A “mall card” is basically a gift card that can be used at multiple stores in a shopping centre. These cards are allowed to charge fees. However, when you buy one there is specific information that must be given to you, by law. We will go over what information is required and why it matters to you.
By law in BC, most retail gift cards (also known as prepaid purchase cards) can’t have expiry dates or fees. There are exceptions and mall cards fall under that category. While mall cards can charge fees, they must tell you about those extra fees. If you are buying the mall card in person this information is often included in a folded-up document that is given to you with the card.
Here is what must be disclosed to you (according to the Prepaid Purchase Cards Regulation and the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act):
- All restrictions, limitations, terms and conditions, redemption or replacement of the prepaid purchase card, including any permitted fee or expiry date
- A description of how you can obtain information about the card and the balance
- At the time of purchase, mall cards may charge up to $1.50 service fee
- This information must be on the card itself:
- Post-purchase fees may only begin 15 months after purchase
- At your request (in writing), post-purchase fees may be delayed for an additional three months
- The fee cannot exceed $2.50 per month
Why it matters to you
No surprises down the road.
If you know about the post-purchase fees, you won’t be surprised when you see your balance starting to decrease after 15 months.
You know how to check your balance.
That way, you always know how much money is remaining on the card.
You know that you can request a 3-month extension before the fees are charged.
That way, if you need a bit more time to spend the remaining balance without fees, you have the option to use the extension.
You can make the call if a mall card is right for you.
After hearing about the fees, you might decide to purchase a gift card from a specific retailer directly instead.
If you are unsure about what kind of gift card you have, you may want to check our blog post that offers more clarification on this.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
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