Consumers warned to redeem gift vouchers without delay

MsAnneThrope

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Irish Times, March 4th 2010: Consumers warned to redeem gift vouchers without delay

Yet another sad sign of the times we live in...

The National Consumer Agency said it was renewing its appeal to consumers to be aware of risks associated with gift vouchers, and to spend them quickly. [...]

Terry O’Connor said he bought a book for his 15-year-old son Alan at a Hughes & Hughes in Swords before Christmas for €14.

His son decided against keeping the book and returned it to the store, where he was given a voucher for the same amount.

When Mr O’Connor went to the Hughes & Hughes branch in Dublin airport this week he was told they would no longer accept book tokens. He said he believed it amounted to “reckless trading” that Hughes & Hughes was selling and giving out book tokens at a time when management must have known the chain was in trouble financially. [...]

NCA director of policy analysis and communications Maria Hurley said a company which goes into receivership does not have to honour gift vouchers, even if stores are still open.
I always suspected that gift vouchers were very profitable for retailers. Many vouchers expire after a set period of time, many are lost or forgotten about completely, and many are never redeemed for their full value. Now, if there is a rush of people cashing them in for the full amount, I think retailers are going to feel an additional squeeze. A squeeze that may finally push some over the edge.

Reading this article made me realise I have over €120 of gift vouchers for various department stores and retailers. Time to use them I suppose but I'm going to feel a bit guilty as I don't really need anything. I never thought I'd see the day where I felt guilty using a gift voucher...
 


CookieMonster

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I have a couple of hundred euro in those general use-them-anywhere vouchers in my wallet for about a year. Must fish them out!
 

Libero

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NCA director of policy analysis and communications Maria Hurley said a company which goes into receivership does not have to honour gift vouchers, even if stores are still open.
I don't think that's true.

Examinership, yes. Liquidation, of course. Welcome to the world of the unsecured creditor. (Like the Mr O'Connor in the IT piece - who, one imagines, made contact with the IT - you might scream "reckless trading" and see if that gets you paid off.)

But unless the T&Cs of the voucher say otherwise, receivership wouldn't interfere with the contractual obligation owed by a retailer to someone holding a voucher.
 

johnfás

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I don't think that's true.

Examinership, yes. Liquidation, of course. Welcome to the world of the unsecured creditor. (Like the Mr O'Connor in the IT piece - who, one imagines, made contact with the IT - you might scream "reckless trading" and see if that gets you paid off.)

But unless the T&Cs of the voucher say otherwise, receivership wouldn't interfere with the contractual obligation owed by a retailer to someone holding a voucher.
Depends on the circumstances of the receivership. In most cases a receivership will result in gift vouchers not being honoured. In alot of cases the assets which come under the receivership include the stock of the trading company in question. In which case the company has nothing to trade on, ipso facto the vouchers cannot be honoured as they can only be exchanged for goods.
 
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IT: Consumers have been warned to redeem gift vouchers as soon as possible because they will be left with very little if retailers go out of business.

This is reckless reporting by the IT and could seriously damage our international reputation and credit rating.........Messrs. Cowen & Lenihan have repeatedly assured us the worst is already over and that we're surrounded by green shoots. Who would you believe, the Irish Times or Messrs. Cowen & Lenihan?
 

meriwether

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I don't think that's true.

Examinership, yes. Liquidation, of course. Welcome to the world of the unsecured creditor. (Like the Mr O'Connor in the IT piece - who, one imagines, made contact with the IT - you might scream "reckless trading" and see if that gets you paid off.)

But unless the T&Cs of the voucher say otherwise, receivership wouldn't interfere with the contractual obligation owed by a retailer to someone holding a voucher.

If in the Receivership there is nothing left once the fixed charge holders have been paid, then there is nothing.

And its most likely in all receiverships that there is nothing left.
 

meriwether

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Had a quick check there - voucher holder is unsecured. Goodnght.

The only hope they have is that management out together a fund of the recepits from the vouchers when they thought they were approaching financial trouble, as happened with another retailer last year.

Vouchers bought after that date were secured, those prior to that were unsecured.
 

MsAnneThrope

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AS Far As I know - Gift Vouchers were taken to the European court and it is unlawful to have a Use before date or expiry date on them...

They are legal tender in the eyes of the European court.
They're still selling them with expiry dates. As Christmas presents for a son and daughter I got them hotel vouchers each, from IrelandHotels.com which is the official site of the Irish Hotels Federation. In the terms and conditions of each voucher it states:

This voucher is valid for 1 year from the date of purchase. Monetary vouchers can be exchanged for goods, services or gift cards, specific vouchers must be used for the purpose intended such as for example a spa treatment. This voucher can be used as full or part payment. No change will be given
That last condition is quite unreasonable too I think. If their hotel bill was €75 and the voucher was for €100 they'd have to forfeit the whole voucher to use it. Of course IHF vouchers can be used at any one of hundreds of hotels nationwide and there's no doubt they'll use them before they expire but, if as you suggested, it's deemed unlawful to issue them now with expiry dates then maybe the National Consumer Agency should get tougher with these operators?
 

markeys

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IT: Consumers have been warned to redeem gift vouchers as soon as possible because they will be left with very little if retailers go out of business.

This is reckless reporting by the IT and could seriously damage our international reputation and credit rating.........Messrs. Cowen & Lenihan have repeatedly assured us the worst is already over and that we're surrounded by green shoots. Who would you believe, the Irish Times or Messrs. Cowen & Lenihan?
Bertie will be along to tell them go commit suicide.
 

imokyrok

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When the sad news on Hughes and Hughes emerged someone contacted the radio to say they had over €800 worth of H&H vouchers. :eek: I wonder how that happened. Did they get married and request all wedding gifts in the form of book vouchers or something?
 

