posted Oct 2, 2012, 1:13 PM by Phillip Sisneros
updated Oct 2, 2012, 1:14 PM
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
J. Edwards Diamonds Also Agrees to Advertising & Pricing Reforms
(ALBUQUERQUE)---Attorney General Gary King has successfully resolved litigation involving J. Edwards Diamonds of New Mexico that immediately puts an end to the company’s jewelry leasing program and requires it to revamp advertising and pricing systems for the sale of jewelry.
In 2008 AG King ordered an investigation of the Albuquerque store’s multi-tiered pricing, advertised discounts, and use of a leasing program in the purchase of diamonds and jewelry. During the course of the investigation, J. Edwards initiated a pre-emptive lawsuit against the Attorney General asking the court to determine whether their practices were legal. The Attorney General counter-sued, claiming that the business’s pricing structure, advertising, and leasing program violated the Unfair Practices Act of the State of New Mexico.
After extensive negotiations, John Silverman, in his individual capacity and
as an Officer and President of J. Edwards Diamonds of New Mexico, LLC, and J. Edwards Jewelry Distributing Company d/b/a Diamond Financial Services, recently reached a settlement with the Attorney General on all but one legal question. The Bernalillo County 2nd Judicial Court approved a Partial Stipulated Consent Decree prohibiting, among other things, the jewelry store from:
- Implementing, offering or using any variation of its leasing program or “same as cash” purchase option program in violation of the terms of the agreement;
- Advertising its merchandise as at “the lowest prices” or “wholesale”;
- Using practices such as undisclosed balloon payments, multiple conflicting contracts, undisclosed penalties; and,
- For any consumer with an active lease for the purchase of jewelry or diamonds, J. Edwards and Diamond Financial Services cannot enforce or charge any termination or reinstatement fees or penalty; enforce the forfeiture provision for sums held in the reserve account; retain any portion of sums paid into the reserve account; and immediately shall credit sums held in the reserve account to the balanced owed to the consumer. However, J. Edwards, DFS and Silverman are still entitled to bill and collect all money due under an existing lease subject to the terms of the consent decree.
- J. Edwards, DFS and Silverman shall pay to the Office of the Attorney General the sum of $135,000. The parties agree that if an agreement cannot be reached on the one unresolved legal question, having to do with credit card payments, the issue will be presented to the presiding judge for final determination.
CONSENT DECREE ATTACHED BELOW