Gift card reform needed: consumer groups

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Many individual consumers, the Consumer Action Law Centre, and the Queensland Consumers Association (QCA) have made submissions to a government inquiry calling for substantial improvements to current gift card arrangements. Key needed reforms identified include:

  • longer expiry dates or no expiry dates
  • protection of value in situations of issuer insolvency, and
  • provision for change of up to $10 to be given to consumers who don’t want to spend the full value of the card.

The Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) said it “remains unconvinced there is substantive evidence of significant consumer detriment arising from the purchase and use of gift cards within Australia” but supported the establishment of a voluntary code of conduct containing minimum terms and conditions.

ANRA’s position is based on its statement that “the total number of complaints is extremely small (much less than one percent) in comparison to the total number of gift cards issued”.

QCA’s submission emphasised that the number of complaints was a very poor indicator of consumer problems/detriment and called on CCAAC to undertake/commission independent research, including a survey of consumers

The submissions made to this important review can now be seen at

The review is being undertaken by the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC) and covers numerous issues including treatment in the event of insolvency and terms and conditions (expiry dates, fees and charges, restrictions on low value use, provision of change for unused funds, etc).

There were 59 written submissions.

Ian Jarratt, Queensland> Consumers Association