Last year the NSW Parliament passed legislation in October to impose mandatory three-year expiry periods on all gift cards sold to NSW residents.
Woolworths’ announcement means the retailer is exceeding the new rules coming into place in New South Wales from 31 March 2018, which will require all retailers to honour gift cards for at least three years after purchase.
Woolies had previously committed to extend expiry dates from one to three years on cards purchased, but instead will remove all expiry dates including for active gift cards purchased on or after March 31 last year.
“We know our gift cards make incredibly popular presents for family and friends and understand how disappointing it can be if they expire before customers get a chance to use them,” said Chris Cramond, Woolworths head of financial services and insurance.
“After talking to more of our customers about this in recent months, we’ve decided to go one better and scrap gift card expiry dates for good.
The changes apply across the Woolworths Group, including WISH and store gift cards – redeemable at its supermarkets, Big W, Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Cellarmasters and Caltex.
To avoid wasting plastic gift cards already produced, Woolies said some gift cards stock will continue to have a 12-month expiry date notice printed on the back.
According to comparison site finder.com.au research, Australians waste $70 million a year in unredeemed gift cards.
Conducted in 2017, Finder’s survey of 2,005 people found 14 per cent of respondents – equivalent to 2.6 million Australians – have let funds expire on gift cards in the past two years.
Commenting on the legislation changes last year, Naomi Simson, founder of Red Balloon, said her business was not consulted over new mandatory gift card expiry dates that have prompted the online experience retailer to spend almost half a million dollars on a new program to ensure compliance ahead of Christmas.
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