Gift cards are a popular alternative to buying presents, offering convenience and flexibility. However, Australians lose an estimated $70 million each year by not redeeming their gift cards.
To help prevent this, new national gift card laws will come into effect on 1 November 2019.
From this date, gift cards and vouchers must be valid for at least three years. The expiry date must be clearly shown. If the card has an earlier expiry date written on it, consumers will still get the mandatory three-year period.
It will be illegal for businesses to charge post-purchase or administration fees that reduce the value of the gift card. These include activation, account keeping and balance enquiry fees.
Businesses can still charge fees they would normally charge. These may include fees for:
- overseas transactions
- paying by credit card
- replacing a lost or damaged card
- buying the gift card or voucher up front.
There are some exceptions to the new laws. These include cards and vouchers:
- sold for a good or service at a genuine discount, or
- given to customers as part of a limited promotion (for example: valid in-store today).
For more information on the changes, including a full list of exceptions, visit the New gift card laws page on the Australian Consumer Law website.
Note: Gift cards and vouchers sold before 1 November 2019 are not covered under the new laws - these have the same expiry date and fees that applied at the time of purchase.