Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Diamonds and Dollars

Have you ever received mail alerting you to the fact that you are a presumptive member of some class action lawsuit?  If yes, what did you do?  Did you ignore the mail, toss it, investigate and then toss, respond, file a claim, opt out?

Maybe you have heard news reports about the Nutella class action lawsuit (over the issue of whether chocolate nut spread is nutritious or not), wherein the settlement to the class was for coupons to buy more delicious, but not nutritious, Nutella.  In fact, many class action settlements involving retail wrong doing involve discounts or coupons for future services or products.  As a result, in some class action settlements, response rates are lower than 25%.

Yesterday, Mr. Sam received follow up mail from the Diamonds Claim Administrator for the DeBeers diamond price fixing settlement.  While neither of us have any recollection of submitting a claim, I assume I filled out the paperwork and submitted it back in 2008 (my research indicates that claims were due in 2008).  I have been prone to submit class claims ever since I received a check for almost $200 for a test prep class I took years ago in advance of professional school.

So, now the claims administrator is looking for actual proof of purchase for the engagement ring diamond that Mr. Sam purchased back in 2005.  Since my engagement ring is our most expensive piece of jewelry I do have a detailed file.  I have the GIA grading report and the Gemprint Certificate of Registration for the center diamond.  I also have the documentation regarding the wedding band and insurance paperwork, but nothing in my files that documents how much Mr. Sam paid for the main diamond.

Part of the problem is that Mr. Sam went through a diamond broker and bought the center diamond from a wholesaler and then had the engagement ring designed by a jeweler. As such, there is no receipt for the ring as a whole.  Thank goodness for Yahoo email, after I dug through our hard copy file and came up empty, he was able to go back to his 2005 e-mail records and find a receipt.  Hooray!!

Today, I will copy all of the diamond material and will send it off to the claims administrator.  Who knows how much we will get, but something is better than nothing.


Anonymous said...

Class action lawsuits primarily provide millions of dollars to lawyers and pennies to the plaintiffs. They tie up our court system and waste public money in the process. We can't be against wasting public money in some cases (immigrant recycling) and support wasting public money when there is something in it for ourselves (just an opinion).

Sam said...

I appreciate your opinion. As I noted in the post, many times class lawsuits are settled with coupons and yes the lawyers make out.

However, class action lawsuits can influence and change an industry or business operation. While the class members may not receive what you and I would call justice, the bad acting company or industry is punished and will in the future change its ways.

Anonymous said...

You're right. We should sue McDonalds because their coffee is too hot; then my legs won't get burned (and I'll be able to retire comfortably). And we should sue an airline because someone highjacked a plane with a popsickle stick: a million dollars per passenger and 500,000 minimum wage TSA agents will make sure that never happens again. And we should sue a movie theatre because some nut opened fire with an automatic weapon during a crowded movie. That will teach them to change their business practice. But now, they'll charge $30 to watch a movie (to cover security) and wonder why the house is empty. But there's an armed gaurd at the door and someone's $50K richer. When a movie is $30 a head, I'm staying home (that will change their business practice)

You purchased a commodity at a high price, and years later they say you were charged too much. I (hypothetically) bought a house in 2005 and now it is worth less than what I paid so I should sue the realtor, the apprasier, and the bank. Even though I did my research, shopped around and read all the fine print, it's still someone else's fault....but I'm rambling here and it's time to go to work now. Have a nice day.

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