In a win for consumers, gift cards will now be valid for three years thanks to new national gift card laws being introduced to help prevent consumers losing an estimated $70 million each year.
In order to make gift cards fairer for consumers, Australian, state and territory Consumer Affairs agencies worked together to introduce 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 purchased from 1 November 2019 must come with a minimum three-year expiry, with the expiry date clearly marked on the card.
From today it will become illegal for traders to charge post-purchase fees or administration charges that will reduce the value of the gift card, such as activation, account keeping and balance enquiry fees.
Traders will continue to be able to charge fees they would normally charge as part of a transaction, such as overseas transaction fees, booking fees, or fees charged to replace a lost, stolen or damaged card.
They will also be able to charge an upfront fee for the purchase of the gift card. Whether consumers choose to accept an upfront fee and proceed with the purchase will be up to them.
The changes follow a thorough consultation with industry and consumers to ensure we achieved the right balance for the marketplace.
The Hodgman majority Liberal Government has a plan for greater consumer protections, and we demonstrated this by working hard in conjunction with the Morrison Government and other states and territories to achieve this outcome.
Elise Archer, Minister for Building and Construction