Laws

RETAILER REBUTS CLAIMS BY MANUFACTURER

The owner of Northeastern Fine Jewelry, Albany, N.Y., says a form letter sent to customers of Jabel Inc., an Irvington, N.J., jewelry manufacturer, was slanderous and misleading in its reference to a recently settled lawsuit between the two companies. The letter was written by Jabel Vice President Daniel Herman (see Letters, JCK, December 1994, p. 27).

In 1992, Jabel halted sales to Northeastern, prompting Northeastern to file suit against Jabel for restraint of trade and other antitrust violations.

Northeastern President Raymond Bleser said Herman’s suggestion that the lawsuit may have been dismissed was not accurate. Bleser said his company agreed to settle the lawsuit because sales have increased two consecutive years, thus he has suffered no damages.

Bleser also said Jabel was not able to produce substantive evidence that Northeastern engaged in any “unethical business practices,” as Herman wrote in his letter. (Herman had said Jabel dropped Northeastern as a customer in 1992 due to such practices.)

“Jabel came up with only one instance where a customer complained to one of our area competitors over a price that she had paid for a ring that Northeastern was selling at a much lower amount,” said Bleser. “That customer is now a Northeastern customer.” Bleser added that Herman could have saved time and money if he had discussed the complaints with him beforehand.

Regarding Bleser’s recent comments, Herman had this to say: “For our own reasons, after discussions with upper management, we decided to stop selling to Northeastern. As a result, a lawsuit was filed against us. We are not presently serving Northeastern and we are comfortable with that result.”