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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘We’re fighting for the truth’: CdA jeweler hires attorneys to challenge ruling on $500K snowfall promotion

Dan Clark of Clark's Diamond Jewelers poses for a photo at one of the counters in his store on Jan. 11. Clark's ran a promotion promising customers who bought jewelry around the holidays a full refund for their purchases if it snowed at least three inches that day. The store has hired attorneys in an effort to prove that happened. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Clark’s Diamond Jewelers in Coeur d’Alene is involving attorneys in its crusade to award more than $500,000 in refunds to customers after an insurance company ruled that snowfall fell short of a promotional total.

“We did this to be fun and have fun with our customers,” said owner Jane Clark. “This is the worst-case scenario for us.”

The jeweler offered a retail promotion during the holidays saying purchases made between Nov. 22 and Dec. 31 would be refunded if more than 3 inches of snow fell on Jan. 11. Clark’s Diamond Jewelers 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 Coeur d’Alene-based meteorologist Cliff Harris measured 3.3 inches of snow between midnight and 9:30 a.m. that day at his weather station, the official measurement site for the promotion. And people say even more snow fell later in the day.

But the following Monday an Illinois-based company tasked with verifying the snow total for the jeweler’s insurance provider said it only measured 1.8 inches using Doppler radar.

When Clark’s Diamond Jewelers challenged the ruling, the company revised its report to 2.3 inches of snow and the promotional insurance provider denied the claim, according to a news release.

Dan Clark, the former owner of the store and Jane Clark’s father, had similar issues with insurance providers when he did a similar snowfall promotion in 2005.

“It was a big deal,” said Dan Clark, who recalled refunding about $250,000 to customers that year.

Jane Clark, when preparing for the promotion, thought an insurance provider would live up to its side of the bargain and is now disappointed. She said her customers have been understanding and patient while the store sorts out the issue.

“We’re with our customers,” she said. “We’re fighting for the truth. We want them to get their refunds.”

Clark said she is gathering photos and videos of snowfall from Jan. 11, consulting meteorologists and examining the insurance-provider contract with attorneys.

“We’re continuing to pursue this. We’re not going to drop it,” Clark said. “We really do believe that the insurance company owes our customers.”