Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > MilesBuzz
Reload this Page >

Quebec Bill 791: Regulations for rewards programs

Quebec Bill 791: Regulations for rewards programs

Old Apr 29, 17, 8:52 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Canadia
Programs: A loyal Amerisuites customer... oh wait
Posts: 1,959
Quebec Bill 791: Regulations for rewards programs

(This development was originally pointed out at Rewards Canada blog)



Quebec has introduced Bill 791,
Bill n°791 : An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act in order to regulate rewards program contracts


The bill introduces three new legislative requirements for loyalty programs that operate in Quebec.

REWARDS PROGRAM CONTRACTS
187.6. Before entering into a rewards program contract, the merchant
must inform the consumer of the conditions applicable to obtaining and using
rewards points.

187.7. Subject to any applicable regulations, any stipulation of or
amendment to the contract providing for an expiry date on the rewards points
obtained by the consumer is prohibited.

187.8. Any stipulation providing that the merchant may retroactively
change
the value of the rewards points accumulated by the consumer is
prohibited.



And, there's more.
The consumer protection department would become un régulateur des points...

4. Section 350 of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph at
the end:
“(z.6) prescribing the rules respecting rewards program contracts and
rewards points and exempting a merchant, on the conditions it determines,
from the provisions relating to a rewards program contract.”

That means Quebec would, in the coming months, draw up an entire set of its own new regulations.

This appears to be a private members bill, introduced by an opposition member. Private members bills (for comedic effort, a very poor Google translation of "private members bill" was deliberately placed here earlier) don't have the force of the government, but a private members bill in Ontario helped force Air Miles to change its expiration policy.

Fun times ahead.

Last edited by jerry305; May 1, 17 at 12:25 pm
jerry305 is offline  
Old Apr 29, 17, 1:03 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Canadia
Programs: A loyal Amerisuites customer... oh wait
Posts: 1,959
Here's a summary prepared by a third party about the matter.
http://www.mondaq.com/canada/x/57700...on+Legislation
jerry305 is offline  
Old Apr 29, 17, 1:14 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3,872
So, rewards programs will have to inform the public how to collect and use the rewards. The rewards once collected won't expire, and the program you collected under can't be changed when you go to use the rewards.

Sounds fair to me. But, I'm not Canadian, so might I ask is this legislation necessary? Are people getting fleeced by rewards programs in Canada?
rickg523 is offline  
Old Apr 29, 17, 3:57 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 5,963
This is gonna be a gong show. Eek.
yerffej201 is offline  
Old Apr 29, 17, 4:03 pm
  #5  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: GVA (Greater Vancouver Area)
Programs: DREAD Gold; UA 1.021MM; Bonvoy Au-197; PCC Elite+; CWC Au-197; CCC Elite; WoH Dis
Posts: 49,347
Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
Are people getting fleeced by rewards programs in Canada?
People in every country are. There are countless thread on FlyerTalk about people losing their miles and points due to inactivity, and regular devaluations.
mahasamatman is offline  
Old Apr 30, 17, 8:55 am
  #6  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 88,319
Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
People in every country are. There are countless thread on FlyerTalk about people losing their miles and points due to inactivity, and regular devaluations.
Yes, but I have some doubts about the effectiveness of such kind of regulation. I consider far more detailed disclosure of the functioning of the award programs to be very important for consumers.

The program operators know how to devalue the programs for customers, whether with or without changing the award chart pricing.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Apr 30, 17, 11:44 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Canada
Programs: Marriott Platinum, IHG Club, Hertz Gold, Aeroplan, Avios, SkyMiles, Thrifty, AMEX
Posts: 927
Originally Posted by jerry305 View Post
Private members bills (les factures des membres privés?)
*Ahem*

Projets de lois émanant des députés. Google Translate has its uses, but this shows its limitations...

