From 1 November 2019, gift cards sold in Australia must be valid for at least three years. This new national requirement provides greater certainty for brands issuing cards and gift recipients.
As well as three year validity the new law includes a requirement to prominently display expiry information and a prohibition on certain fees.
The Federal Government’s decision to impose a mandatory validity period of three years is an attempt to strike a balance between consumer and business interests. The new national framework provides greater certainty in lieu of potentially different laws in each state and territory.
So, what is a ‘gift card’? It’s an article that is commonly known to be a gift card or voucher, including in electronic form, which is redeemable for goods and services. Credit, charge and debit cards, public transport tickets, get one free customer loyalty cards, and discount offers and advertising material, are not commonly known as a gift cards and are not covered.
The main requirements are:
- Validity Requirement – gift cards must be valid for at least three years;
- Display Requirement – gift cards must prominently display the expiry date or the words ‘no expiry date’ if the card will not expire; and
- Post-Supply Fee Prohibition – post-supply fees are prohibited, except for some acceptable fees, which will be specified at a later date.
There will be some exceptions which are currently being developed by the government.
The states and territories have agreed to support the national framework by amending the Australian Consumer Law (the ACL) to give effect to the new laws. The maximum penalty for contravention of these offences is $30,000 for corporations and $6000 for individuals.