ARA continues to fight gift card regulations
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Friday 12 January 2018: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have made a submission to the NSW Fair Trading’s (Fair Trading) consultation on changes to the recently announced regulation of gift cards. The NSW Parliament passed legislation in October to impose mandatory three-year expiry periods on all gift cards sold to NSW residents.
Fair Trading has proposed a raft of changes, including exclusions for certain gift card categories (such as cinema vouchers), a meagre six-month transition period, and forcing retailers to notify consumers of the changes in such a short transition period.
With the regulations set to begin in March, Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA, questioned the rushed transition period.
“This early implementation date means Fair Trading’s changes will need to be rushed through Parliament in February – just three months after the legislation was passed,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“As our members still hold a significant amount of gift cards in stock, whose terms and conditions will soon be outdated, retailers will have very little time to sell these products before 31 March this year.”
With 31 March fast-approaching, the ARA are concerned the six-month transition period will not allow retailers enough time to offload non-compliant stock, and will be pushing for a more reasonable 12-month transition period.
“After little-to-no consultation before this unnecessary legislation was passed, NSW Fair Trading have only now decided to consult with retailers, completely after-the-fact,” Mr Zimmerman said.
The ARA’s submission outlines the prospect of interstate competition issues, with retailers in other states now exposed to potential penalties from Fair Trading if they sell a non-compliant gift card to a NSW resident, leaving the NSW Government open to legal challenges over trade and commerce restrictions between states.
Mr Zimmerman said this would cause issues for retailers, who will now have to check where a customer lives whenever they ask to purchase a gift card.
“These new regulations will restrict trade and competition between New South Wales and other states, and there is no means of monitoring the use of gift cards across borders,” Mr Zimmerman said.
Mr Zimmerman said the ARA’s submission also highlighted the inconveniences retailers will face if they are forced to promote the changes to customers.
“Not only have retailers been tied up in red tape by Fair Trading, but they are now being told that they have to promote the regulations they never needed in the first place,” Mr Zimmerman said.
To view the ARA’s full submission to Fair Trading please click here.
For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, call the ARA Media team on 0439 612 556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Australian Retailers Association:
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.