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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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Media contact:

Vanessa Colman-Sadd
Director of Communications
Department of Government Services
709-729-4860, 682-6593

2010 12 09                                                      4:20 p.m.

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