Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, director of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection, has responded to my query on the status of the government agency’s order on gift certificates/checks.
He said: “Our Department Administrative Order No. 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) has already been effective since 15 July 2010.”
Dimagiba sent a copy of the order, signed by then Trade Secretary Jesli A. Lapus.
Among other things, the order states that by July 1, 2012, “it shall be prohibited for any supplier to issue and/or sell gift certificate/check/card that contains an expiry date.”
The transitory provision provides that GCs issued after the promulgation of the department order and before July 1, 2012 “must bear a date of issue and an expiry of 2 years” and unused/unexpired GCs after June 30, 2012 should be replaced “after revalidation by suppliers.”
Issued on June 25, 2010, the order took effect 15 days later, after its publication in two newspapers of general circulation.
So, there you have it. If you are just buying GCs or being given them, make sure that the expiry date is at least two years so that by July 1, 2012, you can have them replaced with new ones that will be forever fresh, until you decide to use them.
The country has just observed National Savings Consciousness Week. During the annual observance, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued several informational/educational materials to guide people, particularly bank depositors.
In one of the handouts, the BSP reminds everyone to be wary of financial companies that offer very high interest rates, which are way beyond the prevailing market rates. Such tempting offers often mean that you are at greater risk of losing your money. Remember that when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Keep in mind, too, that the Philippine Deposit and Insurance Corporation insures deposits only up to P500,000. If you have a large sum of money, open accounts in different banks.
It is also very important to remember that you have to keep your bank accounts active. I just heard two stories of people who lost practically all their savings just from bank charges. They thought that by not touching their accounts—no withdrawals, but no new deposits either—their money would just continue to grow.
But banks usually deduct service and other charges from accounts. If you read your bank statements carefully, you will see deductions like service charges, taxes on interests, penalty fees for letting your balance fall below the minimum, fees for using automated teller machines (ATMs) other than your own bank’s, etc.
Some of these charges are imposed—and will continue to chip away—at deposits even if the account holder is not doing anything. So many people who think that they are being wise by not touching their savings will find out that they have actually less than the original amount they deposited because of service charges and taxes.
Banks will also close an inactive or “dormant” account after a certain period of time. I think two years of inactivity—meaning there is no withdrawal or no new deposit—can result in closure of an account.
Keep in mind that banks have different rules for keeping your money. While they pay interest on your deposits, they also impose certain charges and fees.
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