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Diamond Exchange - closed/open
 









 

Diamond Exchange website goes live again

In what is likely to cause a furore among stung consumers, the Diamond Exchange website has resumed operation – despite there being some confusion surrounding the name

The website of liquidated online retailer Diamond Exchange has begun operating again under the old trading banner, with no mention of the new owners even though the ‘Company Announcements’ page has a one line statement, “Diamond Exchange is under new management”. 

The ‘About Us’ page is blank and the ‘Contact’ page has no company details, address or ABN or provides any details about the new management team. 

The website’s resurrection under the old trading banner is likely to infuriate customers of the liquidated diamond retailer, some of whom are still waiting to find out if they will recoup any of the money they lost last year in their dealings with Diamond Exchange.

One customer emailed Jeweller, saying, “The Diamond Exchange website is back up and running. How can this be? I was ripped off by these people, and am still waiting to hear if I'm going to get back any of the money that they took from me.”

When contacted, Diamond Exchange liquidator Con Kokkinos of insolvency firm Worrells expressed surprise when told that the website was functioning as Diamond Exchange.

He confirmed that some of the company’s assets had been sold, including the website, but he said, “It should not be operating as Diamond Exchange Ltd” because the business had not been sold, only some of the assets. 

Rumours began circulating late last week that Diamond Exchange had been sold to bricks-and-mortar retailer Thomas Jewellers, or at least people associated with Thomas Jewellers. 

Kokkinos would not confirm the purchaser’s identity, but said that he hoped to circulate a detailed report to creditors within the next two to three months.

A call made to the 1300 phone number listed on the Diamond Exchange website was answered by a person who identified himself as Jeremy Thomas. Asked if Thomas Jewellers had purchased the assets of Diamond Exchange, Thomas refused to comment or answer any questions. 

Thomas Jewellers operates seven Victorian and two New South Wales stores and also owns the iconic Melbourne jeweller, Paul Bram, established in 1927.  

Not only is the website operating as Diamondexchange.com.au, a second call to the phone number was met with a recorded message stating, “Thank you for calling The Diamond Exchange…”

A subsequent email from Sarah Peters, supervisor at Worrells, explained, “The assets sold included the domain name registration www.diamondexchange.com.au and trademark. The company [Worrells] does not hold any rights with respect to the trading name “Diamond Exchange” (as distinct from company name) which, subject to availability, may be reserved by an eligible applicant under the relevant State and Territory laws governing the registration of business names.

“As a result the purchaser is entitled to operate the website and trade under the assumed name of ‘Diamond Exchange’ provided it does not hold itself out as “Diamond Exchange Limited” or makes reference to the ACN or ABN of the company,” Peters added.

However, questions remain as to whether it’s a new business or a continuation of the former business given that Diamondexchange.com.au’s new owners have maintained the same look and feel of the former website. Indicating it’s a continuation, the website states, “Diamond Exchange has been trading in Australia since 2000. Some of our shareholders and directors have been involved in the industry for over 50 years.”

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Despite the fact that Diamond Exchange Ltd collapsed owing $2.5 million, the resurrected site still offers consumers the following advice: “Is it safe to buy diamonds online? Absolutely, yes. 'The Diamond Exchange' is one of Australia's most respected diamond traders. All the processes involved in internet purchasing have been carefully streamlined to ensure the safety of the buyer.”

The site also featured the JAA logo. JAA chief executive Ian Hadassin said he received a call from a JAA member notifying him that the Diamond Exchange website was fully operational under its old banner. Hadassin noticed the JAA logo on the website, despite having revoked Diamond Exchange's JAA membership last year. 

"I called the 1300 number listed on the website and requested that the JAA logo be removed straightaway. Although one of the parties operating the new website is a member of the JAA, this new business operating the Diamond Exchange website was not. The logo was subsequently removed in an hour," Hadassin said.

A check of member records show that Thomas Jewellers is not a JAA member but Paul Bram Jewellers is. 

At the time of publication, Diamondexchange.com.au was still using the GAA logo too. GAA federal secretary Katherine Kovacs said she had just become aware of the matter and she would be writing to the new operators advising them that they have no authority to use the GAA logo. 

“We were aware that it was on Diamondexchange.com.au during the liquidation, but when the website was taken offline the issue was no longer relevant. Now that it is being used again, they will most certainly be getting a letter from us,” Kovacs said.

Other industry logos feature on the site including HRD, the National Council of Jewellery Valuers and the New York Diamond Dealers Club. At the time of publication, Jeweller had not been able to confirm whether the new owner had been approved to feature these logos.

In another unusual matter, the site lists a number of diamond-associated city names including New York, Tel Aviv, Antwerp and Mumbai at the bottom of the home page, which would normally indicate affiliated international offices. However, clicking on the New York name simply brings up a skyline picture of New York.

Indeed, the ‘Customer Views’ page of the site even has complimentary comments from many happy Diamond Exchange customers, something that might also infuriate the consumers that lost money when the company was liquidated. 

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Wednesday, 17 July, 2019 08:17am
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