Tim Hortons reaches proposed settlement in mobile app class action lawsuit

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Tim Hortons says it has reached a proposed settlement in several class-action lawsuits that claimed the restaurant’s mobile app violated customer privacy, which would have meant the restaurant offered free coffee and donuts to affected users.

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The company says the settlement, negotiated with legal teams involved in the litigation, still requires court approval.

The coffee and donut chain says the deal will get eligible app users a free hot drink and pastry.

Tim Hortons says in court documents that it would also permanently delete any geolocation information it may have collected between April 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020, and order third-party service providers to do the same.

The proposed settlement comes after an investigation by federal and provincial privacy authorities found that the mobile ordering app broke the law by collecting vast amounts of location information from customers.

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In a report released last month, the privacy commissioners said that people who downloaded the Tim Hortons app were being tracked and recorded every few minutes – even when the app was not open on their phones.

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The investigation was launched after National Post reporter James McLeod obtained data showing an app on his phone tracked his location more than 2,700 times in less than five months.

Tim Hortons said in a statement that it was pleased to reach a proposed settlement in four class-action lawsuits filed in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario.

“All parties agree that this is a fair settlement and we look forward to the Quebec Superior Court ruling on the proposal,” the company said in a statement.

“We are confident that as long as the Quebec court approves the settlement, the courts in British Columbia and Ontario will recognize the settlement.”

The company said the allegations made in the class-action lawsuits have not been proven in court and the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

Tim Hortons said it would email customers on Friday to inform them of the proposed settlement.

According to court documents, Tim Hortons says the retail value of the free hot drink is $6.19, while the value of the baked goods is $2.39 plus tax.

Customers would be given credit for the items through a coupon or in the Tim Hortons app, the documents state.

A hearing was scheduled in Quebec court for Sept. 6 to consider the proposed settlement.

The company says details of the free hot drink and pastry distribution will be provided if the court approves the settlement.

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