Byline: Kris Olson
Dayton Ogden says he plans on doing his annual holiday shopping at Shreve, Crump & Low, as usual.
But until recently, he and his wife were singing a different tune, alleging that one of the nation's oldest jewelry stores had perpetrated a "textbook 'bait and switch' scheme" against them by misrepresenting the quality of the 7.5-carat diamond ring they had bought for $355,000 back in July.
That had led the Ogdens, through their attorney, Nixon Peabody partner Jason C. Kravitz, to send a Chapter 93A demand letter to Shreve and, when they found the company's response inadequate, file suit in Suffolk Superior Court.
That suit has now been settled, though neither party is disclosing the terms of the settlement.
The dispute began when Dayton and Laura Ogden went to Shreve's famed flagship store on Newbury Street in Boston in search of a "truly special piece of jewelry" to mark their wedding anniversary and Laura's 40th birthday, according to their complaint.
They chose Shreve due to its reputation as "one of Boston's premier purveyors of fine jewelry," the complaint adds.
After Laura asked to see the "best piece" in the store, a salesperson trotted out the 7.51-carat Asscher cut diamond ring. The main stone had a color grade of "F" at the desirable colorless end of the D-through-Z scale and "VS1" clarity. That rating indicated that, to the extent the diamond had "inclusions," or flaws, they could be seen only by an expert using 10 times magnification.
Shreve's salesperson said he had never seen a diamond quite like it in his 25 years in the business, according to the Ogdens.
Based on such representations, the Ogdens agreed to buy the ring, and they left the store not just with the ring but with a sales slip and an appraisal, signed by the salesperson, assuring them of the diamond's "VS1" clarity rating.
However, a few weeks later, they received in the mail a report from the Gemological Institute of America, forwarded along by Shreve. The Ogdens say they were shocked to see on the report, dated Jan. 30, 2017, that the stone was in fact a "VS2."
A diamond may be downgraded to "VS2" due to a slight increase in the number or size of inclusions or their more conspicuous location, according to jewelry merchants' websites. However, the flaws of VS2 diamonds are still essentially invisible to the naked eye.
The Ogdens texted the salesperson, who attributed the issue to a "typo" in Shreve's database, they say.
"If in fact it was a typo...