Almost half of consumers let gift vouchers go out of date

Those who intend to buy vouchers this year will spend an average of €174

Chief executive of the National Consumer Agency Karen O’Leary said nearly half of people surveyed had let gift vouchers go past their sell-by date. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Chief executive of the National Consumer Agency Karen O’Leary said nearly half of people surveyed had let gift vouchers go past their sell-by date. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Thu, Dec 5, 2013, 06:35

Almost half of consumers have lost out by letting gift cards or vouchers expire according to new research.

The National Consumer Agency said 48 per cent of those surveyed last month said they had let gift vouchers go past their sell-by date.

Some 1,011 people across the country were interviewed for the survey by Behaviour & Attitudes between November 12th and 25th.

Those who intend to buy gift vouchers this year say that they will spend an average of €174. More than four out of five (81 per cent) said they had bought gift vouchers as Christmas presents in the past. More than half (51 per cent) said they planned to buy gift vouchers this Christmas.

But the survey also suggested that half of those who give or receive a voucher don’t check the conditions of use.

Chief executive of the National Consumer Agency Karen O’Leary said the survey showed that almost two-thirds of consumers (63 per cent) received gift vouchers in the last year. She said the agency strongly advised those giving gift vouchers as a present to “closely check the expiry dates as these vary from shop to shop”.

“You should also make sure you know what terms, conditions and charges apply.

“Be clear what it is you are buying and make sure you pass any relevant details on to the person you are buying the voucher for.”


Significant majority
Ms O’Leary added that a significant majority (71 per cent) of those surveyed said they did not know what their rights were if a shop went out of business.

“In general, you become an unsecured creditor so you rank behind other types of creditors, such as staff and Revenue. In these circumstances, it may be very difficult to get your voucher honoured.

“By buying multi-store vouchers you can avoid this risk and by using your voucher as soon as you can, you can prevent other potential problems arising.”

Those receiving vouchers or gift cards for Christmas should check the expiry date and terms and conditions and ask the person giving it when they bought it. The agency has a list of the expiry date and partial encashment policies of 127 retailers on its website consumerhelp.ie

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