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Duterte prohibits issuance of gift checks with expiration dates
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
December 31st, 2017 | 10:30 AM | 1289 views
Before the year ends, President Duterte has deemed unlawful the issuance of gift checks or certificates bearing expiration dates to allow the public to enjoy their money’s worth even more.
This after Duterte signed into law Republic Act (10962), “Regulating the Issuance, Use, and Redemption of Gift Checks,” on December 19, 2017.
In signing the Gift Check Act of 2017, Duterte cited the State’s policy to protect the interest of the consumers, promote the general welfare, and establish standards of conduct for business industry.
“The State, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), recognizes that a gift check represents value held in trust by the issuer thereof on behalf of its beneficiary or bearer and that consumers must not be unduly deprived of the value of their money,” the RA read.
Under the new law, the issuing of gift checks that bear an expiry date is now deemed unlawful. Imposing an expiry date on the stored value, credit, or balance of the gift check is now also against the law.
The new law also prohibits merchants to refuse to honor the unused value, credit, or balance stored in the gift check.
However gift checks like those under loyalty, rewards, or promotional programs as determined by the DTI are not covered by the new law.
Coupons or vouchers are also not covered. Under the Gift Check of 2017, coupons or vouchers are instruments that entitles the holder to a discount, or instruments that may be used to exchange for a pre-identified good or service.
Upon the effectivity of the RA, all gift checks already issued shall be covered by the Act’s provisions. The Gift Check Act will take affect 15 days after being published in at least two newspapers of general circulation.
The Gift Check Act of 2017 is a consolidation of Senate Bill 1466 and House Bill 6016 which were passed by the Senate and House of Representatives on October 11, 2017 and October 10, 2017, respectively.
Rights of merchants, consumers
Despite merchants not being allowed to not honor gift checks, the new law provides instances where they can refuse to honor the gift checks.
Under the new law, any merchant may refuse to honor a gift check if it is lost due to no fault of the issuer; or when the gift check is defaced by not the fault of the issuer and such damage prevents the issuer or merchant from identifying the security and authenticity features of the gift check.
The new law also does not prevent any issuer from prescribing reasonable rules for changing, upgrading, or updating the gift check as long as it is approved by the DTI and it does not impose additional cost to the consumer.
Meanwhile discounts for senior citizens and persons with disabilities shall also apply to purchases of goods and services that are paid for with gift checks.
Holders of unused and unexpired gift checks shall, at no additional cost, be entitled to avail of replacement after revalidation by the issuers.
Those caught violating the Gift Check Act are obligated to return the unused balance of the gift checks within 90 days from the declaration of the violation by the DTI.
They would also be fined at least P500,000 to P1 million for the first offense.
On their second offense, violators, in addition to the mentioned fine, would also be suspended from issuing gift checks for three months.
Those who will be caught violating the Act for the third time will be fined, and the issuance of gift checks of the issuer would be cancelled.
courtesy of MANILA BULLETIN
by Argyll Cyrus Geducos
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