Don’t throw away those long expired Sodexo GCs!

Are you still holding on to expired Sodexo gift certificates (GCs)? Don’t throw them away! You may just be able to use the provisions of the Gift Check Act of 2017 (R. A. 10962), signed into law last December 19, 2017 by President Duterte, to get replacement GCs.

These GCs expired in 2010!

That sinking feeling upon finding expired GCs is REAL! Sayang ang pera! (What a waste of money!)

I remember so clearly that years ago, my Mom gave me and my kids these Sodexo GCs for Christmas. My kids had asked me to exchange theirs for cash so I ended up holding all these GCs. I put them in an envelope and stored them till I needed to shop but as it turned out, my safe place was too safe. I could not find it anymore! So there they lay in their ‘safe place’ for years and years.

A few years ago, in one of those OC spring cleaning moments, I found them again. But by that time, they had long expired. I did not have the heart to throw them away so I kept them. Till the Gift Check Act was passed last December.

For many years, GCs like Sodexo’s and other mall-issued GCs, meant for gifting, came with an expiry date. That bothered me. In my view, anything exchanged on a 1:1 basis (meaning money was exchanged with GCs of the SAME denomination and value) was as good as cash and should not expire. Although I think it was also not the intent, the value of all expired GCs was treated, accounting-wise, as revenue for the issuer because they received money for something not redeemed. GCs were not meant to be revenue-generating instruments for its issuers but that was how it was turning out all these years.

Because of mounting consumer complaints, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in 2010, issued Administrative Order No. 10-04 mandating that GCs issued should not expire. The order, however, carried a grace period of 2 years for commercial establishments so it was implemented only for GCs expiring 2012 and up.

The DTI Administrative Order, unfortunately, did not cover my GCs. My four Sodexo GCs, with PhP 500 value each, had expired Dec. 2010.

The Gift Check Act, specifically the provision in Sec. 9 (Transitory Provision), gave me a good chance to make my case once more. I decided I would test the Gift Check Act.

The relevant provision of the Gift Check Act reads:

SEC. 9. Transitory Provision. – Upon the effectivity of this Act, all gift checks already issued shall be covered by the provisions of this Act.

I interpreted that provision to mean the Act was retroactive even for GCs that expired earlier than 2012.

Two weeks ago, I went to SM Megamall, since the Sodexo GC was specifically for SM. I was referred directly to Sodexo. The Sodexo person I spoke to was very accommodating. They already anticipated the provisions of this Act and were just waiting for the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that will come out not later than 90days after signing of the Act.

Yesterday, I got my replacement Sodexo GCs. Yeepee! Thanks, Sodexo!

My replacement GCs

If you are also holding expired Sodexo GCs, here is what you need to do to have them exchanged:

1. Bring your expired GCs to Sodexo’s main office at 11/F, B.A. Lepanto Building, 8747 Paseo de Roxas Street, Makati City. Office hours are from 9am-6pm, Mondays to Fridays.

2. Proceed to the Reception Area of the Benefits and Rewards Services department and look for a Customer Service representative.

3. You will be issued an acknowledgement receipt (you will need to present this when you claim your replacement Sodexo GCs).

4. Processing is 3-5 working days and revalidation is FREE.

Just some things you should note. One, Sodexo will deal with these replacements on a case-to-case basis. Two, also make sure that you take care of the GCs and ensure that it is not mutilated or torn in a way that invalidates three built-in security features or makes the bar codes unreadable. Lastly, Sodexo is making these replacements now even without the IRR in place but once the IRR come out, Sodexo will have to align its replacement procedures with the IRR.

Bring those expired GCs to Sodexo soonest. Good luck!


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