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    Benjamin Viot v. U-Haul Co. (Canada) Ltée. et al.

    U-Haul Vehicle Rentals

    The consumers included in the class action were charged a higher price than the advertised rate for their rentals, which is illegal in Quebec. This case therefore aims to compensate consumers who overpaid as a result of these companies’ unlawful business practices.

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    On October 7, 2021, the Court granted partial authorization  of the class action against the defendant U-Haul. The Court defined the class as “Any consumer who has entered into a contract, in Quebec, with the defendant, for the rental of a vehicle to be returned in the same locality and having paid a price higher than that initially advertised, save for the exception in section 224 of the Consumer Protection Act and to the exclusion of “one way” rentals. The class includes only the rentals concluded between November 18, 2017 and June 6, 2022.”

    For more information regarding authorization of the class action, please read the Notice to Members.

    On May 18, 2022, the Court dismissed the application to amend the class definition and to add Mr. Simon Derome as a second member representative. The proposed amendments were to include in the class definition consumers who booked “one way rentals” for the class period.

    Criteria to be part of this class action

    You are included within the proposed class action if

    – you entered into a contract with the Defendants in Quebec for the lease of a vehicle; AND
    – this contract was signed between November 18, 2017 and June 6, 2022; AND
    – the leased vehicle was returned in the same locality; AND
    – you paid an amount that was greater than the amount initially advertised, apart from GST, QST and all duties payable under a federal or provincial law when, under that law, such duties must be collected directly from the consumer to be remitted to a public authority.

    All consumers who meet these criteria may be entitled to compensation if the class action is successful.

    Summary of the class action

    In order to allow consumers to have complete information before purchasing a good or service, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) prohibits merchants from charging a price that is higher than the one advertised. It also requires merchants to ensure that consumers are properly informed of all important facts. The CPA prohibits merchants from misleading consumers by offering lower prices than what the consumers will ultimately pay.

    The Defendant U-Haul has adopted various schemes in the context of their vehicle rental business in order to give consumers the impression that they have access to rental prices that are not, in reality, the ones they will ultimately have to pay. The Defendants systematically violate the CPA by announcing, on their website, in their mobile application, and in various advertisements and announcements, prices that are lower than the price ultimately charged for the rental of cars, vans, and trucks.

    The plaintiff wants to put an end to this harmful practice on behalf of all consumers and obtain a compensation equivalent to the amount that exceeds the price that was announced, as well as punitive damages.

    On November 18, 2020, Benjamin Viot filed an Application for authorization to institute a class action and to obtain the status of representative against U-Haul Co. (Canada) Ltd., a company that rents cars, vans and trucks, as well as against Web Team Associates, Inc., which acts as an intermediary on behalf of U-Haul.

    In a judgment dated May 21, 2021, the Court authorized the filing of an affidavit by a representative of U-Haul in support of their opposition to the application for authorization. As a result of this affidavit, the application for authorization was amended to remove the defendant Web Team Associates. The Court also allowed Mr. Viot to be examined at the authorization hearing.

    The class members are jointly represented by TJL and Grenier Verbauwhede Avocats.

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