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Voucher shelf-life?

By Skidd Marx 4 January 2009 99

Last Christmas I received two “Premium” Dendy movie tickets which are apparently worth $35 a pop. Due to a combination of laziness and personal disdain for just about every movie which came out in 2008, I held off going, wanting to save these tickets for a truly worthy flick.

So I was a trifle annoyed when I finally went to use them only to be told that they had expired a few days earlier and were therefore about as useful as nipples on a grown man.

When I politely queried the validity of these expiry dates I was told by the pimple-faced Dendy nerd that they are in place because “tickets increase in price over time” and that “12 months is ample time to see a movie”. This may be so but I can’t help but feel a little ripped off that my mum forked over $70 in return for absolutely sweet F.A. In my opinion it is tantamount to theft.

Anyway, I was just wondering what people think about the convenient use of expiry dates by businesses. I’m assuming they’re legal but it seems to me that they are just another profit-swelling trick that vendors have in their arsenal.

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jakez 9:43 am 07 Jan 09

Madman, I think we both agree that vouchers generally suck and that expiry dates also suck. I think we just disagree on what should be done about it. I’ll try and find that case you mentioned and have a read. From what you’ve written re your penalties I’d guess it was either a statutory matter with regard to what circumstances banks can charge penalties, or a combination of customer service/make this man go away. Like I said I’ll try and find that case though.

Vy, your leverage is your ability to walk away from the transaction. That is the only leverage that any person has. Like I said, you CAN bargain, you just can’t bargain successfully. There is a difference between the two. Am I meant to weep because you can’t make Target do what you want them to do?

Madman 9:19 am 07 Jan 09

You CAN bargain the terms of the agreement, they just won’t budge. There are myriad examples of contracts that are set in stone. The company has made an offer, you can either accept it or not accept it. That is your choice and it is a real choice. They don’t owe you anything else.

In order to bargain, you need to have some form of leverage. Buying a voucher from a business does not constitute leverage (unless the value is really, really large).

Madman 11:27 pm 06 Jan 09

Jakez – i am in agreeance with you. I probably should have stated that though I am for law and regulation, I don’t always say it’s morally right. Same with agreements, its not always fair but you have to deal with it.

I think some of the major stores need to set a precedence and higher the expiry dates. 12 months may seem like a long time, but for people that a lower disadvantaged and in areas where extensive travel is required, then it can be hard especially if your stock is seasonable like the movies, it always changes and you may not like what is in season.
For example, my partners brother lives in Ulladulla and got given a computer game for last Christmas, which was purchased from the nearest PC store 1.15hrs away. Living in a family with no transport this was of hassle to change as he had received two copies and had a 14 day change of mind policy. I was able to take him on boxing day, but when we got there the store wasn’t open for the day. The next chance he got was 16 days later when an uncle came to visit and offered a trip to the originating store. The store dishonored the change. Don’t take this story as what would happen with a gift expiry date but the concept that sometimes the given time frames need to be bent. I know my grandma only goes to the shops once a year to buy presents for everyone for every occasion – I could only imagine what would happen to a gift card if ever she received one.

Oh and I’m glad you see the point that there is the need to void a voucher and redeem as cash in the instance that you do not agree with the terms.

On the point of my refund, it was a refund that I was protected by under the Trade Practices Act as I purchased chicken from the store which had already expired the day prior. The store I took it back to said that it was change of mind and they don’t honour that for food items. So I called their regional head office who tried to tell me the same thing, I told them that I was claiming it under faulty product under TPA – even though I should have checked before purchasing; it shouldn’t have been available for purchase. They decided to send me a gift voucher – no money order or any other safe distant transfer of money. Plus I did not at all accept a voucher and was told that’s the best they could do for me. I suppose in the future don’t call head offices at 4:55pm!

To explain the re-claiming of my fees back briefly I explained that the fees where known as penalties and for penalties to be charged the bank needs to be at loss up to the cost of the penalty which was $85. I wrote and asked for proof that they were in proportion to the losses suffered. I also stated that I had no opportunity to negotiate the terms of my account and would have no case in ability to change the terms imposing the penalties. Referred to a case set in 1983 with Allstates Leasing which set a legal principle to penalties.
Stated that even though the fees were disclosed to me upfront it had nothing to do with whether is was considered a penalty as disclosure did not excuse unlawful conduct. I also stated that the penalties that were noted as defaults would not be sustained as a breach with penalty as the bank agreement imposed an obligation towards me with a non-compliance fee which was unrelated to damages caused which in turn is unenforceable.
Even though the fees were in accordance with the terms of my account, it is the substance of matter and not the form of the contractual terms where the terms require a payment related to non-compliance which is un-proportional and unrelated to the loss suffered.
I got a letter back stating my fees had been re-paid and that they were sorry.

