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Diamonds are forever. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that’s how long it has taken De Beers to pay up for a class-action settlement.
The world’s largest diamond seller — controlling 65 percent of the market, according to plaintiffs — still denies wrongdoing in the seven lawsuits filed between 2001 and 2005, StarTribune.com says.
The lawsuits alleged De Beers and companies working with it violated antitrust, unfair competition and consumer protection laws. They said it monopolized diamond supplies, then conspired to fix, raise and control diamond prices.
Nearly 552,000 claims were filed against the company by the May 2008 deadline, StarTribune.com says. De Beers is paying out $295 million on them, with nearly half of it going to jewelry stores and middlemen who purchased from the company.
After the lawyers take their cut, the average payout to consumers will be $180.75, according to StarTribune.com. The minimum payout is $10, although claims deemed worth less than that will not get a check at all. Here’s how the amounts are figured, according to the official settlement site, DiamondClassAction.com:
Payments were calculated based on several factors, including how much you paid, the quantity and quality of the diamonds you purchased, the amount of money that is available for your class or sub-class, and how many class members filed claims.
A Consumerist reader told the site his $3,000 claim ended up being worth $48, so don’t get your hopes up.
If you moved since filing or can’t remember whether you were part of the settlement — nobody can blame you since the case was tied up in appeals for so long — the claims administrator can be reached at (800) 760-5431.