State Attorney General Bob Ferguson Announces Multi-State Deal Forgiving Millions of Dollars in Jewelry Debt for Military Members
July 27, 2022 – Last week, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Harris Jewelers, a national jewelry outlet, would provide over $1.5 million in debt relief and refunds to over 1,000 service members in Washington.
According to Ferguson, Harris Jewelers preyed on active duty service members, convincing them to sign contracts violating state and federal law.
Harris Jewelers, which now operates entirely online, previously had stores in 17 states, all of them located near military bases. The company’s motto was “serving those who serve.”
“Harris Jewelers provided a disservice to those who served. I am proud of my office’s proven track record of shutting down businesses and charities who prey on military service members. Our work to protect military personnel in Washington state does not stop here,” Ferguson said.
The deal is part of a multistate resolution Harris Jewelers agreed to in order to avoid a trial. Under the agreement, Harris Jewelers will not collect $21.3 million worth of debt and will refund over $12.8 million to thousands of service members throughout the country. In Washington state, $911,525 of debt will be forgiven for 547 servicemembers and $597,925 will be refunded to 1,804 individuals.
Ferguson’s office will notify service members who are eligible for the financial compensation.
The company will also be required to pay $50,000 to Washington state, which Ferguson will split between four charities dedicated to active-duty service members in Washington.
According to Ferguson, Harris Jewelers used deceptive practices to charge service members an illegally high interest rate while telling customers they were paying a lower rate.
The deal is part of Ferguson’s Military and Veterans Initiative, which seeks to protect active-duty service members and veterans in Washington. The Office of Military and Veteran Legal Assistance was created by the Legislature in 2017 at the request of Ferguson.
By The Chronicle
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