He paid $13 for $13,000 Cartier earrings and then the jeweler noticed

Rogelio Villarreal said he didn’t know anything about French jeweler Cartier when the ad appeared on his Instagram feed last December. He clicked on it and perused pages of handbags, watches, necklaces, and other high-end items listed for thousands of dollars each.

Villarreal, who lives in Mexico, then noticed a pair of earrings. It was a thin, diamond-lined 18k rose gold studded cuff that cost just 237 Mexican pesos, or about $13.

He bought two pairs. The price of the earrings was then adjusted on Cartier’s website to cost him 237,000 pesos, or more than $13,000.

The purchase sparked a months-long battle between the surgical resident from the northern state of Tamaulipas and the famous brand, followed by hundreds of social media users, with some cheering and others jeered, and even Mexican senators weighed in on the controversy.

“When I saw the price of the necklace, I was surprised and said, ‘Someday,’ until I saw the earrings,” said Villarreal, 27. wrote on social media. “I swear I’m breaking out in a cold sweat.”

Within a week of the purchase, Villarreal said Cartier began a series of attempts to cancel the order, first saying the earrings were unavailable.

When Mr. Villarreal refused to cancel the order, he began receiving phone calls from company representatives.

They said, “The price for the earrings I ordered was not right, so I wanted to cancel the purchase, and because it was a nuisance, I would give it as a gift,” he said.

As “compensation,” the company offered Villarreal a free bottle of Cartier Cuvée champagne and Cartier leather goods, “as a gesture from the Cartier family,” according to an email sent to Villarreal.

He refused the gift and decided to fight back using the contact form on the company’s website. Mexican Federal Consumer Protection Law It states that product suppliers can be sued for “failure to comply with the terms and conditions” of purchasing products and services.

Cartier did not respond to several requests for comment.

Mr. Villarreal found it. terms of service A sale on Cartier’s website in Mexico states that any disputes may be brought to the Federal Consumer Prosecutor’s Office for “mediation.”

So he did just that. He filed a complaint with the Matamoros branch of the Federal Consumer Protection Agency.

The agency has a role similar to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and has a history of intervening on behalf of consumers when retailers change list prices after a sale.

The Consumer Affairs Agency called on consumers to participate in February. Class action lawsuit against Sony for canceling orders The company was selling PlayStation 5 consoles at a 30 percent discount on its Mexican website.

Because consumer protection laws are so well known in Mexico, people use social media to ensure that posts drawing attention to incorrect prices on Amazon and other retailer websites are widely seen and shared. I am. According to El Economistaa Mexico City newspaper covering economic news.

Villarreal said the Consumer Affairs Agency summoned Cartier to arbitrate, and the government made several attempts to broker an agreement. Officials said they cannot share information about unsolved cases with anyone outside of the group.

Jorge López Zozaya, a general counsel in Mexico City, said that if the consumer protection agency finds a company negligent, it can impose fines and other penalties, but it will force companies to comply with the prices they offer. He said he could not. If an agreement cannot be reached, either party can ask a judge to resolve the grievance.

Zozaya said Mexican law does not extend protections to consumers if the listed price is clearly wrong.

“If this case had gone to court, it probably would have been resolved in Cartier’s favor,” Zozaya said.

However, the issue seemed to have ceased. Ahead of a Consumer Affairs Agency arbitration hearing next week, Villarreal said on Monday that he had received notice from Cartier that his order would be fulfilled. Cartier or its distributor could not be reached to confirm the agreement.

“The war is over,” he wrote in english in a social media post.

While some users praised his tenacity in trying to force Cartier to comply with the terms of purchase, others, including a Mexican senator, said he abused consumer protection systems for his own benefit. he accused.

“It is wrong to use mistakes to the detriment of others.” Lily Tellez wrotethe Sonora state senator added, “even if the law supports it.”

Villarreal said he’s glad the ordeal appears to be over, but the legal process will continue until the earrings arrive.

Elda Cantu I contributed a report from Mexico City.

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