Nova Scotia

Old lawnmowers may qualify for cash — even without a receipt

Canadians who own mowers may be eligible for compensation following a class action settlement in connection with the misrepresentation of lawnmower horsepower labelling.

Certain 1994 to 2012 models from brands including including Toro, John Deere and Honda involved

Gas-powered mowers labelled at 30 horsepower or less are affected. (Radio-Canada)

Lawn mowing may be the furthest thing from the minds of most people during the dead of winter in Canada — but old lawnmowers in the garage could score you some cash.

A campaign to make Canadian consumers aware of a class action settlement in connection with the misrepresentation of lawnmower horsepower labelling launched this week.

"The theory of the case was that there was a relationship between higher horsepower labels and the price of a lawnmower," said Jonathan Foreman, a lawyer with London, Ont.-based firm Harrison Pensa LLP.

"If the horsepower labels didn't accurately reflect the actual power in the engine, there was a price problem there — a controversy around the pricing of these lawnmowers."

Many well-known brands including Toro, John Deere and Honda are alleged to have agreed to manipulate horsepower labelling on certain lawnmower models between 1994 and 2012.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

"We spent eight years litigating with them on this case and through the course of the case none of them admitted to doing anything that was legally wrong," Foreman said. "But when you see a settlement like this, it's the way parties can resolve a piece of controversial litigation without going to trial."

Jonathan Foreman of Harrison Pensa LLP led the long process that culminated in the class action settlement. (Harrison Pensa LLP)

Now Canadians who own mowers may be eligible for compensation. Proof of purchase is not required, although it will get you more money.

"There is compensation that begins at $15 per claimant without proof of purchase, but it scales up to as much as $55 per mower, depending on what kind of proof you can provide," said Foreman.

The $7,535,000 class action settlement is no small matter, with retailers, distributors and businesses also potentially able to qualify for compensation.

"Any sizeable landscaping company would often buy new mowers every year because of how much they use them and how frequently they can wear out," said Foreman. "They could claim for every mower they bought."

The deadline to submit a claim is May 22, 2019.  

About the Author

Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across the province for 30 years.

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