CHOICE membership

Expiry dates and other rorts on gift cards/vouchers


They play the numbers game.If only 10% fail to use the cards then this is free money in the bank for the card issuers.
This can result in millions of dollars each year that as far as i am concerned has been stolen from customers.


Maybe the expiry date could be replaced with a, Please use before.


Yes, this is a bug of mine - particularly such as spas. I bought my husband a gift of a massage at a local day spa - we were moving house and I thought he would appreciate it. He did - but the voucher went missing - found it over a year later tucked “safely” somewhere - the spa refused to honour it. How can this be legal? A service pre paid is not valid after a certain date? Ridiculous. I’ve asked the Consumer Council for advice and their suggestion is “Work it out with the vendor”. Wouldn’t that be my first call? Not helpful…


While it may devalue the company due to this outstanding liability that would be more than balanced by the cash in the business that the customer had paid for the card. And why couldn’t the have an expiry date of 5 years?


If a tradie does some work at your house and forgets to invoice you for what ever reason, then
: a forgets to invoice you then 18 months down the track invoices you , does that mean you don’t have to pay him. Legally the tradie will win the argument

Or b: the tradie goes broke and 2 years down the track the receiver invoices you, you have to pay.

So I can’t understand why businesses who hold the gift card money for long periods think they are entitled to keep it.

I had this experience with Westfield, after lots of communication they eventually allowed me $30 on a $50 gift card . Nice little earner for Westfield.

I hate gift cards, give cash it’s more reliable and flexible.


I agree Bunnings should be used as a template and gift cards should not expire!


Perhaps we need a list of dishonoured gift cards. Name and shame.


No expiry date on gift cards should be a given. Although I understand the reasoning behind the expiry date, I also feel if I spend money on a gift it should be able to be used whenever the person decides to used it.


If the value today is $50 then if in 10 years the retailer had to honour that, the real value of that $50 has decreased significantly due to inflation. So the retailer wins out if the voucher holder takes years to use their gift. Think on wages for an example of this, everyone receives an increase of their income over time so the $1.00 now is worth less each year in real terms.

So if someone can locate that gift card they were given at their 21st Birthday and they now just turned 60 what would they get for their $20. Certainly not the full tank of petrol and change to spare they would have at 21. So no expiry date doesn’t hurt the retailer, they have had that money for whatever period and earnt interest or possibly turned over the money many times to their benefit.

In fact it is to your benefit to spend the voucher as soon as possible to render it’s greatest worth to you.


Have you considered gifting cash?


@reebeez1964 I don’t like the fact that they re-issue gift cards after every purchase. That is wasteful and is the sole reason why I don’t buy gift cards from Bunnings.


It’s disappointing that Australian consumer law is so bad in this area. In the USA, many states have instituted laws that require gift cards never to lose any paid value. Now every paid gift card in the USA can be expected not to expire.


not fair as cards can get lost & found later, if it was money you could still spend it. Companies should allow the use of cards until amount is spent. The person purchasing the card does with the intention the recipient would get full use of the amount issued.


As a point of general interest, CHOICE partnered with NSW Fair Trading about eight years ago in a research project regarding gift cards and delivered the report to the federal government. We called for a five year minimum on expiration and, generally speaking, recommended that gift card be treated like cash. You should be able to cash out on any remaining value, for instance, even a dollar. In the end Canberra decided that the gift card industry wasn’t a high priority regulatory matter at the time. but perhaps now - especially with the recent downfall of Dick Smiths and Masters and gift card holders probably left with worthless plastic, it’s time to take another look.


My wife and I recently had an episode with a Myer Gift card that was given as a gift in July 2016. We tried to use it on Sept 2016 only to be told that it was only good for 30 days. I find that and absolute fort. From now on no more gift cards.



If, for some unimaginable reason, an expiry date is necessary. Then it should be mandatory that the value of the expired gift card be transferred to a registered charity. The issuing company should never under any circumstances benefit from the customer not using their card before the expiry.


Companies do not “issue” gift card, they sell them!
They do not give any discount!
It is criminal that they expire!


And so they should! It is basically theft and amounts to a scam where they take your money and give you nothing if you can’t find something to spend it on in the prescribed time frame
I was so angry with Smeggles when they gave me a gift card instead of a refund for a faulty stapler. I should have insisted on a refund. Item was faulty but I was a busy teacher snatching a few minutes from my too short as it was lunch break to return the faulty item and then they refused to honour it when I wanted to use it 13 months later - a month past their expiry date!
I will NEVER shop with them again and I ask my family, friends, and colleagues to avoid them at all costs. Thieves!


Thank you erwinhecht for this topic. Like many on here, this has long been a bugbear for me, for all of the reasons which you outlined. I have lost considerable amounts of money in this way, from gift cards, or pre-paid credit cards expiring – all of which, as you stated, were paid for in hard cash which has no expiry date. I wish that I could get people to give me money which I could then steal from them by setting an expiry date on it. It is great to read here about Bunnings’ cards. I am impressed.

My feeling is that this is something which the Federal government could and should legislate on.

It is sad to see that Choice proposed a 5-year expiry limit.

I am so cynical these days that I doubt that any good will come from this campaign; but I sure wish that it would.

Thanks again.


Gift cards with expiry dates are money for jam. How many times have you ever done a cull of cards etc. you have received only to have a gift card fall out that expired 2 years ago. You had forgotten. So much plastic in your wallet you can’t put it there. The gift is inconvenient to use at the time. SO ergo you put it back in the card to look at later. Time goes by and now you are left with an unused gift card with a dollar value that has expired. It makes your blood boil. Firstly the person who gave it to you is shafted. You are shafted and the company says. Thank you; another one bites the dust. No card like this should ever expire. IF the company goes broke that is the consumers worry. I would even go far as to suggest that it should be illegal; how can money expire? I add up the expired ones I have and I am only one person and I shudder. Multiply that by the population with increments of 10% x 10 - Round that up again and the compounding outcome infinite is outstandingly a complete money grab and highway robbery. I would love to push on this issue. It is one of my pet hates. When I get any free time and want to let off steam after trying to get any sense from Telstra after having been escalated to the outer regions of the universe, I pick up an expired card, ring the company and plead to have it renewed as it is the right thing to do. Sometimes I win, if not it is a great pressure valve release. If it wasn’t so serious It would be funny. This is robbery. Nothing more nothing less.