Laws applying to gift vouchers and gift cards
If a trader uses vouchers and gift cards, they are providing a ‘non-cash payment facility’.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has set requirements for vouchers and gift cards, based on the Corporations Act 2001.
- must clearly display the expiry date
- can be used more than once
- cannot be reloaded (i.e. the value cannot be increased or added to)
- cannot be redeemed for cash unless there is a remaining amount that, in the reasonable opinion of the trader, cannot be conveniently used.
For more information, read ASIC’s Gift Facilities Class Order.
If a trader does not comply with these requirements, they will need to follow the more extensive requirements for non-cash payments listed in the Corporations Act 2001. For more information, read ASIC’s Class Order (05/738) Explanatory Statement.
Customers can lodge a complaint with ASIC about non-compliant gift cards:
Using a gift voucher or gift card after the expiry date
A trader is not obliged to honour a gift card or voucher after the expiry date, unless otherwise negotiated.
If the gift card of voucher does not have an expiry date, the customer may use it for a reasonable length of time after it was originally purchased.
Using a gift card or voucher when the business changes owners
The new owner must honour existing gift cards and vouchers if the business was:
- sold as a ‘going concern’ (i.e. the assets and liabilities of the business were sold by the previous owner to the new owner)
- previously owned by a company rather than an individual, and the new owner purchased the shares in the company.
If the new owner refuses to honour a gift card or voucher in these circumstances, consumers can phone Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81, or make 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 or vouchers. In this situation, the consumer becomes an ‘unsecured creditor’ of the previous company. For more information, view our Insolvency page.