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Coeur d’Alene jewelry shop wins snowfall dispute, says customers will get $500K in refunds

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 10, 2020

Kimberly Wickham, the manager of Clark’s Diamond Jewelers in Coeur d’Alene, laughs with customer Ken Bailey on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. The jewelry shop claimed victory Monday following a dispute with an insurance company and a weather laboratory, saying hundreds of customers will get refunds as promised during a holiday marketing promotion. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Kimberly Wickham, the manager of Clark’s Diamond Jewelers in Coeur d’Alene, laughs with customer Ken Bailey on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. The jewelry shop claimed victory Monday following a dispute with an insurance company and a weather laboratory, saying hundreds of customers will get refunds as promised during a holiday marketing promotion. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A Coeur d’Alene jewelry shop claimed victory Monday following a dispute with an insurance company and a weather laboratory, saying hundreds of customers will get refunds as promised during a holiday marketing promotion.

Jane Clark, the owner of Clark’s Diamond Jewelers, said more than 300 people who made purchases at the store between Nov. 22 and Dec. 31 will receive refund checks totaling more than $500,000.

“We’ve been calling people today and everybody is super excited,” she said.

Clark’s holiday promotion involved a wager that at least 3 inches of snow would fall in Coeur d’Alene on Jan. 11. Clark’s paid a percentage of its sales and signed a contract with an insurance provider to put on the promotion.

The store’s owners were ecstatic when meteorologist Cliff Harris measured 3.3 inches of snow between midnight and 9:30 a.m. that day at his weather station in Coeur d’Alene, the official measurement site for the promotion. More snow fell later in the day.

But days later, an Illinois-based company tasked with verifying the snow total for the jeweler’s insurance carrier said it had measured only 1.8 inches using Doppler radar.

After Clark’s challenged that determination, the company, Weather Command, revised its report to say 2.3 inches of snow had fallen on Jan. 11, and Clark’s insurance claim was denied.

The jewelry shop consulted attorneys and meteorologists, and submitted photos and videos to prove how much snow had actually fallen that day.

“In light of the additional evidence we submitted, Weather Command determined the snowfall amount was at least 3.6 inches during the 24-hour period on January 11, 2020,” Jane Clark said in a Facebook post Monday.

In a phone call, Clark said she’s awaiting a settlement check from the insurance company, Beazley, and she plans to distribute refund checks to customers during a “client appreciation party” on Feb. 21.

Those who can’t attend the event can arrange other times to pick up their checks or alternative ways to receive their refunds, Clark said. And anyone looking to buy something special for a loved one before Valentine’s Day can swap their refund for store credit, she said.

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