The following is a list of questions frequently asked by those filing a claim under the DeBeers class action lawsuit. Q&A is now catagorized into general areas for easy reference. These answers to these questions are meant for those filing claims who purchased gem quality diamonds for resale.
Frequently Asked Questions
DeBeers Class Action Law Suit
If your question is not addressed here, please make e-mail inquiries to the DeBeers Class Action Hot line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New FAQs for Retailers: Guidance on Answering Consumer QuestionsQ. Several customers have asked me whether they can get money back on their diamond purchases because of the De Beers settlement. What information can I give them?
A. Tell them that they may qualify to file a claim with the settlement fund. They can find out by reading the information on the Claims Administrator’s website, diamondsclassaction.com, or by calling 1-800-760-5431. The consumer claim form is on the website. The form has specific directions as to how to complete and file the claim online.
Q. A customer bought a diamond ring from my store in 1997 and wants a copy of the receipt for her claim. The problem is that we don’t have the receipt. We don’t keep records going back that far. How should I handle this?
A. Tell your customer that you no longer have a copy of the receipt, but also let the customer know that the Claims Administrator will accept other forms of proof of purchase, such as: an invoice, credit card statement, insurance statement, appraisal, certification, or any other documents showing the diamond’s cut, clarity, color, number of karats, authenticity or the person or business from whom the diamond was purchased. This information is on the claim form itself.
Q. A customer is filing a claim for a diamond ring he purchased in 2002. He paid $11,000 for the ring. He wants to know how much he’ll get from the claim fund. What should I tell him?
A. Tell him that there’s absolutely no way of knowing. The amount he will receive depends on several factors, including how many consumers submit claims. The settlement fund will be divided proportionately among all qualified claimants. Suggest that he review the information at diamondsclassaction.com for more information.
Q. A customer told me that because of the De Beers settlement I owe her money for a diamond she bought from my store. What is she talking about?
A. She’s confused. You do not owe her anything. Claims will be paid from the De Beers class action settlement fund. Retailers were not named as defendants; in fact, retailers are also entitled to submit a claim!
Q. I’m concerned that if I submit a claim there will be less available for consumers, and my customers may be resentful. What should I do?
A. Don’t worry about your claim reducing the amount available to your customers. The consumers’ settlement fund is separate from the indirect/resellers fund. As a retailer, your claim will be paid from the indirect/resellers fund.
The Lawsuit, the Settlement, the Claims Process
Q. Who are the defendants?
A. DeBeers, several of their corporate entities, subsidiaries and holding companies.
Q. What conduct is covered under the lawsuit?
A. The lawsuits settled in this case claimed that the defendants were acting in a monopolistic manner to control prices of diamonds. The defendants have not admitted to any such conduct in settling this case.
Q. How many classes of claimants are there?
A. There are three classes: (1) direct purchasers of diamonds (gem quality rough and polished) from DeBeers, any of their other companies or mining competitors (2) indirect purchasers of gem quality diamonds for resale and (3) consumers who purchased gem quality diamonds.
Q. Can I be a member of more than one class and make separate claims?
Q. What do I need to do to file a claim for a payment under the fund?
A. You need to file a form with the claims administrator (available from the JVC or from www.diamondsclassaction.com) and a form that you sign agreeing not to sue the defendants for conduct related to the activity covered by the lawsuit. JVC provides guidance for filling out the claim form – visit www.jvclegal.org for that guidance. In order to receive a payment, you must file no later than May 19, 2008.
Q. Is there a deadline by which I must submit a claim?
A. Yes – you must file your claim for payment from the settlement fund no later than May 19, 2008.
Diamond Purchases that Qualify for a Claim
Q. During the time period covered in the lawsuit, I purchased diamonds from my Israeli supplier when he visited me here in Los Angeles. I took delivery in the US and resold them in the US. May I include these diamonds in my claim?
A. Yes, you purchased these diamonds in the US, and they were delivered to you in the US for resale in the US. You can include them in your claim.
Q. What period of time is covered under the lawsuit?
A. For indirect purchasers of diamonds, the period of time covered under the lawsuit is January 1, 1994 – March 31, 2006.
Q. What purchases are covered under the lawsuit?
A. Gem quality diamonds, jewelry containing diamonds, products such as pens and watches that also contain diamonds. Gem quality rough diamonds are also included in the lawsuit.
Q. If my business was located outside the US, may I make a claim?
A. Only US businesses, with a physical presence in the US during the time covered under the law suit who took delivery of the diamonds in the US are permitted to make a claim under the law suit.
Q. If I purchased and paid for diamonds while in Belgium during the time period covered in the lawsuit and took delivery of them in the US for resale in the US, may I include these diamonds in my claim?
A. Yes – Gem quality diamonds that you purchased abroad for resale in the US during the relevant time period are included. If you purchased and paid for the diamonds in Belgium, but resold them in Israel, they would not be included.
