The Consumer

Why do some gift certificates still have expiration dates?

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A reader wrote to ask about the existing policy on the validity of gift certificates (GCs). She had some GCs of her own that were overlooked, but when she was ready to use them she found out that they had expired. She wondered why the GCs had an expiration date, when she remembered reading a news story saying that GCs were supposed to be forever “fresh,” meaning they can be used any time with no expiration.

I can understand her confusion because I have also seen GCs with expiration dates.

For the benefit of the e-mail sender and other consumers who may have the same question, I forwarded her query to the office of Director Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba of the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection (BTRCP) of the Department of Trade and Industry.

In response, BTRCP sent a copy of Department Administrative Order 10-04, Series of 2010-Guidelines on the Issuance, Use and Redemption of Gift Checks, Certificates or Gift Cards in accordance with Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, and for other purposes.

The guidelines specified that, starting July 1, 2012, “it shall be prohibited for any supplier to issue and/or sell a gift certificate/check/card that contains an expiry date.

“All gift checks/certificates/cards with no expiry dates shall be redeemable until used up by the bearer.”

The guidelines further said: “Promotional sales activities, loyalty programs, warranties, return policies for cash purchases and discount for senior citizens/persons with disability, as provided for under the relevant laws and rules and regulations, shall apply likewise to purchases of goods and services that are paid for with gift certificate/check/card.”

So, why are there GCs with expiration dates? Well, the guidelines also provide that “gift checks/certificates/cards that are distributed by the supplier to consumers under an award, loyalty or promotional program are not covered by this order.”

If your GC is issued by a department store, a restaurant or other commercial entities as a prize, award, the issuing establishment may specify a validity period.

Too loud

Joseph Carcellar hopes the management of Ocean Park can tone down the music played at the recreation place. He says the  music at the park is deafening. He also finds it inappropriate for the many children who visit the place.

“I understand management wants to have a lively atmosphere, but I suggest (minimizing) the noise and playing music appropriate to the park target audience (children primarily).”

Warning

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is reminding its credit card holders that it “will never ask you to surrender your card for a limit credit increase.” If anybody asks BPI clients to do so, by telephone, SMS or post, please call the bank through its hotline, 89-100.

Garden show

Plant lovers, especially those with a preference for orchids, will have a chance to add more to their collection or replace plants that have died. The Philippine Orchid Society will hold its midyear Orchid and Garden Show on Aug. 30 to Sept. 9 at the Flower Garden of the Quezon Memorial Circle (East Avenue entrance), Quezon City.

The show will feature landscape exhibits and lecture demonstrations by various experts. And, of course, there will be a commercial section that will sell plants, garden materials and supplies. Expect to find rare varieties, popular ornamentals, and many interesting finds that you are not likely to get from regular plant sellers.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail lbolido@inquirer.com.ph.

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  • Mux

    Thank you for that info on GCs. I always thought that it doesn’t make sense for GCs to have an expiry date if it was paid for. After all, chances are if the card is used after a long time, the user would get less value for it because of price increases.

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