We’ve all had it happen to us at some point.

Maybe it was a friend or family member who just wasn’t quite sure what to get us, so they just got a gift card.

The biggest problem with gift cards is that up until recently they had expiry dates; so basically if you didn’t use them within a certain time frame, they became useless and whatever business they were from kept the money.

Recent legislation, however, has now made it illegal for gift cards to expire; and it’s about time — after all, the money spent on the gift card doesn’t expire!

Knowing this, I was a little surprised when a friend complained to me they bought bus tickets in November, which expired at the end of 2008.

When he contacted ETS by phone, he was simply told they had expired and were now worthless — he later consulted the ETS website and found out he could, in fact, exchange the expired tickets for valid ones, but only if he had a full strip of 10 tickets.

Slightly annoyed with this, he contacted his city councillor’s office, and they were more than helpful and advocated on his behalf to ETS, who eventually let him trade his eight expired tickets for eight valid ones.

According to ETS, the expiration dates on tickets are largely to prevent people from hoarding tickets and using them years after they are out of date.

Fair enough. The last thing they need is someone trying to use tickets from the 1980s to hop on the bus or LRT.

ETS also said they had consulted with the provincial government with regard to the expiration dates, and they had been reassured their transit tickets are exempt from the legislation, which affects the expirations on things such as gift cards.

And as a courtesy, they allow individuals to trade in full strips of expired tickets for full strips of valid tickets throughout the month of January (though for accounting reasons they will not exchange individual tickets).

Still, it seems if the cost of the expired tickets and the cost of the valid tickets are the same, people should still be able to access the service they paid for, rather than be told their tickets are now useless.