Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to Save Your Safe Deposit Box From All the People Trying to Steal It

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

comic 68 - safe deposit box

I don’t want to alarm anybody, but at this very moment, someone is trying to steal your money.

Let that statement soak in for a minute. Are you alarmed? You should be, even though I told you not to be. Now I bet you’re wondering what has transpired to cause me to issue such an alarming statement. Well, for starters, I had to write about something, and publishing alarming statements is a great way to get people’s attention. For instance: squirrels cause cancer if they get within 100 feet of you. See what I mean? I bet you’re checking the latest rodentia medical journals right now to verify my claim. Well, I’ll save you the trouble—squirrels do not cause cancer. At least I don’t think they do. Just to be safe, you should probably carry a gun with you all the time and shoot all the squirrels you see.

What was I talking about? Oh yes, everyone is trying to steal your money. And by everyone, I mean the following:

  • The Federal government
  • Your state and local governments
  • Your school or alma mater’s student government
  • Auto manufacturers
  • The banking industry
  • OPEC
  • The United Nations
  • The Washington Nationals
  • The International House of Pancakes

Okay, so I may have embellished that list a little bit. But since I won’t tell you how I embellished it, you’re just going to have to believe me out of fear for now.

One notable entity on that list of groups stealing your money is the banking industry. You might be thinking, “Why would the banks try to steal my money when I’m just as happy to give it to them?” And if you’re not thinking that, then consider all the different ways you give money to the bank during your lifetime:

  • Savings accounts and CDs
  • Checking accounts
  • Mortgage payments
  • Credit card payments
  • School loan payments
  • ATM fees
  • Safety deposit boxes

Of course, for most of those times you give your money to the bank, you expect to get something in return—possibly interest payments to you for your savings, or the right to continue living in your house for your mortgage payment. At the very least, you don’t expect a bank will just up and walk away with your hard-earned money. Even if you just stash tens of thousands of dollars into a safety deposit box, that money should still be there years down the road.

Unfortunately that’s not always how it works, as this story of auctioned-off safety deposit boxes reveals. Apparently these boxes aren’t always as “safe” as their name implies. The article describes how banks, believing some safety deposit boxes to be abandoned, turned over the contents to the state government which promptly proceeds to auction off the contents. In some cases, priceless family heirlooms have been sold at auction without the knowledge of the original owner.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the deposit boxes were genuinely abandoned, i.e. the owners had moved away without providing a new address. But in some instances, “abandoned” has simply meant that the owners of the boxes hadn’t visited the box in a few years. Sometimes the owners of the boxes still had active savings or checking accounts at the same bank! According to the article, while states require that banks attempt to contact the owners before drilling the box contents open for sale at auction, there is no law regulating how hard banks must try to contact the owners of “abandoned” safety deposit boxes, nor is there any punishment for not trying.

Now the article goes on to describe a few common sense ways to protect your safety deposit box such as ensuring your contact information is up to date and visiting the box once a year to check the contents. But that’s not going to do anything to stop banks from getting bored one day and deciding to auction off all the safety deposit boxes that are prime numbers. To do that, you’ll need to take serious preventative measures to protect your safety deposit box.

No, this doesn’t mean to set an explosive trap in your box that goes off when it’s opened. After all, how would you get into the box yourself? That, and we’re trying not to kill anyone here. Fortunately the geniuses over at the FatWallet forums have devised the perfect plan to protect your precious possessions from pesky pilferers—simply add a bag of cocaine to your safety deposit box.

You’re probably wondering how this works to stop your safety deposit box from being auctioned away. Well, it’s quite simple:

  1. Bank drills open “abandoned” safety deposit box.
  2. Bank finds cocaine.
  3. Bank calls police.
  4. Police find you in about 30 seconds, because they actually try.
  5. You, the true owner of the safety deposit box, are successfully located.

Of course, step six of that sequence would be “you go to jail for possession of an illegal substance,” so one way around that would be to substitute a bag of baking powder or sugar labeled as your favorite powdery white narcotic. That said, some places will throw you in jail anyway for wasting their time, but at least your collection of ceramic roosters won’t be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Your best bet, then, might be to label that fake bag of drugs as “definitely not drugs.” This way, the police will get called in anyway, but you can simply tell them later “the bag said it wasn’t drugs!” You still may go to jail, but it would be under the dumbest charge ever—something like “possession of a not illegal substance.”

