Back in July, some Tim Hortons app users were surprised to find an odd email in their inbox about a proposed lawsuit settlement.
The coffee chain landed a national class-action lawsuit when it was revealed that it had tracked “vast amounts” of information from Canadians through its app for years.
In June 2020, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada began an investigation and found out that the Tim Hortons app violated privacy laws.
Sensitive information, such as users’ minute-by-minute movements and location data, was tracked by the app, even when it wasn’t open. While this happened between April 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020, it was only made public in June 2022 following the investigation.
The proposed settlement, as the email had indicated at the time, was still awaiting court approval, but has now officially been approved.
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What, exactly, was the settlement made in return for users’ private data collection, you might ask?
As an email sent to users on February 1, 2023, indicates, your data is worth exactly “two credits (‘Offers’) – one Free Hot Beverage and one Free Baked Good.”
This email was only sent to those who were considered “Eligible Members,” and the applicable credits – a maximum of $2.39 plus taxes for a “Baked Good,” and $6.19 plus taxes for a “Hot Beverage” – will be deposited into their accounts on the Tim Hortons app.
According to the case file, the allegations against Tim Hortons “have not been proven in court and are contested by the Defendants [Tim Hortons],” but the fast-food giant agreed on the settlement terms nonetheless.
The email sent to Tim Hortons app users also notes that it’s no longer possible for them to opt out or object to this free baked good and beverage offer.
At the time of the settlement proposal, before its approval, Canadians had already expressed their dismay at the audacity of such an absurd proposal.
Lawyer James McLeod took to Twitter at the time to air his grievances.
“Okay, so Tim Hortons spent more than a year silently and illegally tracking users through their mobile app and the proposed class action settlement is… a free coffee and a donut,” he tweeted. “I swear to f**king god. This is real.”
Now that the settlement is final, chances are folks are going to have even more thoughts on the precedent this sets when it comes to data theft and public compensation – or lack thereof.
With files from Daily Hive Staff.