Contact Consumer Protection
Tel: 1300 30 40 54
See all Consumer Protection office locations
Gift cards or vouchers can be the ideal gift but it is essential for the buyer, recipient and trader to understand the terms and conditions.
Check the expiry date on your gift card carefully, as those supplied before 1 November 2019 are not required to be honoured past the current expiry date.
Since 1 November 2019, most gift cards:
Ask a few simple questions when you buy or receive a gift card or voucher to avoid disappointment:
Gift cards or vouchers must:
Any gift cards purchased on or after 1 November 2019 must be redeemable for at least 3 years after the day they were purchased or supplied.
If the expiry date is shown as a period of time it must also include the date it was supplied or purchased, so you can determine the expiry date.
If there is no expiry date, this must be stated on the gift card.
The display requirement does not apply to second-hand gift cards.
The three year requirement does not apply to gift cards that are:
For more information including a list of exceptions, visit the Australian Consumer Law's New Gift Card Laws webpage.
Gift cards purchased after 1 November 2019 must not contain post-purchase fees. A post-purchase fee is a cost or charge that would reduce the gift card's value after it has been supplied or purchased. This includes fees such as activation, account keeping and balance enquiry fees.
The post-purchase fee requirement does not apply to second hand gift cards.
Post-purchase fees do not include fees and charges a trader can charge normally as part of a transaction such as:
If you believe a business is not complying with the terms of a gift card or voucher, you may wish to lodge a complaint.
If a business changes owners, the new owner does not have to honour existing gift cards and vouchers. However, they may do so if the business was:
If the new owner refuses to honour a gift card in these circumstances, consumers can contact the Consumer Protection by calling the Advice Line on 1300 304 054, sending an email or making a complaint.
If the company operating the business has been liquidated, the new owner may have only purchased the assets of the business and is not obliged to honour existing gift cards. In this situation, the consumer becomes an ‘unsecured creditor’ of the previous company.
If you are unable to use a gift card because of changes in the business or if it is lost or stolen and you bought the gift card with a credit card you may be able to receive a chargeback from your bank. Check with your bank about their purchase security insurance. Terms and conditions will apply for example you may need to make a claim within a certain time frame and provide proof of purchase.
The maximum penalty for a breach of the rules for gift cards is $30,000 for a body corporate and $6,000 for an individual.
The ACCC can issue an infringement notice where they have reasonable grounds to believe a breach of the gift card provisions has occurred. Current infringement notice penalties for the gift card provisions are $12,210 for a corporation and $2,442 for an individual.
A business may offer discounts or free entitlements through a book of coupons or vouchers – provided consumers know exactly what they are purchasing.
The supplier cannot:
Free voucher books are still subject to the Australian Consumer Law.
Before committing to buy a book of vouchers or coupons, ask yourself: