Looking the gift card horse in the mouth

Support for ministerial move to end poor practices

CHOICE supports moves in today’s consumer ministerial council to clamp down on abuses over the expiry and conditions of use in the $1.5 billion gift card industry.

The consumer group says figures here and overseas suggest tricky terms of use mean too many consumers never get to enjoy any or all of the card’s value.

Queensland fair trading minister Paul Lucas is leading a push amongst other at the consumer minister summit in Canberra for greater consumer protection in the area.

CHOICE and Mr Lucas have looked at federal and state legislation in the USA which sets a five year limit on expiry dates, a ban on fees and charges and clear disclosure requirements.

The consumer watchdog, CHOICE’s own survey found nearly all gift cards sold in the growing Australian market for the product expired after one year which consumers considered too soon.

“We applaud Queensland for raising the rort of the great disappearing gift card value trick and their warning they’ll go it alone if other jurisdictions don’t agree to look into plugging abuses in this area,” says CHOICE Spokesperson Ingrid Just.

“We know from the anger and frustration of too many consumers who try to get redress when they suddenly can’t redeem gift cards for a number of less than idea reasons that new laws are needed to regulate terms and conditions.”

For more information and to access a copy of the CHOICE report into gift cards go to www.choice.com.au/giftcards.

Media contact:

• Ingrid Just, CHOICE spokesperson and Head of Media: 0430 172 669

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