of fake pearl bead type things – you know. So we wrote the woman a letter snail mail telling her she sent the package to us without prior contact with us or authorization and that it would now cost her $15.95 to have us ship the stuff back to her, otherwise it would be donated to Goodwill. After a number of weeks, she sent us the money to ship the items back. We put the box as it was with all its contents inside another box and returned it to her. Then four months later she contacted us asking where her Navajo Pearls were, that we didn’t return them. Wow. Hello??

Package Number 2:

A package from an unknown person was sent without any prior communication. It had 2 ounces of jewelry in it that would have cost $1.60 to send First Class but it was sent Priority, costing the sender about $6.

None of the items were Native American made and none were sterling silver. Just a cast metal alloy of some kind and a block turquoise bead – sorta Native American “style” items.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo again we wrote snail mail, that to have the items returned, she would have to send us a money order or the items would be discarded or donated.

No reply, so after 2 months, the items were tossed.  Sad because the sender could have given the items to a child or friend who might have enjoyed them. And saved herself the $6 it cost her to ship the unsolicited package to us.

Package Number 3

This one takes the cake and is what got me to write this article.

Again someone sent us an item without contacting us first.

They mailed a ring to us in a regular letter envelope !! Well you can see what happened to the ring when it went through the letter cancelling machine. (I used to work at the Post Office so I know first hand what happens to letters.) The stone in the ring is cracked in half and the ring is smashed flat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe note provided us with the bank account number and routing for the deposit she was hoping we would make for the ring.

Again, about all I can say is “Hello?”. And it is kind of sad, because once again, the person could have given the ring to someone for a gift, now it is trash.

Moral of the stories. Don’t send unsolicited jewelry to us because if you do, it could get tossed or donated.

You probably already knew that but I had to write this article so I could link to it on our selling information page.

Paula

How to determine the value of your item using eBay SOLD feature

Every day I receive numerous queries asking me “What is my bracelet (concho belt, pendant, squash blossom necklace etc,) worth?”

To get a good idea of the retail market value of a Native American jewelry item, use the eBay SOLD feature. Here is how.

Log onto ebay.com

in the search bar type the description of the item – I’ve typed in “concho belts” for this example

1Click “Search”.

Then when the search shows up, look in the left hand column and under Categories, You’ll see Jewelry and Watches and under that Ethnic, Regional and Tribal. Click that

2Then when THAT search shows up, look again in the left column and click on Native American

3That search shows you all concho belts that are currently for sale that are in the Native American category. But you want to know what has SOLD so look in the upper right hand corner and you’ll see “Advanced”. Click on that.

4You’ll be taken to this page – check the box that says “Sold listings” and then click “Search”

5You have now drilled down to a list of all Native American concho belts that have sold in the last 90 days or so. In this example there are 447. The green price indicates the price the belt sold for. If it is crossed out and it says Best offer accepted, that means the seller accepted a price lower than the one shown. Scroll through the pages of sold items to find those most like yours. It is best to find 5-10 that are similar and average the prices paid for the item. This will give you an idea of the retail market value of your item.

6Extra tip: When you see a belt like yours and you click on it, you will likely be taken to a page that looks like this

7Click on the phrase “See original listing” and it will take you to a page with more photos and information.

8You’ll see for this belt there were 40 bids with a final price of $78, you can see more photos and specs.

Best of luck with your research !!

Paula

What is Retail? What is Wholesale? What is Keystone?

Recently someone offered to sell us a collection of used jewelry they inherited. They did a great job of photographing the items and making a detailed list of the items with the retail value based on similar items that have recently sold on the internet (both eBay and our store). The seller’s total retail value for the group was within a few dollars of what I valued it at – approximately $3800. But then they asked us to pay them $3400 for the items. What?

What

I thought at first it was a typo in our email correspondence but then I realized that if a person has never been in business before, they might not know how the retail-wholesale business works.

