Federal Treasury has closed its public consultation on an exposure draft of the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Gift Cards) Bill 2018 and explanatory materials.
Gift cards draw out a range of emotional responses.
The Bill would amend the Australian Consumer Law:
- mandate minimum three year expiry dates for gift cards;
- require gift cards to display expiry dates; and
- ban post-purchase fees on gift cards.
It would also specify penalties for non‑compliance and create a regulation-making power.
Included in the explanatory materials is an Explanatory Memorandum for the Bill and a consultation paper which provides additional information on how the new regulation making power would operate, including clarifying the definition of a gift card, specifying exemptions and defining allowable post-purchase fees.
Treasury refers to the new law in NSW which has a 3 year limit – the Fair Trading Amendment (Ticket Scalping and Gift Cards) Act 2017. It commenced on 31 March 2018.
A similar law is proposed in South Australia.
Comments on the SA changes have drawn polarised responses – one person saying they
“cannot understand why a recipient would need more than three years to use a gift card. A gift card is a GIFT, not an investment”;
another saying there
“there should be NO expiry EVER. Who ever heard of taking someone’s money and then not delivering the product/service because “Ah-ah-ah! You took too long.” Outrageous”.
New Zealand is also examining the law of gift cards, but it is looking to establish a new preferential claim basis for gift cards and vouchers under its insolvency laws.