Hmm… I suppose this whole idea goes out the window if the bank personnel drilling your safety deposit box open decide to steal your drugs. But imagine the look on their faces when they try to use the stuff only to find out it’s cooking flour! That’ll teach ‘em to steal from you.

So in summary, drugs are bad, and stealing is bad, but one bad thing can be used to stop another bad thing from happening, and it might be okay.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

12 Guilt-Free Things You Should Be Stealing From Work

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

comic 67 - confession

Let me preface this by saying that I do not in any way condone stealing things that don’t belong to you. I do, however, thoroughly condone stretching the definition of “belonging to you” to include some things which don’t really belong to anyone, like love and air, but not things like national monuments (I’m talking to you, Carmen Sandiego).

There’s always a bit of a gray area when it comes to taking things that are “free.” Yes, those apartment guides in the grocery store say they’re free, but does that mean you should take all 47 of them? On the one hand, it would be kinda funny to do it, and you’d have a little less competition for apartments which might impact rental prices in the long run. On the other hand, don’t be a dumbass; just take five or six copies like everyone else.

There’s probably no grayer area in the “free stuff” world than in the workplace. After all, there’s just tons of stuff lying around, begging to be absconded with. And if you’re like me and you work for a large, faceless multinational corporation, none of that stuff really belongs to anybody per se. In fact, if you own stock in your own company, then technically some of those computers and light fixtures and floor tiles belong to you. And who would blame you for taking your fair share?

Well, apparently a lot of people would because stealing things from work is generally considered to be illegal. If you try to walk out the front door with a dozen desktop computers under your arms… your grotesque, inhumanly powerful arms… you’re probably going to get stopped by security. At the very least, when someone notices they’re gone, you’ll probably show up on no less than 28 surveillance cameras walking out with the stolen goods.

That said, there really are some workplace items you shouldn’t feel bad about walking away with on occasion either because they’re worth so little or because everyone else does it. Here’s a list of some of those things you practically have a duty to gank from your job.

  1. Electricity. Are you still charging your cell phone at home like a stupid hobo? (No offense, hobos.) If so, and you use your phone to make even one work-related call a year, you should be charging it at your desk instead. In fact, I don’t think anyone will blame you if you just ran an extension cord a few miles down the road to your residence since you wouldn’t have all these electrical gadgets to begin with if your job didn’t pay you the money you used to buy them!
  2. Water. If your workplace has free exercise facilities, chances are it also has showers. Even if exercising isn’t your cup of tea, you can still take advantage of workplace shower facilities to cut down on hot water consumption at home.
  3. Housing. Still renting or paying a mortgage like a stupid hobo? (Really, I don’t mean to offend you hobos.) Why do that when you’ve got a perfectly good office or cubicle that just sits unoccupied each night while you’re at home in your so-called “comfy bed.”
  4. Internet. Let me be totally clear here: internet surfing during work is a big no-no; internet browsing at work after hours might not be so bad. Now if you’re gonna be looking at the pornographies, do yourself a favor and use someone else’s computer in case your network admin logs that kind of stuff. Just be sure to clean up after you’re done. Clean up your browsing activity, that is. Ew.
  5. Disk space. While we’re talking computers, I bet your work computer has gobs of unused disk space on it. After all, how much space can a few dozen spreadsheets take up? Assuming it’s not against company policy, you could use some of that extra space to backup your important personal files. It’s cheaper than using a commercial backup solution. But again, keep your dirty pictures somewhere else… like at my house.
  6. Desk candy. Some of your co-workers may be nice enough to leave small dishes of candy on their desks for people who walk by to take a piece. If your company has you working until 9pm without giving you a break for dinner, those candies can serve as a handy substitute for real nutrition.
  7. Storage. This doesn’t apply to those of you who actually use your office or cubicle’s space for storing work items. But I know plenty of you administrative types have nothing but empty lockable drawers that you like to pretend are full of important papers. Why not use some of that space to store books, old clothes, and other stuff you don’t want cluttering up your house? (Not that you even need a house if your office is that spacious…)
  8. Scrap paper. If you have young, artistic kids, you probably have to buy them a ream or two of copy paper every other week to satisfy their scribbling habits. (You know: draw draw draw, throw paper away. Draw draw, erase, rip up paper.) Stop wasting perfectly good new paper on them and just bring home whatever you can fish out of the workplace recycling bins. Just be careful what scrap paper you decide to give to your kids as you wouldn’t want them showing off their doodles to classmates drawn on the other side of top secret engineering schematics.
  9. Toilet paper. In general, you should be doing about 75% of your toileting at work anyway. You’ll find that doing so will really cut down on your household’s TP consumption. I’m pretty religious about my workplace potty break; stop by stall #2 on the third floor around 12:15 some day and say hi!
  10. Old magazines. Sure, they’re a little used and out-of-date, but those three-week-old magazines sitting in your office building’s lobby or waiting room would just get thrown away eventually anyway. Take them home instead and catch up on world events with such first-class publications as Time, Newsweek, and Soap Opera Digest.
  11. Expired holiday decorations. Does your workplace decorate for the holidays? And if so, does it throw out those decorations every year? A quick trip to the dumpster on December 26th could save you a boatload on Christmas decorations next year. Heck, stop by work early on December 25th and pick them up before someone else gets the same idea!
  12. Landscape. You may not realize it, but that finely groomed campus landscaping you see outside your window at work probably costs more money each month than you make in a year. I think that entitles you to make off with some posies and maybe a few small bushes.

