Signet Jewelers Accused of Creating Fake Credit Card Accounts
Signet Jewelers Ltd., the company that operates Kay Jewelers, Jared, and other large jewelry stores, has agreed to pay $11 million in fines for allegedly opening fake credit card accounts for customers.
The New York Attorney General’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Signet Jewelers pressured sales representatives to sign up customers for store credit cards. Employees were required to meet application quotas as part of their compensation structure and performance reviews. Some employees were terminated for not enrolling enough customers for store credit cards.
To fulfill those demands, some representatives allegedly applied for store cards without a customer’s consent. They would request personal information for a “rewards card” or similar offer, but then use the data for a credit application.
The CFPB has not determined how many fake accounts were created, but they did note that over one million accounts were opened between 2013 and 2017 but never used for a purchase.
The company agreed to the settlement without admitting fault. A representative said, “While we disagree with the allegations…we chose to negotiate a resolution of this matter to avoid the time, expense and uncertainty of litigation with the agencies.”
The settlement was signed by Sterling Jewelers Inc., a subsidiary of Signet Jewelers. From 2014 to 2017, Sterling had more than three million open credit card accounts. Those cards accounted for up to 60% of the store’s sales in that time and yielded more than $300 million in revenue per year.