Despite Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday well behind us, Christmas shopping is still in full swing for consumers.
Gift cards make holiday shopping simple and easy. But did you know that it’s the law in Saskatchewan that gift cards do not expire?
“Gift cards that are purchased in Saskatchewan cannot legally expire,” said Denny Huyghebaert, Deputy Director of the External Protection Division of Consumer Affairs. “A business sells a gift card, they can not put expiry dates on them, and therefore the balance can not expire.”
“Those prepaid purchase cards would be an exchange for the delivery of goods or services, so gift cards, gift certificates, vouchers, those sorts of things all fall under that definition,” he added.
Gift receipts are a good way to ensure your recipient can make an exchange if they need to. Huyghebaert said while many retailers do have a return and exchange policy, they’re not actually required by law to have one.
“Often these policies are at the bottom of a receipt, and of course it’s good practice for consumers to keep a copy of that receipt,” said Huyghebaert. “If a return or exchange notice is not posted anywhere, consumers should ask the retailer if there is a policy, and then have that in writing at the bottom of the receipt and then have the retailer sign and date it.”
He recommends, at any time of year, that consumers should use any gift cards they receive as soon as possible.
“One of the most common complaints our office receives is that a retailer that a consumer received a gift card for has gone out of business, which makes it very difficult for the consumer to redeem the value of that gift card, so certainly if you have a gift card, we encourage consumers to use it as soon as possible,” he explained.
Spending gift cards can be fun, so it’s generally not too much trouble to make a special trip in appreciation for the giver of the card, also making sure to thank them by sharing with them a note or text about what you bought.