Professional Insider: In the industry
JVC/JA Task Force Endorses FTC Changes
Proposal calls for disclosing treatments that affect a
A joint task force of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and
Jewelers of America has endorsed proposed changes to the FTC
Guides for the Jewelry Industry that would require disclosure
of all treatments that significantly affect the value of a gem.
Currently, The Guides require disclosure only if treatments aren't
permanent or require special care.
The FTC proposed the changes in June and asked for comments
by the end of August. Supporting the task force's comments were
industry organizations such as the Diamond Promotion Service,
the American Gem Society, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses
and the New York Diamond Dealers Club.
The two sections that could change to require disclosure if
a treatment significantly alters a gem's value are:
- 23.13 (Disclosing existence of artificial coloring, infusion,
- 23.22 (Deception as to gemstones).
The task force suggested two additions to the FTC for its
consideration. First, it proposed adding a phrase saying disclosure
is required only "if said treatments are known or reasonably
should have been known at the time of sale." This addition
could protect jewelers from liability for failing to disclose
treatments about which they were unaware and could not reasonably
have detected. Without this stipulation, the jeweler would be
liable even if the deception was unintentional.
It also asked the FTC to define "significant" when
discussing value to say more specifically how much a treatment
must affect a gem's value before disclosure is required. The
FTC would need to ponder what percent of change in value the
treatment would have to cause for it to be considered material
to the average or reasonable consumer.
by William H. Donahue Jr.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.