On November 8, 2013, the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC) released its first consultation document concerning phase four of its review of the legislation it administers. This fourth phase is much broader in scope than the third phase, which was specifically concerned with credit activities, and encompasses travel agents, collection practices and funeral services, as well as various amendments to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
In the section of the consultation document that discusses the proposed amendments to the scope of the CPA, the OPC notes that many consumers join reward programs, not all of which are free of charge, that entitle them to obtain certain goods and services. The contracts for such cards generally stipulate that the more consumers use them or purchase products at certain specified locations, the more points or other benefits they earn, which they can then exchange for goods and services. The OPC remarks that certain reward card issuers have unilaterally changed the value of the points earned during the term of the contract and that the rewards of which consumers were thus deprived were of considerable value. The OPC concludes by mentioning that a class action has been instituted against a drugstore on this issue.
In light of the OPC’s proposal, we believe that businesses offering loyalty programs should take part in the OPC’s consultation process in order to express their concerns about this proposed legislative amendment.