Illegal publicity of consumer credit
In September 2002, Mr. Riendeau filed a motion for authorization to institute a class action against Brault & Martineau.
The class action alleged that Brault & Martineau intentionally violated certain imperative provisions of the Consumer Protection Act through its advertising of consumer credit. Mr. Riendeau seeks the reimbursement of financing fees paid by consumers, damages and punitive damages.
On October, 17, 2007, the Madam Justice Claudine Roy of the Quebec Superior Court ordered Brault & Martineau to pay $2,000,000 in punitive damages to consumers who bought and financed goods between June 1st, 2000 and December 31, 2003.
Madam Justice Roy concluded that Brault & Martineau did not respect the provisions intended by the legislator to ensure that consumers are able to make an enlightened choice between cash payment and financing. According to Madam Justice Roy, the advertisements of Brault & Martineau should not incite consumers to use credit and should allow the consumers to know the exact cost of the financing programs offered.
On February 26, 2010, the Court of Appeal confirmed the decision of Justice Roy and thereby confirmed the availability of an autonomous recourse in punitive damages under the Consumer Protection Act, an important precedent in Quebec law.
The amount of the judgement has been distributed among class members and the claim period is now over.