Gift card and discount voucher schemes provide an alternative to cash when buying products or services from participating businesses.
Discount vouchers generally offer a discount off specified products and services, and include:
- shopper dockets
- gift cards and vouchers
- books of vouchers.
Read the terms and conditions
Businesses must clearly state all conditions and restrictions on how you can use discount vouchers.
Before you purchase or use a discount voucher, read the terms and conditions carefully. You may only be able to get the discount or gift if you buy:
- from specified businesses
- another particular product or service from the business
- at certain times or on certain days
- before the offer expires or stocks run out.
A gift card, also known as a gift voucher, is usually loaded with an amount of money that enables the recipient to exchange it for goods or services to the value of the amount on the card. A gift card may be in physical or electronic form. It may be provided as a card, voucher or a code sent electronically (usually by email).
Businesses must clearly state:
- all conditions and restrictions on use of the gift card
- the expiry date of the gift card, including the activation expiry date for cards that need to be activated
- any limits on the number of transactions
- whether or not the card can be reloaded or topped up.
Gift cards can’t usually be exchanged for cash, unless there is a remaining amount on the card that the business believes can’t be conveniently used.
Check the expiry date on your gift card or voucher carefully, as businesses are not required to honour them after this date.
From 1 November 2019, most gift cards:
- must be valid for at least three years
- must clearly show the expiry date, and
- can’t include any ‘post-supply’ fees.
Gift cards valid for at least three years
Any gift cards purchased on or after 1 November 2019 must be redeemable for at least three years after the day they were supplied or purchased.
The three-year requirement does not apply to gift cards that are:
- able to be reloaded or topped up
- donated for promotional purposes (e.g. a business handing out $15 vouchers to passers-by for its grand opening)
- available only for a specified period (e.g. performance of a visiting ballet company)
- supplied at a genuine discount (e.g. $60 card for a massage valued at $100)
- part of an employee reward scheme
- part of a customer loyalty program
- second-hand gift cards
- part of a temporary marketing promotion (e.g. customers buy a certain product from Business A, which provides a $50 voucher to use at Business B).
Gift cards must show the expiry date
Gift cards purchased from 1 November 2019 must also prominently display the expiry date as either the full date or as a period of time.
If the expiry date is shown as a period of time it must also include the date it was supplied or purchased, so you can determine the expiry date.
If there is no expiry date, this must be stated on the gift card.
The display requirement does not apply to second-hand gift cards.
Gift cards not to include ‘post-supply’ fees
Gift cards purchased after 1 November 2019 must not contain post-supply fees. A post-supply fee is a fee or charge the recipient has to pay in relation to the gift card after it has been supplied or purchased.
The post-supply fee requirement does not apply to second hand gift cards.
Post-supply fees do not include fees and charges that:
- are booking fees, where those booking fees are the same, or substantially the same, as fees or charges for making a booking using a payment method other than a gift card
- are for exchanging currencies
- relate to the reissue of a gift card that has been lost, stolen or damaged
- are payment surcharges.
If there are changes to the circumstances of a business supplying the gift card or voucher, it’s important to know how it may affect your rights.
If the business changes owners, the new owner must honour existing gift cards and vouchers if the business was:
- sold as a ‘going concern’. That is, the assets and liabilities of the business were sold by the previous owner to the new owner
- owned by a company rather than an individual, and the new owner purchased the shares in the company.
If the company operating the business becomes insolvent, you become an ‘unsecured creditor’ of the company.