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Retailers give into pressure to drop gift card expiry dates

  • News
  • September 28, 2016
  • Elly Strang
Retailers give into pressure to drop gift card expiry dates

Consumer NZ conducted a survey which found one in five gift card recipients found their card had expired before it could be redeemed. The organisation calculated this could add up to $10 million annually.

Most respondents felt gift cards shouldn't have an expiry date or if there was one, it should be at least five years.

This is in line with international gift card laws. Gift cards in the US are required to have an expiry date of at least five years, while most Canadian states have banned expiry dates.

Consumer NZ took a look at 60 New Zealand companies' gift card practices and found most stores, like The Body Shop, Hallensteins and Noel Leeming, had an expiry date of a year. 

David Jones, Harvey Norman, Kmart, Mitre 10 and The Warehouse all had a slightly more extended spending period of 24 months.

Meanwhile, Glassons' gift cards expire after five years, while Barkers, Bunnings, Mighty Ape and Pumpkin Patch's gift cards have no expiry date. 

In its campaign, Consumer NZ targeted 10 of New Zealand's major brands to update their gift card rules: Briscoes, Countdown, Kathmandu, New World, Noel Leeming, Paper Plus, Prezzy Card, Ticketek, Toyworld and Westfield.

Out of those 10, Countdown, Kathmandu and Noel Leeming are dropping expiry dates from their gift cards. 

New World and Toyworld extended the expiry dates on gift cards from 12 to 24 months, while Paper Plus said it was reviewing its position.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said it was step in the right direction, but encouraged the retailers to go bigger.

 “With Countdown agreeing to drop the dates on its cards, we’d expect to see New World and Pak’nSave do the same.”

Briscoes, Prezzy Card and Westfield all declined to make a change to their gift card policy. 

Briscoes said the main purpose of its 12-month expiry date was to serve as a reminder for shoppers to use the card in a timely manner. If a customer did happen to have an expired card, it said it would honour it anyway. 

"We follow our customers' lead and the customers are telling us that the scheme we've had in place for many, many years works for them," Briscoes managing director Rod Duke told RadioLive

"We have received absolutely no negative comment from customers with respect to this issue. None, nothing in 30 years." 

He said the retailer gets 95 percent redemption of gift cards within the first year. 

View the full list of retailers' gift card expiry dates below:

Retailer

Gift card expiry date

Ticketek

6 months

AvantiPlus

12 months

Babycity

12 months

Bendon Lingerie

12 months

Bike Barn

12 months

The Body Shop

12 months

Booksellers

12 months

Briscoes

12 months

Countdown

12 months

Event Cinemas

12 months

Freedom Furniture

12 months

Hallensteins

12 months

Hannahs

12 months

Hoyts Cinemas

12 months

Hunting & Fishing

12 months

Just Jeans

12 months

Kathmandu

12 months

Macpac

12 months

Max Fashions

12 months

Michael Hill

12 months

Mobil Oil

12 months

New World

12 months

New Zealand Rockshop

12 months

Noel Leeming

12 months

Paper Plus

12 months

Pharmacy Gift Card

12 months

Prezzy Card

12 months

Rebel Sport

12 months

Repco

12 months

Restaurant Association

12 months

Smiggle

12 months

Smiths City

12 months

Stevens

12 months after last use

Stirling Sports

12 months

Taxi Card (Blue Bubble)

12 months

Ticketmaster

12 months

Toyworld

12 months

Westfield Shopping Centres

12 months

Z Energy

12 months

Number One Shoes

15 months from date of purchase or last use

Jaycar Electronics

18 months

David Jones

24 months

Farmers

24 months

Gardening New Zealand

24 months

Harvey Norman

24 months

JB Hi-Fi

24 months

Kmart

24 months

Mitre 10

24 months

Palmers Gardenworld

24 months

Spotlight

24 months (12 months for e-gift cards)

Whitcoulls

24 months

The Warehouse

24 months after last use

Glassons

Five years

Apple Store

None

Barkers

None

Bunnings

None

EB Games

None

Foot Locker

None

Mighty Ape

None

Pumpkin Patch

None


Data: Consumer NZ

Other gift card data found from the survey:

• 77 percent of consumers regularly receive gift cards.
• $50 to $70 is the most common gift card value.
• 24 percent of gift card users have been stuck with a card they can’t fully redeem because it’s expired or the store has gone out of business.
• The majority of shoppers unable to redeem a gift card had more than $20 still unspent.
• 50 percent of gift card users have experienced problems with their card including finding it hard to check the balance; only being able to use the card at a limited number of stores; and struggling to find something to buy.

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