'Read the fine print' before taking $25 Loblaw card: lawyer
A lawyer working on a proposed class-action lawsuit against several companies for a bread price-fixing scheme says consumers should “read the fine print” before accepting the $25 gift cards offered by Loblaw.
“Just be careful, read the fine print, and make sure you’re not giving away any rights to take part in the class action in exchange for what is basically a coupon to a grocery store,” Joey Zukran, of Montreal-based LPC Avocat Inc. tells CTV News Channel.
“We sincerely believe that you’re entitled to a lot more money than a $25 gift card as a result of collusion going on for 14 years,” he said.
“And just make sure that you’re not waiving any rights or giving away any rights by signing up for what appears to be something interesting at a given time,” Zukran added.
Zukran says Canadians should also consider that they will be sharing information like email addresses when they sign up for the cards and that the money must be spent in Loblaw stores, meaning Loblaw could profit.
Canadians will be able to register for the $25 cards starting Jan. 8. Loblaw is already collecting email addresses that it says will be used to notify people when registration begins.
“We will only use your email address to notify you that registration has opened and not for Loblaw customer marketing or any other purpose, unless you have already given us your consent to do so,” the Loblaw Card Program website states.
Loblaw spokesperson Kevin Groh told CTV News Thursday that “accepting this offer will not affect customers’ right to participate in any class action or to receive any incremental compensation that may be awarded by the court.
“The Loblaw Card Program is designed so that customers who obtain the cards will not be disadvantaged in terms of anything the courts may do,” he added.
Jean-Marc Leclerc, a lawyer with Sotos LLP, is working on a separate proposed class action against several companies including Loblaw on behalf of Irene Breckon of Elliot Lake, Ont. He told The Canadian Press earlier this month that the firm “will argue that the gift card program that Loblaw is proposing doesn't provide anywhere near the appropriate level of compensation that people deserve in this case.”
Groh said at the time that compensation in class actions can take many years, while the Loblaw card will be available sooner.
Loblaw issued a statement on Dec. 19 announcing several actions it had taken for what it called its “role in an industry-wide price-fixing arrangement involving certain packaged bread products,” including the $25 cards.
The company also said it “immediately reported” the “anti-competitive behaviour” to the Competition Bureau when it was discovered in March 2015, that the “employees responsible” are “no longer with the company” and that it has enhanced compliance.