Trading Stamps

Trading Stamps

The Trading Stamps Act 1980 regulates the issue, use and redemption of trading stamps and provides for certain connected matters. The Act was retained by the modern and more general Consumer Protection Act, and its administration is undertaken by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.,

A trading stamp is any stamp, coupon, voucher, token or other device which is intended to be delivered to any person upon or, in connection with the purchase of goods (other than a newspaper or periodical of which the stamp forms part or in which it is contained) or for the provision of services or is intended to be redeemable by that or some other person.  It excludes stamps, coupons, vouchers which are redeemable only by the seller of the goods or his supplier or the person who provided the service.

A trading stamp scheme is any arrangements for making trading stamps available for use in shops or elsewhere including arrangements for their redemption.


Scheme Promoter must be Resident

It is unlawful for any person other than a company with a place of business in the State to carry on business as a promoter of a trading stamp scheme.  A person who carries on business as a promoter in breach is guilty of an offence subject on conviction of indictment to a fine of up to £5000 (€6,350).  This is subject to EU law on establishment.

There is provision for summary prosecution where the court is of the opinion that the offence constitutes a minor offence fit to be tried summarily and where the DPP and the defendant consent.  In this event, the fine specified in the legislation in 1980 was £500. This was revised upwards by the general Fines legislation.


Information on Face of Stamp

No person shall issue or cause to be issued or deliver to any person, a trading stamp unless it bears on its face in clear and legible characters, the name and registered trademark of the company who issued it and its value is expressed in the currency of the State.

The Minister may prescribe that values specified on the face of a trading stamp shall be not less than the cost of the trading stamp to the person to whom it is sold or not less than the cost by a proportion as may be specified in the order.   Different values may be prescribed for different classes of trading stamps. Contravention is an offence subject to a fine up to £500.


Redemption of Stamps

If the holder of any number of trading stamps, which have an aggregate cash value of not less than a pound (€1.27) request, the promoter of the scheme shall redeem them by paying not less than their aggregate cash value.  The holder of the trading stamps may exercise this right by presenting the stamps at any reasonable time at the registered office or place of business of the company which a scheme promoter, by sending the stamps by post to that place with sufficient instructions as to the manner in which the cash value is to be paid over or by any other means afforded by the promoter of the scheme.

If the promoter of the trading scheme fails, neglects or refuses to redeem any trading stamp which has been duly presented in accordance with the above provision, the holder of the stamps may recover the value of the stamps as a simple contract debt in a court of civil jurisdiction.


Publication Requirements

Every company, which is a promoter of a trading stamps scheme under which it offers goods and services in exchange for trading stamps shall publish and make reasonably available a catalogue which lists the goods or services which are offered in exchange for the trading stamp.

A catalogue published by or on behalf of a promoter of a trading stamps scheme

  • shall illustrate and identify the goods offered in exchange for the stamps;
  • state the number of stamps, which the goods in the catalogue, which will be exchanged for;
  • state the name and address of the registered office of the company promoting the scheme;
  • state the date on which the catalogue shall cease to be valid, which shall not be less than six months after the date specified above.

A company which is the promoter of a trading stamps scheme is deemed not to have complied with the above provisions unless it has lodged a copy of the catalogue with the Minister (the Department), announced after the catalogue has been lodged and not later than one month before the date on which it becomes operative in at least one daily newspaper that the catalogue will become operative from a date specified and supplied a copy of the catalogue to every shop and other premises where trading stamps are offered to the public.

A company, which is the promoter of a trading stamp scheme, which fails to comply with the above provisions or alters the exchange value in the current catalogue without the consent of the Minister or includes in a catalogue, goods and services without having made reasonable provision to meet the foreseeable demand for them, is guilty of an offence.


Catalogue available at Retail Premises

Every person who is the owner, or occupier or has control of a shop or other premises in which a trading stamps scheme is operated, shall where the promoter publishes a catalogue, keep available for inspection, a copy of the current catalogue on display in a prominent position where it can easily be read by customers, with a notice stating in a clear and legible character;

  • where the promoter publishes a catalogue of goods offered in exchange, that the catalogue is available for inspection by customers on demand,
  • the number of stamps offered for every one Euro of purchases in the shop or other premises and
  • the cash redemption value of the stamps.

Any person who fails without reasonable cause to comply with the above provisions is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine up to £50 (€63.50).


Sale of Goods Acts Rights Apply

The provisions of the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act applies to a publication by a company which is the promoter of a trading stamp scheme. It is regarded as an offer. The tender within the prescribed period of the appropriate number of stamps is regarded as acceptance as if the acceptance was for monetary consideration.

The provisions of the Sale of Goods Act apply in every case where the promoter offers goods and services in exchange for trading stamps.  Where a person other than a promoter of a trading stamps scheme offers goods or services in exchange for trading stamps, the Sale of Goods Act shall apply as if it was in exchange for monetary consideration.


Advertisements

It is unlawful for a company which is the promoter of a trading stamp scheme or any persons carrying on a trade or business as a trading stamp scheme operator to advertise, issue, publish or cause to be issued or published, an advertisement

  • which conveys the cash value of any trading stamps by means of a statement which associates the worth of the trading stamps with the amount that the holder pays for the goods or service to obtain the stamps or
  • whose terms are misleading and deceptive.

Contravention is an offence subject to a fine up to £500 (€635)

Any contract which is made between a retailer and any person other than the promoter of the scheme under which the retailer is required to offer trading stamps to his customer is void.  An offence committed by directors or officers of bodies corporate with their consent or connivance may be the subject of prosecutions against them personally.

It is unlawful for a company which is promoter of a scheme or any person carrying on a trade or business in which a trading stamp scheme is operated to publish an advertisement or purport to convey the cash value of the trading stamps by means of a statement which associates their worth with the amount that the holder of the stamp pays or may pay for the goods or services to obtain the stamps or which is otherwise misleading or deceptive.