What, were you expecting me to say that it’s okay to walk out with reams of stationery and a truckload of LCD monitors? Sorry to disappoint you, but I bet you’ll still save a lot of money if you pilfer these items. Plus you probably won’t go to jail… unless you’ve got one of those psychotic bosses who constantly inventories the toilet paper in the restroom and chastises everyone for using too much. And if you have one of those bosses, you may want to quit and find a better job.

Oh, and don’t forget to steal everything that isn’t nailed down on your way out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stealing Restaurant Condiments: It’s Time To Settle An Age-Old Debate

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

comic 58 - condiment thief

Everyone knows at least one person who does it. Maybe it’s your senile old grandmother who doesn’t think anything of it. Maybe it’s a co-worker who does it at lunch.

Maybe you do it yourself.

No no, I’m not talking about masturbating. (At least I hope I’m not.) I’m referring to the practice of concealed condiment collection—i.e. “stealing” ketchup and sugar packets and all those other little individually packaged seasonings you might find at a variety of restaurants.

This isn’t a new concept by any means. Historical documents dating back to the 1500s talk about routine executions being carried out on the streets of London when a person would try to hide a thimble of jam under their wig while departing the local tea house. Nowadays many people don’t even consider it a crime to stuff a few extra packets of jelly in one’s purse at the local IHOP. At the very least, plenty of folks agree that’s it a victimless crime. After all, you’re stealing tiny amounts of secondary ingredients from business owners and large multinational corporate minions, most of whom have swimming pools filled with unwanted condiment packets.

Of course, for every person who thinks absconding with restaurant condiments is on the up-and-up, there’s another who considers it outright theft. The latter group typically argues that condiments that are distributed for free by restaurants are meant to be used at the restaurant, similarly to how most all-you-can-eat buffets don’t allow you to remove food from the restaurant.

On the other hand, the average condiment collector will use a variety of reasons for justifying his or her habit:

  • They’re practically worthless.
  • I’m only taking a few.
  • I’m not hurting anyone by doing it.
  • If restaurants didn’t want people taking condiments, they shouldn’t make them available.
  • It’s just freaking ketchup!

Personally, I’m somewhere in between the two arguments, but I can already tell you what the anti-collector’s response would be to some of these excuses for legitimizing covert condiment confiscation.

  • They’re practically worthless or I’m only taking a few. Restaurant condiments aren’t as cheap as you think. Bulk ketchup, for example, runs around 3 cents a packet. Even if a giant chain negotiates that down to a penny each, it’s still 1% of the price of those Dollar Menu fries.
  • I’m not hurting anyone by doing it. What if your boss told you that he or she was taking 1% of your pay and eating it? You’d be pretty upset! Each time one of these condiment packets is taken from a restaurant, that’s money out of the pockets of everyone. And since executives and managers set pay rates for lower employees, you can probably guess who’s going to be impacted the most.
  • If restaurants didn’t want people taking condiments, they shouldn’t make them available. If that’s your argument, you should insist on paying for your condiments the next time you dine out. Or even better—bring your own!
  • It’s just freaking ketchup! Sure, it starts with ketchup. Then it might escalate to bigger things like toilet paper rolls from the restaurant bathroom, or cars from the parking lot. I’m pretty sure I read a government document stating that most terrorists got their start stealing barbeque sauce from McDonald’s.

