Your legal responsibility on the sale of a giftcard

There have been problems with giftcards. We have had cases where people have sold their own shop giftcards, sold the business and refused to honor the debt on these giftcards, however, with Dick Smith. we now have a different twist.

What happened is that after Dick Smith, electronics announced it was entering voluntary administration, the new administrator announced that they were refusing to allow customers to spent their giftcards. So many people now have giftcards that are worthless. Now what legal responsibility is there for the retailers who sold these giftcards? Well, I suspect soon we will find out.

We do know that Coles and Woolworths have offered to refund the money of anyone who purchased these giftcards from them, even though they have passed on the money they collected on. There are, however, conditions. They will only do it for purchases done since July, and the customers needs to produce a receipt. How many customers have a receipt? Although I cannot fault them for doing this, I am sure they would have determined that most people no longer have a receipt. Possibly those that used their credit card, which would give them a transaction date and receipt, might find the Coles systems might be able to retrieve the original receipt with the itemised account. I would think not, but I do know that the Officeworks system can do it, so possibly the Coles can too.

The other problem is that several large companies such as Kogan have offered to buy these Dick Smith giftcards; Kogan will exchange them for a $25 gift card from them, so soon Kogan will have a big stack of these giftcards. I doubt Kogan will throw them in the bin, more likely what they will do is bundle them together and attempt to get what they can. As I doubt there will be much for them as an unsecured creditor of Dick Smith after the secured creditors are done with Dick Smith, so they may look elsewhere. Furthermore, if people brought these gift cards on credit, what the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has advised people to do, to try get their money back through their credit-card issuer. If it works, then the credit providers will end out with a bundle too, and they will have retailer's name and addresses as well.

The question is what is retailer liability if they sold giftcards that turn out to be worthless? If you sell giftcards from other stores, I recommend you find out.

Our system in its stock search can tell you if you have sold these giftcards. If you have, you need to make a policy of what you intend to do if a customer attempts to get a refund in your shop.