If your business is based in NSW please take note of new regulations with regards to expiry date for GIFT VOUCHERS. This is a controversial issue that has upset many salons and clinics and we have take appropriate action as you will see from our report below. Here are the details:
Amendments to the Fair-Trading Act 1987 were passed by the NSW Parliament in October 2017 and are due to be implemented in 2018 related to the expiry dates of gift cards and gift vouchers.
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 percent (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. Here are some commonly asked questions:
Does this apply to gift vouchers as well as gift cards?
Yes. The changes will apply to both gift cards and gift vouchers.
Three-year minimum expiry date
The new law sets a mandatory minimum expiry date of 3 years for most gift card products. The expiry date can extend beyond 3 years and no time limit cap applies.
Can I still charge an administrative or issuing fee?
Businesses are still entitled to charge an administration/issue fee at the time the gift card is purchased. However, once the card has been issued, there is a ban on any fee associated with redeeming the gift card that would reduce the value of the card – such as activation fees or account keeping fees.
When will the changes commence?
The reforms will start on 31 March 2018.
APAN APPEALS TO THE ACCC FOR AN AMENDMENT
APAN have officially appealed to the ACCC pointing out that the new legislation will be highly problematic for our business sector.
We stated that while it may be fair and equitable for the purchasing of products that can be redeemed at a later date with a minimum change in their cost, however, with the personal services industry there are different issues to consider.
When someone purchases a gift voucher for a treatment with one of our practitioners that treatment may have been purchased as part of a promotion that may include a discount.
Furthermore, in the delivery of services there are many considerations if the receiver chooses to redeem the voucher in three years’ time. For example, the cost of wages for the person delivering the treatment would have definitely increased, as would consumables as well as rent and other costs. Once all these costs are added the cost of delivering that treatment in three years’ time may have increased by up to 30-40 percent, or possibly more.
While there is a clause that will allow a business to include a surcharge, this must be included at the time of purchasing the voucher and not at a later date. This will make purchasing vouchers very unattractive.
We therefore stressed that many salons and clinics in NSW are extremely concerned that this law with seriously disadvantage their businesses, making the purchasing of gift vouchers a potential financial risk to the business. We will keep you informed of developments.
To view the full details on the report visit https://www.adma.com.au/compliance/nsw-set-to-get-new-gift-card-laws-following-selective-consultation