Buying Gift Cards From Christmas? Know Your Rights

Manitoba’s Consumer Protection Office (CPO) is offering tips to help Winnipeggers with their Christmas Gift Card shopping. Gift Cards continue to be a popular choice for shoppers and they want to make sure you know all the rules that are in place to protect your hard earned money.

Gift Cards from large box stores will already comply to these rules. However, when purchasing a gift card from a smaller shop, make sure they abide by these rules:

  • The card provider must inform the consumer of all restrictions, limitations and conditions on the use of the card. If it is not clear, ask more questions before buying the gift card.
  • In most cases, gift cards are not allowed to have an expiry date. However, there are some exceptions. Gift cards can expire if they are:
    • or a specific good or service, such as a manicure;
    • issued for a promotional or charitable purpose; or
    • part of a reward or loyalty program.
  • Fees can only be charged to customize a gift card or to replace a lost or stolen card.
  • When purchasing a gift card, it is always recommended to keep a receipt for back up in case of any issues. Some gift cards can be registered with the seller, which can help to recover them if the card is lost or stolen. It is good practice to treat all gift cards like cash.

The CPO will investigate all complaints about gift cards. Businesses that fail to comply with the rules may be fined $5,000 to $20,000.