Loblaw gift cards promised by the company in the wake of an industry-wide bread price-fixing scheme have unexpected strings attached for some customers.
The grocer sent emails to a number of individuals who applied for the $25 voucher, saying they will be denied the card unless they provide more personal information such as a scanned copy of their driver’s licence or utility bill, within 30 days to verify their address.
The request is not sitting well with some customers whose trust has already been tested by the scandal that prompted the apology offer in the first place.
Retiree Mary Kendall-Brooks was among those caught off guard by the email.
“I’m not a criminal. I’m not trying to defraud anybody. I just thought a $25 Loblaw card would be nice,” she told CTV Atlantic on Monday. “Driver’s licence? There’s no way.”
Others, baffled by the request, took to Twitter to ask if it was a scam.
Loblaw officially opened its registration to claim the $25 gift card in January. Customers were asked to complete an online form with details including their name, date of birth and address. Many who did so have already received their card.
The gift card website said no additional documentation is required to complete the form, but the “contact information” portion states the company may “request more information about your registration form.”
In a statement to CTV News, Loblaw said the “vast majority” of registrants will not be required to complete this extra step, and promised any information obtained by the company will be used only for validation before being destroyed.
Food Distribution and Policy Professor, and Dean of Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Management, Sylvain Charlebois, said Loblaw is tarnishing the goodwill initially earned by offering the cards to consumers.
“The campaign itself is a stroke of brilliance from Loblaw, because the focus, the narrative has been heavily dominated by the $25,” he said. “Asking specific questions about proof of residency, I think could damage or compromise what Loblaw is trying to achieve here.”
Charlebois said he received his $25 Loblaw gift card without any further inquiry after signing up.
Determined to get her gift card, but unwilling to share more information than she is comfortable giving out, Kendall-Brooks came up with her own solution before scanning her licence. She’s not sure if it will work.
“I took my driver’s licence and electrical tape, and I taped out all the parts that I really didn’t want them to get,” she said.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek