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Money Mart suspends offer to swap cash for half the face value of gift cards

Money Mart will suspend a controversial program offering cash for gift cards at half of their face value.
Money Mart will suspend a controversial program offering cash for gift cards at half of their face value. Kevin Van Paassen/Canadian Press

TORONTO – Money Mart has agreed to suspend its controversial program offering cash for gift cards at half of their face value after a call from Ontario’s Consumer Services Ministry.

The government issued a release saying the payday loan company “voluntarily suspended” the gift card exchange program, which Money Mart defended earlier Friday as a “convenient” service for its customers.

Consumer Services Minister David Orazietti says his office is looking to see if there needs to be increased regulation around the re-selling of gift cards, something the opposition parties called for Thursday when they demanded the practice be stopped.

Orazietti says the government wants to ensure a high standard of consumer protection.

Ontario’s New Democrats called Money Mart a Grinch for launching the cash-for-gift-cards scheme during the pre-Christmas period, when many charities give their clients the cards.

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Money Mart, which has branches across the country, described the service as “value added” in an earlier release Friday, which NDP consumer critic Jagmeet Singh said showed “how horribly misguided” the company really is.