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Alan Hawkins

Professional journalist and communication consultant.


East London Accommodation

A complaint about an expired gift voucher spurred the Hawkeye team into investigating the practices of three local beauty salons. Only one, the Beauty Clinic in Berea, correctly offered vouchers without an expiry date in terms of the Act.


Another responded that it included expiry dates but didn’t enforce these, indicating they would revise this after the error was brought to their attention. The third, disappointingly elected not to answer Hawkeye’s questions.   


It is against the law to include an expiry date on a pre-paid voucher, card or any similar item. These may only expire after being fully redeemed or after three years.  Section 63 of the Act lays this out clearly, stating that non-compliant businesses could face a R1m fine or 10% of their annual turnover.


The Act also states that any consideration paid for such voucher remains the property of the bearer until redeemed. Should a voucher be for a specific product rather than a set value, the supplier may reasonably ask for an inflationary adjustment should the price have changed or be able to cancel the voucher by exchanging it for a cash equivalent.

This section of the act has impacted the cell phone companies who, unfairly in our opinion, cancel unused calls and data bundles. This matter is still under discussion between the National Consumer Commissioner, Mamodupi Mohlala, and the Independent Communications Authority of SA.

In the meanwhile, take those expired shopping vouchers out of your drawers and redeem them. If you experience any difficulty and would like an electronic copy of the Act, contact us and we’ll send one along.

THIS WEEKS TIP

Most of us prefer to avoid confrontation, particularly when a personal service is involved, perhaps a salon, medical practitioner or a hairdresser. You are not alone, remember that you have the right to vote with your feet, exercise this vote by not returning to those businesses which don’t offer you good service.


 The CHILLI AWARD this week goes to all those businesses who still apply the voucher expiry laws incorrectly, aside from being against the law, this is unfair to your customers. Hawkeye will be undertaking a more comprehensive survey in due course.   

  Weren’t the two recent East London shows simply wonderful? To the organisers and participants of both the Home Expo and the Food and Wine fair, well done, you are joint winners of this weeks’ CHERRY AWARD.  


Gift vouchers have expiry rules in terms of the Consumer Protection Act