Irish Times, March 4th 2010: Consumers warned to redeem gift vouchers without delay
Yet another sad sign of the times we live in...
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.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.
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...