Author

John J. Pirie

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CANADA – In Godfrey v Pioneer, 2019 SCC 42 (“Godfrey”), the Supreme Court of Canada has lowered the bar for certifying price-fixing class actions brought under the federal Competition Act, while also allowing new categories of claimants to participate as class members. The decision arose from a class action filed in British Columbia against a group of 42 foreign companies who manufactured optical disc drives and related products. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants conspired…

UNITED KINGDOM – A significant development in UK class actions landed today – with the English Court of Appeal issuing a judgment that requires the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) to reconsider certification of an opt out class action issued against Mastercard on behalf of approx 46.2m people and valued at £14.098bn.  The judgment is published in full here and provides strong guidance to the CAT, indicating that a collective proceedings order will now be…

CANADA – Allegations of “Add-on pricing”, or “drip pricing”, have become a hot topic in recent years as consumers have moved towards making more purchases online. Drip pricing can be thought of as the incremental disclosure of additional fees. Bit-by-bit, these add-ons can cause a discrepancy between the final price of an item and the original listed price. One common example is the addition of airline baggage fees, which can dramatically increase total airfare prices. Other examples of drip pricing include:

  • delivery fees for event tickets;
  • municipal taxes charged by hotels;
  • rental car insurance fees; and
  • bank withdrawal fees.

While the concept of drip pricing has existed for some time, the advent of e-commerce has given rise to increased litigation and regulatory risk for businesses selling online services and products. Website interface design allows businesses to be more flexible in how they display and structure their pricing, however, the same flexibility can lead to pitfalls, prompting consumers to respond with class proceedings based on allegations of deceptive marketing practices.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently reconsidered its decision (the “Original Stay Appeal”) to stay a securities class action claim in Canada, on the basis that Ontario was not the most appropriate forum, where the securities at issue were purchased on foreign stock exchanges. Leave to appeal the Original Stay Appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Canada. In its most recent decision the Court of Appeal considered an argument that the Original Stay Appeal…