More time to spend those gift cards

Those gift cards which expired the day before you found them may now have a longer lease on life.
Those gift cards which expired the day before you found them may now have a longer lease on life.

The new Tenterfield True gift card initiative supporting the Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism, Industry and Business’s shop local campaign may need as rejig before it’s even launched, with new state legislation mandating that all gift cards have a minimum three-year expiry date.

In the chamber’s case – with the project running under Why Leave Town Promotions – a percentage of any expired credit goes back to the chamber for investment in other projects. Expired credit on traditional gift cards, however, reverts to the retailer.

Consumer advocate group Choice championed the legislative change to set a three-year minimum expiry, which has been taken up by NSW Better Regulation minister Matt Kean. He is introducing the package of reforms into State Parliament this week in a bid to stem an estimated $60 million a year of expired gift cards credit in NSW alone.

Choice would like to see the change introduced Australia-wide, where the value of expired cards blows out to around $200 million a year.

Business advocate Joe Townsend of the NSW Business Chamber, however, is against the change saying it’s bad for business, being an unnecessary regulation burden and imposing significant additional administrative costs on NSW retailers.

He said the NSW Business Chamber along with the Australian Retailers Association, Australian Goods Association, Franchise Council of Australia, Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Restaurant and Catering Australia all strongly oppose the reform.

“With the proposed amendments to NSW only, this additional burden on small family retail businesses will restrict trade and competition between NSW and other states,” Mr Townsend said.

“With no means of monitoring the use of gift cards across state borders, NSW businesses will have to carry extra liabilities and amend their administrative practices.”