(Source: Inquirer.net | August 14, 2017)
The Senate has recently passed on third and final reading a bill seeking to prohibit merchants from imposing expiration dates on gift checks, gift certificates or gift cards.
All 22 senators present in the session voted in approval of Senate Bill No. 1466, prohibiting gift checks that bear an expiration date.
“This Gift Check Act is timely because it’s coming towards the Christmas season and a lot of our kababayans (countrymen) will be happy to know that there will be no more expiry dates on their gift checks,” Senator Miguel Zubiri said in a manifestation after the voting.
Zubiri, who chairs the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, authored the said bill.
In addition to this, imposing an expiry date on the stored value, credit, or balance of the gift check is also deemed unlawful. The proposed law disallows merchants from refusing to honor the unused value, credit or balanced stored in the gift check.
The bill, however, does not cover coupons or vouchers.
The measure will also provide equal protection for issuers and accredited merchants for instances when the gift check may not be honored, “such as when the gift check is lost due to no fault of the issuer, or when the gift check is mutilated or defaced due to no fault of the issuer and such damage prevents the issuer from identifying its security and authenticity features.”
A fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P1 million will be given to any person who violates the provisions of the measure once convicted.
Zubiri said that once enacted, the bill “will firm up the gains of consumers, both buyers and recipients of gift checks.”