Our Canadian James Allen Engagement Ring Experience - Pretty In Bronze

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Our Canadian James Allen Engagement Ring Experience


I originally wasn’t planning on writing on my blog about our experience purchasing my engagement ring (we were only going to leave website reviews), but so much has happened that I’ve never read about that I wanted to provide the information I wish I had before starting this journey. Prepare yourself for a very long post.

James Allen is pretty famous for engagement rings. They offer a huge selection of rings of all metal types (including rose gold) and even offer customization and men’s rings. We went with them because we wanted to provide our own stone since we wanted a moissanite instead of a diamond. In mid 2018, one of my friends got engaged, and her now husband used James Allen for the ring, and provided his own diamond. They had nothing but great things to say, so we really dove into our research on the company. Most of the reviews were extremely positive, but what made us decide to go with James Allen is their warranty, free shipping to Canada, and most importantly; the ability for us to provide our own stone.


Before Ordering

The first time we contacted James Allen was to confirm if they would work with a moissanite for my engagement ring. Their website mentioned other stones, like sapphire (which is lower on the Mohs hardness scale), but not moissanite. We used their live chat and they told us that there would be no problem since it’s the second hardest stone next to a diamond. We were ecstatic to hear this. I mentioned in the live chat that we lived in Canada, and they confirmed that shipping would be free without a problem, and that they could email me a shipping label as soon as we had the stone to start the order process. My Moissanite Engagement Ring blog post is now up, and it includes our thoughts on buying a loose moissanite stone from Fire & Brilliance. After the stone arrived, we immediately started the order with James Allen.

Ordering My Ring

The second we had the moissanite, we started up a live chat with James Allen, informing them that we wanted to purchase an engagement ring. We had planned on waiting for a sale in October, but they happened to have a sale that same day that was supposed to last 24 hours only, so we jumped on it (only to learn that it had been extended for an additional two days). We provided all of our information, but when it came to providing our own stone, we were told that we could not ship it from within Canada. This was not mentioned to us before, nor is it anywhere on their website. We had looked this up in the past, but I guess all of the reviews were by Americans. I asked my friend, but it turns out her husband’s company shipped the diamond for him inside of the US. Ok. No big deal. We live less than two hours away from the border, so we decided we’d make a trip.

The shipping label was supposed to cost us $30 USD, but the customer service agent I dealt with that night quoted us $50 USD, which is insane since two previous agents told us it was $30, including what the website says. The agent was pretty rude overall in their responses. After deciding to ship it ourselves with our own insurance (ended up costing under $30 CAD so we saved big time there), we started the order process. There were several difficulties on the agents end (like spelling my name wrong, even though it was typed right in front of them), but finally after several tries the information was correct. We were then told that they couldn’t ship our ring to Canada once the ring was completed because we had provided our own stone. What? This was news to us. We knew for a fact that my friend’s engagement ring was shipped directly to her mother-in-law’s house in Canada, with their customer provided stone and also from the first agent we spoke to. The agent told us that we must have been lied to, and given incorrect information by previous agents, but that it could not be done, nor had it ever been done before.

We had to sign up for a mail forwarding service that would receive our ring in the US after it was complete, and we would then have to pay for additional shipping and insurance from that service to us. The agent confirmed that this would be fine so I provided my payment information. We were told that we would receive our information package (shipping address, instructions, etc.) in under 24 hours once the payment was confirmed, which was perfect since that would mean we’d have the details by Friday evening, and we’d be driving to the US Saturday morning.

Guess what never showed up? I was frantic, so I started another live chat to inquire about what was happening. It turns out that the rude customer service agent (I swear they had it out for me) never processed my order. They simply ended to conversation, and did nothing. The new agent confirmed that the old agent did not do what they were supposed to, and processed my order. I immediately was charged on my credit card (it was on pending) so I knew it had gone through this time. They assured me that someone would be in Saturday morning at 4 or 5 AM EST to send me my shipping information since I told them that I would cancel my order with them if I didn’t have my info by 9AM when we were leaving for the border. They also reminded me that because I live in Canada, that my ring could not be shipped to me directly, so I explained the mail forwarding service we were going to use. No problem again. The next morning I woke up to the email so we printed the information out and set off to the United States.

After Sending off the Ring / Making the Ring

Sending the ring off was easy (USPS customer service in Lewiston, NY was great!). The only issue was that it arrived a few days late due to the hurricane. When it was finally marked as delivered, I immediately started a live chat with James Allen to inquire about the next steps.

James Allen confirmed that my payment was received in full and that the ring was being worked on. Online, the tracker skipped forward to ‘Quality Assurance’ by the end of that day, which means it had been mounted and inspected. The agent said that the moissanite was inspected and all was good, but it was currently being mounted. When I finally received my email a few days later saying that my ring was being worked on, the email said that when the stone arrived in the mail, that it would require my signature. This is an issue because I couldn’t be in Delaware at the mail forwarding company to sign for the stone, so I started yet another live chat.

This live chat individual told me that I could not use a mail forwarding service (even though at least two previous agents said it would be fine). I explained that there was no other way since I live in Canada, and they once again confirmed that the ring could not be sent to Canada. The agent told me to email their customer service, stating that I give my consent to have the ring sent to the mail forwarding service, without my signature, so that’s what I did. At this point I was in full on panic mode. Thankfully, in a few hours I received a response explaining that for that to be possible, I would have to be refunded the price of the ring, and pay again through wire transfer (which makes no sense), but the email also said that for everything to move forward easily, I could change my shipping address to my home address in Canada, and that way I could sign for the ring.

