20 September 2018
Media Release - #2018005, 2018

Gift card reforms to benefit consumers

The Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs have voted to implement nationally consistent reforms to gift card expiry.

Consumers are frustrated with gift cards expiring before they can use them. These reforms will put in place a national framework to ensure that consumers have at least three years to use their gift cards.

The reforms will provide nationally consistent three year minimum gift card expiry periods, require gift cards to display prominent expiry dates and ban post purchase fees on gift cards to the benefit of consumers.

The reforms will be a win for consumers who will benefit from certainty around expiry dates and reduced levels of losses from expired gift cards. Consumers will be protected from unfair post-purchase fees, such as balance checking fees.

Nationally consistent reforms will also benefit businesses in keeping compliance costs to a minimum relative to a patchwork of state based regulations. The three year minimum expiry date is consistent with the New South Wales and South Australia reforms, meaning that businesses who have already changed their processes will not need to change. Other businesses will need to comply by 1 November 2019. All businesses will need to check that there is appropriate expiry date information on the card.

The new law also enables exemptions to be made through regulations. The Government is currently considering where exemptions are required to clarify the law or allow essential business activities with a view to releasing exposure draft regulations for consultation soon.

These reforms take account of extensive consultation on options to reform gift card expiry dates and
I thank businesses and consumer groups for their input to the process.