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Christmas warning on gift vouchers

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SYDNEY, Dec 2 AAP

December 02 2012, 1:19PM

They might be viewed as easy and convenient Christmas presents, but consumers need to be cautious when buying a gift card or voucher.

Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts issued the warning after an investigation found many gift vouchers could go to waste because they don't contain basic information such as expiry dates.

Fair Trading received 218 complaints in 2011 relating to gift cards, gift vouchers and certificates.

Most complaints related to misrepresentation about how to redeem the card and how to arrange a replacement or refund if a card is lost or stolen.

The current investigation looked at 28 gift cards from online businesses, major stores and a cinema.

Less than half (43 per cent) of the cards included information such as the value of the card, expiry dates and terms and conditions.

Two retailers were warned over potential breaches of Australian Consumer Law for misleading verbal representations made to consumers at the time of purchase.

Aussies spend an estimated $2.5 billion on gift card products each year.