(WSVN) - She bought an 18-carat gold bracelet from a well-known organization, or so she thought. Turns out it was fake, and she couldn’t get her money back. That’s why she turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Two things about Cosma.

Cosma Gonzalez: “I love jewelry. Since I was very young, I used to dream that I found like a treasure box.”

Another thing, as much as she likes jewelry, is how much she dislikes the stock market.

Cosma Gonzalez: “Since I don’t know how to deal with the stock market, I don’t understand it, so I buy gold.”

While on the internet, she found a website run by the Salvation Army that auctions everything from books to bags to jewelry.

Cosma Gonzalez: “So I saw that bracelet, entered the auction, and the bracelet reads in the advertising of 18 karat gold. They check to make sure it’s gold. That’s what they said.”

When Cosma did her research, she found a bracelet that looks like one from Cartier which sells for $6,900, so you can imagine how she felt when she got this one from the Salvation Army for $1,059.

Cosma Gonzalez: “So I was very happy when I saw it, and so I thought I was getting a good deal.”

When the bracelet arrived in July she put it in a safe. Five months later, she took it out to wear.

Cosma Gonzalez: “Put it up for Christmas, and a few weeks later, I noticed that it was getting discolored.”

Cosma took it to a jeweler to be appraised.

Bad news. That bracelet she paid $1,059 was fake and worth $30, because..

Cosma Gonzalez: “They told me it wasn’t gold at all. It was stainless steel. I was stunned. I wasn’t. I said, ‘No, this is not real.’”

Cosma immediately called the people who run the Salvation Army website to ask for a refund or replacement.

Cosma Gonzalez: “And I was more stunned when I called and they refused to help.”

Their reason? The Salvation Army said Cosma missed their 14-day deadline for returns..

Cosma Gonzalez: “I never thought that they would do something like that, for something that was fake.”

Well, Howard, Cosma says she was told she missed the 14-day return deadline. Does that mean she is stuck with a fake bracelet?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “I don’t think so. Yes, they have a 14-day policy, but it’s irrelevant in this case, because what they sold was not what they claimed it would be. Legally, they are required to return her money.”

We contacted the Salvation Army. Each person we talked to referred us to someone else. That happened nine times.

Finally, we got an email, falling back on the 14-day deadline to return the item, and the commander added, “We disclose that items are not authenticated and are sold as is.”

But Help Me Howard could not find the clause that says items are not authenticated.

Cosma Gonzalez: “So I was very disappointed.”

Not only disappointed, but surprised that she feels ripped off by a well-respected corporation.

Cosma Gonzalez: “Salvation Army is a serious entity that you don’t expect for them to do something like that, especially if they get everything for free.”

I have to tell you, I am surprised that the Salvation Army took such a hard stance. Hopefully they will change their minds, and Cosma could sue in small claims court, but is it worth it?

Someone faked you out? Not feeling like gold? Ring us up. We don’t have an army, but we have a jewel of a team.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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