Angry customers launch class action lawsuit against Aeroplan
Lynda Steele, CTV British Columbia
Published Thursday, May 2, 2013 6:00AM PDT
***Story first aired in January
A class action lawsuit is underway against Aeroplan to force the rewards program to reinstate lost points and compensate angry consumers who were shocked to discover their points had an expiry date.
Nancy Boome is one of those angry customers. She went blind three years ago after a medical emergency, then tripped and shattered her shoulder. Shortly after that, she fell off a bridge and broke her leg in four places.
Boome needed a vacation. But when she called Aeroplan to use her points, she was told they had expired.
"I just felt like, oh let it go, it's only points, and then I thought no, darn it! I was going to have a nice few days in the sun down in San Diego and I used my Visa to get those points and they just took them away," said Boome.
Cris Nannarone experienced the same thing when he went to book a flight with his Aeroplan points.
"They said you had 42,000 points, but they're gone. What do you mean they are gone?” said Nannarone. “I had no idea that they expired. How does an air mile expire?"
The points had expired because Aeroplan quietly changed the rules a few years back. If you don't earn or redeem points in a year, you now lose them.
"Not everyone travels within a one year span. So if you don't travel within the one year they take away the points and you didn't know about that," said lawyer Josh Merchant.
Merchant's law firm is spearheading a class action lawsuit claiming Aeroplan didn't adequately inform customers about the policy change.
"We allege they basically tricked the people into losing their air miles. Aeroplan isn't losing any sleep if you are losing your air miles," said Merchant.
Aeroplan started out as Air Canada's frequent flyer program. Now it's owned by a company called Aimia. That company sells Aeroplan miles to its business partners to offer their customers as an incentive. When customers redeem the miles, Aeroplan uses the money from air mile sales to buy Air Canada seats. So any miles earned, but not redeemed, are pure profit for Aeroplan.
"People are angry about this. People within my own firm are angry about this. A lot of people are affected. A lot of people use Aeroplan. A lot of people use air miles," said Merchant.
"I'd like to see people who've lost their points without their knowledge really, get them reinstated," said Boome.
Aeroplan's expiration policy also applies to any mile that's not used seven years from the date it was earned. The class action lawsuit demands Aeroplan reinstate expired points, and compensate consumers.
If you would like to get involved in the class action lawsuit you will have to sign up with the Merchant Law Group.
There is no financial cost to join the class action. Aeroplan says it has strong arguments against the lawsuit and will vigorously defend itself.
Expired points can be reinstated for a fee, but in many cases it's not worth it.