If you go to a private car park which $2 parking with a 1 hour time limit, they can’t give you a parking ticket as they do not have statutory rights to issue fines. They could only impose what loss was suffered – ei another $2 for the later hour.

Granny 8:53 pm 06 Jan 09

“Peanuts or lollies!” sez a boy upstairs.

Sallyjones 8:31 pm 06 Jan 09

Skidd Marx said :

had Rob Schneider been a little more active in ’08 then it may be a different story

I missed that.

Good thing you’re not going to Dendy. Less peanut gallery, the better.

jakez 3:40 pm 06 Jan 09

H1NG0 said :

What the hell? They gave you a voucher as a refund? That can’t be right. I though by law that stores have to refund in the same say that it was purchsed.

I forgot about this point. Madman, in that instance I agree with you that you are entitled to a proper refund and not a voucher.

Were you legally entitled to a refund though? Some stores give refunds beyond what the law requires, in that instance a voucher is fair enough. I’d try for cash first personally but basically in the end they are doing you a favour (and good customer service) if it’s not a legally required refund.

If you were entitled to a legally required refund and accepted a voucher well then I guess all I can say is shame on you and I hope you have learned your lesson about the evils of vouchers.

jakez 3:37 pm 06 Jan 09

Madman said :

Well the thing is there you can actually claim back your bank fees because they don’t let you bargain… I myself have recieved my penalty fees back because they would not let me bargain the fee’s. I wrote to them said pretty much what I’ve written here and that the cost of me being penalised is far from what they have lost. Obviously you didn’t study that part to be able to bargain back your fees/penalties….

Well I’m sorry but it simply goes against the fundamental principles of contract law. I’m not sure what specific fees you are talking about but I very much doubt you were refunded because you couldn’t bargain.

You can’t ‘successfully’ bargain in a store for an ipod usually, nor can you for a can of soft drink. It doesn’t make the contract invalid.

Prove me wrong, give me this magical piece of law that you have found. I’m actually really bloody interested to see it.

However fundamentally I am not interested in what is the law but what is right (this is why I only brought ‘the law’ in as a response to your claims). If what you say is correct, I think that is extremely immoral.

Also the last time I went for a bank loan I disagreed with a clause, crossed it out and initialled it, they took it to their bank manager and they agreed to my change and initialled it also…

This is entirely consistent with my point. You were lucky enough to successfully bargain. That’s great. I’m pleased you were able to. In a recent contract negotiation I couldn’t successfully bargain, it was take it or leave it. That does NOT make the contract invalid. If somebody makes an offer, you make a counteroffer, they don’t accept the counter offer and re present the original offer, and you then accept the original offer, THAT IS A BINDING CONTRACT. It doesn’t matter whether you could negotiate the terms or not, all that matters is at the end of the day whether you accept it or not.

Why do you think that it is totally fair when the biggest country of them all, the US doesn’t think its fair and don’t impose use by dates? You obviously have a problem!

Argumentum ad populum, the idea that because the ‘biggest’ country does it it must be right. That is a logical fallacy mate, not a real argument. Also, I doubt all of the population thinks that it is right, some people in the US still believe in freedom.

I think it is a fair situation because I allow people to enter into mutually consenting voluntarily entered into agreements. Under your system, they can’t do that. People who buy a voucher with an expiry date (and that expiry date is there in my example, I don’t believe in fraud), know what they are getting into. They accept the terms and they buy it.

Madman said :

Just looking at the gift card I received:

“Terms of use:
1. By using this Card, you agree to the full terms and conditions.
2. This Card may be used at participating stores.
3. This card expires 12 months from date of purchase. Our record of your expiry date is final.
4. Not reloadable or redeemable for cash.
6. For full terms and conditions and a list of participating stores visit (URL)”

That hardly seems fair that, especially when 1, if you don’t agree to the terms you can’t get your money back but you can’t use the card…
2, You aren’t given the terms and conditions.
3, You may not have voluntarily entered into the agreement and someone has entered into it on your behalf as a gift.

I think 1 and 2 are fair points and I believe that under the law you would be entitled to void the voucher. If you weren’t, I would agree that you should be able to. This has nothing to do with the expiry date.

Point 3 I do not agree with. If you aren’t the person who bought the voucher you have nothing to say on this matter. It was not your money and it is not your place to interfere in the decisions of others. They aren’t entering into an agreement on your behalf as a gift, they are entering into it themselves to purchase as a gift for you. They accept the terms and conditions and that is the gift they are giving to you. If you don’t like it, your beef is with the gift giver for giving you a crappy gift, not the company.

I know you weren’t happy with the money going to the state but what about a national charity that does good work or something like that? I hardly think that the business should be advantaged by their own unfair rules.

It’s not about where the money goes it’s about two people being able to contract without the initiation of force. No matter where that money goes, I consider it stealing from the business. They never put a gun to anyones head, you are putting a gun to theres and saying ‘give that money to x’.