Mitsui2

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Terry O’Connor said he bought a book for his 15-year-old son Alan at a Hughes & Hughes in Swords before Christmas for €14.

His son decided against keeping the book and returned it to the store, where he was given a voucher for the same amount.

When Mr O’Connor went to the Hughes & Hughes branch in Dublin airport this week he was told they would no longer accept book tokens. He said he believed it amounted to “reckless trading” that Hughes & Hughes was selling and giving out book tokens at a time when management must have known the chain was in trouble financially. [...]

NCA director of policy analysis and communications Maria Hurley said a company which goes into receivership does not have to honour gift vouchers, even if stores are still open.
It's important in this particular area to distinguish between a bookstore voucher and an actual book token, which are not the same thing - although many bookshops gloss over the fact.

Actual book tokens are issued by a dedicated third party and can be used in almost any bookshop, whereas tokens or vouchers issued by the stores themselves are more or less the glorified equivalent of a credit note - for use only in that particular store or chain.

The obvious advantage of this from the store's point of view is that these vouchers cost them less, but the downside is that your choice is more limited - not to mention cases such as the one described here, as in this instance it seems clear Mr O'Connor was given either a credit note or one of Hughes & Hughes' own vouchers.
 

MsAnneThrope

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When the sad news on Hughes and Hughes emerged someone contacted the radio to say they had over €800 worth of H&H vouchers. :eek: I wonder how that happened. Did they get married and request all wedding gifts in the form of book vouchers or something?
Oh the downside of having a strong accent when you say all you want is "a few bucks" :)
 

ionsniffer

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https://www.facebook.com/DublinSaysNo.DSN/posts/1130358280324011

PEOPLE BEWARE: I telephoned An Post one4all to query the €1-45 per month debit and was informed our wonderful Government passed this into legislation. (another stealth Tax) All gift cards everywhere will be debited by €1.45 per month irrespective of the balance. These cards were already purchased i.e if you bought a €60 card you paid €62. So please share this and don't give gift cards for presents. I asked if a €60 card was not used would it have a Zero balance after 41 Months. The answer is YES folks. RIP OFF IRELAND IS RIGHT.

PEOPLE BEWARE: I telephoned An Post one4all to query the €1-45 per month debit and was informed our wonderful Government passed this into legislation. (another stealth Tax) All gift cards everywhere will be debited by €1.45 per month irrespective of the balance. These cards were already purchased i.e if you bought a €60 card you paid €62. So please share this and don't give gift cards for presents. I asked if a €60 card was not used would it have a Zero balance after 41 Months. The answer is YES folks. RIP OFF IRELAND IS RIGHT.
 

enuffisenuff

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https://www.facebook.com/DublinSaysNo.DSN/posts/1130358280324011

PEOPLE BEWARE: I telephoned An Post one4all to query the €1-45 per month debit and was informed our wonderful Government passed this into legislation. (another stealth Tax) All gift cards everywhere will be debited by €1.45 per month irrespective of the balance. These cards were already purchased i.e if you bought a €60 card you paid €62. So please share this and don't give gift cards for presents. I asked if a €60 card was not used would it have a Zero balance after 41 Months. The answer is YES folks. RIP OFF IRELAND IS RIGHT.

PEOPLE BEWARE: I telephoned An Post one4all to query the €1-45 per month debit and was informed our wonderful Government passed this into legislation. (another stealth Tax) All gift cards everywhere will be debited by €1.45 per month irrespective of the balance. These cards were already purchased i.e if you bought a €60 card you paid €62. So please share this and don't give gift cards for presents. I asked if a €60 card was not used would it have a Zero balance after 41 Months. The answer is YES folks. RIP OFF IRELAND IS RIGHT.
thanks for the heads up...much appreciated!
 

dizillusioned

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https://www.facebook.com/DublinSaysNo.DSN/posts/1130358280324011

PEOPLE BEWARE: I telephoned An Post one4all to query the €1-45 per month debit and was informed our wonderful Government passed this into legislation. (another stealth Tax) All gift cards everywhere will be debited by €1.45 per month irrespective of the balance. These cards were already purchased i.e if you bought a €60 card you paid €62. So please share this and don't give gift cards for presents. I asked if a €60 card was not used would it have a Zero balance after 41 Months. The answer is YES folks. RIP OFF IRELAND IS RIGHT.

PEOPLE BEWARE: I telephoned An Post one4all to query the €1-45 per month debit and was informed our wonderful Government passed this into legislation. (another stealth Tax) All gift cards everywhere will be debited by €1.45 per month irrespective of the balance. These cards were already purchased i.e if you bought a €60 card you paid €62. So please share this and don't give gift cards for presents. I asked if a €60 card was not used would it have a Zero balance after 41 Months. The answer is YES folks. RIP OFF IRELAND IS RIGHT.
Oh Gawd,,,,,, relax will you. It is not on ALL gift cards. It is on the debit/cradit card version of the one4all card. The paper version lasts one year. Its an administration charge each month for using the card as a debit card.... I personally hate these things anyway.
 

dizillusioned

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Unused gift cards total $44B since 2008: study | New York Post

From 2008-2014 in America retailers sold 44 BILLION in vouchers which were never cashed. Most expire in 6-12 months anyway, and businesses close. Its amazing to think all that money is spent on something that is literally thrown away.

I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers for Ireland weren't also amazingly high.
Yep, here is one guy that hates all gift vouchers. I just give them away as I never get to use them. A few years ago I got around 250euro in Gift vouchers at Christmas from various friends, put them away and forgot about them.... I am ashamed..;)
 


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