Looking a gift horse in the mouth
FIRSTLY thank you for a great column and a real public service to consumers.
I saw in one of your recent columns some complaints about the expiry of gift vouchers and cellular data.
I thought I would share with you the entertaining exchange I had with management of a mall in Pretoria.
Quite apart from the fact that my gift card was marked to expire in less than the Consumer Protection Act’s minimum of three years, the company cannot provide any reasonable explanation for why the gift voucher needs to expire at all.
After all, the mall has received the value of the voucher (I think R500 in this case) in cash, which has no doubt been deposited into its bank account.
It has now had about four years of compound interest on this amount and given its expiration policy it will now also be receiving the principal amount of the gift voucher.
By my rough calculations, my R500 gift voucher is now worth over R660 (based on a 7% savings account interest rate).
Given that the mall is unwilling or unable to explain what possible operational costs it has to cover from providing say a 10-year expiration date, I cannot but conclude that this is just another of those South African business practices which are detrimental to the consumer and which for too long we have simply accepted as an incontestable fact of life.
For me the R500 is immaterial. I would happily give it to charity, but the fact of the matter seems to be that I have paid for the right to purchase goods or services at the mall, but have not been able to actually access said goods or services.
It is, of course, trite to suggest, as the mall no doubt will, that I should have used the voucher in the three-year period.
If only we lived in a perfect world where this were the norm.
Company can not say why card expires at all