Loblaw Cos. says it has no plans to cap the number of gift cards it issues to Canadians as a make-good gesture to battle a consumer backlash to its bread price-fixing scandal.
However, the grocer further stoked that backlash when it revealed that the $25 value of the card would be taken off any future amount paid out to consumers who win any class action settlements. The number of class actions has risen to seven, according to media reports, and one of those parties communicated its displeasure immediately on Monday to an Ontario Superior Court judge, in an effort to prevent Loblaw from making it a condition that consumers who receive a $25 gift card would have that amount deducted from any future awards. On Tuesday, the court denied the motion to challenge the terms of the gift card.
“Today’s ruling puts to rest the nonsensical claim by class-action lawyers that our $25 Loblaw card is misleading and confusing,” said Kevin Groh, Loblaw’s vice-president of corporate affairs and communication, in a statement. “Simply, we are trying to put money in our customers’ hands quickly, without making them wait years and pay class-action lawyers’ commissions.”
The company opened registration Monday to consumers to sign up for the gift card and included on the sign-up page a comment that it reserved the right to limit the number of cards issued. Groh said that language should not be read as an indication that the grocer would actually do so, “Loblaw currently has no plan to limit the number of cards and anticipates being able to fulfill all valid card registrations,” he told Maclean’s.
As of yesterday, and until May 8 of this year, consumers can start claiming the $25 gift card. Other limitations Loblaws put on the card included that it not be used to buy alcohol or tobacco products, and it also can’t be used at the Mobile Shop or Cooking School in Loblaw Stores, be used at gas stations or be redeemed for cash.