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Customers protest after Loblaws demands ID before sending $25 gift card for bread price fixing
March 11, 2018
3:04 pm
Wayno
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/busines.....-1.4569422

CBC News Posted: Mar 11, 2018 4:00 AM ET|

"Before they can collect their $25 gift card, Loblaws is asking SOME CUSTOMERS to hand over PERSONAL INFORMATION — either copy of their driver's licence or a utility bill — to verify their address, proving their claim for a card is legitimate."

"Many who've received the request are incensed. Customers CBC News spoke with say they don't know why they've been targeted, and don't want to send Loblaws their private data."

"In January, Loblaws invited customers to sign up for a $25 gift card to make amends for the retailer's admitted role in a price-fixing scandal. It allegedly involved multiple grocers conspiring to inflate the price of bread for about 14 years."

"To get the gift card, customers had to complete an online form, providing details such as name and address. Many who provided only this information have already received their card in the mail."

"But others have instead received an email asking them to send in, electronically or by mail, a copy of their driver's licence or utility bill to verify their address before they can get their card."

"Loblaws said only a small number of applicants are getting this request and didn't specify who's being targeted."

March 11, 2018
5:55 pm
Bill
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Wayno, your link doesn't work for me, try this one:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/busines.....-1.4569422

11 people who found sending a copy of a utility bill to verify their address an invasion of privacy contacted CBC and CBC runs with it and tries to stoke the usual Canadian "outrage" at nothing. To me, fake news.

March 12, 2018
1:39 am
Top It Up
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OF course Loblaws wants a unique identifier such as a valid ID or utility bill, otherwise people will scam the system royally - CBC once again going soft on any hard investigating.

IF you find Loblaws requirements too onerous you can always forego applying for the free handout.

March 12, 2018
9:52 am
Winnie
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"Loblaws said only a small number of applicants are getting this request and didn't specify who's being targeted."  

I received this request.
I wrote my name as "Winnie Pooh" and now Loblaws wants to verify Pooh's address. sf-surprised

March 12, 2018
10:16 am
mmlt
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I wouldn't call it a free handout, after all, Loblaws basically stole money from millions of Canadians.
It's the Canadian way: roll over, shrug, and "eh".

March 12, 2018
11:20 am
AltaRed
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For what it is worth, I received said email this morning. I replied with a 'stuff it' response on the basis that if they cannot figure out my residential address credentials from my very active PC Points (now PC Optimum) card, then there is no hope for their competence.

March 12, 2018
12:36 pm
Bill
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mmit, you say Loblaws stole from Canadians. Please explain that to me, I don't understand. If Loblaws conspired to keep the price of bread artificially high, then doesn't that mean that Canadians continued to freely buy that expensive bread at the same time they had the option to buy bread from other grocers who were selling at unfixed, lower prices?

March 12, 2018
3:49 pm
Bill
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Whoa, whoa, there might be something to this story after all - just checked and my wife and I each got the email asking to verify our address!

March 12, 2018
4:25 pm
2017opinionsmatter
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Indeed everyone I know got this email.
Started a voting here. So far no one has answered "no" yet.
http://www.shouldopia.com/view.....54023adeaa

March 12, 2018
5:12 pm
Peter
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I didn't get the e-mail, but then again I got the gift card in January.

March 12, 2018
5:58 pm
semi-retired
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No e-mail either.Got my 25$ card middle of Feb.

March 12, 2018
6:20 pm
mmlt
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Bill said
mmit, you say Loblaws stole from Canadians. Please explain that to me, I don't understand. If Loblaws conspired to keep the price of bread artificially high, then doesn't that mean that Canadians continued to freely buy that expensive bread at the same time they had the option to buy bread from other grocers who were selling at unfixed, lower prices?  

Not only Loblaws. Sobeys, Walmart, Canada bread, Weston, and Save on foods implicated. This travesty did not start last week its been going on for years. I call it theft.
By the definition of price fixing it would be hard to find cheaper bread unless you had a local, independant bakery that didn't mind selling cheaper than the chains.

Smaller grocery stores buying bread from Weston and Canada bread would not be getting the same deal as those involved in the fixing making it difficult to compete price wise as I understand it.

March 12, 2018
7:11 pm
Bill
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I see, mmit. I guess in smaller towns or areas where there's no competition Loblaws could corner the market but most Canadians live where there's some choice. And you say others are implicated - do you know why only Loblaws and not Walmart and Sobeys (or Metro - Food Basics) are making restitution? No-one seems mad at these other companies yet it's only Loblaws who's paying us anything - ?

March 12, 2018
7:39 pm
AltaRed
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Don't most shoppers buy the in-house baked bread, i.e. the breads baked right no premises? Why buy pre-packaged bread that came from who knows where? There are many fresh baked alternatives in the various supermarkets.

March 12, 2018
9:30 pm
mmlt
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Someone must have squealed on Loblaws Bill. Price fixing can be hard to prove if all parties involved keep mum.
Loblaws and Save on foods are doing some damage control. Save on has not fessed up to being involved unlike Loblaws but offered $25 through their own program I believe.

