Loblaw’s $25 Card Apology Loblaw wants to apologize for their part in the industry-wide, bread price-fixing scandal with a $25 card – available by registering online as of Monday January 8th. But is $25 worth the price of over thirteen years of price-fixing? Are those who accept the card waiving their rights to participate in any class-action lawsuits against them?
The Competition Bureau was alerted to the problem last August and began an investigation into George Weston/Loblaw Companies Ltd., who admitted to participating in the price-fixing arrangement since 2002. The investigation also included two other major grocery chains, Metro Inc. and Sobeys – both to date stating they do not believe that they or any of their employees have violated the Competition Act, but have cooperated with the Bureau investigation.
In the meantime, Loblaw states on its website: ‘Loblaw discovered that Canadians were overcharged for the cost of some packaged bread products in our stores and other grocery stores across Canada. In response, we’re offering eligible customers a $25 Loblaw Card, which can be used to purchase items sold in our grocery stores across Canada’ (Quebec stores listed below).
But a major question asked by customers is if they accept the $25 card, will is affect their right to participate in any of the proposed class action lawsuits? According to Loblaw’s, apparently not – but there is a catch.
On their website registration form they state as a condition, ‘Registering for and obtaining the $25 Loblaw Card will not affect your right to participate in a class action or to receive any incremental compensation that may be awarded by the court. However, agreeing to the release will mean that twenty-five (25) dollars will be deducted from any compensation that you may otherwise be entitled to receive in any class action judgment against, or settlement with, Loblaw relating to any overcharge on the price of packaged bread in the period between January 1, 2002 and March 1, 2015’.
In other words, $25 would be deducted from any compensation due from a class action settlement. Many people are expected to accept the offer, but it is a pittance in comparison to the amount of money a family might have spent on bread over a 13 year period.
None of the proposed class action lawsuits have been certified by the courts as of yet. And seeing as it could take years for the lawsuit to be settled, perhaps it is a good idea to accept the $25 card for now. Registration forms must be submitted by May 8, 2018 in order to be eligible and you should receive your card by mail within 6 to 12 weeks. Loblaw also said it reserves the right to limit the total number of cards issued, so you might want to register soon to get a ‘piece of the pie’ or rather, a ‘slice of the bread’.
Stores in Quebec under Loblaw Companies Ltd. include: Loblaws, Maxi, Maxi & Cie, Provigo and L’Intermarché. You can find a full list on their website.
To find out if you are eligible and to register for the $25 card go to: www.loblawcard.ca/en/register. You can also find a link to the ‘intended class action law firms’ in the section ‘E. Release’.