Pandora caused quite a stir in the Facebook community in the past month when it was discovered that the exclusive UK Family Ties charm advertised as a “limited edition” piece was originally released in 2009 for the Danmark Indsamling event (much like 2012′s very popular Feather Dangle charm) to help raise money for charity, and was available in a silver and red enamel, as well as an impressive all-gold version.
In early 2011 Pandora catalogs and ordering forms in North America and the UK were printed that featured the Family Ties charms in them. This caused some confusion as it was assumed then that they would be available in these countries. In an official note on their Facebook group, however, Pandora confirmed that the inclusion of the Family Ties piece in the catalog and forms was a mistake and that they would be removed, but that the “100s” that were ordered would be honored and would be treated as a limited edition release available only in the UK.
The drama all started earlier this year when a fan familiar with the Danmark Indsamling promotion from 2009 posted on the Pandora Facebook page that the Family Ties charms were not actually UK exclusives, and that thousands of pieces were sold previously in Denmark for a much, much lower price. The silver and enamel versions were originally sold for 250DKK in Denmark (£28/$37 USD) for the Indsamling event, but for the “limited edition” release the silver and enamel Family Ties was being sold for £150 (about $237 USD!) and the all-gold version price to £550 (an astonishing $870 USD!!).
Fans were outraged, as ladies that had rushed out to buy the limited edition Family Ties pieces felt like they were being taken advantaged of by Pandora. With Pandora addicts, calling something “limited edition” and “country exclusive” is more than enough to cause a buying spree — jacking the prices up by over 500% seemed like profiteering. Even though Pandora claimed that there were only hundreds of these extra charms in the UK, it seemed like even up to the end of last year they were still available in stores and online as well.
In the face of angry customers and calls for boycotts being posted up on their Facebook page, Pandora reacted by first clarifying the origin of the Family Ties charm in an official note on their page. Apparently Pandora produced more Family Ties pieces than they could sell in 2009, and instead of reclaiming them for smelting they opted to have them repurposed as a country-exclusive limited edition charm. A source close to Pandora noted that originally the company was planning to rerelease the Family Ties pieces, as well as the exclusive enamel puzzle piece charms, in North America to help raise money for the Autism Society just like they did in Denmark for the Indsamling charity. It looks like they were unable to secure a partnership, and if this fell apart late in the negotiations it would explain how the 2011 catalogs and ordering forms were mistakenly printed with the charm in them.
Soon after this, with fans still in a bit of a tizzy about the whole affair, Pandora released another official statement in which they apologized for the confusion and upset feelings caused by their Family Ties rerelease in the UK, and offered to compensate customers the price difference between the limited edition and original release price along with a £50 good will gift voucher (the voucher can only be used in Pandora concept stores). Customers would have to turn in their much adored charms to a Pandora concept store for safe storage until April 2nd when this reimbursement period came to a close, after which no compensation would be further offered and the charms would be returned. No receipt was necessary to claim the difference and good will gift voucher, but for the charm owners in foreign countries this became a bit more complicated. For out-of-country owners, they would still have to send in their Family Ties charm to an authorized concept store, but they are offered a choice of charms to the value of £130 to compensate for the price difference, £50 as a goodwill gesture and, if a receipt of postage showing the cost is included, Pandora is willing to top the £50 goodwill gesture to cover the cost of postage.
Since this reimbursement period began, all remaining Family Ties charms were pulled from stores (and online as well) and there has been rumor and speculation as to whether the charm would then be widely released after April 3rd. However, my source in Denmark heard from the horse’s mouth that these would NOT be on released again. So the charms that are out there now are it; the Family Ties charms have been officially retired and will no longer be available for retail sale .