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New national gift card laws will come into effect tomorrow (1 November 2019) to help protect consumers from losing an estimated $70 million on gift cards each year.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the Australian Consumer Law was amended to ensure a consistent approach to gift cards, no matter where in Australia they are purchased.
“Gift cards are big money in Australia, both for their convenience and flexibility, but unfortunately an estimated $70 million is lost each year due to expiry dates,” Mr Hillyard said.
“To help prevent such losses and to make gift cards fairer for consumers, federal, state and territory consumer agencies worked together to introduce new rules around gift card expiry dates and post-purchase fees and charges.
“With the exception of a few limited-use gift cards and vouchers, all gift cards bought from 1 November 2019 will automatically come with a minimum three-year expiry period, with the expiry date to be clearly marked on the card.
“Even if traders state an earlier expiry date, it will be invalid and consumers will be entitled to the mandatory three-year period.
“It will also be illegal for traders to charge post-purchase fees or administration charges that will reduce the value of the gift card, such as activation, account keeping and balance enquiry fees.
“However, traders will be able to charge fees they would normally charge as part of a transaction, such as overseas transaction fees, booking fees, or fees charged to replace a lost, stolen or damaged card.
“They will also be able to charge an upfront fee for the purchase of the gift card. Whether consumers choose to accept an upfront fee and proceed with the purchase will be up to them.”
There are some exceptions to the new rules, including:
For more information on the new gift card rules, visit www.consumerlaw.gov.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com