In the matter of:
|PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
v.SEACOAST COIN, INC., doing business as
MERIT FINANCIAL, MERIT GOLD AND
SILVER, and MERIT GOLD; PETER M. EPSTEIN; MICHAEL J. GETLIN; and DOES 1-50,
)Notice to ConsumersLos Angeles County Superior Court
Case No. SC122066
NOTICE TO FORMER CUSTOMERS OF MERIT FINANCIAL (MERIT GOLD)
The City Attorney of Santa Monica, California filed a lawsuit for unlawful business practices against the parent company of Merit Financial and its owners. (People v. Seacoast Coin, Inc., Case No. SC122066.) The company later went out of business. In 2015 the lawsuit was settled before trial.
The City Attorney’s case alleged that Merit used a “bait and switch” scheme to advertise bullion at 1% over cost, and then switch consumers to non-bullion coins that had a much higher markup. The case also claimed that Merit’s salespeople used other false and misleading tactics to switch consumers to non-bullion.
As part of the settlement, there is now a restitution fund that will be distributed to former Merit customers who qualify to receive refunds due to Merit’s unlawful practices. Credit Management Association (CMA) is the company administering the fund.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR RESTITUTION?
1. You must have had at least one of these happen to you:
a. You saw Merit’s 1%-over-cost bullion ad, and they later convinced you to buy non-bullion coins; or
b. Merit told you non-bullion was better than bullion for its privacy, tax advantages, or better investment value
2. Only non-bullion purchases are eligible for restitution. This does not include bullion such as gold or silver bars, regular gold or silver “Eagle” coins, or other 1%-over-cost items. If you bought part bullion and part non-bullion, only your non-bullion portion is eligible.
Examples of bullion:
- All bars
- All (non-proof) American Eagles
- Misc. bullion coins (Maple Leafs, Kruggerands, Onzas, etc.)
- Old European coins (Ducats, Roosters, British Sovereigns, etc.)
Examples of non-bullion:
- All “numismatic” and “semi-numismatic” coins
- All “certified” coins
- All “graded” coins (“MS” numbers)
- Proof gold and silver Eagles
- Old American coins (Liberty, Indian, St. Gaudens, Buffalo)
- Brittania coins
3. Eligible purchase dates: Only purchases after September 26, 2009 are eligible.
4. Release required: To receive money, you must sign a release giving up all future claims against Merit and its two owners, Michael Getlin and Peter Epstein.
5. No refunds or settlements: If you already received a refund or settlement with Merit, you are not eligible for restitution.
If you want to receive a portion of the settlement, you must fill out the claim form, submit proof of purchase (only invoice(s) or sales order(s) qualify as proof), sign the release and submit these to CMA.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING DOCUMENTS: July 1, 2016
(Please note that CMA does not have purchase history for consumers, proof of purchase is required in determining what is eligible for restitution.)
Mailing address: P.O. Box 7740, Burbank, CA 91510
Email address: merit@cmaAdjustments.com