Gift Card Expiry Date and Inactivity Fees BannedPosted by: Kenny Chan onSeptember 11th, 2008
Heather Klimchuk, The Service Alberta Minister announced yesterday that expiry dates, and inactivity or maintenance fees on gift cards will be eliminated beginning November 1. Each year Albertans spend about $1.2 billion on gift cards from retailers and up to $180 million is lost each year through non-redemption or expiry of the cards.
Alberta is following in the footsteps of Ontario, British Columbia and other provinces in introducing rules surrounding the sale of gift cards.
Violators could see fines of up to $100,000 or jail time of two years.
Businesses will be required to disclose restrictions on both the card and its packaging. The new regulation will apply to valid gift cards bought before or after Nov. 1.
After doing a little bit of research I found that the situation is pretty mixed here in Calgary. Gift cards purchased for The Core (Calgary Eaton Centre and TD Square) don’t expire, but after 16 months a $2.00 monthly “maintenance fee” is deducted from the gift card balance. The situation is similar at two other malls in the city, according to the FAQ page on the shop! card website, Cadillac Fairview’s shop! card (Chinook Centre and Market Mall) expires after 3 years and has a $2.00 “maintenance fee” deducted monthly starting 15 months after the card is activated. Once the card expires, you can request a new card to transfer the remaining balance on to but that will cost you another $1.50.
No information is available regarding the expiry of the Southcentre gift card, but the website does mention that there is no service charges. Other retailers like Home Depot and Future Shop not only do not expire their gift cards but they go one step futher by offering volume discounts on corporate purchases of gift cards too.