Another common argument you’ll hear from condiment collectors: it saves them money. Well, so does stealing groceries from the supermarket; but you’re not going to walk out of Wal-Mart with a 24-ounce bottle of mustard tucked under your coat, are you? If anything, you’d save a lot more money by not dining out in these restaurants in the first place.

But since both sides of the condiment coin have their points, I think the best way to settle this argument is with a compromise. Perhaps if condiment collectors agreed to reduce their activities to only certain items and in very limited quantities, the condiment crusaders wouldn’t mind it as much. As for what condiments are okay to collect and which ones aren’t, I would propose the following lists as guidance:

Condiments That Might Be Okay to “Collect”

  • Condiments you can’t recreate at home or buy in the store (e.g. Taco Bell’s sauce).
  • A reasonable number of necessary condiments when you’re doing take-out (e.g. not 42 packets of honey when you only bought a hamburger).
  • Duck and soy sauce. I’m pretty sure both flow abundantly through the rivers of Asia.
  • One bonus condiment of your choice each time the employees are jerks or idiots.

Condiments You Shouldn’t Be Stealing From Restaurants

  • Standard condiments like ketchup and mustard. Just go buy your own at the store.
  • Pricier but still standard condiments like barbeque sauce and salad dressing.
  • Napkins. That’s just being a tightwad.
  • Salt and pepper shakers. Generally you don’t want to take condiments that are in reusable containers.
  • Table centerpieces. Yes, I’m sure there’s someone out there who yanks flowers from restaurant tables.
  • Silverware. Not even plastic sporks unless you’re doing take-out.
  • The Heinz truck that just pulled up to the back of the restaurant. Yeah, that’s hijacking.

If we all work together to keep restaurant condiment costs low, we can help ensure that future generations will have access to marvels such as Wendy’s 99 Cent Super Value Menu. But if rampant condiment theft continues unchecked, we’ll become reliant on foreign sources of ketchup which will cause prices to skyrocket, and soon you’ll be wishing you could dip your fries in crude oil instead.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Seven Pending Class Action Lawsuits That May Show You The Money

Author: Nick
Category: Money

You may recall the announcement of a settlement in the De Beers diamond lawsuit class action that could put money back in your pocket for your recent diamond jewelry purchases. And even more recently in the news is word that those popular Airborne anti-sickness supplements probably don’t work, and a class action lawsuit against Airborne’s makers could give you a decent-sized refund.

At this point you may be sitting there thinking, “Hmm, maybe I could make a living buying all sorts of garbage and waiting for the manufacturer to get sued so I can cash in on the settlement.” But before you quit your job and set up a tent in the back of your local courthouse, keep in mind that relying on class action lawsuits for a steady income is, to put it gently, super-duper retarded.

That said, there are still some class actions on the horizon (either just being filed, in the process of being considered in court, or going to settlement) that could net you a few bucks based on your past purchases or actions. Below you’ll find a list of some of the more interesting lawsuits making headlines that might include you in their affected classes.

It’s Not So Comcastic After All!

comcastWho’s Getting Sued: Comcast, everyone’s favorite cable and internet services provider.
What’s It About? Comcast is being sued in California and Washington D.C. for interfering with popular peer-to-peer downloads, allegedly slowing their speeds or sometimes preventing them altogether. Comcast may argue that it can do whatever the hell it wants with its internet tubes, while the consumers bringing the suits will probably throw Comcast’s claims of unfettered internet access back in its face.
How Much Money Could I Expect? Don’t worry too much if you’re a Comcast user but you don’t live in California or D.C. It’s only a matter of time before one of these lawsuits transforms into a nationwide action or a separate one pops up in your neighborhood. If Comcast loses or agrees to settle, you may be able to get a partial or full refund for your internet access fees over a certain time period—anywhere from a few months to a few years.
How Do I Track This Case? Subscribe to Google News updates on “comcast class action” in your RSS reader.

Never Get Between a Gamer and His Fun

xbox liveWho’s Getting Sued: Microsoft, maker of the Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows, and other things that tend to break a lot.
What’s It About? Millions of gamers seeking to unwind over the December 2007 holiday break instead ended up breaking Microsoft’s Xbox Live online videogame service which couldn’t handle the extreme load on its servers, resulting in an outage of the service that lasted for days. A handful of enraged gamers in Texas, not satisfied with Microsoft’s apology which came with a free arcade game dowload, filed a class action suit in January seeking $5 million in damages.
How Much Money Could I Expect? If you’re lucky, you might get a free month of Xbox Live service or a refund for the alleged outage period. One month of Xbox Live service runs for about $8.
How Do I Track This Case? Subscribe to Google News updates on “xbox live class action” in your RSS reader.

