B.C. mom behind Aeroplan class action lawsuit
Published Tuesday, July 7, 2009 8:23PM PDT
Two years ago, the rules changed. But many Aeroplan members say they had no idea their points could expire. Now they're taking the reward miles company to court.
A class action lawsuit has been started by a Coquitlam, B.C. mother Noella Neale, who had promised to fly her daughter to New Zealand when she was offered a job as an archeologist.
The single mom had planned to fly her daughter there using Aeroplan points.
"I read them my account number and they said no you don't have an account. I said yes I have an account, I have 150,000 points."
As it turns out, Aeroplan's rules have changed. If there is no activity in your account for 12 months, your miles expire. Aeroplan told Neale that she should have received an email warning.
"It probably went to my spam and my junk mail, Neale said. " I never got it."
Upset about what had happened, Neale decided to take legal action.
She is part of a class action lawsuit that was filed last week in Aeroplan's home province of Quebec. But a consumer advocate doesn't think the company should have to pay.
"I think it's a case of consumers having to put a little bit of effort into knowing what they have their hands on here," said Bruce Cran, President of the Consumers Association of Canada.
"I don't really think we'd be sympathetic to people who don't look after themselves by reading the rules."
The rules are spelled out in Aeroplan's terms and conditions. The company says it will "vigorously defend any class action lawsuit should one be authorized by the court."
Neale believes any lawsuit will be costly for Aeroplan.
"I have received a lot of emails from people and everybody wants to join the suit,'' she said. "They could have saved themselves a lot of trouble by answering my letters and phone calls."
As for that promise to her daughter, Neale ended up buying her points back -- for a penny a mile -- plus a $30 fee.
"Of course that cost me over a thousand dollars to send her to New Zealand,'' she said, adding that the trip should have been free.
Neale herself took a free trip to New Zealand last summer. She used her credit card reward points, not Aeroplan.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson.