Gift Card Legislation in BC

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As of November 1, 2008 gift cards and gift certificates (pre-paid purchase cards) issued or sold in British Columbia are not allowed to have expiry dates or fees except in certain circumstances. Listed below are the exceptions.

Expiry dates are allowed for:

  • Cards issued or sold for charitable or promotional purposes.
  • Cards issued or sold for a specific good or service.  For example a gift certificate for a hair cut.

Fees are allowed for:

  • Personalizing a card, for example with the consumer’s picture.
  • Replacing a lost or stolen card.
  • Cards that may be used at multiple unaffiliated sellers, which are commonly known as mall cards.

In addition, businesses must disclose the following information in a way that bring attention to the purchaser:

  • All restrictions, limitations, terms and conditions on the use, redemption or replacement of cards, including any permitted fees or expiry dates.
  • How a consumer can obtain more information such as remaining balance on the card.

Not all cards fall under the BC law.  Exceptions to the gift card regulations include:

  • Cards with credit card branding or logos are exempt.
  • Phone cards are exempt.

If you have a concern about a prepaid purchase card, we encourage you to contact the business directly to resolve any issues. If the problem can’t be resolved, please contact the Consumer Protection BC Inquiry Centre.

Additional Resources:

This page contains an overview of gift card legislation in BC. Consumer Protection BC encourages consumers and businesses to read the law in full.