Gift card policies are expected to remain unchanged, according to a report released by the Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC).

This findings in the Gift Cards in the Australian Market report indicated that changes to the current gift card regulations would add unnecessary pressure to businesses if there were any move towards ministerial regulation of a currently effective system.

This finding has been welcomed by the Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman.

“The CCAAC has acknowledged that most gift cards are redeemed shortly after purchase and in the current self regulated environment gift card issuers already offer grace periods and flexibility with gift cards as part of their customer service policies.

“ARA is supportive of CCAAC’s finding that requiring issuers to maintain more detailed records or set up a trust for card balances in the event of insolvency would pose burden on retailers and is unnecessary given there is little evidence of significant consumer issues around current practices.

“The CCAAC said there would be some value in raising consumer awareness and understanding of gift card terms and conditions as well as their rights in the event of insolvency. The ARA would welcome moves by consumer groups to ensure consumers are educated when it comes to gift cards.”

According to Zimmerman, the ARA maintains its view that self regulation of gift cards is in everyone’s best interests. Smaller retailers simply cannot afford to take on extra regulatory burdens which are unnecessary in this case.

“Retailers enjoy being able to offer a solution for their customers in the way of a gift card, and most are able to come to a win- win solution when an issue arises- which is exactly the same as with the purchase of any other product,” he said.