Home Australia Shocking: Aussies are Wasting $1.8 billion on Unused Gifts

Shocking: Aussies are Wasting $1.8 billion on Unused Gifts

According to new research, there could be up to $2 billion on unspent gift cards in Australian homes.

According to a nationally representative survey conducted by comparison website Finder, most Australians have $95 worth of unused gift cards at home, which equals $1.8 billion on a national scale.

Study shows that  33% of Australians have wasted money on store gift cards that were never used. That's the equivalent of 6.4 million people who have wasted their money on plastic.

A quarter of the 1013 survey respondents said to let a gift card expire before using it in the past, prompting personal finance experts to remind people of their "donations" to stores.

According to study 2021, 24% of Aussie’s gift cards expired and 7% lost their gift cards. Under Australian Consumer Law (ACL), gift cards that are purchased after 1 November 2019 must expire within a minimum 3-year.

After an update to Australian Consumer Law, any card or voucher sold after that date must have a minimum three-year expiry time, must indicate expiry dates, and cannot charge post-purchase fees for gift card transactions.

If stores are found to be providing cards after this date that do not have a three-year expiration date, they might be fined $30,000 for a corporation and $6000 for individuals.

"Gift cards have a reputation for being a lazy present," Sarah Megginson, senior editor of money at Finder, explained, "but it's more practical than forking out for a present you're not sure someone will like or use."

The key to not wasting gift cards is to keep them in mind according to Ms. Megginson.

"Even if cut-off dates have been extended," Ms. Megginson explained, "cards can easily be lost or forgotten if they are hidden in the back of a drawer or wallet."

"Retailers may go off from the business, or recipients can move to a location where the card is difficult to redeem." In recent years, the adoption of gift cards in Australia has recorded strong growth.

"If you're offered a gift card that you won't use, don't waste it." Consider swapping it for cash with a friend or selling it online.

Queenslanders are the most diligent when it comes to gift cards, with only 28% having "lost" money on one, compared to 35% of Victorians.

Published on: February 14, 2022

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