I don’t think violence is fair.

H1NG0 3:31 pm 06 Jan 09

What the hell? They gave you a voucher as a refund? That can’t be right. I though by law that stores have to refund in the same say that it was purchsed.

Madman 3:14 pm 06 Jan 09

Oh yeh, funny thing is – Woolworths gave me this card in leiu of a refund… That’s hardly fair either cause I gave them cash and they gave me a card with terms and conditions I don’t agree too… If I had that $20 in my pocket ot bank I could save it for over 20years earn interest and do what I want with it!

Madman 3:12 pm 06 Jan 09

Just looking at the gift card I received:

“Terms of use:
1. By using this Card, you agree to the full terms and conditions.
2. This Card may be used at participating stores.
3. This card expires 12 months from date of purchase. Our record of your expiry date is final.
4. Not reloadable or redeemable for cash.
6. For full terms and conditions and a list of participating stores visit (URL)”

That hardly seems fair that, especially when 1, if you don’t agree to the terms you can’t get your money back but you can’t use the card…
2, You aren’t given the terms and conditions.
3, You may not have voluntarily entered into the agreement and someone has entered into it on your behalf as a gift.

Thats why I believe its unfair trade as if you don’t agree its just trash and free money to them.

I know you weren’t happy with the money going to the state but what about a national charity that does good work or something like that? I hardly think that the business should be advantaged by their own unfair rules.

Madman 3:04 pm 06 Jan 09

jakez said :

Incidentally, apparently all bank loans are void because they certainly won’t bargain the terms.

GET EM WHILE THERE HOT EVERYBODY! THERE’S FREE MONEY TO BE HAD…

Well the thing is there you can actually claim back your bank fees because they don’t let you bargain… I myself have recieved my penalty fees back because they would not let me bargain the fee’s. I wrote to them said pretty much what I’ve written here and that the cost of me being penalised is far from what they have lost. Obviously you didn’t study that part to be able to bargain back your fees/penalties….

Also the last time I went for a bank loan I disagreed with a clause, crossed it out and initialled it, they took it to their bank manager and they agreed to my change and initialled it also…

Why do you think that it is totally fair when the biggest country of them all, the US doesn’t think its fair and don’t impose use by dates? You obviously have a problem!

jakez 2:55 pm 06 Jan 09

HAHA good point H1NG0

H1NG0 2:53 pm 06 Jan 09

Don’t worry, there are plenty of people out there who view loans and credit cards as exactly that, free money.

jakez 2:50 pm 06 Jan 09

Incidentally, apparently all bank loans are void because they certainly won’t bargain the terms.

GET EM WHILE THERE HOT EVERYBODY! THERE’S FREE MONEY TO BE HAD…

jakez 2:49 pm 06 Jan 09

Your analysis of what is a legitimate contract and what constitutes a voluntarily entered agreement is compleley ridiculous.

Of course it isn’t voluntary anymore because you have entered into the agreement. If it were voluntary after a contract was formed, contracts would be meaningless.

You CAN bargain the terms of the agreement, they just won’t budge. There are myriad examples of contracts that are set in stone. The company has made an offer, you can either accept it or not accept it. That is your choice and it is a real choice. They don’t owe you anything else.

Having a fixed offer and not modifying it is not unconscionable conduct madman, far from it. You are either seriously deluded about contract law or are taking a gamble that I haven’t studied contract law.

Madman 2:42 pm 06 Jan 09
jakez 2:10 pm 06 Jan 09

Actually upon reading it again I see where you have misinterpreted what I was saying so to save another salvo I’ll clarify. I’m using voluntary as in something voluntarily entered into. It is the definition of voluntary as opposed to forced and not an agreement upon which the fulfillment of the terms are voluntary.

As we were talking about what is a contract, I thought this was a given.

jakez 2:06 pm 06 Jan 09

Madman said :

It’s not a voluntary agreement…. A voluntary agreement would not have money nor would they have to honour the services. it is an “Agreement”; give x money get x money of goods at later date. It’s only the companies putting the use by dates on them to make some quick cash and not have to deliver after the certain date.
I would rather the money go to improving hospitals, roads, education then some business getting the money for nothing…. Obviously Jakez doesn’t care about the community!

It is absolutely a voluntary transaction madman. You are conflating the word voluntary with the concept of ‘volunteering’ as in to do something without pay.

It is a voluntary agreement because you are not forced into the agreement. Nobody is putting a gun to your head and making you buy them. You voluntarily exchange $30 for a $30 voucher that lasts 12 months. If you do this you are clearly a voucher buying idiot but you did so voluntarily. I think buying a voucher is ridiculous but I don’t think anyone has been stolen from.

I assure you I love the community passionately madman, I just don’t think the Government is an efficient being. I certainly don’t think this is a legitimate form of revenue raising.

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