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Retailers back down over gift expiry dates

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/09/2016
Shoppers on Queen Street. © Bloomberg Shoppers on Queen Street.

Major chains of stores are dropping expiry dates off gifts cards after complaints that millions of dollars in credit was going unused.

Earlier this month, Consumer NZ said up to $10 million worth of gift cards were being thrown away each year, and nearly a quarter never fully redeemed, due to what it said was unfair short expiry dates.

Since then, three of the ten major retailers Consumer wrote to - Countdown, Kathmandu and Noel Leeming - have said they're dropping their 12-month limits.

"It's a great response from these stores and shows expiry dates can be ditched without causing problems," the consumer advocacy group's chief, Sue Chetwin, said.

Supermarket chain New World and children's store Toyworld have also extended their gift card expiry dates from one year to two, Consumer said.

But Ms Chetwin said three major gift card sellers - Briscoes, Prezzy Card and Westfield Shopping Centres - had indicated they wouldn't budge on their 12-month rule - although Briscoes said it honoured expired cards.

"It's a really disappointing response from these companies. We'll be asking them to reconsider and do the right thing by their customers."

She said 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.


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