Archive for February, 2008

De Beers Diamond Lawsuit

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

If you purchased diamonds between 1994 and March 2006, you may be eligible for a refund. De Beers, the diamond mining and trading company that is the largest supplier of rough diamonds in the world, has settled a class action lawsuit for $295 million dollars. The lawsuit started when plaintiffs from several states filed lawsuits at both the state and federal court level. The lawsuit stated that De Beers unlawfully monopolized the supply of diamonds and thus so, tried to raise and control the price of diamonds. While the De Beers did settle the lawsuit, they still deny violating any law or misleading the public in any way. However, they did agree to refrain from certain conduct that could violate state and federal antitrust laws.

The lawsuit is open to people or businesses that bought loose gem diamonds or jewelry in the United States. It has two classes: Direct Purchaser Class and Indirect Purchaser Class. The direct purchasers include those who purchased diamonds directly from De Beers, while the indirect purchaser’s class is those who bought diamonds from someone other than De Beers. The indirect purchaser’s class is also broken down into two types – consumers and resellers.

Under the agreement, $22.5 million of the lawsuit monies is to be distributed to the direct purchaser class. The remaining amount, approximately $272.5 million dollars, is to be distributed to the indirect purchaser class. The lawsuit states you must have purchased a diamond product between January 1, 1994 and March 31, 2006. It classifies a diamond product in one of three ways:

Gem Diamonds – This diamond meets certain standards for color, clarity, and quality so it can be used in a piece of jewelry. It can be a rough diamond (uncut or partially cut) or a polished diamond (cut and polished), but cannot include man-made or industrial use diamonds.

Diamond Jewelry – This includes any piece of jewelry such as a ring, a necklace, earrings, cufflinks, watch, or pen that contains gem diamonds.

Other Diamond Products – This includes any other product that contains gem diamonds.

You can either submit the appropriate form online or mail it in. If you are in the indirect purchaser consumer subclass, you can complete the consumer claim form by clicking on this link. You will not need to provide any purchase documentation when submitting the form unless you are claiming to have purchased a diamond or piece of jewelry that cost more than $10,000. However, once your claim form is received and reviewed, you may be asked to show documentation.

If you are a member of the indirect purchaser reseller subclass, click here for that form. People who are a part of the direct purchaser class can complete that form by clicking here. You may also request all forms by calling the Diamonds Claim administrator at 1-800-760-5431.

All online forms must be submitted by May 19, 2008 and all mail-in forms must be postmarked no later than May 19, 2008.