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I will try and answer as many questions as i can in one post. I know i am in a no win situation where i will be criticised if i do post and also if i don't. However, i do appreciate that everyone has their own opinions and even though all my posts in the past have always back fired, i want to prove that we are not a faceless corporate business and that we still deeply care about everyones opinion.

If you remember we purchased Gems TV back in June 2010. We purchased the company through our Coloured Rocks group structure. i hope this clears up the post that our structure "has something to hide". We have absolutely nothing to hide, we are very open and straight forward family owned company that is UK registered, UK owned and pays UK tax. This is something that we are proud of and something that very few of our competitors can claim.

At the time we purchased Gems TV it was just about to go into liquidation, in fact the company had lost over £20 million in the UK in just two years. As a family we took a massive risk and it will be many, many years before we see a return. We purchased the company and saved the jobs of some two hundred employees and friends and at the time i did openly state on air that we would have to make many changes in order to turn the business around. Within just a few months, through the hard work of the entire team, we managed to turn the business into a small monthly profit.

However, with the continued increase in the cost of precious metals and the recent rise in VAT, plus the fact that our cost of broadcasting has recently escalated we have had to make even more changes.

One of the common themes of many posts seems to be "is it still an auction". As far as we are concerned the answer is yes. Our producers are targeted at making sales. We DO NOT measure their performance based on what percentage margin they make. The reason for this is that we are very different to most companies. If for example we were to purchase jewellery from a middleman, we would benefit from something called SOR (Sale Or Return). In this scenario we would crash to the price we wanted, sell what we could and send back what did not sell. However, as we do not purchase in this way and therefore we don't have the luxury of SOR. This means we have to sell ALL of our jewellery. Even if we have to sell an item of jewellery bellow our cost of manufacturing, then this is what we have to do to move the stock through. With the new method nothing has changed, we still need to sell all of our designs. The producer chooses a quantity to place in the auction and commits to offering that many pieces at the final closing price, they have to sell jewellery, other wise the airtime costs will not get covered. At the beginning of the auction, neither the producer or the presenter have any idea of what price they will have to drop to make sales.

One post says this is simply a method to put up prices. This is not the case. We know we can't put our prices up, as our customers would simply stop buying, so all we can do is hold more auctions and sell more quantity quicker. This method will allow us to sell more pieces, even if our percentage margin is reduced, the increased turnover will help cover our higher costs. With the increased cost of broadcasting and the new platforms that we are about to broadcast on, we could not continue to expand if auctions take too long. Therefore the new method allows to make sure we hold more auctions in every hour.

I will make no excuse for some of the negative comments made about certain recent experiences with our call centre and the relevant managers are currently looking into these.Whilst i admit we are not perfect as an organisation, the entire team have worked very hard since last June to cope with the quick growth of the combined companies. We have had to recruit over one hundred new members to our team in order to cope with handling and shipping over 100,000 pieces of jewellery every month and whilst we do train our team, it does take time for some of them to understand our culture and ways of getting things done.

As always, I am happy to respond to any emails directly, please email me [email protected].
Great to see you posting Steve.

So is it just an auction now and not a falling price auction?

I flicked gems for a while but must admit found it boring and that is coming from a person who used to have 3/4 of your stock when rocks was invented.

Hope you do manage to win your old faithful customers back.
Hi Steve,

If you are going to have reserve prices, then surely that should be stated. I realise that if they are stated then there's no point at all in having an "auction" as people will just wait for that so, basically, what's the point in having an auction at all? Why not just be straight up and sell at fixed prices, surely "limited stocks" will bring 'em in along with "special offers", etc? It's worked well enough for QVC for however many years. If you look at the Butler & Wilson shows they are always sell-outs (or at least last time I looked) as are many other jewellery shows, fine or costume. Are you avoiding this as the rules are lighter for auctions?

Jewellery is a luxury/fun item, but not all those who buy have bottomless pockets, and a lot of us watch because we're shopping on behalf of others who don't have the time (as well as for ourselves) but also for an element of entertainment. Being screamed at by presenters is not entertaining. I spend more time watching with no sound than I do with sound, and am therefore very easily distracted so may as well not have the channel on really. I just wish I'd given Scott the silent treatment this morning.

What have you done with our lovely Alan - calm, polite and funny?

