(Source: CNN Philippines | December 29, 2017)
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a law prohibiting the expiry of gift checks.
Republic Act 10962, or the “Gift Check Act of 2017,” prohibits businesses from issuing gift checks with expiry dates. The law was drafted on the principle that “consumers must not be unduly deprived of the value of their money.”
Under the measure, gift checks and certificates in the form of paper, card, code, or other devices retain their initial monetary value.
Businesses are banned from:
issuing a gift check with an expiry date;
imposing an expiry date on a gift check; and
refusing to honor the unused value, credit, or balance stored in the check.
Violators will be subject to a fine of between P50,000 to P1 million.
For the second offense, issuing gift checks will be suspended for a three-month period on top of a fine. For the third offense, the concerned business must still pay a fine and it can no longer issue gift checks.
Coupons and vouchers, which cover discounts or pre-identified goods, are not covered in the law.
Also excluded from the law are gift checks issued to customers “under loyalty, rewards or promotional programs, as determined by the Department of Trade and Industry.”
However, issuers are also protected from honoring lost checks. It is also not obligated to serve mutilated or defaced checks where “such damage prevents the issuer from identifying the security and authenticity features thereof.”
Issuers can come up with rules for changing, upgrading, or updating the gift check. The rules should have no expense on the part of consumers and are still subject to the approval of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The DTI will oversee the implementation of the law.
The Senate and the House approved the bills on August and September respectively.
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