News Releases

Media Bulletin - Manitoba

December 6, 2019

CONSUMER PROTECTION OFFICE OFFERS TIPS FOR BUYING AND USING GIFT CARDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON



Manitoba’s Consumer Protection Office (CPO) is providing tips to ensure consumers are aware of the rules related to buying and using gift cards, as they continue to be a popular choice for holiday shoppers.

•    The card provider must inform the consumer of all restrictions, limitations and conditions on the use of the card.  If it is not clear, ask more questions before buying the gift card.
•    In most cases, gift cards are not allowed to have an expiry date.  However, there are some exceptions.  Gift cards can expire if they are:
     -    for a specific good or service, such as a manicure;
     -    issued for a promotional or charitable purpose; or
     -    part of a reward or loyalty program.
•    Fees can only be charged to customize a gift card or to replace a lost or stolen card.
•    When purchasing a gift card, it is always recommended to keep a receipt for back up in case of any issues.  Some gift cards can be registered with the seller, which can help to recover them if the card is lost or stolen.  It is good practice to treat all gift cards like cash.

The CPO investigates complaints about gift cards and businesses that fail to comply with the rules may be subject to administrative penalties ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.  For more information about gift cards, prepaid cards and other payment options, visit www.gov.mb.ca/cca/cpo/cards.html.

Manitobans are encouraged to learn more about consumer protection issues and their rights under the law.  Download the free Consumer Protection mobile app.  Manitobans can also contact the CPO at 204-945-3800, (toll-free) 1-800-782-0067, or by email at consumers@gov.mb.ca.  More information is also available at www.gov.mb.ca/justice/cp/cpo.

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