In the case of used jewelry, for example, when someone has 15 items they want to sell and they offer the group to a store owner to buy……

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  1. It is the seller that wants to sell.
  2. That merchant is not looking specifically for those 15 items.
  3. The merchant might see 2-3 items that he could sell relatively quickly but the rest would likely sit for quite a while, often years, waiting for the right buyer.
  4. The merchant would have to store and market the items (repair, clean, photograph, research, describe and list) and take payment for the items via credit card or PayPal (a substantial cost these days).
  5. It is the seller that wants to sell.

Therefore, the merchant needs to be able to purchase the lot at a price where he or she can make a profit.

I thought it might be helpful to describe how Retail and Wholesale work.

The Retail price is the price a consumer – that is you and I as shoppers – pay for something.

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We pay Retail price when we buy everything from gas to zip lock bags to Navajo bracelets.

The Wholesale price is the price that a merchant pays to either a manufacturer, a Native American artist, a wholesale dealer, or a private seller for goods that the merchant then resells at retail price in a store. It might be in a brick and mortar store like Piggly Wiggly Grocery or at an internet store like horsekeeping.com.

To qualify for wholesale pricing usually a merchant must have a retail resale license and buy in quantity.

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When Piggly Wiggly buys zip lock bags, they buy lots of bags, store the bags, sell some bags, lose some bags to damage, theft, and other factors. Piggy Wiggly has to have a place to store items, pays for electricity and heat, employees, insurance and countless other costs yet still be able to offer you the Zip Lock bags at a reasonable retail price. So Piggly Wiggly buys at a wholesale price in order to make a profit on the bags and stay in business.

How much they pay, or the wholesale discount they receive will vary depending on many factors but in general, wholesale discounts range from 40-70%. A 40% discount is a bare minimum a store owner would receive off the retail price. If the retail price is $100 and the merchant receives a 40% discount, he would pay $60 ($100- $40). But in some cases the seller (the manufacturer of the Zip Locks or a dealer) is so motivated to move their product that they might give as high as a 70% discount if the store owner, for example, buys a whole lot of bags and pays cash.

So if the retail price of a case of Zip Locks is $100, the store owner might pay a manufacturer or a dealer anywhere from $30 to $60 per case.

When a store owner buys an item at $10 and sells it for $20, it is called “keystoning” or doubling the price.

So bringing this home to us here at Horsekeeping LLC, today we looked at a group of 23 items, we saw:

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1 watch cuff that needed a watch

2 necklaces that needed repair

2 rings that appeared to be made in Mexico

1 necklace that appeared to be made in Thailand.

So that left 17 items that appeared to be Native American made and saleable as is.

Of those 17 items, there were 5 pair of common inexpensive earrings and two small rings and one small wire bracelet, all of which take a lot of time to prepare and list for a small amount of profit.

So there were only 9 items that that really got our interest and those items would represent the lions share of our wholesale offer to the seller.

I hope this helps to explain the relationship between wholesale and retail.

Related articles

Tips for Selling Native American Jewelry

What is my Squash Blossom Necklace Worth?

Do We Buy Native American Jewelry?

Paula

New Feature on eBay will help you Value your Native American Jewelry Quicker !!

If you’ve read “Paula What is My Squash Blossom Necklace Worth” you know that in that article, I suggest you research what similar necklaces have sold for recently on eBay.

Well it just got easier. NOW, when you do your search and click Advanced, you can choose to only see “Sold Listings”

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That will propagate a list of only items that have SOLD, for example, I just did a search of Native American concho belts and the list showed all the recent sales.

sold concho beltsBefore our only choice was “Completed Listings” and we had to wade through pages of items that closed but didn’t sell to find the few that did sell.

Now, all SOLD items are gathered together for you. A great improvement !!

This will make it much easier for you to get an idea of what your Native American jewelry item is worth.

Paula

The 1970s Native American Jewelry Boom

Did you ever wonder why there are so many Native American jewelry items from the late 1960s and early 1970s?

