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Signet Jewelers division pays $10 million fine

Sterling Jewelers has settled a dispute over alleged credit-card practices.

The retailer, a division of Signet Jewelers, agreed to pay $10 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and $1 million to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James to settle charges that it signed up customers for store credit cards and credit insurance without their consent and giving false information on the card’s interest rate.

James said that Sterling pressured employees to enroll customers in store-branded credit cards by setting quotas, Reuters reported, and tying performance reviews and pay increases to whether employees met the quotas. She said the jeweler tricked consumers into providing personal information to enroll in what they thought were “rewards” or discount programs, only to use the information to submit credit card applications.

In other instances, employees told customers the store credit card came with a no-interest, promotional financing plan. In fact, the plan charged monthly financing fees.

Sterling neither admits nor denies the claims, according to court documents. In a statement Signet said it disagreed with the allegations but "chose to negotiate a resolution of this matter to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty of litigation with the agencies.”

“We have used this opportunity to internally reaffirm the transparency and fairness of our credit-related policies and we look forward to continuing to provide our customers with access to suitable credit options,” the company stated.

Signet operates nearly 3,500 stores primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda, and
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