The Australian Consumer Law has been amended to provided greater protections for consumers in Australia in relation to gift cards. These Australia-wide changes reflect the requirements of the NSW Fair Trading Act 1987 which introduced similar changes in March 2018 for gift cards sold in NSW, which you can read more about in our previous article.
Now, for gift cards supplied on or after 1 November 2019 anywhere within Australia, the following changes will apply regardless of the terms and conditions written on the gift card:
- Gift cards must have a minimum three year expiry period, commencing from the day a gift card is sold to a consumer,
- Gift cards must prominently display expiry dates,
- Most post-purchase fees on gift cards are banned, including activation fees, account keeping fees and balance enquiry fees.
The above requirements will not apply to specifically excluded gift cards, such as those part of an employee rewards program, or supplied as part of a temporary marketing promotion or where the good or service will expire at the end of a certain period (e.g. entry to a art exhibition).
Breaching the above requirements will result in a fine of $30,000 for a body corporate, or $6,000 for individuals. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also have the discretion to impose an infringement notice on a body corporate or individual.
These changes bring justice and consistency to Australian law in relation to gift cards, but any gift cards issued before 1 November 2019 will be subject to the previous regime.
If you have any query or issue in relation to the above article, please do not hesitate to contact Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors to discuss your options.