We recommend that you take a number of steps to protect yourself when buying or using gift cards.
- Check that the gift card has a reasonable time in which the card can be redeemed. Make sure the recipient is going to be able to redeem the gift card inside the expiry date. Make sure the expiry date is prominent on the card, so that the recipient does not forget it.
- Check if the gift card has any limits on spending. For example, some gift cards impose a minimum amount that you need to spend in each transaction. Others require the full amount to be spent in one transaction.
- Ask if the retailer will offer cash change for small amounts remaining on the card. For example, using a $100 gift card for a $90 item and receiving $10 in cash as change.
- For shopping centre cards, some stores may be excluded. If you are buying a card for someone, make sure that the stores they are likely to use the gift card at will honour it.
- Find out if the retailer records the details of gift cards they sell, so that you can have a lost or stolen card replaced if necessary. Remember to keep your receipt and note any identifying number or code shown on the gift card.
- Find out if you can check the balance remaining on a gift card, either in store or online.
- Get a written copy of the gift card terms and conditions from the retailer. Pass this document on to the gift card recipient.
- Don´t delay unnecessarily in using a gift card. In many instances, gift cards will not be honoured if the business is sold to new owners, or goes into administration, receivership or liquidation.
If you have a complaint about a gift card you purchased, write to the manager of the business and try to resolve it directly with them first.
Last reviewed 18/11/2011