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Gift cards and vouchers
Gift cards or vouchers:
- must clearly display the expiry date
- can be used more than once
- cannot be reloaded (that is, 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 the Australian Security and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) Gift Facilities Class Order.
If you believe a business is not complying with the terms of a gift card or voucher, you may lodge a complaint with ASIC:
If a 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 in these circumstances, consumers can phone us 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. In this situation, the consumer becomes an ‘unsecured creditor’ of the previous company.
For more information, view our When a company goes bust page.
For more information on this topic, including using a gift card after expiry, visit our Gift vouchers and gift cards – fair trading page.
Promotional vouchers and discount coupons
A business may offer discounts or free entitlements through a book of coupons or vouchers – provided consumers know exactly what they are purchasing.
Under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012, the supplier cannot mislead you about the nature, characteristics, suitability for purpose, and quantity of goods or services.
The supplier cannot leave out information – for example, failing to disclose that a ‘free’ offer is actually conditional on another purchase.
If the book costs more than $100, the supplier (usually a telemarketer) must give you a written contract, including a cooling-off period. For more information, view our Telemarketing page.
Note: free voucher books are still subject to the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012, as there is a direct link to trading.
Tips for buying voucher books
Before committing to buy a book of vouchers or coupons, ask yourself:
- How many coupons do I need to use before I recoup what I have spent on the book?
- Which businesses are involved? Do I need what they sell, and are they local?
- How do I know the businesses will honour the coupons as the telemarketer says?
- Am I confident the businesses will still exist by the time I get around to using their coupons?
- What conditions apply?
- Are there restrictions on when coupons can be used (for example, only ‘off-peak’), or expiry dates?
- Are ‘free’ offers actually free of charge, or ‘buy one get one free’?
Last updated: 07/04/2013