New national gift card laws have come into effect to help protect consumers from losing an estimated $70 million on gift cards each year.
Office of Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer said the Australian Consumer Law had been amended to ensure a consistent approach to gift cards, no matter where in Australia consumers bought them.
"Gift cards are big money in Australia, both for their convenience and flexibility. Unfortunately an estimated $70 million is lost each year due to expiry dates," Mr Bauer said.
"To help prevent such losses and to make gift cards fairer for consumers, Australia's Commonwealth, state and territory consumer affairs agencies worked together to introduce consistent rules around gift card expiry dates and post-purchase fees and charges.
"With the exception of a few limited-use gift cards and vouchers, all gift cards ... will automatically come with a minimum three-year expiry period, with the expiry date clearly marked on the card.
"Even if cards state an earlier expiry date, the statement will be invalid and consumers will be entitled to the mandatory three-year period from date of purchase.
"The changes follow a thorough consultation process with industry and consumers to ensure the right balance for the marketplace was achieved," Mr Bauer said.
There are some limited exceptions to the new rules. For full details visit qld.gov.au/fairtrading or www.consumerlaw.gov.au or call QGOV (13 74 68).
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