The Manitoba government is putting new rules in place to protect customers from inactivity fees on gift cards.
Previously, if a gift card sold by a shopping mall is not used within 12 months, it could be subject to inactivity fees. Now, customers can be confident that the value of a gift card will not be eroded if they choose not to use the card for an extended period of time.
The new rule is active now and includes the following:
- prohibiting expiry dates on gift cards, unless the card is for a specific good or service, or is given away for free
- prohibiting suppliers from charging fees on gift cards unless they are replacing a lost or stolen card, customizing a card or the card is given away for free
- requiring that all restrictions, limitations and conditions on the use of the card or certificate be disclosed
- allowing for administrative penalties to be issued if a business does not comply with the legislation
“Manitobans already enjoy strong consumer protection with respect to gift cards but there is room for improvement,” said Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux. “The new rules continue our commitment to ensuring Manitoba’s consumer protection legislation remains current and promotes a fair marketplace.”
If a business fails to comply with the requirements related to gift cards, the business may be required to pay a penalty ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for an individual and from $5,000 to $20,000 for a corporation.