12 August 2022

Your wins: Gift card expiry dates

At Consumer NZ, we regularly receive questions from members about expired gift cards.

Last month, Marion from Tauranga contacted us after she went to use her gift card for the Tauranga Crossing shopping mall. It was rejected because it had expired last year.

Marion said she had left her husband in 2020 and moved into a tiny home and so most of her stuff was packed away, including the gift card.

“I forgot all about it until I recently unpacked ... however I don't see why, as it has been paid for, it doesn't last forever. They have the money, after all.”

In Australia, the law requires gift cards to be valid for a minimum of three years. Gift cards in the US and Ireland have to be valid for five years but there are currently no equivalent laws in New Zealand.

Consumer has been campaigning for gift card expiry dates to be dropped. Our research shows 77% of consumers regularly receive gift cards, and a quarter of those are stuck with a card they can’t fully redeem because it has expired or the store has gone out of business.

We contacted Tauranga Crossing on Marion’s behalf and asked it to replace or extend the gift card. It agreed and extended her gift card for another year.

Another member, David, also recently got in touch regarding a Westfield voucher.

“I've got a Westfield $100 voucher that I received in December last year after participating in clinical research for Auckland University,” David told us.

“I just checked it now and it expired in March this year – so I've had it for less than three months, and now officially that money is now the property of Scentre Group.”

We were able to let David know that Westfield has been good about replacing expired gift cards in the past, and suggested he contact them and ask for a replacement.

He got back to us to say: “I'm pleased to note that Westfield replaced the gift card, no fee was charged, just had to fill out a small form at the information desk. I still agree with Consumer's opinion that gift cards should not have an expiry date.”

If you have an expired gift card, contact the retailer’s head office and ask them to honour it. Some offer a grace period or may issue a new card so it’s worth asking. If you have no luck, let us know at shortchanged@consumer.org.nz.

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