The Automobile Protection Association (APA) was at the Supreme Court of Canada Thursday trying to win the right to use wiretaps in its class action lawsuit against oil companies who were found guilty of price fixing in Quebec.
In 2008, following an investigation by the Federal Competition Bureau, 11 oil corporations and 13 individuals were found guilty of price fixing, in four regions in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.
Soon after, the APA filed a class action lawsuit to try to get consumers some money back, and extend the number of overcharged regions to 22, which would include Montreal.
APA spokesperson George Iny says the Supreme Court should decide in the fall if their wiretaps could be used as evidence in court.
But it will take at least another four to five years before consumers would get any money back.
“A class action for us is generally a 10 to 12 year deal, if we go all the way, so you’re looking at another 4-5 years. If we win, individual consumers could get 2 to 3 cents a litre, so $50 a year, if you’re in a community where this was going on,” Iny said.
Iny says since the oil companies were found criminally guilty of price fixing, he's hoping they are no longer fixing prices in Quebec.
“I would like to believe that the companies have already changed the way they work, that if a government authority was able to get wiretaps that they wouldn’t pick up the practice anymore, at least it does send a message that there’s a line in the sand on what you can do.”