Two Cases Sprint-ing to the Courthouse

sprintWho’s Getting Sued: Sprint Nextel Corp., provider of cellular phone services and constant buyer’s remorse.
What’s It About? Sprint Nextel saw itself hit with two class action lawsuits in February 2008—one alleging it illegally extended cell phone contracts for pretty much any reason (You like the color blue? That’s a two-year contract extension.), and another claiming it improperly charged roaming fees.
How Much Money Could I Expect? Your guess is as good as mine. Depending on how the proceeds of any settlement or award are split, you might see anywhere from a few bucks to a bucket of cash if you were hit with unfair roaming fees or contract extensions. Just the contract extension suit by itself could bring in hundreds of dollars of monthly fee refunds for consumers who were wrongly locked into longer contracts.
How Do I Track This Case? Subscribe to Google News updates on “sprint nextel class action” in your RSS reader.

Your Blu-ray Player Doesn’t Work? Uh, It’s Supposed to Do That

samsungWho’s Getting Sued: Samsung, manufacturer of electronic toys for girls and boys.
What’s It About? This one’s pretty straightforward: buyers of Samsung’s early generation of Blu-ray players insist they (the players) are pieces of junk that won’t play the latest awesome Blu-ray movies like Fantastic 4 and The Land Before Time 47: Hi-Def Dinos. Samsung responded to the lawsuit saying, “Oh crap, we were hoping nobody would notice that.”
How Much Money Could I Expect? Samsung should settle this one pretty quickly since it’s so obvious they’re in the wrong. Expect a lame settlement though—something like discount vouchers for another piece of crap Samsung Blu-ray player.
How Do I Track This Case? Subscribe to Google News updates on “samsung blu-ray class action” in your RSS reader.

Yeah, This PC’s About As Vista Capable As My Game Boy

vista capableWho’s Getting Sued: Microsoft, software giant that gets sued for every product it ever makes.
What’s It About? Consumers allege that Microsoft, in order to keep PC sales going during the multi-year delays of its new Vista operating system, slapped “Vista Capable” stickers on PCs and laptops originally equipped with Windows XP that can now barely run the most basic version of Vista. PC buyers are mad that they spent money on machines that are already out-of-date.
How Much Money Could I Expect? I think Microsoft knows it screwed up badly on this one, so expect a speedy settlement. Depending on how stupid the plantiff’s attorneys are, you could personally see anything from a free copy of “Vista Basic, Lawsuit Edition” for your woefully inadequate PC to a partial or full refund of your machine’s purchase price.
How Do I Track This Case? Subscribe to Google News updates on “vista capable class action” in your RSS reader.

Buy This .com Domain Today For Just $5. No, $10. Now It’s $30. No Wait…

network solutionsWho’s Getting Sued: Network Solutions, overpriced domain name registrar.
What’s It About? Domain name hunters claim that popular but pricey registrar Network Solutions would put a hold on domain names when users searched for them on its website, preventing the searcher from buying it on a competing registrar’s website at a much lower price. Network Solutions charges roughly $35 a year for domain name registrations; for comparison, I paid GoDaddy.com about $7 to renew punny.org this year.
How Much Money Could I Expect? The typical personal payout for this lawsuit could be some fraction of that $35 a year fee if you found yourself forced to buy a domain from Network Solutions due to their automatic holds. But if you decided not to give in to NetSol’s extortion, you may be better off filing your own suit against them (and excluding yourself from this class during the award distribution phase) to recover whatever actual damages you experienced not being able to get your desired domain name.
How Do I Track This Case? Subscribe to Google News updates on “network solutions class action” in your RSS reader.

90% Efficient… About 50% of the Time

carrierWho’s Getting Sued: Furnace manufacturers Carrier, Bryant, Payne, and Day & Night.
What’s It About? This lawsuit is already in the settlement phase, but it slipped under a lot of people’s radars due to lack of mainstream media coverage. In short, those 90% efficiency furnaces that are supposed to save you money on your heating bills will end up costing you more in the long run because they break down far more often than their 80% efficient counterparts.
How Much Money Could I Expect? Current or previous owners of certain furnace models will get $270 and an enhanced warranty. You have until August 1, 2008 to submit your claim form at www.furnaceclaims.com.
How Do I Track This Case? Subscribe to Google News updates on “carrier bryant class action” in your RSS reader.

