03.Gift card troubles
Complaints about gift cards that expire too soon land regularly in our inbox here at CHOICE, as do complaints about cards that impose unreasonable restrictions.
CHOICE spearheaded a major investigation into gift cards in 2010 that sparked a government inquiry. Unfortunately, the government decided to let the industry regulate itself.
But there are still some steps you can take to avoid gift cards that end up leaving the recipient empty-handed. The first one is to read the fine print on the card.
Look for cards:
- with no expiry date, such as those from Bunnings, Toys R Us, Ikea (Perth and Adelaide stores) and EB Games
- that can be used at a number of everyday stores, such as Coles group & Myer or Wish (Woolworths group)
- that can be tracked if they get lost.
Avoid those with:
- a short expiry date (less than one year)
- conditions and restrictions (such as “can’t be used on weekends”)
- fees. The Australia Post Visa gift card, for example, charges a $5.95 activation fee, and $3.99 to call customer service.