Our Terms of Business

Who are we?

"Three Bears Cottage" is the trading name for Paul and Julia Andrews of Bruges, West Flanders, Belgium (see "Contact Us"). "3bc Vintage" is the name we use for this online shop. References to "we" or "us" in these terms and conditions means Paul and Julia Andrews. The laws of the Kingdom of Belgium apply to this website and the goods and services which we provide. Consumer protection regulations require us to provide you with certain information when ordering goods and give you certain rights when ordering goods online.

What service do we provide?

We are an online mail order retailer offering new and used (second-hand) items for sale. You can use this website to place an order for goods and we will attempt to deliver them to you in accordance with your instructions. If we are unable to fulfil your order, it will be cancelled and you will receive a refund. When you receive your order, you may inspect and handle the items as you might do in a shop. You can then either accept them, or cancel your order and return the items for a refund.

This website also lists items that have previously been sold. Such items are not available for purchase, but we continue to show them to aid research.

How do we describe and price our items for sale?

Our second-hand items are usually photographed and listed individually, so the photographs describe the actual item that is for sale. New items usually share a set of photographs and a common listing.

The services we provide and the information contained in this website are provided on an "as is" basis. We acknowledge that this website may include inadvertent inaccuracies or errors. It is not our intention to mislead, incorrectly describe or otherwise incorrectly document anything or anyone referred to by this website. Please inform us of anything in this website which you believe to be inaccurate, even if the item has been sold. We cannot give a commitment to making corrections, or to keeping you informed of any changes made.

We are selling items of various ages and origins and we may therefore estimate what the item is, who made it, what it is made from and when it was made.

We may estimate the age of an item based upon its current condition, its design or style, the apparent method of construction, or the materials we think it was made from. You should treat all estimates of age and origin as a guide only and we cannot provide any warranty that this information is correct.

You should expect second-hand items to show signs of wear and age and you should expect their condition and even performance to be degraded in some way.

Our prices are displayed in Euros and initially our prices assume that you are a customer living in the European Union.

Once you have told our website where you are shipping to (via the shipping calculator or via the checkout), our prices will be updated to include any VAT or other taxes that we have to charge. For example, this includes our UK customers, who have to pay an additional 20% UK VAT, so that their order can be sent as "Duty Paid". Please see our shipping information page for more information.

What about precious metals?

Aside from any aesthetic or historic valuation, solid precious metals are more valuable than an object described as plated, filled or rolled. A plated, filled or rolled metal object must not be described as simply gold or silver. They are made from another metal which is covered by gold or silver and must be described as "rolled gold", "filled gold", "gold plated" or "silver plated". It is normal to describe the purity of the gold plating, so you might see an item described as "9ct gold plated", or "14 carat gold plated". Phrases like "gold-coloured", "gold-toned", "silver-coloured", "silver-toned" and "white metal" are used to describe an item's colour only.

Anything which was manufactured in or imported to Belgium and is described as gold, silver, or platinum must be hallmarked. A hallmark is stamped into the metal's surface and identifies the maker or importer. These marks must be registered with the Belgian Assay Office.  Similar systems exist in other countries and there is for example, a long history of hallmarking in the United Kingdom.

Be aware that marks like "Sterling", "925", "800" and "375" are not always considered hallmarks. A UK hallmark shows that the UK Assay Office has guaranteed the precious metal content (see Assay Office Dealer Notice).

Belgium has a similar system of barrel-shaped or square shaped stamps which identify the maker or the importer. Another mark identifies the metal and finesse: a diamond-shape containing "au" and a number for gold, an oval shape containing "AG" and a number for silver, and a rectangle containing "PT" or "Pt" an a number for platinum. The number indicates the finesse or metal content and therefore the quality. The higher the finesse, the purer it is.

So an item, other than an exempt one, which does not bear a hallmark, should not be described as gold, silver or platinum, but should really be described more generically by its colour. Ideally, an exempt gold or silver item without a hallmark should also have been tested against acid to determine the finesse.

How do you place an order?

You order items by putting them in a virtual shopping basket and taking your basket through the checkout process. You can view the items in your basket and get an estimate of the cost of delivering the items to you. The items are not reserved for you until you confirm your order and start the checkout process, which proceeds as follows:

  • You review the goods you are ordering and accept these terms and conditions
  • You give us the cardholder name and address and the delivery name and address
  • You choose the delivery service if a choice is available
  • You review the details you have given and the cost of your order, including delivery charges and any taxes due
  • You confirm your order and the goods are reserved for you
  • You give your card details to our payments handler, who authorises the payment with your bank
  • You can again review your order and either confirm payment or cancel payment
  • You return to this website and if you completed payment, we acknowledge your order by email

If you do not complete the above process, then no payment is taken and your order will be automatically cancelled.

How do we confirm your order?

Once payment has been made, we acknowledge your order and payment by email. We will then process your order and arrange delivery.

