If you’re thinking of supporting a small business by purchasing a gift card, here’s what you should know.

Generally speaking, gift cards in BC can’t expire or have fees. But there are some exceptions.

When are fees allowed?

Fees can be charged for:

  • Personalizing a card
  • Replacing a card

When are expiry dates allowed?

Expiry dates are allowed for:

  • Cards issued for a specific good or service. For example, a gift certificate for a massage can expire.
  • Cards that were sold at a discount. For example, a gift card bought during a promotion. This means that gift cards for a dollar amount can’t expire.

What about taxes?

For a gift card with a specific dollar amount:

  • You don’t pay tax on the purchase of a gift card for a specific dollar amount. Instead, tax will be charged when you buy a taxable item.
  • For example, you would pay tax when you used the gift card to buy a bouquet of flowers.
  • For a gift card for a specific good or service: You will likely be charged for tax for the service you are purchasing when you buy the gift card. For example, if you purchase a gift card for a massage, tax is usually accounted for in the purchase price.
    In all cases, taxes will be accounted for at some point in the transaction.

Where can you find out more?

If you are wondering how else you can support your local business, ask them!

Learn more about gift card rules on our website, read the Prepaid Purchase Cards Regulation or ask us a question below.

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.