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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Money Back on Diamonds?

I'm sure there's no such thing as a bargain diamond. But if you've purchased any rocks in the 11 years leading up to 2006, you may be eligible for a settlement in a class action lawsuit filed against the De Beers company.

The De Beers diamond lawsuit covers diamonds purchased from ANY retailer between January 1, 1994 and March 31, 2006. De Beers is accused of fraudulently inflating prices by controlling the world supply of diamonds, making them seem more rare, and therefore more valuable, than they really were:

De Beers is the largest supplier of rough diamonds in the world. Beginning in
2001, Plaintiffs in several states filed lawsuits against De Beers in state and
federal courts alleging that De Beers unlawfully monopolized the supply of
diamonds, conspired to fix, raise, and control diamond prices, and issued false
and misleading advertising. De Beers denies it violated the law or did anything
wrong.

If you think you have a claim, you can submit one online or by mail. But please note that all claims must be submitted by May 19, 2008. Mailed claims must be postmarked by May 19, 2008, as well.

Until all claims have been submitted, there's no way to know how much each person will receive in the lawsuit. But here are the details of the settlement:

The Settlement Agreement provides that $22.5 Million be distributed to the
Direct Purchaser Class [those who purchased a diamond directly from De Beers, and that $272.5 Million will be distributed to the Indirect Purchaser Class [those who purchased a diamond elsewhere]. De Beers also agrees to refrain from engaging in
certain conduct that violates federal and state antitrust laws and submit to the
jurisdiction of the Court to enforce the Settlement.

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