Those were the times of peace and love, alternative dress, hippies, movie stars going wild and a big publicity boost for Native American jewelry from Arizona Highways magazine and other publications.

Although many celebrities began wearing Native American jewelry in the late 60s and early 70s, perhaps two of the most influential were Jim Morrison of the Doors and Cher.

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Jim Morrison of The Doors

During the late 1960s when the Doors were at the height of their fame, Jim Morrison bought a concho belt from Wayne and Irma Bailey when they were traveling in California.  Joe H. Quintana (1915-1991), a Cochiti Pueblo master silversmith was the maker of this famous belt.  Quintana likely made the belt in 1966 or 1967 when he worked for Irma Bailey’s Indian Art & Pawn on the Old Town Plaza in Albuquerque.

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Cher wearing a squash blossom necklace and other turquoise jewelry

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The Sonny and Cher Show

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Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian of Armenian, Irish, German, English and Cherokee descent) has used Native American jewelry and accents throughout her career from 1965 and has had a dramatic influence on fashion. Her album Half Breed was release in 1973.

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As a result of such publicity, everyone wanted some of the action !!

One of the most popular items made in the 1970s were squash blossom necklaces. There was a huge demand for them. It is also one of the most common vintage items offered to us today. The retail price of a squash blossom necklace during the early 1970s boom was the same or higher than the same item today. And often they were full size, heavy and ornate, something that doesn’t sell well today because a good number of people would rather wear than collect Native American jewelry.

During the boom some beautiful items were made. However, to cash in on the demand, some shops and silversmiths cranked out the items, sometimes with inferior workmanship and maybe the work wasn’t even done by Native American artists.

One thing that wasn’t skimped on was the sterling silver. Silver was only  $1.29 per ounce when Jim Morrison’s belt was made in 1966. Today silver is trading at $27.27 per ounce.  Read more about silver prices here. How Silver Price Affects the Value of Native American Jewelry

Back in the late 1960s there was ample US mined turquoise around to fill needs but as demand rose, Persian turquoise began to be imported from Iran.  In the 1970s a one carat U.S. turquoise stone would be considered expensive at $1. Today some of the more sought-after U.S. turquoise can cost up to $100 per carat.

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Because of the great demand, the 1970s experienced the first BIG influx of imported copies and reproductions which gave some people the idea that Native American jewelry was chintzy and poorly made.

The boom crashed about the mid seventies when the fashion cycle started changing and the silver price started rising, hitting an artificially inflated high near $50 per ounce in the late seventies.

Tips for Selling Your Native American Jewelry

In these tough economic times, we are receiving increasingly more offers to buy your Native American jewelry. While we like to help and respond to every query, we can’t buy it all !! So I thought I’d outline some options for turning your jewelry into cash.

To prevent disappointment, follow these tips before you price and offer your item for sale:

If it is a vintage piece, don’t clean it with silver polish before you show it for sale.

Examine it carefully for any signs of damage: missing stones, cracked stones, bent silver.

Know what you have. If you are going to advertise a pieces as sterling silver and turquoise, be sure it is sterling silver and made with real turquoise stones.

Do your homework on hallmarks and artists. Be prepared to supply receipts of purchase, certificates of authenticity or other verification if you are selling highly collectible and more expensive pieces.

Once you think you know what you have, you need to establish value.

To get an idea of what your jewelry will bring on the market, read “What is my Squash Blossom Necklace Worth”

Once you’ve established your asking price, write up an honest, detailed description with as much factual information as you have including metal, stones, size, weight, all dimensions, hallmarks, condition and anything else to help the buyer know what you have. 

Now there are a number of sales avenues you can follow.

  1.  Private sale – Here is where you would be most likely to get the highest price for your item because you are selling directly to someone with no middle man. A private sale might take place by word of mouth or via a newspaper ad (either print or online).

