You have entered into a rewards program agreement with a loyalty program merchant that does not have a specific term. In certain situations, the merchant may change the agreement without your consent. In other cases, changes are prohibited.

Changing an essential element of an agreement

In a loyalty program agreement, a merchant may stipulate that a change can be made without your consent. In such a case, the following information must appear in the agreement:

  • the essential elements of the agreement that could be changed;
  • the fact that a clear and legible written notice must be sent to you 60 to 90 days before the change comes into effect;
  • the fact that the notice only covers:
    • the addition or change made to the agreement,
    • the clause as it read before it was changed, in the case of a change to an existing clause,
    • the date the change comes into effect.

Changes made that are to your disadvantage

The merchant may not stipulate in the agreement that the following elements can be changed to your disadvantage:

  • the number of exchange units (points, dollars, stamps, etc.) you have already received;
  • the factor used to convert exchange units already received.

If, for example, you have 40 exchange units, the merchant cannot decide to reduce that number to 30 units.

Conditions also apply to the expiry of exchange units.

Temporary changes that are to your advantage

The merchant may stipulate in the agreement that changes to that agreement could be made, as long as any such changes are to your advantage.

For example, during a given week, the merchant could decide to double the exchange units (points, dollars, stamps, etc.) received with a purchase.

Change in the number of units required to redeem a reward

In the loyalty program agreement, a merchant cannot provide for the possibility of disproportionately increasing the number of exchange units required to receive goods or services. For example, a merchant who required 1,000 units to redeem a movie package cannot decide to now require 2,000 points, where the retail value of the package remains unchanged.

Changing an non-essential element of an agreement

It is generally prohibited for merchants to provide for the possibility of changing a non-essential element of an agreement without your consent. Such changes are only allowed if the agreement also includes:

  • the elements of the agreement that can be changed;
  • the fact that a written notice that includes, among other things, the date on which the change comes into effect would be sent to you at least 30 days before that date;
  • information according to which you can terminate the agreement, free of any charges or penalties, by sending a written notice to the merchant no later than 30 days after the change comes into effect, if it increases your obligations or decreases those of the merchant.

Exemptions for "small" programs

Some merchants are not required to abide by the rules provided for by law that govern rewards programs. Refer to the page on programs not covered.

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Last update : May 3, 2021

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.