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Late Payments: This furniture retailer is blaming its customers on Facebook

Late Payments: This furniture retailer is blaming its customers on Facebook

A Lanaudière-area furniture retailer has taken the law into his own hands by posting on Facebook the names of Indigenous customers whose payments are late. This practice could violate consumer protection law.

Since withdrawn, the Ameublement Lavoie & Lachapelle post named 11 clients, without identifying them with a link to their profile.

It also read: “Contact us, please write to me privately for amounts in arrears on your payments.”

Beatrice Lavoie, the store’s co-owner, says she took down the post because “people were making hateful comments about the business.”

This isn’t the first time Ameublement Lavoie & Lachapelle has used this technique, “and we’d do it again if it wasn’t for the negative feedback.”

The targeted individuals are all indigenous to the Atikamekw community, many of whom live in Manawan, less than 100 kilometers from Saint-Michel-des-Saints, where the shop is located.

“Only the atikamix are entitled to credit with us, so we cannot be accused of racism,” says M.I a path.

Many of the comments under the deleted post accused the company of anti-Aboriginal racism.

Ameublement Lavoie & Lachapelle is in the process of closing. The company is currently liquidating its inventory and has put its building up for sale. “We will cease our activities as soon as the building is sold,” says the co-owner.

Posting customer names in this way could violate the Private Sector Personal Information Protection Act, according to the Office of Consumer Protection (OPC).

The 11 individuals targeted by the publication can also file a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, “because such a practice could contravene certain debt collection law.”

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“It should be noted that under this law, persons subject to prohibited collection practices may claim damages from the offender, in addition to punitive damages,” warns Charles Tanguay, UCI spokesperson.

According to Béatrice Lavoie, who bought the company in June 2021 along with three other shareholders, the previous owner has used this technique several times in the past, without upsetting the people involved.

“The previous owner did this regularly,” she says.