Or will they expire before you can use them?!
If you‘ve come here after watching the report on The One Show about gift cards, here are some of those tips and more with the links you might need. Plus other useful links at the end.
The press release with more background information on the story can be found on Looking a gift card in the mouth
1) Carefully check the expiry date of the Gift Card, which could even be different to advertised! Tesco sells the Pizza Express card with an 18 months expiry but when I contacted them they said this was mistake and would change the figure on their website to 24 months. Many independent restaurants can be 6-9 months and experience days are usually 6 or 9. Most will start the clock running again from when the card was last used if you have credit.
2) If you find a card that you haven’t used, go into the store and ask for a balance check. Many of the larger retailers will do this and your time will start again. So if you have only 3 months left on a card but started with 24, the 24 will start again.
3) Remember your consumer rights stay the same. If the item you buy with the card is not of satisfactory quality then under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you can take it back within 30 days for a full refund. After that time a repair or replacement may be offered. But you get refunded using the method by which you paid, so the money will go back onto the Gift Card
4) It isn’t just gift cards as presents you need to be careful of, as sometimes gift cards are given as goodwill gestures by companies. So for example, Eurostar or Ryanair may give you a Gift Card and you don’t intend to travel for a couple of years, but their cards only last a year.
5) Often its grandparents giving children Gift Cards. They don’t like the idea of just giving cash and sometimes feel that if they hand over money in a shop it is more of a present than cash, but those younger children go out shopping less often than adults so check their cards too. Buy them off the children, if you can use them.
6) My mum always bought mine at face value when I was a child because she’s nice, but if you don’t have the option of exchanging for face value you can always sell them on a website. Zeek has been going for a couple of years in this country. It provides a way to can sell your unwanted gift card for slightly less than face value and Zeek takes 7% (you just have more than 3 months to go on the card). Zeek checks balances on cards before they can be sold. You may find gift cards on auction st of course eBay doesn’t check what sellers sell. Useful guidance can be found on eBay Buyers Guide to purchasing Gift Vouchers & Gift Cards from the UK Giftcard and Voucher Association.
7) Keep the receipt in a separate place to the card. If you lose the card you will still have the details so that if you act quickly enough the store maybe able to cancel the card. But in essence the card acts like cash.
8) Check that you can use in concessions within a store and online, as again all varies from store to store!
9) If store goes bust act quickly. It will be up to the administrators as to whether they will continue to accept them.
10) If your card has expired don’t despair. Although it is unlikely you will get a full refund it is worth asking at the checkout, then with customer services and then the CEO, by telling him or her what you think of their ridiculous unnecessary expiry dates!
Big name companies which only have one year expiry dates are:
Wiggle, Eurostar, Habitat, Ticketmaster, Crew Clothing, Ryanair, Spafinder, O2 Climb, Vue, Westfield Shopping Centre, JD Sports and Restaurant Choice (variety of chains and you can’t even use with any discount promotion either!)
Buyagift and Spabreaks
Various independent restaurants, We Are Vertigo and UK Paintball
Signed copies of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! . Or get unsigned copies from Amazon here.
See Ceoemail.com for the contact details for any CEO.
Newsletter. Promise not to fill up your inbox with lots of rubbish on a regular basis! I don’t send them very often, but when I do it’s usually to tell you about changes in the law, updates and items of interest. So go on sign up you know you’re interested and I shall of course complain if you don’t!