Gift Card Expiry Dates

This publication is for: 
Business / companyConsumer

The Australian Government are seeking your views on options to improve outcomes and protections for consumers who participate in the Gift card market. 

Status: Open, closes Wednesday 30 May 2018.

Background

In Australia 34 million gift cards are estimated to be sold each year with an estimated value of between $2 and $2.5 billion. Gift cards are sold across the economy by national retailers and small businesses. One of the commonly used terms and conditions of gift cards are expiry dates. Of the gift cards sold by these businesses a certain percentage are not redeemed before they expire.

Many consumers experience the disappointment of an expired gift card, the estimated losses from gift card expiry are considered to be in the order of $70 million annually. When a gift card expires before it can be used a consumer experiences the personal detriment from the loss of value on a gift card. Many recipients of gift cards are not aware of the expiry dates for gift cards they are given. In these circumstances those consumers expect their gift cards to last for a reasonable time. 

There is currently no uniform national regulation for the minimum length of time a gift card should last. In late 2017, New South Wales (NSW) introduced laws requiring a minimum three year expiry period for gift cards sold in that state.

Proposed changes

This Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) examines options to reform gift card expiry dates to achieve a uniform national approach for all types of gift cards (regardless of their delivery mechanism). There are three options to reduce consumer detriment and improve outcomes for consumers in relation to gift card expiry dates:

• Option 1 – the status quo
• Option 2 – prohibition on gift card expiry dates
• Option 3 – three year minimum expiry dates

Introducing a minimum three year expiry period (option 3) is the preferred policy option at this time. Such an approach would address the information asymmetry that may be faced by a recipient of a gift card who is unaware of its expiry date, and expects that it last for a certain period of time. This option would address the detriment from expired gift cards.

Downloads and resources

The following resources are available to download from Treasury's consultation page for Gift card expiry dates.

How to make a submission or comment

Gift Card Expiry Dates Consultation Paper
Consumer and Corporations Policy Division
The Treasury
Langton Crescent
PARKES ACT 2600

Consumer Protection
Consultations / public comment
Last updated 14 May 2018

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