There’s a good chance that your salon is seeing a lot of gift cards being presented at check-out this month, given the number of people who would have received them over the Christmas period.

In fact, according to a joint study by the Australian Merchants Payment Forum (AMPF) and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), the value of currently active gift cards in Australia is estimated to be up to AUD$2.5 billion. That’s a lot of facials.

With such a huge amount of currency tied up in gift cards – and a lot of them not being used by the recipient in a timely manner – it’s important to note new gift card laws that have been introduced by the Australian government. 

If a business is found to be in breach of the new laws, it could be fined up to $30,000.

The key changes:

  • A mandatory minimum three-year expiry period from the date the card is sold, must be observed, regardless of your business’s previous policy.
  • All gift cards must clearly show an expiry date.
  • Most post-purchase fees can no longer be charged, including activation fees, account keeping fees and balance enquiry fees.

The above applies to all gift cards or vouchers sold on or after November 1, 2019, unless specifically excluded.

The three-year rule doesn’t apply to gift cards that are:

  • Able to be reloaded or topped up.
  • For a service available for a limited time, whereby the card expires at the end of that period.
  • Donated free of charge for promotional purposes.
  • Supplied as part of an employee rewards programme.
  • Given as a bonus in connection with a purchase of a good or service for use in the same business (such as customer loyalty programmes).

 

 

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