If you have registered with us as a customer, you can see the details of your order by signing in to this website, clicking on your name at the top of each page and selecting "My orders".

How do we deliver your order?

Shipping options and costs are shown during checkout. If we cannot ship to your chosen address, we will tell you and you can give us an alternative address or cancel your order. We maintain the right to cancel an order if we have seriously underestimated the cost of shipping to a particular destination.

For some countries we provide a choice of shipping services when our standard service becomes expensive. Please note that our refund policy does not include the additional cost of the more expensive shipping service, if you requested it.

We will tell you when your order has been shipped, and give you an estimated arrival date. Sometimes we can also give you information to track your order. We sometimes use shipping services that require a signature on receipt.

Important! Deliveries outside the European Union may pass through customs offices in the destination country. Customs officers may open and inspect the package and they may charge you additional duties and taxes, which you will have to pay.

Before you place your order, you should check with your local authorities whether you would have any import duties or taxes to pay. If you refuse to pay these fees, your order will probably be returned to us at our expense and your order will be cancelled. We will either reduce your refund, or even send you a new invoice to recover our expenses.

For customers in the United Kingdom:

  • Orders below €150* (£135) are sent as "Duty Paid", which means there is no more to pay when your order arrives in the UK. You must pay an additional 20% UK VAT at the time of ordering and we pass this on to HMRC on your behalf, every three months. 

  • Orders above €150* (£135) are sent as "Duty Paid on import", which means when your order arrives in the UK, HMRC will charge you the 20% UK VAT and any applicable import duty (usually an extra 5%). Plus, the carrier will charge you their administration fee (currently £8 with the Royal Mail) and will contact you for payment before delivering your order. This will add considerable extra cost to your order, so please bear that in mind.

*The limit of £135 \ €150 is for the total value of the goods, not including postage, transport fees, insurance fees, VAT, import duties, or anything else. So you can order goods up to £135 \ €150 ex VAT in value, even though your final invoice will be be higher, after the postage and UK VAT has been added.

Please also see our shipping information page for more information, which are also part of these terms of business.

It is our responsibility to ensure that the goods arrive with you undamaged. Please take care when opening the package, as packing materials, including cardboard and paper, may have sharp edges. Please also be careful when using anything sharp and take precautions when handling the package in case the contents have been damaged. There is no need to continue opening the package if the contents are broken. You should contact us instead.

On receipt of your order, you are entitled to inspect and handle the items as you would in a shop and decide whether you wish to keep them or return them. You are not entitled to use them, remove labels or handle them to the extent that they become marked, scratched or otherwise damaged.

What if your order has not arrived?

We refund orders which do not arrive. It is extremely rare for an order not to arrive, but delays occur regularly. For international shipping there are no guarantees for how long it will take for your order to arrive, but we usually know how long it should take.

If tracking information says that the order has been delivered but you are disputing that, then we will act immediately.

If there is no tracking information, or the tracking information has not changed for a while, we will normally only contact the shipping company after a certain amount of working days has elapsed since we shipped your order. Within Belgium that would be after 7 working days, within Europe that would be after 16 working days, and for the rest of the world that would be after 30 working days. A working day is Monday to Friday and does not include public holidays. Shipping companies often do not allow a missing parcel case to be opened too close to the day of sending.

We will treat each case individually and with respect. We will contact the shipping company to find out what has happened to your order and decide what to do next. We will keep you informed throughout and will issue you a refund if we consider your order lost.

We are always grateful if you can tell us when your order arrives, it helps us compare shipping companies and manage the service we provide to our customers.

How do you cancel your order?

You can cancel your order from the time you place your order until 14 days after you have received it. If you live in the European Union, or in Iceland, Lichtenstein or Norway (the EEA), then this is a statutory right. For customers in the rest of the world, this is at our discretion.

If you cancel your order and it has already been shipped, then you must ship the items to us within 14 days of its arrival. You may choose the shipping service, but you will not be refunded until the goods come back to us.

You can cancel your order by sending a cancellation notice by post or email to us. Please see our "Contact Us" page for our postal and email addresses.

If you registered with us as a customer, you can also create a return request using our website:

      • Sign-in to our website
      • Click on your name at the top of each page and select "My Orders"
      • When your orders are displayed, find the order you wish to return
      • Complete the return request

Who pays the cost of return?

If you decide to return your order you must bear the cost of returning the items to us.

However, if you live European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein or Norway (the EEA) and you are returning the items because they are damaged, faulty, of unsatisfactory quality, or not as described, then we may also refund any reasonable delivery costs that you have incurred. We will decide this when we have examined the returned items. For customers in the rest of the world, we may also refund some of the delivery costs you have incurred, at our discretion.

How do you return your order?

You must pack the items safely and in the same way that they were originally packed, ideally using the original packaging. You should return the item in the condition you received it, otherwise your refund may be reduced.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the goods arrive with us undamaged and you must obtain proof of postage and for your own peace of mind, we recommend use a tracked delivery service.