Argey xxxxx
(Lost, found and lost again after Scott's rudeness this morning)
Steve, the buyers who made you successful, have stopped buying, and it would be an idea for you to address the reasoning behind this rather than relying on new buyers to boost the company finances. It is loyal, long-term customers who keep a company ticking over, since they are the ones who keep coming back to deal with a company they believe in. Can you not see how disillusioned so many of us are, and can you not recognise the reasons for this?
At one time, your company could do no wrong. The CS was second to none, and the customers felt valued and a part of the success of an expanding company, which seemed to have admirable ethics and a customer based mentality.
It seems to many of us that the perceived ethics and methodology, along with the ability to listen to customers, have been lost along the way, and that is very upsetting to people who have spent a great deal of money and contributed greatly to the success of your business.
You constantly say that you listen to what the customers have to say, and that feedback is important to you, and yet the evidence just does not back this up. Many of us now feel patronised and disenfranchised by the methods used to sell, and the non-response to serious issues. We are also fed up with the lack of quality control, which leads to numerous items being sent back, and then we have to wait up to 30 days for a refund, when the issue should never have arisen in the first place if suitable quality control was in place.
With the exception of Alan, who is a natural broadcaster, with a warm and engaging personality, your salespeople are now unwatchable. They scream and shout, overact, spout misleading and irrelevant information, and treat us as if we were a bunch of retarded infants. If you want your business to really flourish longterm, you need to urgently address this, as there is nothing worse in the world of tv shopping than having to listen to screeching unpleasant voices wittering inanity and innacurate nonsense. As an intelligent and professional woman, I refuse to buy jewellery from a company which treats me as some kind of imbecile who has little or no knowledge of gems and is, therefore, ripe for commercial exploitation.
I would think that it would be an idea to base telly selling on the most successful shopping channel out there, which is obviously QVC. They haven't lasted so long by having banshees presenting their products, and turning potential customers away in droves. I cannot understand why Alan is not the standard by which all your presenters are judged, since he is an absolute natural for the job, and, quite frankly, the only one many of us can endure viewing.

As to your asseverating that you still run genuine auctions, you know that that is simply not the case. One only needs to view Gems for a few hours to see that certain items fall to the same price continually. For instance, the necklaces which always went to £19 no doubt now sell at £19.99. The viewers are not stupid and they recognise patterns perhaps much more frequently than you realise. I would also say that many of us are disenchanted with the use of gimmicky selling techniques, such as the "historic auctions" of hundreds of pieces, supposedly falling to unprecedented prices, but in actuality falling to the price they would go to in whatever number "auction" they appeared. Then there is the huge bugbear of the "clearance specials" and sales which are anything but. Treat your customers like intelligent people and they will respond in kind. Don't fob us off with gimmicks and insults to our intelligence, and then maybe some level of respect for your company will return.
Sort out the quality control, CS, and the refund times, and then perhaps we will be able to believe that as long term customers we matter; otherwise, it is simply empty rhetoric and will fall on increasingly deaf ears.

I applaud you for buying back GemsTV and saving, as you say, many jobs. I realise that you're in a luxury market and the price of gold, VAT hike etc., can't be easy to deal with. Keeping overheads down must be exceptionally difficult.

Looking at the recent criticism it has less perhaps to do with how the company is run but more that the messages from GemsTV don't correlate to reality, for example:

1. Insisting that GemsTV still has a falling auction format is really farcical. A true falling auction keeps falling even if that means it's a lost leader for you. I understand this may not be realistic in today's market BUT a bit of honesty to viewers by saying "this is a final price auction" or something might be more accurate.

2. Presenters responding on TV to criticism is wholly unprofessional. The thread about Scott makes painful reading.

3. The poor state of affairs of how long it takes to refund money puts people off buying - I recently had to wait over 3 weeks for a piece that had arrived broken. Up to a month (whether that's what your T&Cs are or not), isn't acceptable to most people. Whilst it won't be a priority for GemsTV, it actually is for customers and therefore SHOULD be a priority because if you keep customers happy, they come back!

4. The majority of your call centre staff are good people. However, because you've grown so quickly, there is a much higher percentage of staff who (a) give poor advice (b) don't go the extra mile to help and (c) are nonchalent at best. I have to say though that you have some absolute stars - and when customers deal with them and they pull out the stops, customers will come back.

5. Please please please please listen to the criticism about presenters. The shouting and over-enthusiam tipping into "hard sales" is incredibly off-putting. I really can't watch and I never thought I'd say that. Also, the majority of your customers are women and we appreciate good grooming including nice clean nails. We don't want to see boobs, false tan amalgamating around nail beds and twitching, fidgeting etc.

6. I would really take issue with the comparisons shown by presenters. I love Angeline, she has always been one of my favourites, but last week I watched for about half an hour and during that she showed a multi sapphire bracelet set in silver. She showed comparisons and one of those was with TJC and an orange sapphire bracelet. I can't recall how much the GemsTV bracelet dropped to (£85 or so I believe). The TJC bracelet when I looked had (a) more silver (b) almost double the carat weight in sapphires. The comparison was a nonsense and so were some of the others. It's not credible when GemsTV do this and I was really upset by it. The price should speak for itself. Gold comparisons, product comparisons are a farce and look like market stall tactics.

7. I always welcome posts by you and John BUT as you say it's most definitely a double edged sword. Should you post? I don't know because you always seem to have to answer questions and that puts you on the defensive. I know you've always wanted to be close to your customers but I think this may be a step too far. Of course it's a judgement call but when I see JackB@GemsTV introduced, all I could think was that it was a form of censoring. I realise that may have been far from the truth but it's how it could be perceived.