I like Loblaw's in house baked bread AltaRed. If the price of name brand bread is artificially high Loblaws own product would maintain a parity.

Bread is likely the tip of the iceberg. Who knows what other shenanigans exist.

How bout the big three or four cell phone, tv, and internet companies? I wonder how much they collaborate? Just conjecture. I'm not big into conspiracy theories but I think pricing reflects something.

March 12, 2018
10:19 pm
Loonie
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Loblaws admitted it, and is making some kind of voluntary restitution. They wouldn't be admitting it if they didn't do it, surely.

None of the others admitted it as far as I know. However, you can't have a conspiracy all by yourself.

When prices are about the same everywhere, as they often are in the full-price grocery stores, "choice" doesn't mean much. You are choosing the store that is more convenient, has better parking, looks cleaner, or where you prefer their reward programme, etc.

Obviously most people don't necessarily buy "fresh baked" bread in these stores. Some of the packaged bread may be better quality, depending on your criteria and the specific product. Further, the "fresh baked" loaves are often not securely wrapped. If it comes from the factory in a package, it's less likely to have had someone's fingers on it.

March 13, 2018
6:01 am
Bill
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Loonie, I agree with some of what you say, Loblaws has admitted guilt and choice is not always clear cut (though if you pick a shopping store based on parking, rewards points, etc then it's clear you're at the same time freely choosing to pay their possibly higher prices).

But you make an error of logic I must address because it impugns potentially innocent (as of today) "others". In fact you can have a conspiracy, between Loblaws and Weston for example, without the "others" (e.g. Metro, Sobeys) being part of Loblaws' conspiracy and without the others entering into their own conspiracies. That is possible.

March 13, 2018
6:39 am
Doug
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Bill said
Whoa, whoa, there might be something to this story after all - just checked and my wife and I each got the email asking to verify our address!  

Wha!? Sorry...I nearly spewed my morning coffee when I read that post, Bill. So now that you and your wife received ID confirmation requests, there might be something to it!?sf-cool

For the record, I think Loblaw's actions here are reprehensible on several fronts on a number of reasons, perhaps too many to list.

For starters, Loblaw Companies and George Weston, controlled by Galen Weston, admitted to bread price fixing to avoid corporate and, possibly, director criminal liability then proceeded to smear its competitors, including Sobeys, which has almost no bread baking operations (it's primarily a grocery store operator). The fact is, George Weston is literally the dominant player in the bread baking business in Canada, far more than its next closest rival, Canada Bread Company, which is now controlled by, I'm not kidding here, Grupo Bimbo S.A. of Mexico, following its sale several years ago by McCain Foods. Sobeys and Pattison's grocery stores do some bread baking, but they're far behind.

As as a result, Galen Weston, Loblaw Companies and George Weston did this because, frankly, he couldn't stomach the idea of going to a federal prison. He's an attractive, photogenic, seemingly affable character who I'm sure would be "well loved" in a Canadian federal penitentiary.

They say that customers can sign up for a $25 Loblaw gift card without sacrificing their legal right to participation in any class action lawsuits, surrendering only $25 of potential compensation, but that's not been tested in court.

They are, quite likely, doing soft credit checks here for the Loblaw gift cards to try and "root out potential fraud," but the efficacy of that is debateable. Loblaw should've just allocated a larger amount to their writeoff and "baked in" (pardon the pun; it seemed appropriate here) the costs of fraud better. Names like "Winnie Pooh" obviously should be rooted out, but what's saying there's not 8 different people living at a residential address, and why are those under 18 not included if the parent or guardian will authorize their agreeing to the application? They could've bought bread, too.

I used to hate Wal-Mart Canada, but I have to say, I'm liking them more and more. 🙂

Cheers,
Doug

March 13, 2018
7:01 am
Bill
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Glad I was able to give you a laugh, Doug, I posted that kind of tongue in cheek - we all have a price for which we'll view things differently, kind of making fun of that. Guess my price is $25, or maybe even less.

I agree, it's only prudent to do some checking, they probably could have done more targeted job, though they probably are wading through millions of applications for free money.

Welcome to WalMart, we shop there as much as possible partly in order to transfer some first world money (a trickle gets there but it means a lot to them) to 3rd world workers and their families. It's like charity but instead of a receipt you get stuff.

March 13, 2018
12:32 pm
Loonie
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I will stand corrected on Loblaw and Weston being companies that appear to have colluded with each other but they are corporately intertwined. According to wikipedia, Weston is the "parent company" of Loblaw.

While I'm sure Galen Jr wished to avoid Conrad Black's fate, he may have also gotten some clear guidance from his parents. Let's not forget that his mom was Lt-Gov of Ontario not so long ago. Always the epitome of fashion and all the elegance money can buy, I'm sure she would not have wanted to grace the courthouse steps to support her family.

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