How do we refund your payment?

We will issue a refund within 14 days of our receipt of the items in the same condition that you received them.

Your refund will cover the cost of your items, including the basic cost of delivering the items to you. If you were offered a choice of delivery services when you placed your order, then your refund will not include the additional cost of the more expensive delivery service.

We might reduce your refund if you have used the items or we receive them in a damaged condition.

We might reduce your refund if you have changed your mind about ordering the goods, to cover the non-refundable PayPal fee we will have been charged.

We might reduce your refund if you have used a return service which has charged us additional fees, or if we receive charges relating to the reimportation of the goods. This can include customers who refuse to accept an order so that it is returned to us automatically. Please see our shipping information page for more information.

What is our second-hand watch warranty?

Our second-hand watches come with a 90 day warranty, beginning on the day your watch is delivered.  If your watch stops working correctly because of manufacturing or mechanical defects and through no fault of your own then you can return it to us for a refund.

Any modification of your watch will invalidate this warranty and our watch warranty does NOT cover:

      • Theft or loss
      • Normal wear and tear (meaning damage and depreciation from normal use, wear or ageing)
      • Battery failure and replacement
      • Damage caused by accidents, mishandling, mistreatment or submersion in liquid
      • Damage, failure or wear of the strap or bracelet

If your watch stops working, please contact us.

How do we contact you?

By using our site, you agree to receive details of your account, orders and deliveries via email. We may also include this information on paper when your order is dispatched.

How do we use your personal details?

We only use your details to service your account, orders and deliveries. For more details please see our privacy policy.

Disclaimer of Warranties

Our services and the content and information on this website are provided on an "as is" basis, without any implied warranty. To the maximum extent permitted by law and other than as expressly stated in these terms and conditions, or in our item descriptions, we do not make any specific promises about these goods and services, their function, their reliability, their availability, their fitness for purpose, their title, their non-infringement, or their ability to meet your needs. Some jurisdictions do not allow limitations of implied warranties, so the limitations and exclusions described in this section may not apply to you. Also these provisions do not affect any statutory rights which you possess as a consumer and which cannot be waived. By using our website and services, you agree and acknowledge that the limitations and exclusions of liability and warranty provided here in these terms and conditions are fair and reasonable.

Limitation of Liability

To the maximum extent permitted by law, in no event shall we, our affiliates, our agents, our contractors, our suppliers, our service providers, our licensors or any third parties mentioned on this website be liable for any injury, loss, claim, or any direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, special, or consequential damages of any kind, including, without limitation lost profits, lost revenue, lost savings, loss of data, replacement costs, or any similar damages, whether based in contract, tort (including negligence), strict liability or otherwise, arising from your use of any of the service or any products procured using the service, or for any other claim related in any way to your use of the service or any product, including, but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any content, or any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of the service or any content (or product) posted, transmitted, or otherwise made available via the service, even if you have been advised of their possibility.

Because some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or the limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages, then in such jurisdictions, our liability shall be limited to the maximum extent permitted by law. Without limiting the foregoing, to the extent permitted by applicable law, you agree that in no event shall our total liability for any damages (direct or otherwise) or loss regardless of the form of action or claim, whether in contract, tort or otherwise, exceed the price of the goods and services that we provided. To the extent permitted by law, the remedies stated for you in these terms and conditions are exclusive and are limited to those expressly provided for in these terms and conditions.

What are the laws & regulations in Belgium for trading in precious metals?

The trade in precious metals in Belgium does not fall within the scope of the financial regulations, which are regulated by the FSMA or the NBB. In particular, the Law of 16 June 2006 on the public offering of investment instruments to trading on a regulated market, also referred to as the prospectus law.


In accordance with the laws of Belgium and of the United Kingdom, we own the copyright for this website and all of its contents, which includes the photographs, descriptive text and layout of the product pages. The principal laws concerned are Title 5 of the Belgian Code on Economic Law of February 28 2013 (and as since amended) and the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (and as since amended).

You are allowed to download, or create hyper-links to, images and other content on this website for personal or academic, non-commercial use only. The indexing and cataloguing of this website and its contents by Internet search engines is also permitted. For all other uses, you must first obtain written consent from us. You are forbidden from using any of this website's contents for any commercial use which involves sales, retailing or auction and for which we have not given our prior consent.

Trade Names and Trademarks

In accordance with the UK Trade marks Act of 1994 (and as since amended), we have registered the trademarks "Three Bears Cottage" and "3 Bears Cottage".

We acknowledge that all other trademarks and trade names which are referenced by us in this website are the property of their respective owners.

Finally, it is our intention to conduct our business honestly and responsibly and we hope you agree that these terms and conditions are fair and reasonable. If you do not accept or agree with these terms and conditions, then you should stop using this website. By continuing to access this website and use its content you are considered to have agreed to these terms and conditions.

Paul and Julia Andrews, trading as Three Bears Cottage.

This page was last updated December 2023