I have always been a loyal supporter of GemsTV (most definitely back in the good old days) and I do hope that you manage to rekindle some of that glory. I realise it takes time and you obviously listen to criticism - now please show us that not only do you listen but you act.

With kindest regards, Meeshoo x
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picking up on a few more points

Auctions closing at the same price:
This does happen some times, but often the prices are normally very different. For example, our "Lowest Life Time Price Pledge" is claimed by 100's people every day and these are caused by different closing prices.

We am to keep our refund process under 10 days, at our worse we got to 22 days and today we are back at 11 days.

Reserve Prices:
We do not have reserves, looking at todays figures, we had one auction close at -22% margin, can anyone claim a loss is a reserve figure?

He has not disappeared but is currently working through the night to maximise our Freeview Airtime.

Presenters Shouting:
I will address this with them in our next training. Whilst we are talking about missing presenters both Vicki and Adina are on maternity leave.

I agree they are a shinning example in our industry and we all can learn from them.

Quality Issues
As with all handmade and handcrafted jewellery from time to time we will experience the occasional problem when we try and develop new concepts. We are constantly investing in new technology to test finish pieces. Our QC department in both India and the UK are working hard at continually improving our jewellery.

I am afraid i will not be around to post for the rest of the weekend as i am off to spend some time with my children and then preparing for my show on Gems TV tomorrow, before i go off to the Far East again at the end of next week for a few weeks to track down more gemstones and then to visit our community projects which we are funding through your on going support. I really appreciate everyones comments and assure you we are trying our best.


Hi Steve, if you have managed to turn gems tv around into making a small profit with the falling price auction format, then why have you changed the way auctions work? I know you want to get through more items, but surly if there was less in the quantity then you could fit more items in?

I know sometimes the price didn’t always continue to drop, but when gems tv first launched auctions did take longer, it’s the same with any new channel and change in format.

Falling price auctions are what made gems tv successful in the early days, and I feel as a customer, with gems tv being the only falling price auction channel, you have taken away the one unique and original selling point of the company. Gems tv was different, now i feel it's like all the other jewellery channels.
What I would like to know Steve (when you get back) is why, when a presenter says something wrong why doesn't the people in the gallery tell them to retract? For example Vicky N saying imagine holding in your hand a necklace of 1000 carats when it was actually 900 carats. That is a big difference or yesterday I think Adriana said it was a gold bracelet when it was stirling silver. Fair dos people say the wrong thing especially on live tv but someone should be live proof reading for want of a better phrase.

Please stop the presenters from always saying this is the best x they have ever seen. All the time! For example I heard someone call AA Tanzinite as the top quality. That is just not true. You could say this is the best AA but for me top is AAA or AAAA depending on the channel.

Please stop them from saying words like oh we shouldn't be selling at this price and rhetoric like that. Just seems like trick selling. Like when I babysit and I tell the kids they can stay up 10 mins later than Mum said but that was the time she said all along.

I think you have done amazing things. Been your customer since days. Thank you for saving Gems.TV


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thank you Steve for sticking your head above the parapet and posting on here again as we certainly haven't been mincing our words of late.
It is reassuring to read that our opinions are still valued and as I've posted in a couple of threads recently, I feel that simple changes would create a vast improvement very quickly.
My first request would be for a more open and honest approach to sales. As can be seen from the responses on this forum, comparisons with other companies' pieces and gold weights really annoy many viewers, as does the phrase 'giving it away', which clearly you are not. These sales techniques might draw in new customers, but as has already been pointed out elsewhere, surely it's the old repeat customers who reflect the true state of affairs? It should also now be made very clear that whilst you still run auctions, they are no longer falling auctions and to claim they are is frankly misleading. As I understand it, you can now pull the auction at any point, no matter how many are left and we can then still buy at the closing price for the next hour. I have no idea how to do this on the web - will there be a 'missed auction' button ala TJC?
Secondly, a real difference to the screaming banshee approach to sales. A few months back we were told that it would be brought up in a training session, but absolutely nothing has changed. A fm's comment that the current mantra is 'T""s out and don't forget to shout' is spot on and I really do now only watch with the sound muted, a ridiculous situation. Although the first part of that phrase is not, of course, relevant to your male presenters, the second part unfortunately is. Please make Alan your model presenter (and bring him back to daytime programming!).
My other real gripe is the shocking time it takes for refunds, but that's already been covered, so I'll just thank you again for braving the forum once more and hope to see some real changes in the near future.
Saw Lee Clarke say a howler today. He said a loose gemstone was an amazing item of jewellery. Er doesn't jewellery have to have some sort of metal around it ie a ring of earring?


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My mind is still damaging itself trying to imagine a rising auction with a celing which would be the equivalent of a falling auction with a mattress. Auctioneer: "bids above £99.99 will not be accepted" - er, ah don' fink so! xxxxxxxx

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