Posted January 20, 2020
With Christmas done and dusted, you probably have a lot less blank gift cards available in salon, and more and more being presented across the salon desk this month from those who have received these great gift ideas.
In fact, according to a joint study by the Australian Merchants Payment Forum (AMPF) and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), the total value of current active gift cards in Australia is estimated to be up to AUD$2.5 billion. That’s a lot of facials and treatments due to be booked in!
With such a huge amount of money tied up in gift cards, and during one of the highest redemption periods it’s important to note new gift card laws that have been introduced by the Australian government.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) has been amended to provide protections for gift card consumers across Australia. These national changes apply to gift cards supplied to consumers on or after 1 November 2019.
Cards and vouchers sold before 1 November 2019 continue to have the same expiry period and applicable fees as at the time of purchase.
If a business is found to be in breach of the new laws, it could be fined up to $30,000.
The key changes include:
- 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, either as a full date or as a period of time. If the expiry date is shown as a period of time, it must also include the date it was supplied or purchased so that the expiry date can be determined.
- Most post-purchase fees can no longer be charged, including activation fees, account keeping fees and balance enquiry fees.
These new rules apply 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. This is important and key for promotional offers for salon owners.
- Donated free of charge for promotional purposes.
- Supplied as part of an employee rewards program.
- Given as a bonus in connection with a purchase of a good or service for use in the same business (such as customer loyalty programs). Again, this is a key point for salon owners to consider when considering your 2020 salon promotions.
We know that the ins-and-outs of gift cards is a constant headache for salon owners, and will keep you up to date with any changes to the laws. Salon owners should check and update gift card terms and conditions on your website or any printed material, update your internal systems, training and compliance manuals and check signage on gift card displays or point of sale. For a complete breakdown of the detail of these law changes, please refer to the below link.
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