The ABC reports that Attorney-General Simon Corbell is courting the vote of miserable penny pinchers.
Since time immemorial if one was in receipt of a gift voucher or card it was accepted that in most cases one would have to overspend a couple of bucks to get the full value out of it.
And reasonable people, since time immemorial, have not had a problem with this.
But there’s always one miserable whiner to be had in any crowd and Simon is pandering to them:
Attorney-General Simon Corbell wants to allow consumers to receive up to 10 per cent of a gift card’s value in cash if it is not redeemed.
Simon Corbell says it will help customers with small amounts left on cards.
He says Canberrans spend $24 million a year on gift cards and $7 million goes unused.
“This is a very large amount of money that is given by consumers to retailers in the ACT every year and which currently goes unclaimed,” he said.
“At the moment that unclaimed money just goes straight into the cash register of retailers and they don’t provide any goods in return.
“We believe this issue needs to be addressed and consumers need better protection.”
Simon plans to have this before the Assembly by September; or, in punter’s language, just before the election.
His logic seems to miss out on some of the drivers of gift giving.
What next, legislate that all gifts must be given with a receipt so they can be redeemed and full value extracted?
UPDATE 14/04/12 13:45: Simon has now made a media release available explaining his views at length.
The Government is considering a $5 cash-out option for cards with a face value of $50 or less, or 10% cash-out for cards with a face value of more than $50 to provide a fairer deal to consumers at a low cost to retailers.
“The point of these proposed reforms is to ensure consumers with gift-cards actually enjoy their full value instead of being short changed if there is a small value remaining on the card after a purchase which cannot be recovered or spent,” Mr Corbell said.
“Often small balances after a major purchase are too low to purchase another product, but the company is usually not willing, or obliged to cash out that balance on the card to the gift-card owner.
“This situation generates an unearned windfall for the card issuer and leaves consumers out-of-pocket and this is something that the ACT Labor Government views as unfair, and is seeking to rectify.”