when the status quo frustrates.

American consumers partially compensated by DeBeers, Africans still shafted.

If you were a lawyer representing consumers in a class action lawsuit alleging that DeBeers has, for decades, kept the price of diamonds artificially high, how hard would it be to keep yourself from coming to court with no argument prepared except an index card that reads, “come on, people, fucking duh!”

Anyway, if you were that lawyer, you would have won for what it’s worth (and it’s not worth very much).

If you bought a piece of diamond jewelry — or jewelry with a diamond in it — between Jan. 1, 1994, and March 31, 2006, you may be eligible for a refund as part of a recent settlement of a class-action lawsuit alleging that De Beers, the big South African diamond company, had cornered the market for diamonds for decades, keeping prices artificially high…

Theoretically, a $10,000 diamond ring is eligible for a $4,500 refund. But realistically, lots of competing claims will dilute that payout considerably. There’s no way of knowing yet how big a refund the $10,000 purchase could bring, says Tabacco…

If you paid less than $96 for jewelry with diamonds only, or $166 for a piece that includes stones other than diamonds, your refund wouldn’t reach the $10 minimum payout, so don’t bother.

While this is somewhat good news for consumers:

The settlement helps the whole industry, Bates says. “It shows that diamonds are no longer controlled by a cartel. It’s a sign of a more modern industry, that people can have greater confidence in the price.”

PAB would like to remind you that this settlement in no way addresses the fact that every time you buy a diamond, a child gets his or her legs blown off by a land mine.

An exaggeration, maybe, but still, just because consumers will be getting slightly less hosed at the jewelry counter is no reason to not do your research before you shop.

One Response to “American consumers partially compensated by DeBeers, Africans still shafted.”

  1. sabrina says:

    Wow, so many parts of Africa are controlled by warlords who kill and maim thousands of people, hundreds of women are raped in the Congo everyday, and even in places where its legal to buy diamonds, workers are paid on average one dollar a day. The American response..”hey, we paid too much for our mass produced piece of Zales crap!”.

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