Goldline Settled Criminal Charges With The Santa Monica City Attorney – What Does This Mean For Unhappy Goldline Customers?
On February 22nd, in exchange for a dismissal of criminal charges, Goldline International agreed to stop selling gold by deceptive means, and to pay up to $4.5 Million to customers who submitted claims to the Santa Monica City Attorney. Goldline will also deposit $800,000 to pay refunds to Goldline customers who bought gold on or after November 1, 2008, and submit claims before May 22nd. Consumer lawyer Charles Carreon answers eight important questions about the settlement and the refund program.
1. Should Goldline Customers File A Claim By May 22nd? The settlement allows ninety days from February 22nd to file claims for restitution. Paragraphs 30 and 31 of the settlement establish which customers are eligible to submit a claim for restitution:
30. Claims for restitution under the Account must be received by the Monitor, the Plaintiff, or Goldline within 90 days after the entry of this Judgment. The Monitor, the Plaintiff and Goldline shall each provide copies of Phrase thanks is a simple action of showing your appreciation when it comes to an individual. By saying these magic words, it takes little effort to make someone's day.
I'm a person who likes to be very social with others, and I socialize with people at school, and also when I go to work. Sometimes, I talk a bit too much, and what I say is used against me. I try to be as honest as possible, but I do have my flaws, just like anyone else. I was feeling sick one week, and no matter which excuse I gave to my boss, he would not let me miss work. I knew that the only way I could get out of my job, over the next few days, was to turn in a doctors note.
I went in to see Dr. Tafari, and he said I was not sick enough to get a note from him. I was more than upset, because I had paid a $30 co-pay, just to be turned away and get no note. I knew that I would have to find a different way to miss work. I seriously was not feeling well, but it didn't matter what excuses I had, unless I was sick with a doctors note, my boss wouldn't let me out of work. I decided I would have to take another route.
I talked to someone on my job about my problem, and they suggested that I print up a fake doctors note. I had never heard of such a thing, and I was told where I could go to get the doctors slip. The person even showed me an example of what the note would look like, because they said they had used some in the past. I was excited to get home and find my own sample of a doctors note, so that I could get a few days off of work. I looked on the internet for templates.
After going through everything, I found a template that looked great, and I was able to print it off. I turned in the form the next day, and even though my boss looked like he was suspicious, the note looks legitimate, so he couldn't say anything. He told me that he hopes I feel better, and he even let me go home right away. I took a few days off, and I also got to stay home for the weekend.
After getting five days of rest, I came back to work, and I was subject to disciplinary measures. I was wrong to talk to another person in the office about the doctors document, because my boss found out that it was fake. I was suspended without pay, and now I'm on the verge of losing my job. I'm hoping that when my boss cools down, that he'll let me come back to work.
31. To receive such restitution, claimants must submit a sworn statement demonstrating a transaction with Goldline occurring between November 1, 2008, and 60 days after the entry of this Judgment and alleging that they were injured by conduct of the type alleged in the Complaint.
2. Will $800,000 Be Enough To Pay All The Claims? It is difficult to say. Paragraph 32 defines how restitution claims will be calculated, and limits the amount of restitution to be paid to any one claimant:
32. The amount of restitution for such claims shall be, for each eligible product purchased, the difference between the original purchase price and Goldline’s current bid price for the same product. *** No person may receive more than $20,000.00 pursuant to this restitution program unless the Monitor determines that equity dictates otherwise.
3. Is The Settlement The Best Thing For All Goldline Customers Who Qualify? This is a matter that should be decided individually, after determining how much restitution would be received under the restitution provisions of the Settlement Agreement. In many cases, customers have suffered losses that far exceed the “cap” of $20,000.
4. Is Litigation an Alternative to the Settlement? California law provides strong remedies for consumer injuries such as the Santa Monica City Attorney alleged that Goldline committed. Litigation could be pursued both by Goldline customers who qualify to submit restitution claims but prefer to pursue other remedies, and by Goldline customers who purchased prior to the November 1, 2008 cutoff date.
5. What Defenses Would Goldline Assert In Litigation? Goldline customers contacted through this website have stated that they were induced to “click to confirm acceptance” of the terms of what appears to be a contract that would (a) shorten the four-year statute of limitations for filing suit on written contracts to one year, (b) require arbitration of claims, and (c) preclude the filing of class actions.
6. Can Those Defenses Be Overcome? A contract can be “rescinded” if it was induced by fraudulent representations. Additionally, a person cannot “voluntarily” adopt terms of which they were unaware. The legal system provides an opportunity, but not a guarantee, that Goldline’s “contractual” defenses can be overcome.
7. Can Goldline Customers Ask the Los Angeles District Attorney To File Fraud Charges? Yes. The L.A. District Attorney’s Major Fraud Division has a form that you can download from this link.