Gift Vouchers and Expiry Dates: When the Gift Stops Giving
AbstractGift vouchers are an increasingly popular choice of gift and constitute a significant portion of the North American retail sales economy. However, many gift vouchers are lost or forgotten and expire unused – resulting in enormous profits to the retailers and corresponding losses to consumers. Many Canadian provinces and US States have enacted legislation prohibiting retailers from imposing expiry dates on gift vouchers. This article argues that it is unjust for retailers to accept consideration for gift vouchers and then refuse to deliver promised goods or services when the vouchers expire. It recommends amendments to Australian consumer protection laws along the lines of Canadian and US reforms to protect consumers from losing the benefit of unused and expired gift vouchers.
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