Monday, June 26, 2006

Some Whine To Go With Your Gift Card, Sir?

The 21st century's version of the "I-don't-give-a-damn-diploma", the gift card, is under attack in Ontario. Some consumers are upset because they've got gift cards that have expired, and now they're worthless. Which, I agree, really sucks. But assuming that the fact that it expires is written on the card somewhere, or in the agreement the buyer signed to get the card (I can't imagine a corporation missing this step), I see absolutely no reason for the government to step in to answer this "consumer concern". Memo to government: just because people don't like something, doesn't mean that it's your job to step in and try to correct it. Gerry Phillips, the minister responsible for consumer affairs, had this to say:

“I'm not sure they've got a really good defence of why there needs to be a short expiry date on those things."

Um, Gerry, they don't need to defend it - that's the product they sold and the consumer willingly paid for it. But at least he's not as bad as the consumer critic for the (surprise!) NDP, who said "It's highway robbery. It's a scam and it has to be stopped," calling for the government to completely outlaw the practice.

And the comments on this article are just terrible. Most people seem to passionately believe that this is a "scam" or even outright "theft". They clearly have no idea how free enterprise works or even consider the fact that maybe it's their responsibility to read the fine print before they buy something. It's amazing to see that so many consumers think it is "theft" if they can't use a product exactly the way they thought they could, despite the fact that the product obviously has some conditions associated with it. Caveat emptor, people.


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