As of Monday, registration opened for those $25 Loblaws gift cards that are meant to atone for the 14-year-long industry-wide bread price-fixing scheme in which the grocer participated. According to a Competition Bureau report made public in December, Loblaws as well as other unnamed grocery and bakery chains had an agreement to systematically raise the price of bread for increased profits. Loblaws became aware of the practice in 2015 and since then has taken steps to eliminate the problem and make amends. Most directly impactful to Canadians is the $25 gift card available to anyone who purchased bread products from a variety of affiliates from 2002 to 2015.
You can register to receive a card (as long as you are age of majority or older) at LoblawCard.ca but you might want to read the fine print before you do. On the front page of the site, the company assures customers that “Registering for and obtaining the $25 Loblaw Card will not affect customers’ right to participate in any class action or to receive any incremental compensation that may be awarded by the court.” That seems like a great thing (it was within their power to make registration for the card contingent on not suing the company) but there’s a little hangup right at the end.
When you agree to the terms outlined by Loblaws, you also agree 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.” It makes sense, but as BNN’s Jameson Berkow points out, you might make less than $25 in the suit, meaning you may be in a position to owe Loblaws money. That’s probably the exact opposite of what you want, so if you’ve signed up for a class action, think before you register for the card.
The company has also put a cap on the number of cards they are giving out. When the announcement was first made (and the public was rightfully furious that they were being over-charged for bread for almost 15 years) Loblaws didn’t make public any limitation on the number of Canadians to whom they would offer compensation. The fine print on registration says that the company reserves the right to limit the number of cards distributed. They originally estimated doling out three to six million cards (the equivalent of $75 to $150 million in lost revenue).
You might also consider giving up all this corporate nonsense and delivering your card to a local food bank like many Canadians have suggested doing. We all know this winter has been particularly harsh and the card is a simple and (mostly) free way to help out your community.
Today’s to-do list:
1. Register for your $25 Loblaw bread price-fixing card
2. Go here to find the nearest food bank and donate your card https://t.co/jeTh82bNj1
— Maclean’s Magazine (@macleans) January 8, 2018