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

Tesco on track to increase fake farms

Time for a bit of Tesco bashing, well it’s been a couple of months. (For those new to the blog see History with Tesco). I’ve seen the slides from a “Tesco Investor and Analyst Seminar”. The presentation doesn’t have a title which is pretty poor in the first place but moving on.

All quite dull really other than there’s a move to match price and quality of more products.

Tesco’s new strategy will increase its benchmarking of 500 product lines to a total of 11,000 lines. Yep 11,000 that wasn’t a typo.

product-architecture

Slide not make much sense? Maybe when someone was presenting it did. But key pointers are that Tesco says that it will match the quality and price (including “farm brands”) of at least 60% of Aldi and Lidl products and aim to ensure that the products are preferred to their Aldi and Lidl equivalents by at least 6 out of 10 customers.

Tesco brand products will be benchmarked against the quality of Sainsbury’s and the price against Asda, and aim to ensure that they are preferred by at least 8 out 10 customers. I feel I should put in a picture of a cat here.

8 out of 10 cats preferred food from a real farm

The finest* brand products will benchmark the quality against the market leader by product category (e.g. M&S/Waitrose) and there will be no specific price benchmark, it says to ensure that they can offer the best possible quality products. They aim to ensure that these products are preferred by 10 out of 10 customers. Well if there’s no price match that’s all rather pointless isn’t it?! Oh look it tastes as good as M and S but look pay even more. Great policy Tesco??

So does that mean more fake farms? This story about increasing ranges hasn’t been covered much in the media has it? So it’s not like we are going to be aware to check. Along come some more fake farms. Some people may even be fooled into thinking that Tesco has listened to criticism and brought in some new REAL farms!

When I quizzed Tesco on the point about increasing fake farms a spokesperson said, “Our exclusive fresh food brands have been very popular and we’re really pleased with the feedback we’ve had from our customers. Customers tell us they like the combination of market leading prices and quality right across the range.”

Maybe so, I buy some of the range and part from tomatoes which are frequently rotten the quality is fine, that isn’t what some of us have an issue with. The issue is the marketing.

When I interviewed Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO a couple of months ago I asked about fake farms:

Tesco | Complaining Cow meets Dave Lewis and Matt Davies

[Tweet ““… we’re completely transparent about where the products come from” Tesco CEO Dave Lewis”] but still play on insinuation?

So despite Fake Farms – A bad country smell that won’t go away… (providing information on just how close those names are to existing farms, what farms, Trading Standards and what customers say, it looks like there will be more fake farms on the way!

24th October 2017  Tesco pledges to back British farmers and help people eat more healthily committed to helping people eat more healthily. I’ll give them that they look to be imporving the way they work with British farmers but there is no mention of how they will promote British farmers over their fake farm brands.

What do you think?