Class Action Assistance is Legitimate, says JVC

Members of the jewelry industry entitled to receive a settlement from the class-action lawsuit against De Beers that was settled more than a year ago have been solicited by a number of companies offering—for a fee or a portion of the settlement—to help them file their claim forms, reports the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.

Cecilia Gardner, JVC executive director and general counsel, told JCK she has gotten two or three calls a week from industry members asking if these companies are legitimate or fraudulent.

“These are legitimate companies, and they provide a legitimate service, and while we’re neither endorsing nor discouraging the use of their services, we want industry members to be aware that they can do the same process themselves,” she said.

The forms that claimants need to fill out in order to receive their settlements haven’t been published yet, but when they are they’ll be readily accessible, she said. And even if a jeweler or diamond dealer chooses to hire a settlement-assistance firm, they’ll still have to do a fair bit of legwork to get the information needed for the forms.

The information that needs to be provided—regardless of who fills out the form—is anything regarding the sale or purchase of diamonds or jewelry with diamonds during the period covered by the class-action suit. The forms themselves are fairly straightforward, says Gardner.

The suit was a consolidation of five lawsuits that were settled together. A fund was established by De Beers for payment of claims. There are two classes of claimants: one, resellers of diamonds or jewelry containing diamonds, and two, consumers of such.