Kleargear ruins customers' credit over online criticism, refuses to honor US judgment

The latest update in the saga of Kleargear (previously) is downright bizarre. Having invoiced unhappy customers for complaining online about their crappy service and then ruined those customers' credit rating, the company now refuses to acknowledge a judgment against them from a US court because they insist that they're located in France and weren't served there.

In an e-mail sent to Ars on Monday, KlearGear said it had no legal obligation to defend the suit because it needed to be served with the civil lawsuit in France (where its parent company, Descoteaux Boutiques, resides) after which it would "vacate the judgment and litigate."

The e-mail was signed by “Vic Mathieu," without listing a job title.

Neither KlearGear nor Descoteaux Boutiques responded to repeated requests for comment via phone and e-mail. A call to the Paris number listed on the e-mail for Descoteaux Boutiques resulted in an automated message in Canadian-accented French and then English saying to call back during European business hours, which Ars has already done more than once...

Mathieu’s e-mail seems to suggest that KlearGear and Descoteaux Boutiques were only recently informed of the lawsuit and were not properly served and therefore do not consider it valid. While the e-mail doesn’t say so specifically, it seems to suggest that service may have been attempted via one of its “third party providers.”

KlearGear lists its US address as Grandville, Michigan, and states that “by accessing this Web site you and KlearGear agree that the laws of the State of Michigan will apply to all matters relating to use of this Web site, without regard to conflicts of laws principles. You and KlearGear also agree and submit to the exclusive personal jurisdiction and venue of the State and Federal Courts found in Kent County, Michigan, with respect to such matters.”

Embattled retailer KlearGear fights back against online review defeat [Cyrus Farivar/Ars Technica]

(Image: The purported Paris address of Descoteaux Boutiques, the parent company of KlearGear.com.)