Q. I was not in business during the entire 12 and 1/2 year claim period. Is that significant?
A. Yes. The calculation of your claim will be adjusted if you were not in business during the entire claim period. For example, if you were purchasing diamonds for resale for only five of the 12 and 1/2 year claim period your claim will be reduced proportionately.
Filling out the Form – Understanding the Claim Language Q. Who are DeBeers competitors?
A. For purposes of this settlement, DeBeers competitors include Alrosa, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Argyle.
Q. What territories are included in the United States?
A. The US includes the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia
Filling out the Form – Indirect Purchasers/ResellersQ. Should I hire someone to help me file a claim?
A. Only you can research and gather records of your diamond purchases during the period of time covered under the law suit, and gather information to report those purchases. Once you have done that, filling out the claim form is easy. The hard work is gathering the information of your purchases that only you can acquire. Assess the value of hiring someone to simply fill out a form with the information you have gathered and send it in – and then decide whether you ought to pay a fee for that service.
Q. I’m in the Indirect/Reseller Class and am filling out the claim form. On pages 5 (for Year One) and 6 (for Year Two), I’m asked to list my diamond jewelry purchases in various prices ranges, and to "check only one" - either “diamond only” jewelry or “mixed stone” jewelry. The problem is that I made purchases of both “diamond only” jewelry and “mixed stone” jewelry in each of the price ranges. How should I fill out the form?
A. The "check only one" language on the form was a mistake and has now been corrected. Many resellers purchased both diamond-only jewelry and mixed-stone jewelry during the claim period. A new, corrected, form is available on this website or at www.diamondsclassaction.com. The corrected form clearly allows resellers to claim purchases of diamond-only jewelry and mixed-stone jewelry.
Q. I'm a reseller and just learned that the indirect purchaser/reseller claim form had an error which has now been corrected. Using the new form, resellers can now claim diamond-only jewelry and mixed-stone jewelry if purchased during the claim period (see above). The problem is that I already submitted my claim using the old form, the one with the mistake. What should I do?
A. Ask yourself this question: could I have claimed something I didn't claim because of the error on the original form? If the answer is "no,"there is no need to submit another form. If the answer is "yes," then you should fill out and submit the new form. Note that even if you don't submit a new form you may be contacted by the claims administrator to make sure that you claim both diamond-only jewelry and mixed-stone jewelry if you're eligible.
Q. Will I need to compile and submit information for the entire 12 and 1/2 year claim period?
A. No. Just pick two years that fall within the claim period and that information will be used for the entire period. The two years do not have to be consecutive. You can pick the two years during which you purchased the most diamonds or diamond jewelry.
Q. Do I need to submit any additional records when submitting my claim?
A. The instructions state that you should attach "summary documentation" to support your claim. This can be a worksheet which lists your purchases by vendor, or a computer print out of your purchases. You can prepare this spread sheet yourself. The actual records of your purchases for the years for which you claim need not be submitted, but you should include a summary of your purchases. The original records should be maintained by you in case they are requested.
Q. I have run out of room on the claim form to list all my purchases for both Year One and Year Two. What can I do?
A. Photocopy or download enough additional copies of the appropriate page to list all your purchases.
The Settlement FundQ. How much money is in the settlement fund?
A. $295 million is the total of the fund.
Q. Is the entire amount of the settlement fund available to pay claim?
A. From the total amount of the settlement fund, the class action attorneys’ fees will be paid. This amount is set by the court, but cannot be in excess of 25% of the fund. The fund will also pay all of the costs associated with bringing the lawsuit and the administrative costs of paying the claims, normally in the millions. After the payment of all these expenses, the fund will pay out individual claims.
Q. How much will I be paid?
A. Your claim payment will be a pro rata share of the settlement fund, based on the nature of the diamonds you purchased during the period covered by the lawsuit, the quantity you purchased, and how many other class members file claims. There are formulas that are used by the claims administrators to determine the amount you will be paid.
Q. When will I be paid?
A. The estimated time for payment of the claims is late 2008 or early 2009, after all the claims are administered.
Objecting to the Settlement or Opting Out Q. What if I object to the settlement?
A. You must file a specific objection no later than March 4, 2008 to Diamond Claims Administration, PO Box 1859, Fairbault, Minnesota 55021-1859. . For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Q. Can I opt out or exclude myself?
A. Yes. You can do so by specifically requesting the Court to exclude you from the settlement by submitting a written request identifying your name address and full name of the business and your authority to act on behalf of the business. Also indicate whether you are excluding your business from the Indirect or Direct Class. Finally the request must be signed by an officer or authorized person and mailed to the Diamond claims administrator, PO box 9432, Minneapolis, Mn 55440, on or before March 4, 2008. If you do not specifically exclude yourself by this method and do nothing, you will be bound by the final judgment entered in the case, thus giving up any rights you have to make a claim under the settlement or pursue claims against the De Beers defendants.
Q. What if I do not file a claim?
A. If you do not file a claim, you will not be able to participate in payment from the settlement fund, and you will not reserve any rights to object to the settlement or to sue the defendants for conduct covered under the law suit.