  2.  Yard sale – If you or a friend or family member is having a yard sale, it might be a good place to offer your items for sale. Few associated selling costs and usually quick, cash transactions.

  3.  Local flea market – Some flea markets offer to sell things on consignment or they offer booths where you can sell them. But since many large markets are designed to have unattended booths, security is one of the main issues I see with this approach because the flea markets are often huge and don’t have staff monitoring the spaces. Flea Markets are great for that butter churn that nobody could sneak out under their T shirt but if you leave small jewelry items out on a table, they could disappear. If you lock them in a cabinet, the customer would have to find a market employee to open the cabinet in order to see the item.  So not the best in my opinion.

  4.  Pawn Shop – When you sell Native American jewelry to a pawn shop, plan on being offered scrap value. Read about how scrap value is calculated in “What is my scrap sterling silver jewelry worth?” 

  5.  Auction – There aren’t many auctions specifically devoted to Native American jewelry around the country and those that are, would be located in the southwest and probably would be comprised of major, more valuable pieces. Auction commissions run about 30% of the final value and there might be other fees tacked on such as a 10% buyer’s fee, a reserve fee, a withdrawal fee, shipping fees and others. Auctions are usually not suitable for the average Native American jewelry – only the highly collectible items and at targeted auctions. So a bracelet that brings $500 at auction will likely net you $250 to $350.

  6.  On line auction – Many auction houses hold the sale live at a particular location but also accept bids via internet, telephone and other means.  With that said, there are also auctions that are solely held on line. eBay is a subtype of that which I will cover next, but there are a number of other on line auctions that would be suitable venues for selling Native American jewelry. I’d suggest typing “Native American jewelry auction” in your favorite search engine and browse through the results.  Commissions and fees will be similar to those of conventional auctions. You will be responsible for providing information on the piece and shipping costs.

  7.  eBay is a self-serve auction format that is going on all the time. You take your own photographs, write up the item descriptions, set your asking price, buy-it-now price, reserve, and shipping costs. You are responsible for your claims, so if you say something is sterling silver, it must be, or the item could be returned to you. Once you get your account set up and listing ready, you basically wait to see if anyone is interested. If your item sells, you will pay eBay a 10% commission plus other fees including a listing fee and 2.9% fee for accepting payment through PayPal. So figure you’ll end up with 85% of the final price.  So that $500 bracelet will net you $425 IF it sells. Be sure you read the article I refer to above where I suggest using eBay as a way to help you establish the market value of your item. If you list an item at a realistic price, it will sell more quickly.  So if you see that very similar bracelets have sold between $300-425 on eBay and you ask $500 for yours, you might end up re-listing it several times, each time incurring more listing fees and not taking in any money. If you ask $300, it might sell quickly but then you’d only net $255 on that sale and you might wish you had asked more. There is usually a sweet spot, maybe $375 where you might have to wait a little longer but when you get your 85%, it will be $319, maybe a little closer to what you feel you can accept financially and emotionally to part with your piece. To get a close estimate as to what it will cost you to sell you item on eBay, you can use their fee calculator.

 8. Sell at wholesale to a retail store.  If you have inherited a large number of items or have been a collector yourself and need to sell a number of items, it might be most time and cost effective to sell the lot to a retail store, such as ours at www.horsekeeping.com .  We have purchased jewelry in lots from 2 pieces to over 1000 pieces. We pay wholesale prices and pay immediately on an agreement on price. To read about our buying process you can read Do We Buy Native American Jewelry?

 

When people send us a lot, we appraise it and make an offer. 99% of the customers are very satisfied with our offer. On a few occasions, the customer says they would rather keep it than sell it. A few say they want to try to get more for their collection…….but then a month or so later, contact us again and say they will gladly take our offer. I’m thinking that the time and money needed to successfully market the items proved to be greater than they estimated.

I hope that this helps you find some avenues to sell your Native American jewelry when you need to, but if you don’t have to sell it, wear it !!