Lawmaker wants to ban expiry dates on gift checks

CITING numerous complaints from consumers who find the expiry dates too short and unfair, a lawmaker wants to ban expiry dates on certificates, checks or cards.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) filed House Bill 6361 banning gift certificates with expiry dates saying it makes no good business sense for suppliers to place an expiry date over what amounts to cash.

“A gift certificate, check or card is, for all intents and purposes, as good as cash.  It is purchased with money and money has no expiry date,” Castelo said.

“It is a well-acceptable view that since such certificate, check or card is bought with money, it must also be redeemable until used up by the holder or the owner.  Money does not expire unless it is already demonetized which rarely happens.  So the same must apply to a gift certificate, check or card,” Castelo said.

Castelo said a gift certificate is a paper document containing the authorized signature of a restaurant, store, beauty salon or another establishment that serves as a voucher for the provision of service or goods. It follows that the same must bear no expiry date at all.

Castelo said if the reason given by suppliers for giving expiry dates on GCs being issued is that such is susceptible to tampering, it is well within their responsibility to make sure that this will not happen through modern security methods.

Under the proposed measure to be known as the “New Gift Check Act of 2012,” a gift certificate, check or card with no expiry date shall be redeemable until used up by the bearer thereby banning the imposition of expiry dates over the same except in some cases.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has already came out with a memorandum dated June 25, 2012 lifting restrictions on when they are supposed to be used, it is still within the jurisdiction of the Legislature as the proper lawmaking body to initiate the corresponding piece of legislation.

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