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Archived — Reitmans agrees to correct misleading smart set promotion

OTTAWA, May 13, 2010 — The Competition Bureau announced today that a major Canadian clothing retailer, Reitmans (Canada) Limited, will correct a misleading promotion offered by Smart Set, a division of Reitmans.

Smart Set had offered customers a $25 "Savings Pass" for every $50 spent. The conditions associated with redemption of the "Savings Pass" included an additional minimum purchase requirement of $50 and a limited redemption period between May 2 and May 19, 2010. The Bureau's review revealed that neither of these conditions were disclosed in any of Smart Set's in-store signage or on Smart Set's Web site, contrary to the false or misleading representations provisions of the Competition Act. Further, as the conditions were included only on the "Savings Passes" themselves, they may not have been brought to the attention of consumers before their purchasing decisions were made.

Reitmans has taken the following immediate steps to resolve the Bureau's concerns:

  • Consumers are not required to make an additional purchase when redeeming their "Saving Passes" at Smart Set stores throughout Canada; and
  • The expiry date of these "Saving Passes" has been extended to December 31, 2010.

Reitmans will bring these changes to the attention of consumers through corrective notices posted in all Smart Set stores and on Smart Set's Web site. Reitmans has also committed to send a message to members of Smart Set's e-mail distribution list, advising them of the changes.

Under the terms of its undertaking with the Bureau, Reitmans will ensure that all future promotions clearly and prominently disclose all material conditions, limitations and exclusions in their representations to the public, including advertising and promotional materials. Reitmans will also amend its existing corporate compliance program to ensure that future promotions do not violate the false or misleading representations provisions of the Competition Act.

The Bureau reminds retailers of the importance of clearly and conspicuously disclosing, prior to consumer purchases, all material conditions, limitations and exclusions as they relate to rebates and other types of promotions. Businesses are encouraged to consult the Enforcement Guidelines on Consumer Rebate Promotions, which describe the Bureau's approach to interpreting the false or misleading representations provision of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, and the Textile Labelling Act in the area of consumer rebate promotions. While the Guidelines deal with rebate promotions, the principles outlined in the document are relevant to other types of promotions as well.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

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