Are you shopping for a gift card? The following tips may be of interest to you before you buy a card that may be used as cash.
A prepaid card (such as a gift card) that may be used as cash must contain the following information:
- fees that may be charged, in cases where such fees are permitted by law;
- how to check the card’s balance (the amount remaining);
- the date when the merchant requires you to replace the card, if applicable.
These details provide you with all the necessary information regarding the use of the card. They must appear on the card. Otherwise, the merchant must provide you with a written document containing the information. In all cases, you must receive clear information about what you are purchasing.
A merchant selling you a prepaid card that may be used as cash (such as a gift card) must respect the following rules.
It is prohibited for a merchant to:
- indicate an expiry date on the card;
- charge fees for using the card. Merchants may only charge fees if the card:
- can be used in several businesses that are not part of the same chain,
- was issued by a financial institution and can be used wherever the payment system indicated on the card is accepted. See Fees for activation, usage and replacement for more details;
- charge fees to replace the card, if the card is being replaced at the merchant’s request;
- refuse to refund a balance of $5 or less on a card at your request. One exception: cards issued by a financial institution that can be used wherever the payment system indicated on the card is accepted.
Cards purchased at your home
If you purchase prepaid cards with a value of greater than $25 from a merchant who comes to your home, the merchant is subject to the rules related to itinerant sales. See itinerant sales for more details.
Cards purchased online
If you have purchased cards online or by telephone, the merchant is subject to the rules related to remote agreements. See the following sections:
If you have bought a card on a group purchasing site, see Group purchasing Web sites.
Before purchasing a prepaid card (such as a gift card), verify the merchant’s refund policy. It may not be possible to cancel the transaction if you change your mind.
Merchants are free to set their own refund policies. They must, however, comply with the rules they have put in place.
The Office de la protection du consommateur recommends using your card shortly after purchasing it. If you wait too long, the business where your card is valid could close or go bankrupt. Using the coupon will be difficult or impossible if this should occur.
Last update : February 28, 2023
Were you unable to find an answer to your question? Please call us.
The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.