There may be more money hiding in your couch than a few stray coins.
Canadians who bought sofas, mattresses, padded chairs and certain carpet products may be entitled to compensation for being overcharged thanks to legal settlements against dozens of foam manufacturers who allegedly conspired to fix prices between 1999 and 2012.
Claims start as low as $20 for those who purchased eligible products containing flexible polyurethane foam that were made in Canada. The material is a type of padding commonly used in furniture, mattresses, and carpet underlay.
In order to claim a piece of the $38 million out-of-court settlement, one of the largest related to price-fixing in Canadian history according to an awareness campaign, consumers must fill out a form on the Foam for Cash website and include a photo of the product label or receipt.
Eligible consumers must live in Canada or have lived in Canada between Jan. 1, 1999 and Jan. 10, 2012, and have bought a qualifying item in Canada.
“Twenty dollars is kind of the standard claim. All you have to do is indicate that you purchased one foam item in the appropriate period,” Heather Rumble Peterson, a partner at Strosberg Sasso Sutts, told CTV Toronto. “There is a calculator on the website that will help you determine whether or not you purchased enough additional items that we will take you above a $20 compensation file.”
Strosberg Sasso Sutts is one of four law firms that prosecuted class actions related to foam price fixing beginning in 2010.
Submitting a claim is free for both consumers and businesses until the Feb. 6, 2018 deadline.
For consumers, members of the same family who live together must pool their purchases into a single claim.
Manufacturers and resellers who purchased flexible polyurethane foam made in Canada, or eligible products, during this period may also be entitled to compensation.
The Foam for Cash campaign said the dollar amounts received will depend on the volume and type of Canadian flexible polyurethane foam, or eligible foam products purchased, as well as the volume of claimants.
“We hope to have the cheques out by the end of 2018,” Rumble Peterson said. “The courts have to approve the payment out, and eventually you will receive a cheque in the mail.”
She said these types of large settlements are essential to maintaining consumer confidence, and ensuring industry players act with integrity.
“People expect a fair and honest marketplace, and that is what these kinds of class actions that result in large settlements ensure is happening,” Rumble Peterson said. “This is your money.”