December 9, 2010
Amendments Will Further Enhance Consumer
Protection in the Province
An amendment to the Consumer Protection and Business
Practices Act will remove expiration dates and fees for gift
cards. The Department of Government Services has put forward
Bill 40 which ensures consumers know the exact rules and
limitations when purchasing gift cards.
"Many consumers prefer to give gift cards because of their
ease and convenience," said the Honourable Harry Harding,
Minister of Government Services. "For this reason, it is
important that consumers know exactly what they are purchasing
and that they do not feel constrained to use them within a
certain period because of time limitations."
Specifically, gift cards will not have an expiry date except
for cards issued or sold for a charitable purpose or cards that
are issued for a marketing, advertising or promotional purpose.
A supplier must sell the card at the price that is the value of
the gift card. The only instances
where a supplier may charge a fee are for cards issued or sold
for a charitable purpose or for cards that are issued for a
marketing, advertising or promotional purpose.
Consumers must be supplied with all information related to
using, redeeming or replacing gift cards, including any fees or
expiry dates where exceptions apply. In addition, consumers must
be told how they can find out more information about the gift
card including what happens to any remaining balance if the card
is not used in full. This will include ways to contact the
company directly and this must be found on the card itself.
"Consumer protection is an important mandate for the
Department of Government Services and we are committed to making
necessary changes to our legislation which ensures customers are
treated fairly," said Minister Harding. "The Consumer
Protection and Business Practices Act is a relatively new
act but we will continue to monitor the marketplace and other
jurisdictions for best practices."
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