*Takes off professional translator's hat*

In theory, this bill sounds like a great idea. In practice, it sends shivers down my spine. I fear what happened with contests - Quebec tightened the rules regulating contests open to Quebec residents, so now 90% of all contests simply exclude Quebec residents rather than comply. Will rewards programs really want to give up this much flexibility? Aeroplan has enough at stake to want to comply or fight this, but other programs? Worst-case scenario is that Quebec residents will be excluded from all outside rewards schemes - airline, hotel, etc. This potentially could be disastrous for Quebec point-collectors if it passes.
Twickenham is offline  
Old Apr 30, 17, 11:54 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 105
Originally Posted by Twickenham View Post
*Ahem*

Projets de lois émanant des députés. Google Translate has its uses, but this shows its limitations...

*Takes off professional translator's hat*

In theory, this bill sounds like a great idea. In practice, it sends shivers down my spine. I fear what happened with contests - Quebec tightened the rules regulating contests open to Quebec residents, so now 90% of all contests simply exclude Quebec residents rather than comply. Will rewards programs really want to give up this much flexibility? Aeroplan has enough at stake to want to comply or fight this, but other programs? Worst-case scenario is that Quebec residents will be excluded from all outside rewards schemes - airline, hotel, etc. This potentially could be disastrous for Quebec point-collectors if it passes.
Exactly, be careful of the consequences of laws like this.
kevindavis338 is offline  
Old May 1, 17, 6:01 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Programs: Anything with sweet spots
Posts: 1,788
Changing the redemption rates would be prohibited, the alternative for devaluations would be to reduce the earn rates.
MasterGeek is offline  
Old May 1, 17, 9:34 am
  #10  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: MCI
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, AS MVP, UA Silver, WN A-List, Marriott LT Titanium, HH Diamond
Posts: 46,797
I see both sides: I don't trust airline management for a second - I generally find them to be about as ethical as cable companies and incapable of regulating themselves. But I also fear that regulation will simply accelerate a watering-down of rewards programs to the point where they are very simple (and not very rewarding) cashback schemes.

We (Flyertalkers) thrive in part because of the millions of people out there who don't pay attention to their miles.
pinniped is offline  
Old May 1, 17, 10:28 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: MYF/CMA/SAN/YYZ/YKF
Programs: COdbaUA 1K, AA EXP, Bonbon Gold, Omni Black, Hertz PC, NEXUS and GE
Posts: 5,425
Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
So, rewards programs will have to inform the public how to collect and use the rewards. The rewards once collected won't expire, and the program you collected under can't be changed when you go to use the rewards.

Sounds fair to me. But, I'm not Canadian, so might I ask is this legislation necessary? Are people getting fleeced by rewards programs in Canada?
People are constantly fleeced by rewards programs, especially more recently. Given that Air Canada, by law, is based in Quebec, this will directly affect them.

Originally Posted by Twickenham View Post
*Ahem*

Projets de lois émanant des députés. Google Translate has its uses, but this shows its limitations...

*Takes off professional translator's hat*

In theory, this bill sounds like a great idea. In practice, it sends shivers down my spine. I fear what happened with contests - Quebec tightened the rules regulating contests open to Quebec residents, so now 90% of all contests simply exclude Quebec residents rather than comply. Will rewards programs really want to give up this much flexibility? Aeroplan has enough at stake to want to comply or fight this, but other programs? Worst-case scenario is that Quebec residents will be excluded from all outside rewards schemes - airline, hotel, etc. This potentially could be disastrous for Quebec point-collectors if it passes.
Actually, a program that discriminates against a certain group of Canadians would almost certainly be found illegal. Further, Quebec represents the second largest provincial market in Canada, and is nearly twice the size of the next largest (B.C.). A program like Aeroplan simply cannot ignore Quebec in that respect.
N1120A is offline  
Old May 1, 17, 10:42 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3,872
Originally Posted by Twickenham View Post
*Ahem*

Projets de lois émanant des députés. Google Translate has its uses, but this shows its limitations...

