With many Tasmanians opting for gift cards as Mother’s Day presents, it is important to be aware of your consumer rights.

In 2017, Australians reportedly lost around $70 million as a result of unused and expired gift cards, while in 2021 it was estimated that Australians were sitting on $1.8 billion worth of unused gift cards.

All gift cards purchased after 1 November 2019 come with a minimum three year expiry date, and must prominently display the expiry date as either the full date or as a period of time from purchase.

Since April last year, Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS), as the Tasmanian regulator, has received eight complaints regarding gift cards. Most of these complaints relate to the expiry period on the card.

To ensure your mother gets maximum value from the gift card you choose, it is important to confirm the terms and conditions that apply at the time of purchase – and when purchasing a gift card online, always make sure the website is secure, and take a screenshot or save any documentation, receipts or confirmation emails.

Also remember that it is illegal for traders to charge post-purchase fees or administration charges that reduce the value of gift cards, for example activation, account keeping and balance enquiry fees.

However, traders may charge upfront fees including overseas transaction fees, booking fees or fees to make a card or replace a lost, stolen or damaged card.

For a happy Mother’s Day this year you can find out more information on purchasing gift cards by visiting: https://cbos.tas.gov.au/topics/products-services/business-practices/vouchers-gift-cards

Elise Archer, Attorney-General