Signet Jewelers has been notified by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that the agency may take legal action against the company for its in-store credit practices, Signet disclosed in a filing Friday evening.
The notification, which Signet received on Sept. 6, stated the potential action would pertain to Signet’s “credit practices, promotions, and payment protection products.” It relates to an inquiry made in late 2016.
The New York state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is also investigating Signet for similar issues.
Signet said in the filing it is unable to predict the timing, outcome or possible range of losses pertaining to either claim. It is cooperating with the investigations, though believes the claims against it lack merit.
Signet, owner of jewelry chains Zales, Kay and Jared, has long been scrutinized for its extensive offering of credit, particularly to those with low FICO scores. For this fiscal year, 62 percent of its $3.9 billion sales in its “sterling jeweler” business were offered on credit. This division includes Kay, Jared and their respective outlets.
This spring, it sold $1 billion worth of prime accounts in its credit busines to Alliance Data Systems, part of its efforts to shift risk off its balance sheet.
CPFB, the watchdog agency set up to protect consumers after the recession, last year fined Wells Fargo $100 million for illegal sales processes. It has also been investigating housing online realty company Zillow.