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Loblaw gathered too much personal info in gift card offer: privacy commissioner

A consumer complaint launched a six-month investigation that delved into the grocer’s authentication process for its gift card program

Canada's privacy commissioner says Loblaw Companies Ltd. initially collected too much personal information from some customers requesting a gift card tied to an alleged bread price-fixing scandal.

READ: Privacy Commissioner launches probe into Loblaw gift card policy

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada conducted a six-month investigation after a consumer complained the grocer was requesting unnecessary information as part of its Loblaw Card Program.

Loblaw offered the $25 gift card as a goodwill gesture after admitting it participated in an alleged industry-wide arrangement to co-ordinate bread price increases.

To receive the gift card customers had to fill out an online form that asked for their name and address. Approximately 10% of customers were told they needed to provide additional information such as a utility bill or a driver's licence in order to receive the $25 gift card.

When the investigation launched in March 2018, Kevin Groh, Loblaw vice-president of corporate affairs, said there were various triggers that might have lead the company to ask for further confirmation, including large numbers of registrations from a single address, multiple requests under a single or similar name, or irregularities like an invalid address or email in a registration.

READ: Loblaw places restrictions on gift card offer after bread price fixing

The commissioner's office said in a statement that Loblaw took steps to limit the information it was collecting during the investigation and it was satisfied with those measures.

Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said in a statement that the retailer welcomed the finding that any concerns with the program's privacy and anti-fraud safeguards "were either not well founded or resolved."

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