If you issue gift cards in your business you will need to comply with new national laws. The laws are part of the Australian Consumer Law and apply to every business in Australia.
The new laws apply to all gift cards supplied on or after 1 November 2019.
What is a gift card?
A gift card is any type of voucher or card (whether printed or electronic) which has a cash value that is redeemable for goods or services. This does not include discount vouchers or promotions. The card or voucher must have a cash value which can be redeemed for a product or service.
1. Expiry Dates
By law, gift cards must be valid for a minimum of 3 years from the date it is issued.
2. Other Information to be displayed
A gift card must prominently include the following information:
- the expiry date (minimum of 3 years) or
- the month and year that it expires or
- the date of issue with a statement that explains the period for which it is valid; or
- the month and year the gift card is issued and a statement that explains the period for which it is valid.
3. Words that cannot be used
Gift vouchers must not say “no expiry date” or words of a similar meaning.
4. Illegal Terms
Gift cards cannot contain terms or conditions that:
- require payment of additional fees in relation to the gift card once it is supplied; or
- reduce the period of validity to be less than 3 years.
5. Additional Fees cannot be charged
You cannot demand or receive a payment of any type of additional fee in relation to the gift card once it has been supplied.
A breach of these laws can give rise to both a fine and conviction. The criminal penalty for breaching these laws, for a company is $30,000.00 and for an individual is $6,000.00. This is a strict liability offence which means there are not really any defences available to you. If it is proved that you broke the law, you are liable for the penalty.