*Takes off professional translator's hat*

In theory, this bill sounds like a great idea. In practice, it sends shivers down my spine. I fear what happened with contests - Quebec tightened the rules regulating contests open to Quebec residents, so now 90% of all contests simply exclude Quebec residents rather than comply. Will rewards programs really want to give up this much flexibility? Aeroplan has enough at stake to want to comply or fight this, but other programs? Worst-case scenario is that Quebec residents will be excluded from all outside rewards schemes - airline, hotel, etc. This potentially could be disastrous for Quebec point-collectors if it passes.
But, do you really want to participate in programs that hide how you can collect or redeem awards, that expire points you rightfully collected, and can change the rules mid-stream?
Aren't those the restrictions placed on programs by the Quebec regulation?
If a program chooses to limit Quebecois from participating, doesn't that imply the program wants to be run that way?
rickg523 is offline  
Old May 1, 17, 10:44 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Canada
Programs: Marriott Platinum, IHG Club, Hertz Gold, Aeroplan, Avios, SkyMiles, Thrifty, AMEX
Posts: 927
Originally Posted by N1120A View Post
Actually, a program that discriminates against a certain group of Canadians would almost certainly be found illegal. Further, Quebec represents the second largest provincial market in Canada, and is nearly twice the size of the next largest (B.C.). A program like Aeroplan simply cannot ignore Quebec in that respect.
I'm not worried about Aeroplan - like I said, they have too much at stake to just ditch Quebec. I'm worried about all the non-Canadian based programs - Marriott/SPG, IHG, British Airways, Accor, just to name those I personally have points with. Do you honestly think any of them will care one whit about one province of a small market (for them)? They'll just follow what apparently Alaska Airlines has already done, which is pull out of Quebec. This could be totally disastrous for us Quebec-based points accumulators.

To put this in perspective: what would you think of a government that outlawed stores from putting up the prices of their merchandise? It's exactly the same principle.

Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
But, do you really want to participate in programs that hide how you can collect or redeem awards, that expire points you rightfully collected, and can change the rules mid-stream?
Aren't those the restrictions placed on programs by the Quebec regulation?
If a program chooses to limit Quebecois from participating, doesn't that imply the program wants to be run that way?
I'm not sure any program actively hides collection or redemption of awards. Now, I will put the caveat of AE's ridiculous website making it highly difficult to redeem awards, but the well-informed have workarounds. However, this particular regulation does nothing to counter that.

I'll give you points expiry; I personally like the activity-to-keep-points-from-expiring rules, but certainly a regulation that would outlaw points expiry I think would be implementable, without risking companies' pulling out.

Last edited by Twickenham; May 1, 17 at 10:50 am
Twickenham is offline  
Old May 1, 17, 3:24 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Programs: Anything with sweet spots
Posts: 1,788
Originally Posted by Twickenham View Post
I'm not worried about Aeroplan - like I said, they have too much at stake to just ditch Quebec. I'm worried about all the non-Canadian based programs - Marriott/SPG, IHG, British Airways, Accor, just to name those I personally have points with. Do you honestly think any of them will care one whit about one province of a small market (for them)? They'll just follow what apparently Alaska Airlines has already done, which is pull out of Quebec. This could be totally disastrous for us Quebec-based points accumulators.

To put this in perspective: what would you think of a government that outlawed stores from putting up the prices of their merchandise? It's exactly the same principle.



I'm not sure any program actively hides collection or redemption of awards. Now, I will put the caveat of AE's ridiculous website making it highly difficult to redeem awards, but the well-informed have workarounds. However, this particular regulation does nothing to counter that.

I'll give you points expiry; I personally like the activity-to-keep-points-from-expiring rules, but certainly a regulation that would outlaw points expiry I think would be implementable, without risking companies' pulling out.
Delta and British airways don't publish their award charts. Several other programs made devaluations to their redemption charts without notice.
MasterGeek is offline  
Old May 2, 17, 12:46 pm
  #15  
YUL
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Ottawa and Montreal
Programs: SPG Gold / IHG Spire / Emerald Executive Elite
Posts: 406
Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
If a program chooses to limit Quebecois from participating, doesn't that imply the program wants to be run that way?
Exactly!

FWIW, I never bother to participate in a Canadian sweepstake that excludes Québec residents; it's a good indication that it is probably a fake draw and that no prizes will ever be distributed/won...


.

Last edited by YUL; May 3, 17 at 12:07 pm
YUL is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread