Take the ‘ouch!’ out of gift vOUCHers

December 17, 2014

With only a week left to Christmas Eve, you may be considering a gift voucher as a present. Gift vouchers and gift cards are a popular choice of present but our recent research shows that one in four have let a voucher expire at some point. Avoid being disappointed with a voucher you give or receive by following our tips:

  • Know the expiry dates – in many cases gift vouchers or cards have an expiry date after which you cannot use them. If the expiry date is not clear or there is no expiry date on the gift voucher or gift card, ask if there is one. If the voucher is a present for someone else let them know when the voucher expires.
  • Check terms and conditions before you buy a gift voucher or gift card.
  • If you are buying a gift voucher or card for a large amount, find out what rules apply to balances left on them– do you have to spend the gift voucher or card amount all in one go or can you use it a few times?
  • Check to see if the gift voucher or card can be used at more than one outlet or chain. If the shop you bought the gift voucher or card from goes out of business, it will be hard for you to use it, but if it has more than one outlet you may be able to use it in another outlet.
  • The best way to avoid any problems is to use vouchers as quickly as possible.
  • See if any charges apply – this should be mentioned in the terms and conditions. The store may charge an inactivity fee or maintenance fee, which you may have to pay if you don’t use the card within a certain period of time.
  • Take care of your gift voucher or gift card – If you lose a gift voucher, the shop does not have to replace it. It’s just like losing cash, so always keep the voucher somewhere safe, but don’t hide it so well that you forget about it!
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