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$10m a year lost on gift cards: Consumer

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/09/2016

Kiwis could be letting up to $10 million of gift cards expire and the time-limits are unfair, the consumer watchdog says.

Consumer New Zealand has called on major retailers to drop expiry dates on gift cards, with its research showing nearly a quarter are never fully redeemed.

"Gift cards are a quick fix for shopping dilemmas. But unfair expiry dates mean many consumers are getting stuck with cards they can't redeem," Consumer chief executive Sue Chetwin said.

"Based on the typical gift card value, we estimate consumers could be losing as much as $10 million annually."

Surveys had found 54 per cent of Kiwis believed there should be no expiration date on cards and other countries already had tougher laws about the issue, she said.

Consumer has written to ten major retailer - Briscoes, Countdown, Kathmandu, New World, Noel Leeming, Paper Plus, Prezzy Card, Ticketek, Toyworld and Westfield - asking them to ditch time limits.

"Some retailers don't impose expiry dates showing they can be removed without causing problems."


* 24 per cent of gift card users have been stuck with a card they don't end up using - either because of expiration or store closure

* 77 per cent of people regularly get gift cards

* The majority of unredeemed values is more than $20

* Half of users have had problems with cards, including a lack of stores taking them or being unable to check the balance

* Between $50 and $70 is the most common value of gift cards.

Source: Consumer NZ

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