ONTARIO-If you’ve been saving up those rewards points for years and are worried about losing them there’s some good news, the government says the points you earn cannot expire.
Beginning on January 1, 2018, consumers will be protected against losing reward points that they have been saving up for larger purchases, and the change will be retroactive to October 1, 2016 the province announced today.
The province examined the terms of over 50 different programs when drafting the new regulations. If a reward points program issues vouchers, they will be considered as gift cards, and will not be allowed to expire. “These are important new ground rules that preserve the points consumers have built up over time. Many people save their points for years to use toward a large purchase. That has real value and should be protected.” said Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Government and Consumer Services
However there are a few caveats: If a member does not earn or redeem reward points over a long period of time, some rewards programs close accounts due to prolonged inactivity. This will continue to be permitted if it is stated explicitly in the membership agreement. Reward programs dealing only with low-value items of $50 or less will be exempt.
Consumers who believe their points improperly expired will be able to request that businesses reimburse them, or may file a complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario. “Reward point programs have become an important tool for businesses to engage consumers in ways that build trust and loyalty for their brands. The Canadian Marketing Association is pleased to see a balanced framework of rules that will reassure points collectors without creating unnecessary program restrictions in a fast-moving and competitive marketplace.” states Wally Hill, Vice President, Government & Consumer Affairs, Canadian Marketing Association