Zubiri: Gift certificates, like money, should not expire
A gift certificate, which should be as good as cash, should bear no expiry date like money.
Thus the filing of Senate Bill No. 1340 that seeks to prohibit the imposition of expiry dates on gift checks and penalizing violators with up to P1-million fine.
The bill has been filed by Senator Juan Miguel ”Migz” Zubiri, chairman of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship.
“It is a great loss and disadvantage to the bearer or owner of gift certificate, check, card or voucher if such has an expiry date and not used-up before the expiration date especially if such gift certificate, check, card or voucher has been obtained in exchange for cash,” Zubiri said in his explanatory note in the bill.
“In a general sense, a gift certificate, check, card or voucher is, for all intents and purposes, good as cash. It is purchased with money and money having no expiry date, it follows that gift certificate, check, card or voucher must bear no expiry date.”
“It is a well-accepted view that since gift certificate, check, card or voucher is bought with money, it must also be redeemable until used-up by the holder or owner. Money does not expire unless it is already demonetized which rarely happens. So the same must apply to gift certificate, check, card or voucher,” the senator added.
While the Department of Trade and Industry had already issued an administrative order prohibiting the issuance of gift certificate, check or card with expiry date by a supplier, Zubri said such policy should be institutionalized through an enactment of Congress.
Besides, the senator pointed out that the administrative order did not clearly impose penalties for violators unlike his bill, which provides for “hefty fines and other penalties for violators of the law.”
“It begs to give teeth to the law through this bill so that violations will be minimized if not eliminated,” Zubiri said.
Under the bill, an “issuer” would be fined P200,000 on the first offense; P500,000 to P1 million on the second offense; and P1 million and revocation of business registration/permit in the second offense.
The “issuer” was referred to in the proposed measure as commercial establishment or business entity which issues gift certificate, check, card, voucher or other similar instruments.
The following are exempted from the coverage of the bill:
a) When the gift certificate, check, card, voucher or other similar instrument issued is for a specific event or activity with a definite date/s such as but not limited to concert, movie, shows, special occasion and festival;
b) When the gift certificate, check, card, voucher and other similar instrument is lost due to no fault to the issuer; and
c) When the gift certificate, check, card, voucher and other similar instrument is mutilated or defaced due to no fault of the supplier and such damage prevents the supplier from identifying the security and authenticity features thereof. IDL/rga
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