Gift vouchers are a very popular Christmas or birthday gift to give and to receive but it’s important to know your rights in this area.
The Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 provides a new five year minimum expiry date on all gift vouchers sold from when the Act commences. It also bans the requirement for gift vouchers to be spent by a customer in one transaction, and would also prevent the cancellation of vouchers or the imposition of a charge if the voucher recipient’s name was not registered correctly.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Gift Vouchers
Do always check the terms and conditions when you are buying them. Find out whether the gift voucher has an expiry date and what happens to any unused part of a voucher, and whether the voucher can be used in every outlet if the shop is part of a chain.
Don’t assume that there is no expiry date on a voucher just because it is not listed either on the voucher or even in the terms and conditions.
Do tell the person you are giving the voucher to about those T&Cs.
Don’t expect a shop to replace a voucher if you lose it. It’s just like losing cash, so keep the voucher somewhere safe.
Do buy vouchers from reputable retailers or vouchers than can be used across multiple shops.
Don’t expect to get anything back if you get a voucher for a store that closes down before you get to use it. If that happens, you become an unsecured creditor and you take your place at the back of the queue – typically behind Revenue, staff, banks and bigger creditors.
Do register your claim for the value of your voucher with any liquidator should the store you get a voucher for close down.
Don’t forget that some vouchers start imposing service charges if they are not used within a certain timeframe. These charges can drain an entire gift card remarkably quickly.
Do use your vouchers as quickly as possible. Far too many of us sit on vouchers for far too long, waiting for the perfect purchase. The absolute best way to ensure you don’t get caught out by expiry dates is by using it.