Laws applying to gift vouchers and gift cards
If your business uses vouchers and gift cards, you are providing customers with 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.
Vouchers and gift cards:
- must clearly display the expiry date. This includes the activation expiry date for cards that need to be activated before use
- 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 your business' reasonable opinion, cannot be conveniently used.
If your business does not comply with these requirements, you must follow the more extensive requirements for non-cash payments listed in the Corporations Act 2001. For more information, visit ASIC’s Gift Facilities Class Order - ComLaw website.
Customers can lodge a complaint with ASIC about non-compliant gift cards via:
Using a gift voucher or gift card after the expiry date
Your business is not obliged to honour a gift card or voucher after the expiry date, unless otherwise negotiated.
If the gift card or voucher does not have an expiry date (including an activation 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.