Warning to think twice before buying gift cards this Christmas

Consumers have been warned to “think twice” before buying gift cards this Christmas after nearly one in 10 received a voucher in the past year for a retailer that has gone bankrupt.

Who? surveyed 2,000 consumers to find that 7% had received a gift card for a retailer that had gone bankrupt since March 2020.

Almost two-fifths (38%) of those consumers were unable to redeem their full voucher balance, with an average of £ 25 unspent.

One in five (21%) of bust retailer voucher holders had a gift card for an Arcadia Group retailer.

Some of these retailers, including Topshop and Miss Selfridge, only allowed customers to pay for 50% of their order total using the gift card credit after they were put into administration after Christmas last year, the buyers remaining to finance the other half with their own money.

Who? warned that admins can decline gift cards at any time in an effort to save a struggling retailer.

The organization has also found that some retailers are better than others at indicating the expiration date of their gift cards.

More than half of those who received a gift card in the past year (53%) had a clearly stated expiration date while a quarter (27%) said the expiration date didn’t was not clear on their map.

The most common reasons respondents gave for not spending a gift card were not to use it (42%) and not find what they wanted to spend it on (28%).

Who? Consumer rights spokesperson Adam French said: “Who? advises consumers to think twice before purchasing gift cards this holiday season.

“While gift cards may seem like an easy gift to give to hard-to-please family or friends this Christmas, our research shows you could stay dry if the business goes bankrupt. “

The Gift Card and Voucher Association said, “Given the economic crisis of the past year and a half, it’s understandable that consumers are wary. However, gift cards remain the go-to choice for an ever-growing number of buyers, with the gift card market worth around £ 7 billion according to the latest industry assessment.

“Looking to the future, especially in an era when supply shortages continue to be prevalent, gift cards and vouchers are also often the most convenient and secure option for buyers looking to avoid. disappointments this Christmas, while dramatically reducing festive waste and unwanted gifts. “

Who? surveyed 2,000 British adults in October.

For more stories of where you live, visit InYourZone.

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