Retailer notice: New regulations that prohibit gift card expiry dates come into effect October 1st



    TORONTO, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - Beginning October 1st, new regulations under
the Consumer Protection Act will prohibit expiry dates on gift cards, restrict
service fees, and require all retailers to disclose gift card terms and
conditions clearly and prominently.
    Shopping mall gift cards will not be covered by the new fee restrictions,
pending further review of the market over the next several months. The terms
and conditions of gift cards sold prior to October 1st will not be affected,
including any stated expiration date or associated fees.
    For further information, please visit: www.e-laws.gov.on.ca.

    
    Disponible en français

                              www.mgs.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
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                       Banning Gift Card Expiry Dates

    Beginning October 1, amendments to the Consumer Protection Act 2002 and
Ontario Regulation 17/05 that relate to the sale of gift cards come into
effect.
    The amendments establish rules to protect consumers in Ontario who
purchase or receive gift cards or gift certificates from stores and malls. The
new consumer protection measures now in force include:

    1.  Prohibiting expiry dates on gift cards and certificates
    2.  Restricting fees charged for gift cards to a) customizing a gift
        card, or b) replacing a lost or stolen gift card;
    3.  Requiring the clear and prominent disclosure of any terms and
        conditions relating to a gift card (e.g., any limits to redeeming a
        card).
    

    Most major Canadian retailers sell gift cards to their customers. Gift
cards and other stored-value cards are one of the fastest-growing products in
the marketplace today. Most of the cards issued to date, however, include an
expiry date averaging between 18 months and two years, and many retailers fail
to disclose applicable terms and conditions. Several major retailers in
Ontario charge some kind of service fee that erodes the balance after a
specific length of time.
    The restriction on fees will not apply to cards that are redeemable at
more than one unaffiliated store (e.g., shopping mall cards) for a period of
270 days from today. This will allow more time to develop an approach that
strikes the right balance for consumers and businesses.
    Businesses in Ontario must make every effort to accurately notify
consumers about the terms affecting gift cards, and ensure that consumers are
aware that expiry dates are not applicable to gift cards purchased beginning
today.
    The law does not apply to loyalty cards used to collect rewards or
points, and will not apply to cards that are subject to federal jurisdiction,
such as pre-paid phone cards.

    
    Contacts:
    Greg Dennis                    Ciaran Ganley
    Minister's Office              Ministry of Government Services
    Office : 416-327-3072          416-325-8659

    Disponible en français

                              www.mgs.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Greg Dennis, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3072;
Ciaran Ganley, Communications Branch, (416) 325-8659

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