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Dollarama reaches $2.5M settlement in class-action suit over eco fees

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Dollarama has reached a $2.5 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit over the advertising of prices on its products.

LPC Avocats Inc., a law firm in Montreal, announced Tuesday that the deal was reached in Superior Court. The plaintiff had alleged that the company did not properly advertise the price of certain products for sale that were subject to an Environmental Handling Fee (EHF).

Under the terms of the agreement, anyone who purchased batteries, lightbulbs, toys and other items that were subject to the EHF in Quebec between Dec. 11, 2019 and July 4, 2023, or elsewhere in Canada between April 29, 2021 and July 4, 2023, is entitled to compensation.

Lawyer Joey Zukran said certain products had fine print on the price tag about the extra fees and that this case comes down to Dollarama not being upfront with customers.

"The full price was always displayed if you did a bit of math. But under Quebec law, we found this to be a technical violation," he told CTV News.

"The full price should be displayed so that consumers like you or I walking into Dollarama have the full benefit of knowing what we're paying, that we don't have to walk in doing math or with a calculator to know what we're paying, especially when you're buying multiple products, and especially when these eco fees vary from product to product. So, you're in a Dollarama, you buy a pack of batteries for $1.25, you buy headphones for $5, you expect to pay $6.25, not something like $6.82 on account of all other fees, and most people don't even realize candidly."

The Montreal-based company agreed to pay eligible class members in the form of gift cards of up to $15 per person after they submit a claim. Anyone who wishes to submit a claim can send their email address to dollaramaehfsettlement.com by April 5, 2024.

Zukran said he was pleased with the settlement reached for consumers.

"There is case law in Quebec today that goes both ways," he explained. "Sometimes there's a presumption of harm, but other times it actually has to be proven, and we balanced everything and we think that the settlement, and especially the structure thereof, is a fair and reasonable one."

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