I know what you’re thinking. “But Amy, they told you several times that it was impossible for them to ship your engagement ring directly to Canada because you provided your own stone?” Yes, that was what I was told, and I even had the chat transcripts in my email to prove it. I wasted no time and called James Allen directly (I was given the wrong phone number in the email and had to look it up myself). Thankfully there was no hold time and I was able to speak to someone at James Allen’s head office. I explained the situation, and they assured me that James Allen can 100% ship my engagement ring to Canada for free, without any issue, even with me providing my own stone. The lady asked me to forward her the chat transcripts and even read them out loud, including the part that said “Since you are providing your own stone, the ring can only be delivered to a US address” and was immediately shocked at it. She apologized several times and changed my shipping address right away. She blamed the issue on improper training as the agents I heard the wrong information from were all new, and the original one who said Canada was fine had the proper training. No idea how this misinformation could’ve possibly happened, but I was just happy to save some money by not having to use the mail forwarding service.

The estimated shipping date was October 3rd, over a week away from my ring being in production. I also let the lady on the phone know that the website was displaying my ring as being in the quality assurance phase, when it really was in production, and she fixed that for me as well and was embarrassed that so much incorrect information had been provided to me. After the phone call, I was finally able to relax a bit, and let my friend know. She was shocked because her customer experience was nothing but amazing, however she never used their online chat. So if you buy anything from James Allen, especially if you’re located outside of the US and providing your own stone, do not waste your time with the online chat. Tell them the proper address, make sure you can go to the US to have it shipped, and then call them if you have any issues.

The only other thing that stressed me out is that my payment to James Allen that was once pending disappeared completely off of my online bank statement, and the money had returned like magic. When I checked in to see my ring, James Allen confirmed that payment had been received in full. I stressed out about that quite a bit for almost two weeks, but finally two days before the estimated shipping date the charge returned to my credit card, this time complete.


Even though my estimated shipping date was October 3rd, my ring entered the quality assurance phase on October 2nd and shipped out that same night. I have a theory that they were quick about it since my experience had been negative so far and I urged them to have it to me in Canada before my birthday since at the time we were planning a trip and I thought Steven might have wanted to use that as an opportunity to propose. This was a nice surprise since it meant I’d be receiving it on time for sure. FedEx is amazing and told me that it should be delivered on October 3rd by 5 PM. Of course I’d have to pay taxes upon receiving the stone, or prior, but that’s to be expected. Due to NAFTA, duties were not required (thank God because that would’ve been very expensive). I wasn’t at home when they attempted delivery the first time (nor was anyone else), but the next day thankfully someone was at home and signed the FedEx box. I paid the taxes through the phone the night before so it would be less of a hassle. When I got home that night, the ring was there and even though I wasn’t going to look at it, I made sure Steven had inspected it and verified that everything was looking perfect and nothing was missing.

The Ring

The first time I saw the completed ring was when Steven proposed! I was super excited and we both cried during the proposal. Once it was over, I couldn’t stop staring at my ring. Despite the terrible customer service from the online chat (The lady on the phone was wonderful at least), whoever had worked on my ring did an amazing job. Their name is actually on one of the cards I received for Quality Assurance so at least I know that information and that they’re great. If you want to learn about the ring, check out this short blog post where I tell you everything about it in case you’re interested in a similar style, the stone, and anything else.

All in all I’m very happy with my completed ring. If the wedding bands from James Allen were in our budget, we’d definitely go with them, but those are above what we’d like to spend. I do still recommend James Allen, but if you live in Canada please know that you can 100% provide your own stone as long as you ship it from within the United States, and that they WILL ship it directly to your house in Canada without any extra costs. If you want to avoid a headache, just call James Allen rather than dealing with their online chat. And if you do deal with an online representative, make sure to ask them for a transcript of your conversation and don’t end the chat until you see it in your email’s inbox.

That’s it for our experience ordering my engagement ring with James Allen! I’ve pasted the review I left on their website below (which they’ve seen and shared the picture of my ring on social media, but not the review of course). I shared the same picture myself so hopefully mine will get more recognition since it links back to this blog!

Review I left on James Allen: We live in Canada and wanted to provide our own stone to go along with one of the James Allen settings. We went over the border to ship it to them (much more affordable to ship it yourself with insurance than pay the company to provide a label), and sent it off. The process was very quick and the ring turned out beautiful and perfect! My issue was the customer service. The 24hr live chat was very inconsistent and provided the wrong information. I was told by several different representatives that the ring could not be shipped back to my Canadian address once completed since I provided my own stone. This is not true! I called James Allen and they assured me that the representatives were wrong, and even read the chat logs out loud and were shocked to see the wrong information. This had us very stressed out because I thought I wouldn't be able to receive my ring, or would have to pay much more and jump through hoops to receive it. Definitely call them if you have questions to make sure you are getting the correct information. I highly recommend the quality of the rings, especially if you are providing your own stone! Also, wait for the 25% off sales since they are frequent.


See you soon!