Five years after a settlement was initially reached in a case alleging price fixing by diamond wholesaler De Beers, the 551,909 consumers who bought diamond between 1994 and 2006 and who filed claims are finally getting their settlement checks.
In May, Whistleblower wrote about the $295 million settlement, the subsequent appeals and the frustration of one claimant, Phyllis Michaels.
Another claimant, Trish Webb, called Whistleblower Tuesday. "Folks are receiving their checks now, but it's a complete joke," Webb said.
She received a check for about $800, despite being led to believe, based on a calculation provided to consumers five years ago, that she would receive "somewhere upwards of $15,000," she said.
Webb believes that her lower payment is based on "a ton of folks just putting in bogus information and filing claims."
The settlement administrator, Minneapolis-based Rust Consulting, did not require that receipts be attached to claims, but warned filers that they may be required to show proof of purchase during an auditing process. If claims included single purchases exceeding $10,000 a receipt for those items was eventually required.
A court document filed in April described the claim validation process that Rust underwent. It initially received 606,044 claims and eventually rejected 54,135 claims for being too small or having "uncured" claim-form deficiencies such as a lack of a signature.
Despite Webb's disappointment, she got far more than $180.75, the average payout among all 551,909 consumers.
Was your settlement check in the ballpark of what you expected?