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Loblaw under fire for gift card offer connected to bread price-fixing
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018 5:04PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:28PM MDT
Ottawa is now stepping into a controversy surrounding Loblaw after it has been accused of asking customers too many personal questions when they opted into a $25 gift card for a bread price-fixing scandal.
The cards were offered to customers as a goodwill gesture after the company admitted that it had unfairly hiked the price of bread in its stores for years.
Customers went online to sign up for the cards and while some experienced no problems, soon the company changed the application process, adding a requirement that people would need to show a copy of their driver’s licence or utility bill in order to give proof of residency.
The company says the measures were added to deter fraudsters.
"Our plan to distribute tens of millions of dollars is a natural target for fraudsters, and we want to make sure this money is actually landing in our customers' hands,” said Kevin Groh, Loblaw vice-president of corporate affairs.
The Privacy Commissioner says that a formal complaint about Loblaw’s conduct has been made. The agency says that customers need to be made aware about the reason the information is being collected.
While many people have lambasted the company online about its practices, people in Calgary that CTV spoke with aren’t too concerned about the added requirement.
“They are probably thinking that a whole bunch of people are going to go, because that’s all I really had to supply was an e-mail address. So maybe they are just trying to protect themselves,” said one woman.
A grocery expert, Sylvain Charlebois, says that asking for the additional information could end up hurting the Loblaw brand in the long run.
“Asking specific questions and providing proof of residency I think could damage or compromise what Loblaw is trying to achieve here.”
The Privacy Commissioner provided no other comment given that a formal complaint has been made.
Loblaw says that it is only collecting the information for verification purposes and has pledged to destroy it afterwards.
(With files from Brenna Rose and The Canadian Press)