DTI bars expiration of gift certificates
Gift certificates will no longer have expiration dates as the Department of Trade and Industry barred retailers from putting a termination period when these gift vouchers may be used by shoppers.
Issued last Monday, the DTI order prohibiting the issuance of gift certificates, gift cheques, or gift vouchers with expiration dates will be in effect within the next 15 days.
The DTI said the practice of putting expiration dates on gift certificates was unfair as something that has been paid for would go down the drain just because the consumer was unable to use it “on time”.
Gift certificates usually have a validity period of 12 months to 18 months upon issuance.
“It is only right therefore that consumers are able to buy something with it,” the DTI said.
Retailers had defended the practice of putting expiration dates on gift vouchers, saying this served as a security measure against fraud.
But the DTI assured retailers that “time-bound” promotions would be exempted from the order and that appropriate grace periods would be extended to them.
“A one-and-a-half-year transition period will be allowed for firms to draw up ‘safety nets’, such as how they will deal with gift certificates issued before the order took effect,” the DTI added.
By Carlo P. Mallo, Illustration by Sonny Ramirez