MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that prohibits the issuance of gift checks with expiry dates and imposing an expiry date on the stored value, credit, or balance of the gift certificate.
Republic Act 109621 or the Gift Check Act of 2017 was approved on December 19, saying consumers "must not be unduly deprived of the value of their money."
"It is the policy of the State to protect the interest of the consumers," it read. "Consistent therewith, it shall promote and encourage fair, honest, and equitable relations among parties in consumer transaction and protect consumers against deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable sales acts and practices."
Aside from prohibiting issuance of certificates with expiration, Section 5 of the act outlaws refusal to honor the unused value, credit or balance stored in the instrument.
However, gift checks issued to consumers including those under loyalty rewards or promotional programs, as determined by the Department of Trade and Industry, are not covered by this Act.
Coupons or vouchers are not covered as well.
Meanwhile, issuers and accredited merchants may refuse to honor gift checks that are mutilated or defaced.
Complaints about the violation of the act shall be made in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 3, Title 5 of Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
The penalty for first-time offenders is no less than PHP500,000 but not exceeding PHP1 million.
Second offense is also fined for the same amount but with a three-month suspension on the issuance of gift checks.
Once offenders violate the act thrice, their authority to issue gift checks shall be canceled. (PNA)