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Gift card conditions can lead to surprises

By Canfan - 1 December 2014 6

Christmas shoppers need to be aware of the terms and condition of gift cards and vouchers to make sure they get what they think they’re purchasing, Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, said today.

Mr Corbell today reminded consumers and retailers of their rights and responsibilities.

“Recipients of gift cards and the people who buy them can sometimes be surprised by restrictive terms and conditions,” Mr Corbell said.

“It is important that people purchasing and receiving gift cards know how and when they can be used, especially details around expiry dates, balance checks, minimum spends and transaction fees.

“Equally it is the responsibility of retailers to ensure that consumers have the information they require to make informed purchases.

“This is especially important during the peak holiday season. A common alternative to buying presents is to purchase a gift card or voucher, so consumers must be aware of the relevant terms and conditions to avoid issues with retailers.

The Office of Regulatory Services’ consumer advice and complaints line received 22 enquiries about gift cards during 2013-14.

“This indicates there is still a degree of uncertainty around their purchase and use,” Mr Corbell said.

“In the Christmas rush it easy to forget to read the fine print. I encourage consumers to ask for a copy of terms and conditions, or where to find a copy, before or at the time of purchase.

“I also urge retailers to make the terms and conditions clear and available for consumers to avoid unnecessary confusion.”

Consumer issues or enquiries should be directed in the first instance to the retailer for resolution.

If a reasonable effort has been made to resolve a dispute and it is unsuccessful, consumers can contact the Office of Regulatory Services and lodge a Consumer Complaint Form at www.ors.act.gov.au or call 6207 3000 (option 8).

(Simon Corbell Media Release)

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6 Responses to
Gift card conditions can lead to surprises
magiccar9 2:33 pm 04 Dec 14

Who in this day and age doesn’t understand a gift card?
It expires in 1 (or nowadays 2) years, can be used at the specified shops, and sometimes excludes particular items. It’s not rocket science. Most retailers even tell you of these conditions when you purchase the item and it’s specified on the card or the retailers website.

The fact that people need to call the Office of Regulatory Services to have this explained is hilarious. If Corbell needs to fill his day with media releases in relation to 22 concerns, maybe we need to find him some more work to do….

MERC600 2:17 pm 04 Dec 14

Have just seen a very good sign at the Fyshwick market booze shop. It has a number of items on it, and underneath ‘ the only Xmas gifts never returned”.

arescarti42 9:41 am 04 Dec 14

Leon said :

Cash is a better option, unless you get the gift card for less than its nominal value.

Agreed, do yourself and the recipient a favour and just give them cold hard cash.

watto23 9:40 am 04 Dec 14

Problem I have with cash is it is so impersonal. Just about every wedding has a “handover the cash” setup these days. No one gives any thoughts to gift giving. There is no point to everyone giving everyone else some cash. May as well keep your money.

As for gift cards, I try to avoid them, but if I’m finding it hard to think of a gift, I’ll give a gift card, but only if they have reasonable T&C’s. IMO if someone can’t use a gift card within a year, then if I gave them cash, they’d have probably just used it to buy lunch and a coffee anyway.

switch 8:57 am 04 Dec 14

Leon said :

Good advice from Simon Corbell.

When you buy a gift card you give the retailer an interest-free loan of the value of the card. If the card has an expiry date, then you may be giving the retailer an outright gift.

Cash is a better option, unless you get the gift card for less than its nominal value.

Cash also works in any shop, not just the one selling the gift card. While I think cash is a bit of a Clayton’s present, I’ve come to hate gift cards. I usually end up buying cr#p I don’t really need just before the expiry date to “use them up.”

Leon 8:15 pm 03 Dec 14

Good advice from Simon Corbell.

When you buy a gift card you give the retailer an interest-free loan of the value of the card. If the card has an expiry date, then you may be giving the retailer an outright gift.

Cash is a better option, unless you get the gift card for less than its nominal value.

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