Do gift certificates have expiration dates? DTI clears issue

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2014 04:57 PM | Updated as of Nov 18 2014 01:07 AM

MANILA, Philippines - With the holiday season just around the corner, gift checks are a sure hit for those who want to give or perhaps receive some thoughtfulness.

This is why the Department of Trade and Industry clarified some issues regarding the use of gift certificates.

NO EXPIRATION

As a general rule, gift certificates bought from stores or retailers should not have expiration dates.

Though not legal tender like real money, these are "good as cash", according to the DTI.

Examples are gift certificates from department stores such as SM, Robinsons', Rustans' and Landmark.

Once used, the remainder of the value of the gift certificate cannot be claimed in cash.

But consumers have the option of using the remaining value for other items in the same department store, even on a different date from the original purchase. The retailer should mark or indicate the balance amount for future use.

CAN BE USED WITH DISCOUNTS

Discounts for senior citizen or persons with disabilities should still work with gift certificates.

The DTI explained that special discounts for these select group of people should be deducted first from the amount of the item before it is charged to the GC.

SOME GIFT CHECKS HAVE EXPIRY DATES


There are gift certificates that have expiry dates. These are given to consumers without cost or are given out free after buying a product or service.

For example, a restaurant can give out gift voucher for a loyal or first-time customer. It can be a certificate for P200 worth of dessert or P1,000 worth of pizza that can be used by the customer in the future.

The DTI explains that because of the nature of the issuance of the GC, which is related to a promo, sponsorship or goodwill or enticement to get loyal customers, these kinds of gift certificates have expiration dates of not more than 1 year. These are indicated in the card or voucher.
 
Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) vice president Atty Paul advised consumers to check first if the GC is part of the prize of a contest or in-house promo to determine if it has expiry date.

There are GCs issued before 2012 (when the DTI's "no-expiration date" order took effect) that still have expiration dates.

The PRA and DTI clarified that these can be returned to the issuer so that it can be revalidated and a new GC with no expiry date can be issued.