'Pink tax' lawsuit could challenge price gap for women's products
Published Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:44PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:46PM EST
A Montreal woman plans to take eight major retailers to court in a proposed class action lawsuit for allegedly charging women more for hygiene products than men, despite the fact that some products have identical ingredients.
The so-called “pink tax” –- a consumer phenomenon in which women pay more than men for the same products -- has been widely reported on. Analysis from data mining company Parsehub found that women pay on average 43 per cent more than men for 3,000 products surveyed.
Aviva Maxwell, a mother of three, said she first noticed the “pink tax” while shopping for deodorant with her brother. She said she found that a brand of men’s deodorant was larger than the equivalent women’s product, but both products were sold for the same price.
“I'm paying almost twice as much as he is,” Maxwell told CTV News.
Maxwell learned more about the alleged discrepancies and was so upset that she sought legal representation. On Tuesday, lawyers filed a motion with the Quebec Superior Court to launch a class action against eight Quebec corporations.
“What we're alleging is there is discrimination between pricing for products destined for women and products destined for men,” said Michael Simkin, a lawyer representing Maxwell.
The lawsuit is asking for $100 in damages and compensation per claim. In a statement, the law firm alleged that the potential damages could be worth more than $100 million.
The court has yet to make the motion an official class action case, and no other parties are involved yet. It could take many months before the court determines how the action will unfold.
None of the companies named in the action nor the Retail Council of Canada commented on the case to CTV News.
Business experts say that, even though there is a perception of gender bias, consumers shouldn’t expect the eight retailers to give in.
“The exact same thing for women is very often more expensive because women for a lot of those products are not buying as much as men are … this is the case for deodorant, this is certainly the case for razors,” said Jacques Nantel, a marketing professor with HEC Montreal.
“Because you don't have the same volume of sale, the cost per product has to be pushed up.”
With a report from CTV’s Vanessa Lee in Montreal