Back in 2011, Air Miles announced an expiry policy. They announced that accumulated points would begin to expire on a quarterly basis.
This forced many consumers with Air Miles to start using them, rather than risk losing them. Using them in many instances meant redeeming them for things that card holders didn’t necessarily want.
Bill 47 will ensure that Air Miles points that expired after October 1, 2016 will be returned to the consumer.
“The government will consult with the public and business to develop regulations aimed at protecting consumers’ points while maintaining the viability of rewards programs,” Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, writes in a statement.
Last week, Air Miles announced that it was backing away from an expiration policy that would have come into effect in January.
See the legislation referred to as “Bill 47, Protecting Rewards Points Act (Consumer Protection Amendment), 2016″:
Bill 47 2016
An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 with respect to rewards points
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
- (1) Section 1 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 is amended by striking out the definition of “consumer agreement” and substituting the following:
“consumer agreement” means an agreement between a supplier and a consumer in which,
(a) the supplier agrees to supply goods or services for payment, or
(b) the supplier agrees to provide rewards points to the consumer, on the supplier’s own behalf or on behalf of another supplier, when the consumer purchases goods or services or otherwise acts in a manner specified in the agreement; (“convention de consommation”)
(2) Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following definition:
“rewards points” means, subject to the regulations, points provided to a consumer under a consumer agreement that can be exchanged for money, goods or services; (“points de récompense”)
(3) Section 1 of the Act is amended by striking out the definition of “supplier” and substituting the following:
“supplier” means a person who is in the business of selling, leasing or trading in goods or services or is otherwise in the business of supplying goods or services, including the supply of rewards points, and includes an agent of the supplier and a person who holds themself out to be a supplier or an agent of the supplier; (“fournisseur”)
- (1) Part IV of the Act is amended by adding the following section:
No expiry of rewards points
47.1 (1) Subject to the other provisions of this section, no supplier shall enter into or amend a consumer agreement under which rewards points are provided to provide for the expiry of rewards points due to the passage of time alone.
Application and transition
(2) This section applies to all consumer agreements under which rewards points are provided,
(a) that existed on October 1, 2016;
(b) that were entered into after October 1, 2016, but before the day this section came into force; or
(c) that are entered into on or after the date this section comes into force.
Effect of termination
(3) Subject to any prescribed exceptions, on and after the day this section comes into force, and upon providing notice to the other party, the supplier or the consumer may terminate the consumer agreement under which rewards points are provided, and if the consumer agreement so provided, the consumer’s accumulated rewards points may expire.
Term of consumer agreement not enforceable
(4) Any provision or part of a provision of a consumer agreement that contravenes this section or that fails to comply with the regulations with respect to rewards points is not enforceable, but such unenforceability shall not invalidate the remaining provisions in the consumer agreement.
Retroactive effect on expiry of rewards points
(5) Subject to any prescribed exceptions, within 15 days of this section coming into force, a supplier shall credit back to a consumer any rewards points that expired on or after October 1, 2016 and before the day this section comes into force.
Transition: crediting back, supplier termination of consumer agreement
(6) If a supplier terminated a consumer agreement under which rewards points were provided on or after October 1, 2016 and before the date this section came into force, the previously terminated agreement shall be deemed to not have been terminated and the supplier shall, within 15 days of this section coming into force, credit back to the consumer all rewards points that expired upon that termination.
No cause of action for retroactivity
(7) No cause of action arises against the Crown as a direct or indirect result of the retroactive application of this section or any regulations respecting rewards points, and no costs, compensation or damages are owing or payable by the Crown to any supplier, consumer or person as a result of such retroactive application.
(8) In any proceeding under this Act about the crediting back of rewards points mentioned in subsection (5) or (6), despite any contractual provision to the contrary, a court or tribunal may consider records presented by the consumer, determine those records’ admissibility and may give those records whatever weight it sees fit.
Other expiry allowed
(9) Consumer agreements under which rewards points are provided may provide for expiry due to reasons other than the passage of time alone, subject to any limits that may be prescribed.
No retroactive offences
(10) Nothing in this section creates a retroactive offence.
(2) Subsections 47.1 (5), (6) and (8) of the Act, as enacted by subsection (1), are repealed.
- (1) Subsection 123 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:
(k) clarifying the definition of “rewards points” in section 1 and specifying things that do or do not constitute rewards points for the purposes of this Act.
(2) Subsection 123 (5) of the Act is amended by adding the following clauses:
(j) governing the transfer of rewards points among consumers, including upon death;
(k) governing the inactivity of consumer agreements under which rewards points are provided and of the rewards points themselves;
(l) governing the termination of consumer agreements under which rewards points are provided and of the rewards points themselves;
(m) governing the application of section 47.1 with respect to rewards points and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, providing for and prescribing anything that that section refers to as being prescribed or provided for in the regulations and governing transitional matters.
- This Act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.
- The short title of this Act is the Protecting Rewards Points Act (Consumer Protection Amendment), 2016.
This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 47 and does not form part of the law. Bill 47 has been enacted as Chapter 34 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2016.
The Bill amends the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 with respect to rewards points.
The definition of “consumer agreement” is amended to include agreements under which a supplier agrees to provide rewards points to a consumer. The definition of “supplier” is amended to include a person who supplies rewards points.
The new section 47.1 prohibits suppliers from entering into or amending consumer agreements to provide for the expiry of rewards points due to the passage of time alone. Rewards points may expire if a consumer agreement under which rewards points are provided is terminated by the supplier or the consumer and the consumer agreement provides for the expiry of the points. Transitional and other related matters are provided for.