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$70m consumer loss stoppered by new law

  • November 01 2019
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$70m consumer loss stoppered by new law

By Grace Ormsby
November 01 2019

In good news as Christmas nears, national laws have come into effect today that mean any gift cards purchased Australia-wide must automatically come with a minimum three-year expiry period.

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$70m consumer loss stoppered by new law

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  • November 01 2019
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In good news as Christmas nears, national laws have come into effect today that mean any gift cards purchased Australia-wide must automatically come with a minimum three-year expiry period.

Gift card

The amendment to Australia’s consumer law has occurred to ensure a “consistent approach to gift cards, no matter where in Australia they are purchased”, according to Western Australia’s commissioner for consumer protection David Hillyard.

“Gift cards are big money in Australia, both for their convenience and flexibility, but unfortunately an estimated $70 million is lost each year due to expiry dates,” Mr Hillyard said.

He explained that federal, state and territory consumer agencies worked together to introduce the new rules around gift card expiry dates and post-purchase fees and charges “to help prevent such losses and to make gift cards fairer for consumers”.

“With the exception of a few limited-use gift cards and vouchers, all gift cards bought from 1 November 2019 will automatically come with a minimum three-year expiry period, with the expiry date to be clearly marked on the card,” Mr Hillyard said.

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Even where traders do state an earlier expiry date, it will be invalid and consumers will be entitled to the mandatory three-year period.

“It will also be illegal for traders to charge post-purchase fees or administration charges that will reduce the value of the gift card, such as activation, account keeping and balance enquiry fees,” the commissioner continued.

Traders will be able to charge fees they would normally charge as part of a transaction, such as overseas transaction fees, booking fees or fees charged to replace a lost, stolen or damaged card.

Traders will also not be prevented from charging upfront fees for the purchase of the gift card, with Mr Hillyard acknowledging that “whether consumers choose to accept an upfront fee and proceed with the purchase will be up to them”.

$70m consumer loss stoppered by new law
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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