A B.C. woman wants Canadian Tire to change its policy around loyalty points being forfeited when the primary cardholder passes away.
Susan Brown’s husband unexpectedly died in April. When she went to close his account, she was told by Canadian Tire his loyalty points were non-transferable.
“I was quite horrified because I thought they were ours,” Brown said.
For decades, the Nanaimo couple enjoyed collecting Canadian Tire dollars and later the loyalty points.
“My husband is fourth generation Canadian. He really felt it was the Canadian store to go to,” said Brown.
However, because Brown’s husband was the primary cardholder the points could not be transferred.
“I guess they call them loyalty points, but it wasn’t very loyal,” she said.
Consumer Matters reached out to Canadian Tire about Brown’s case and received the following statement:
“As is the industry-practice for loyalty programs, upon the death of a program member, their account is closed and their loyalty points are forfeited. In this case, Mr. Brown was the primary program member and primary credit card holder, and his wife was a supplementary credit cardholder. At this time, we do not intend to revise this policy, however, we will always work with our customers to come to a mutually agreeable resolution, which we were able to do with Mrs. Brown.” – Canadian Tire
Patrick Sojka, founder of Rewards Canada, says forfeiting someone’s reward points when they pass away isn’t necessarily industry standard.
“It’s probably 50/50,” he said. “There are definitely some programs that when you pass away those points and miles are forfeited in their terms and conditions, but there are also a lot of programs that also allow the transfer to children, spouses, or you can will it to somebody else,” Sojka added.
As to why a company would be reluctant to transfer reward points upon someone’s death, Sojka says it likely takes the liability off the books.
“By doing so it helps their bottom line a little bit,” said Sojka.
Sojka recommends consumers read the terms and conditions before signing up for a loyalty program to avoid disappointment later.
After Consumer Matters contacted Canadian Tire, Brown says she received a $250 gift card, more than the value of her late husband’s points. Brown says she’s grateful for the card but would rather see Canadian Tire change its policy.
“I want to see that policy changed. Nobody should have to go through this.”