Gift Card Expiry Dates

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will legislate to protect consumers by ensuring that gift cards purchased in South Australia are required to have a minimum expiry date of three years.

The Problem

According to consumer advocate group Choice, Australians are losing approximately $200 million every year in unredeemed gift cards.

Australians spend about $2.5 billion a year on the cards but a choice survey found that around a third of respondents had lost the full value of at least one gift card in the previous three years.

Gift cards are essentially putting terms and conditions on cash which, without appropriate consumer protections, can result in consumers experiencing genuine financial loss.

Some consumers simply forget to use the gift cards in time or find that the expiry dates are simply too tight for them.

This can be a particular issue for people in regional and remote areas where they do not have such ready access to stores.

Australian consumer law does not currently prescribe a minimum expiry date on gift cards, resulting not only in short expiry dates on many cards, but also an increasing variety in the range of expiry dates on gift cards – making it additionally confusing for consumers.

Pre-paid visa cards for example can have an expiry of up to five years and gift cards for retailers such as Bunnings and Apple do not have expiry dates, while some vouchers have an expiry date of as little as three months.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will legislate to protect consumers by ensuring that gift cards purchased in South Australia are required to have a minimum expiry date of three years.

Consumers deserve to get what they’ve paid for without unnecessary restrictions meaning that businesses retain the cash without consumers receiving a good or service that has ultimately been paid for.

A minimum three-year expiry date on gift cards will provide certainty for consumers and businesses about their rights and obligations and has already been successfully introduced in New South Wales.

The three-year expiry would apply to all gift cards sold in South Australia to a person residing in South Australia at the time of the purchase.

For purchases made online, the trader may rely on a non-South Australian address as proof that the person is not a South Australian consumer.

We will work with businesses and retailers to ensure that both businesses and consumers can benefit from the purchase and redemption of gift cards.