Lawsuit Accuses Jewelry Company Lia Sophia Of Refusing To Honor Lifetime Guarantee On Purchases

liasophiaSix months after direct-sales jewelry company Lia Sophia said it was shutting down, one of its former sales representatives has been joined by a customer in a lawsuit against the company, claiming it refuses to honor its lifetime guarantee on purchases, even while it’s continued to stay alive through online sales.

Until the company’s announcement in December 2014 that it was closing up shop, the business worked much like Avon or Tupperware: Sales representatives known as “advisers” would peddle jewelry directly to customers at parties and gatherings.

Those customers were given a lifetime replacement guarantee on purchases that allowed them to exchange their jewelry if it ever broke, or provide a certificate redeemable for comparable value. That perk had allowed Lia Sophia to sell its wares for more than the market would usually demand, the lawsuit says.

But in a lawsuit seeking class-action status filed this month in Chicago’s federal district court, one of its former advisers and a customer claim that Lia Sophia refuses to honor that lifetime guarantee on purchases, even while it has continued to sell jewelry online, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Initially, Lia Sophia had said it would keep the online store open through February to clear out remaining merchandise, but it’s June and the “outlet” site still features jewelry for sale.

The company said in December after announcing it was closing up shop that all replacement certificates would expire Dec. 28, 2014. But when customers complained on Facebook, Lia Sophia said those guarantees were no longer valid, according to the suit.

It also told customers that the online store still remained because demand was so strong, that it was trying to figure out other ways to sell its jewelry, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, fraud and unjust enrichment. The fact that it’s still peddling products online contradicts “repeated statements and promises” Lia Sophia made to its sales advisers that it wouldn’t ever cut them out of the deal and sell straight to customers, the lawsuit says, alleging that Lia Sophia’s owners knew for months before the announcement in December that they were going to cease operations.

“Yet, Lia Sophia induced its sales advisors to continue to sell and recruit, and to purchase additional products and supplies from Lia Sophia, despite knowing that Lia Sophia would not be around for its sales advisors to ever recover on those purchases and recruitments,” the complaint says. “Similarly, Lia Sophia continued to sell jewelry to customers with its lifetime guarantee, all the while knowing it was going to close its business and attempt to extinguish the guarantee.”

Lia Sophia responded to the lawsuit in a statement, saying: “We feel confident that this complaint is without merit. Beyond that, we are not commenting further.”

Lawsuit against Lia Sophia alleges broken promises [Chicago Tribune]

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