Now before you start planning a trip to Jamaica using your chunk of the awards from these lawsuits, remember that there are a few things standing in your way of cashing those settlement checks:

  • They have to, like, win the case first. Or at least push the defendants into a settlement.
  • Lawyers get their huge cut of the money first.
  • Big business lawsuits can drag on for years.
  • You’ll probably need receipts for your affected purchases. If you didn’t keep them, your benefits may be reduced or eliminated altogether.
  • Anyone named Nick gets his check first. It’s the law. Look it up in this law book of mine that I wrote just now.

Your best bet for keeping up with these class action suits so you don’t miss out on your piece of the settlement pies is by subscribing to the RSS feeds posted with each story above. Each one should monitor Google’s news service for updates to each case and notify you in your feed reader if the suits are settled, won, lost or dismissed.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bought a Diamond in the Last 14 Years? Get Tons of Money From Class Action Settlement

Author: Nick
Category: Money

finally you can get something worthwhile out of that engagement ring purchase

Universal Law of Finance #37: Any company that makes a ton of money will eventually have to give some of that money back in a class action lawsuit settlement, usually because it did something painfully illegal.

Normally I don’t get too hyped up over class action settlements because an individual included in the settlement class typically only receives a few bucks or a worthless gesture of apology. This one is different. De Beers, the company which essentially has a monopoly on the world’s supply of diamonds, is settling a massive lawsuit brought against it under allegations of monumental price fixing. Whether De Beers is guilty or not will never be decided in court because it’s taking the usual big business way out of gigantic class action lawsuits and throwing out a small morsel of the $6 billion it brings in each year in order to make the whole thing go away. Fortunately, what may be a pittance to De Beers could translate into a sizable sum for you and me.

Under the terms of the settlement, consumers who have purchased a diamond in any form (engagement rings, other jewelry, or even mixed with other gemstones) between January 1994 and March 2006 could be eligible for a tidy refund—anywhere from six to 60% of the original purchase price. Depending on how much you spent on diamonds during the period in question, you’ll be eligible for a refund that you can estimate from the following table.

a chart with a bunch of numbers i am not retyping in this alt text

A lot of people married in the last decade could cash in nicely on their engagement ring purchases. For example, an engagement ring that set you back $5,000 would mean you’d be entitled to a settlement of about $1,600. Those shelling out twice that or more—$10,000 and up—will find themselves in a higher percentage bracket and entitled to $4,500 for every $10,000 they spend on their rings. Other types of diamond jewelry are also available, so good luck trying to remember all of the diamond jewelry you’ve bought since 1994.

Consumers have a few things going against them in this settlement:

  1. Lots of people could mean less money for you. The total amount De Beers will pay is capped at some obscene but finite nine-digit figure, so if enough claims are made, you might get less than that percentage listed in the table above. Hmm, maybe I should keep this to myself…
  2. You need receipts. While you probably won’t be asked to produce them, the settlement administrators reserve the right to request that you provide receipts for your diamond purchases, and certain large purchases will require a receipt before you get your settlement. Credit card statements should work too, so start digging for your documents before you file a claim. Don’t be an idiot and add an extra zero to your diamond purchases because you could find yourself getting nothing later.
  3. Don’t bother if you spent only a bit. If your total diamond purchases during that period were under $165 for mixed-gem jewelry or $95 for diamond-only jewelry, you can stop right now because your settlement chunk would be $10 or less. Such small settlement claims will not be paid due to “administrative costs.”
  4. Anything could happen between now and later. It’s likely that the settlement will go through as it’s currently written, but there’s always the chance that something could happen—anything from minor rewrites of clauses to total scrapping of the settlement due to objections or other legal maneuvers.

If you have your receipts and are ready to file a settlement, you can do it online in just five minutes right here:


I filed mine today for two pieces of diamond jewelry: my wife’s engagement ring (bought in 2004) and a diamond pendant (Christmas 2006). When I told her about it, her reaction was priceless: “That’s a diamond in that pendant?” (I wish I were making that up, but I’m not.) Yeah, she’s getting toy jewelry from those 25-cent dispensers in the supermarket from now on.