Important Changes to Gift Card Laws – to commence from 31 March 2018
Late last year the NSW Parliament passed the Fair Trading Amendment (Ticket Scalping and Gift Cards) Bill 2017, to resolve concerns that consumers were losing benefits of gift cards because of expiry dates and administrative fees. These new rules commence from 31 March 2018.
A report from the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC) in 2012 found that between 3 and 8 percent of gift cards expired with unused funds still on them, with NSW residents losing approximately $60 million per year.
The new laws provide that gift cards must:
have a mandatory three-year minimum term;
not have charges or fees applied after the sale of a gift card that would reduce the value of the gift card; and
the new laws will void any terms or conditions to the contrary.
Penalties can include fines of up to $5,500 per contravention, which can quickly multiply as each non-compliant gift card is sold.
The law applies to gift cards, in hard copy or electronic form, that are both:
sold to a consumer in New South Wales; and
redeemable in New South Wales.
There are exceptions to the new laws, which include:
cards or vouchers supplied in substitution for returned goods;
prepaid cards or vouchers redeemable for phone credit, internet access, or similar;
debit cards, credit cards, prepaid travel cards or similar products supplied by financial institutions; and
cards or vouchers supplied as part of a customer loyalty program.
We recommend that businesses review the terms of their gift cards to ensure that they comply with these new NSW gift card laws, before 31 March 2018.
If you need assistance, please give Jenkins Legal Services a call on 02 4929 2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.