Back in December it was revealed that Loblaws had been part of a price fixing scheme that spanned well over a decade. To make up for their wrongdoing, the company decided to give their customers a $25 gift card. To obtain that gift card, you had to fill out a form online saying you bought a specific brand of bread, give them your name, mailing address, and phone number. Six weeks or so following, you would get your card. However, this isn’t the case for everyone.
Apparently for some customers, it wasn’t enough information to get their card. Loblaws has since been demanding additional identification, either a driver’s licence or utility bill, before handing over a gift card. And, needless to say, customers are not happy about it.
CBC News put out a report after numerous customers came forth to expose Loblaws and make their grievances known.
According to the report, St John’s resident, Robyn Fleming, received a notice last week demanding that she provide more identification. A demand she refused to comply with.
"It's B.S. I'm not jumping through hoops," she said. "I don't think they have the right to ask for that information when they've scammed people out of their money over the last 14 years."
According to Loblaws, it is only a small number of applicants who are being sent the request for further identification. They also went on to say that the registration site forewarned customers they might be asked for ID, and that this is a “necessary measure to protect against fraud”.
"We are in the process of issuing tens of millions of dollars in Loblaw cards," said spokesperson Kevin Groh in an email to CBC News. "It's sensible to have safeguards in place, and to make sure the interests of our customers are protected."
The Canadian retailer assured customers that their data would be safe and that once it's used for verification, it would be destroyed. The retailer also said the ID request is a "standard approach" for programs like this.
However, E-commerce expert Tim Richardson, disagrees. He questions how this could be considered a “standard approach” when no real precedent has been set.
"There isn't a program like this. This hasn't been done before on this scale," says Richardson.
He also suggests the ID request could hurt Loblaws more than any potential fraudsters.
"Loblaws risks [losing] brand allegiance and brand adherence by causing people to go through a process which is uncomfortable and time-consuming."
Some thought the request for further identification was a scam, among them was Cynthia Mellaney from Sudbury, Ont. She thought the request was so outlandish, she believed at first it was a scam, and called Loblaws to investigate.
"'They said, 'Oh no, it's legitimate. We're trying to weed out fraud,'" said Mellaney. "It's kind of ironic. They committed fraud and now they're trying to weed us out for fraud."
The Canadian Privacy Commissioner is now questioning Loblaws as to why they are demanding this additional identification from their customers.