Amendments to the Fair Trading Act 1987 were passed by the NSW Parliament in October 2017 and are due to be implemented in 2018.
The amendments introduce a mandatory 3-year minimum expiry date on gift cards and gift vouchers sold to consumers in NSW. Businesses will also be banned from applying post-purchase administrative fees, which have the effect of reducing the balance left on a card.
A review by the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC) in 2012 found that gift cards were expiring with money left on them at a rate of three to eight per cent (the ‘breakage rate’). For NSW consumers, this loss could be as much as $60 million a year.
NSW consumers are losing benefits because of their inability to redeem gift cards and gift vouchers that have expired. The amendments could help address this ongoing financial harm, better protect consumers and provide certainty of their rights.