Will your Gift Cards keep on giving?

Or will they expire before you can use them?!

The press release with more background information on the story from 2016  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:

12 months
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!)

10 months
Buyagift and Spabreaks

6 months
Various independent restaurants, We Are Vertigo and UK Paintball

Other cons!
Be really careful of the Post Office One4all gift card! “Quoted from their site “There will be a charge of 90p applied to the card on the19th month after the card sale date and each month thereafter until the card balance reaches zero.” That stinks!

Matalan may not give you any change when you use their gift cards!

Useful information

Consumer Rights Act 2015

20 Top Tips for Complaining Effectively

 

Signed copies of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! . Or get unsigned copies from Amazon

 

 

 

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!

Looking a Gift Card in the Mouth

*refer a friend link

3 Simple Steps to Gain Compensation for Train Delays

Last week, it was in the media that people don’t complain about train delays and don’t get the compensation to which they are due. Is that you? You WALLY! I always get money back for journeys which are delayed and frankly don’t write up the stories on here ‘cos it’s so simple and boring! All you have to do is fill out a form! So, because I’m a nice person. Ok, I’m not. Well for whatever reason, if only to annoy the train companies so that they spend their ridiculous income on improvements instead of payouts, I’m here to make things really easy for you. You’re welcome.

The rail companies all have a passenger charter. They abide by that which links to the National Rail Network guidelines. From July 2015 amendments were made to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage meaning you can now ask for monetary compensation and you should get it. Companies may still try and give you vouchers but you should refuse and demand money.

Payouts vary on how long the journey needs to be delayed. Most, if not all, would have you believe that you are only entitled to part of full refund and no other costs. Wrong. If the delay was in the train company’s control and you are left stranded for example the company is responsible for putting you up in accommodation so keep all receipts but stay somewhere with reasonable costs! The Rail Passenger’s Rights and Obligations Regulations 2010 gives more protection. So, if you think have a case, go for it and remember my Tips if you do. A “Would The Complaining Cow go for it question” is always a good one. If I would then and if you write it right you’ll get a decent payback.

Train companies are listed here. On that page are links to all the train companies including the underground. (Incidentally, tube refunds take two minutes to request, used to do them on a regular basis when daily using the Victoria line).  Click on the link of the company you need, then click on the website on that page and from that page do a search for “complaints” or “refunds”. Some say form, email etc. so you will need to go through whatever process it details and each will pay differently.

There is more information in the National Rail Conditions Of Carriage, look up that too and use that too!

If you think the response is unsatisfactory you can take the matter further. If your journey was outside London or the National Rail Enquiries Service then go through Passenger Focus.  For London and surrounding areas (including those on London Underground or London Overground) contact the London Travel Watch. If you’re unhappy with the response of either of these organisations get in touch again and raise a complaint with them about how your complaint has been dealt with! (See Tips on complaining) If you’re still unhappy with the way your complaint has been handled, you can take it to the Parliamentary Ombudsman (for Passenger Focus), or the London TravelWatch Chief Executive and, if you are still unhappy with London TravelWatch, the Local Government Ombudsman.

Information about complaining about buses here.

Most recent information on delays and vouchers from Which?

Update 07/09/16 Win! New rail passenger rights announced rail will be covered by the Consumer Rights Act from 1st October 2016. From the Which? post:

“This is good news for rail passengers. In a little over three weeks all rail passengers will be entitled to have their compensation paid within 14 days. Compensation will be issued by the same method the passenger paid with, rather than with vouchers that some train companies currently use.

Passengers will also be entitled to payment for additional consequential losses, such as missed connections, and will be able to claim for any length of delay.”

Good luck and please share your success stories with us here!

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