There are two types of gift cards: those with dollar values and those for specific goods and services, such as a spa day or hotel stay, which do not indicate a dollar value.
Gift cards within Nova Scotia may not have expiry dates.
Nova Scotia's regulations are similar to those in other provinces across Canada.
|Features of Regulation||Gift Cards||Issued on or after Feb. 1, 2010|
|Expiry date||With dollar values on cards||
No expiry date*
|Expiry date||Goods and Services
(e.g. spa, haircut, dinner, movie - with no dollar value on card)
No expiry date*
|Required Information on Card||All||
|Other information required in writing||All||Any other restrictions, limitations, terms and conditions|
Yes. The objective of these regulations is for consumers to be able to keep the dollar value of the gift cards or certificates at any time, much like the value of cash.
Yes, these regulations cover both cards for particular stores and those that can be used at various stores within a mall. They will not expire.
Prepaid credit card branded cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Diners Club, are more like banking products rather than gift cards. These cards may be redeemed all over the world.
Yes. Prepaid telephone cards and some other things you may pre-pay such as event tickets, gym memberships, coupons and points or loyalty cards, are not considered "gift cards."
Cards issued for charitable purposes are those cards that businesses give to charity to help raise funds, such as a $20 gift card donated by a store for use in a fund-raising auction. These are exempted because they fall under different tax considerations.
Promotional cards, on the other hand, are given for free or at less than full value to consumers for marketing purposes.
Dormancy fees, sometimes called inactivity fees, are fees taken off the balance of the card after a certain number of months that the card is not used.
Under the new regulations, these fees can no longer be charged.
Additional charges should only be applied if the business indicated this in writing at the time of the gift card purchase. If not, the business should honour the card at the current value of the good or service.
If no dollar value is indicated on the card, the business must either honour the card for the good or service or clearly disclose to the consumer that if the card is not used within a certain time period, additional charges may apply.
The regulations do not cover refund policies.
In many cases, gifts cards cannot be returned, although some stores may allow it within a specific time period. You should always ask about the refund policy before you purchase your gift cards.
Return policies are not regulated, but stores are required to indicate their return policies on the card.