As part of the Fair Trading Week campaign beginning this Monday, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello is encouraging anyone with an expired gift card to “try their luck” at redeeming it, in the hope that NSW consumers might have some success.
“Consumers often fail to redeem their gift cards and those who try to use them after the expiry date, do so with mixed success,” Mr Dominello said in a recent statement to media.
“Fair Trading’s experience is that many retailers are prepared to extend the expiry date of cards when requested and we are encouraging consumers to ask the question and report their experience.”
Whether or not a retailer accepts these gift cards, cardholders are encouraged to report their results in a on the NSW Fair Trading Website, with survey feedback informing the consumer rights agency on whether action needs to be taken to increase consumer rights around gift cards.
According to a paper examining the compliance and best practice principles surrounding gift cards released by NSW Fair Trading in 2012, “Gift recipients should be given a long expiry period, or preferably the gift card does not expire.”
However, NSW Fair Trading has received over 270 complaints regarding gift cards this year alone, and the paper found issues with a number of gift cards tested – including 26 per cent of gift cards that did not have a stated value, and 26 per cent which failed to provide either an expiry date or a combination of an issue date and expiry period.
The paper did find, however, that all retailers surveyed would provide a refund of the residual amount on the card when asked to do so, and although not stated on the cards, most retailers would provide an extension of the expiry date.
“Some jurisdictions in the US have moved to ban or restrict expiry dates on gift cards,” A spokesperson from NSW Fair Trading said.
Business Lawyer and CEO of LegalVision Lachlan McKnight says that under current laws, it is completely up to the business whether they choose to honour expiry dates or not.
“In contrast to what one might think, some studies have shown that shorter expiry periods, in fact, have higher rates of redemption.
“Gift-card issuers are well within their rights to attach expiry dates to the redemption of the card for various reasons.”
For more information on reporting gift cards to NSW Fair Trading, visit fairtrading.nsw.gov.au