Christmas Gift Voucher Warning

Festive shoppers are being urged to be cautious with purchasing gift vouchers and using their credit cards this Christmas.

The gift card or gift voucher may be a great last resort or an easy to please option as a festive gift and with Australians now spending an estimated $2.5 billion each year on vouchers, their popularity is undeniable. However, anyone who was relying on using vouchers or certificates for gift giving this Christmas should do so with caution, Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts has warned.

An investigation into gift vouchers and certificates has found that consumers are often mislead by lack of information provided with their purchase, such as expiry dates, how to redeem credit and how to replace lost or stolen gift vouchers. The result often being that the credit on the voucher is wasted as the consumer unintentionally disregards the products terms and conditions , reports SKY News. Throughout 2011, Fair Trading received 218 complaints regarding gift vouchers and certificates, mostly regarding the misinterpretation of the terms and conditions.

A current investigation by Fair Trading, into 28 gift cards found that less than 43 percent of vouchers included vital terms and conditions information such as the cards value and expiry date. Two Australian businesses have been issued warnings over potential breaches of Australian Consumer Law for misleading customers when purchasing gift vouchers, according the the Sydney Morning Herald.

Festive shoppers should be wary with their debit cards and credit cards over the festive season, according to Steven Munchenberg of the Australian Bankers Association. Mr Munchenberg warned that the increase of online shopping has resulted in a large growth of online credit card fraud. Although safety against fraud and credit cards scams is a major issue, many consumers are also unaware of terms and conditions that apply to their credit cards that could be used to their advantage and protection for their purchasing of festive gifts.

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