Expiry dates gift vouchers/credit notes
Today, gift cards are commonly used by all forms of enterprise, from small businesses to large corporate entities.
The expiry dates caused some confusion yesterday with one of our clients. After talking to several of his customers, he decided to scrap card expiry dates. I have my doubts about whether this is wise. Removing expiry dates implies that this liability will remain till when? It raises questions of whose responsible for that debt if the business is closed or sold? It will increase the administrative costs indefinitely.
You sold $20,000 worth of gift cards over the past year. About 10% to 19% of gift cards are unredeemed at any given time. So somewhere $2,000 to $3,000 is outstanding. If you sell the business, you must pay the new owner the liability owing on those cards. What hurts is that much of that liability will never be redeemed by your customers. If you close the business down, the situation is unclear.
If you do this for many years, the problem gets worse as about 3% to 6% of gift cards are never redeemed. So every year, this debt grows by $600 to $1,200, do this for ten years, and you have a $6,000 to $12,000 obligation.
Our understanding of the law and we are not lawyers and not qualified to give legal advice is that you must provide at least an expiry period of three years from the date you sold it. The expiry details must be displayed on the gift card (see red arrow above)
There are some exceptions, and this rule does not apply to some types of gift cards, click here for more details. What caused the initial problem here is that our client issued it out of his customer loyalty program, in which case we believe this does not apply at all.
However, check first before doing anything about this. If you get a legal opinion please let me know.