There is no need to worry about gift checks, also known as gift certificates or gift cards, expiring over the lockdown, reminds the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Issuers are prohibited from placing an expiry date on a gift check and imposing an expiry date on its stored value. However, this does not apply to coupons or vouchers and gift checks issued under loyalty, rewards, and promotional programs.

“For example, I go to the department store and they have a sales promotion where I can get a gift check for a minimum purchase of P5,000. That gift check can have an expiry date,” said Marilen D. Montañez, an officer from the DTI-Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau, in a recent webinar.

Neither is there a need for a consumer to use up the entire amount of a gift check in a single transaction since the issuer is prohibited from compelling them to do so. A gift check may be used in multiple transactions until its value is consumed.

The DTI recommends that issuers should have a mechanism for monitoring unused value. “We see department stores using the barcode, or there are codes on the gift checks… There are also some who can print the balance of the gift check for the information of consumers,” said Ms. Montañez. 

Issuers are not allowed to charge consumers for the changing, upgrading, or updating of gift checks. According to Ms. Montañez, this is often done by issuers who want to avoid counterfeiting through the improvement of security features.

To maximize their gift checks, consumers are advised to read their terms and conditions. For instance, the words “loyalty” or “reward” and DTI sales promo permit number must be indicated at the lower right corner of the card, paper, or device. The promo expiry date must also be found in the same area.

Consumers are encouraged to take care of their gift checks. Lost gift checks, or gift checks whose damage prevents the identification of their security and authenticity features, may no longer be honored by the issuer. — Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo