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Simon back on his gift card hobby horse

By johnboy - 17 January 2013 6

Perhaps my social circles are too narrow, but I’m yet to meet anyone who gives a damn about gift cards.

Simon Corbell on the other hand appears to care about them deeply and has again taken up cudgels on the issue.

“It is important that consumers know their rights and get maximum use from their gift-cards which should be treated like cash purchases.”

The ACT received 11 formal complaints and 22 enquiries in 2012 to date about gift cards, gift
vouchers or gift certificates. Most complaints related to the non supply of the vouchers or non supply of goods once a voucher was redeemed, while most enquiries related to the expiry date of the voucher or certificate.

Mr Corbell said the ACT Government had already done some significant work to reform the way gift-cards were regulated in the ACT and had made commitments during the 2012 election campaign to further this important work.

“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,” he said.

“Consumers deserve to get value for money from gift-cards and some simple reminders and research can ensure that the maximum value of the card is enjoyed for purchases.”

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6 Responses to
Simon back on his gift card hobby horse
schmeah 3:28 pm 17 Jan 13

Leon said :

Buying a standard gift card is like giving the retailer an interest-free loan.

If the gift card has an expiry date, it can become a cash gift to the retailer.

A cash gifts is better value, and it lets the recipient choose where they use it.

Thank you for clearly articulating what Simon’s pin-heads put together over a couple of hours at a cost of about ….?

Leon 2:39 pm 17 Jan 13

Buying a standard gift card is like giving the retailer an interest-free loan.

If the gift card has an expiry date, it can become a cash gift to the retailer.

A cash gifts is better value, and it lets the recipient choose where they use it.

Deref 2:33 pm 17 Jan 13

Chop71 said :

…and in other exciting news tomorrow Simon will issue a press release to say the sun sets at night and we should all be aware of the dark.

Well said.

Instead of wasting our time “educating” us about stuff that anyone with more than two brain cells already knows, how about doing something practical to protect consumers from scams?

How about some laws requiring the snake oil merchants to either prove the efficacy of their product or go to prison?

How about some laws about misleading advertising?

That’s what we elect gubmints to do – the Australian Consumers Association can and does do the education.

schmeah 2:19 pm 17 Jan 13

Yesterday it was extended warranties, today’s it’s gift cards .. seriously, how much are we paying this goofball?

What will tomorrow’s news bring!

Chop71 1:42 pm 17 Jan 13

…and in other exciting news tomorrow Simon will issue a press release to say the sun sets at night and we should all be aware of the dark.

Don’t stress folks, it will rise again the following morning.

Bosworth 1:17 pm 17 Jan 13

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/11/the-8-billion-s.html

The $8 billion story/scam

In case you had any doubt that human beings are irrational creatures, driven by stories, consider the case of the gift card.

Christmas has become a holiday about shopping, not about giving. Case in point: the $100 gift card, now available from banks, from stores, even in a rack at the supermarket.

Last year, more than $8,000,000,000 was wasted on these cards. Not in the value spent, but in fees and breakage. When you give a card, if it doesn’t get used, someone ends up keeping your money, and it’s not the recipient. People spent more than eight billion dollars for nothing… buying a product that isn’t as good as cash.

Along the way, we bought the story that giving someone a hundred dollar bill as a gift (“go buy what you want”) is callous, insensitive, a crass shortcut. Buying them a $100 Best Buy card, on the other hand, is thoughtful. Even if they spend $92 and have to waste the rest.

The interesting thing about stories is that the inconsistent ones don’t always hold up to scrutiny. Consumer Reports and others are trying to spread a different story. One that sounds like this:

Gift cards are for chumps.

If enough people talk about this new story, people will be embarrassed to give a gift card. It’s a waste. It’s a scam. It’s a trap for the recipient.

The irony is that the gift card companies could easily spend, say, half the profits and create a wonderful, better story… where every $100 gift card also generates two or three dollars for a worthy cause. That would resonate with a lot of people… But I think it’s unlikely.

If I were a creative non-profit, I’d start marketing alternative gift cards. They would consist of PDF files you could print out and hand over to people when you give them cash. It could say,

“Merry Christmas. Here’s your present, go spend it on what you really want. AND, just to make sure we’re in the right holiday spirit, I made a donation in your name to Aworthycause.”

Stories come and go. It’s up to marketers to spread the good ones.

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