Senate approves bill prohibiting expiry dates on gift certificates

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday, August 14, passed on 3rd and final reading the bill seeking to prohibit the imposition of expiry dates on gift checks, certificates, or cards.

Voting 22-0, senators approved Senate Bill 1466, which prohibits sellers from issuing gift checks that have expiration dates. It also prohibits merchants from refusing to honor the unused value, credit, or balance stored in a gift check.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chairman of the Senate committee on trade and commerce, said all consumers would benefit from the measure once it is passed into law.

"A gift certificate, check, or card is, for all intents and purposes, good as cash. It is purchased with money and money having no expiry date, it follows that gift checks must bear no expiry date. Once enacted, this will firm up the gains of consumers, both buyers and recipients of gift checks," Zubiri said in a statement.

Excluded from the bill's coverage are gift checks issued to customers "under loyalty, rewards or promotional programs, as determined by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)," coupons, and vouchers.

The bill also allows issuers and merchants not to honor gift checks that have been mutilated or defaced, with no fault of the issuer or seller.

Any person who violates the bill would be fined at least P50,000 but not more than P1 million.

A counterpart measure is up for 2nd reading in the House of Representatives.

In 2012, the DTI already started banning the issuance of gift checks or certificates with expiry dates. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.