Wait I Thought That Gift Cards did not Expire!

By Randall Orser | holiday season

It may be a big surprise to you, but did you know that gift cards you receive for charitable or promotional purposes are allowed to expire? The rules and laws around gift cards can get a little confusing. Here are some examples where your gift card can expire.

  1. PRIZE – if a gift card is issued as a prize and used for promotional purposes the card is allowed to expire according to the Prepaid Purchase Card Regulation.  The business donating it must indicate either on the card or its receipt when and how the card can be used, and they can then set their own policies for the card when it is sold or issued for a promotional purpose.
  2. CHARITY – If you enter a draw for charity and win a gift card and there is an expiry date either on the card or its receipt it must be used by then.  Because the card was bought for charity it is allowed to expire as long as the donating business indicates on the card or its receipt how gift card can be used, they can set their own policies for use.
  3.  Cards issued for a specific good or service can expire.
  4. Cards that were sold at a discount for example a discount on services during a promotion are allowed to expire.
  5. If the gift card was bought before 2009 it is allowed to expire.

Cards That Don’t Have an Expiry Date

  1. MALL and RETAIL Cards: In BC, most retail gift cards, known as prepaid purchase cards, can’t have an expiry date or fees, however there are some exceptions and Mall Cards that can be used to purchase at multiple stores in a shopping centre are an exception.  Information as to extra fees, must be either told to you in person at the time of purchase or must be included in a folded-up document given to you with the card.
  1. PREPAID CARDS – such as prepaid Visa cards do not fall under BC gift card laws but are regulated by Canada’s Payment Products Regulations.  These cards which also include ones that you can buy at a grocery store checkout and are issued for a general dollar amount are not allowed to expire.  

From Consumer Protection Article Dec 14, 2016



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President/CEO Number Crunchers® Accounting Inc. Learn how to just say stuff it to this bookkeeping thing with our 'Just Say: "Stuff It" To Bookkeeping program.