Harris Jewelry Closes All Locations
The jeweler will continue to operate online and via phone.
The New York-based chain, which caters to members of the military and their families, closed all 18 locations as of last month, according to a weekly alert from the Jewelers Board of Trade.
The retailer closed six locations earlier in the year, recently followed by the 12 remaining stores in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
“On or about April 11, Harris made the difficult decision to close all of our remaining retail locations,” the company said in a statement to National Jeweler. “Our stores were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, resulting in a steep decline in sales.”
The jeweler, founded in 1955 by U.S. Marine and World War II veteran Jerome L. Harris, will continue to operate online and via phone.
“For over 65 years, Harris has been providing military personnel and their families memorable gift- giving experiences, convenient payment options, and exceptional customer service. That remains our mission to this day,” said the company.
The closures follow a string of legal battles, including an ongoing complaint from the New York State Attorney General’s office.
An October 2018 lawsuit filed by the state attorney general alleged the retailer marked up its jewelry between 600 and 1,000 percent and misled service members so they would sign financing agreements with high interest rates.
About 90 to 95 percent of all transactions at Harris Jewelry were financed through its “proprietary” financing, as per court documents. The service was provided under the name Consumer Adjustment Corp. USA, which was an “alter ego” of Harris Jewelry rather than an outside company, a fact that was “never clearly disclosed to the consumer.”
In response, Harris called the lawsuit “broadly inaccurate, baseless, and overreaching” and said it “operates in full compliance with the laws that regulate its industry.”
Though six of the eight counts against Harris Jewelry were tossed out in April 2019, one was reinstated on appeal. That count alleged the jeweler “operated a ‘credit services business’ in a manner that violated general business law.”
The company settled another lawsuit in June 2020 with the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office that also accused the jeweler of misleading credit practices.
A court filing stated that the jeweler misled service members into “believing that their products are an easy way to build and restore credit” and that the jeweler “profited significantly as a result of these misrepresentations.”
The terms of the settlement included $800,000 in debt relief and refunds to its customers.
Harris Jewelry neither admitted to or denied the allegations in the Tennessee suit, but said it hoped the settlement would put an end to the matter.
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