Take the ‘ouch’ out of gift vouchers this Christmas

December 17, 2014

 

One in four (25%) consumers have lost out at some point by letting a gift card or voucher expire according to new research, conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

In a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 consumers, the popularity of giving gift vouchers is apparent with 41% of shoppers saying that they have bought gift vouchers in the past twelve months. And the same number (41%) plan to buy gift vouchers this Christmas. However, half of those who have purchased vouchers as gifts in the past twelve months (50%) said that they didn’t  check conditions of use while almost one in three (29%) didn’t check expiry dates.

Commenting on the findings of the research Isolde Goggin, Chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said “Our research shows that gift vouchers remain popular among consumers in Ireland. However, to avoid potential problems when using a gift voucher it is important that consumers check the conditions and any expiry dates from gift vouchers they purchase or receive because they vary significantly. For example, some gift cards charge a monthly fee after a year if the card has not been used. Other retailers will only allow a voucher to be used in one go.”

Ms Goggin continued, “Encouragingly consumers seem to be more aware of what to look out for. While our latest research shows that one in four consumers has let a gift voucher expire at some point, this is an improvement on last year’s survey which found that one in two consumers let a gift voucher expire.  With only one week left to Christmas, it is important if you are giving a gift voucher that you check the terms, conditions and expiry dates before you buy, but equally that you pass this information on to the person receiving the voucher, so they can get the enjoyment of using it.”

The research also found that those receiving vouchers were leaving themselves open to experiencing problems when using their vouchers. More than one in four (28%) don’t check expiry dates, one in two (53%) don’t check the terms and conditions of use and nearly seven out of ten (69%) don’t check fees and charges.

“If you get a gift voucher or card this Christmas, it is very important to check the expiry date and terms and conditions of use. Then make a plan to spend it as soon as you can. This will ensure you get the enjoyment out of the gift and reduce the risk of problems occurring when you use it. Most importantly – don’t put your vouchers away to use later as you might forget about them. For more information on gift vouchers including key terms and conditions for a wide range of retailers, consumers should check out www.consumerhelp.ie.”

 

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