Consumers with remaining vouchers for floundering retailer Republic will not be able to redeem these after owner Sports Direct refused to honour any claims, it has emerged.
Sports Direct bought the retailer out of administration in February after its collapse into administration amid declining sales and some 78,000 shoppers have been left with vouchers totalling £1.2 million, according to The Guardian.
Sports Direct, which paid £9.8 million to acquire 116 Republic stores, told the newspaper: “It is not our responsibility to honour the vouchers.”
Earlier today, the sports goods specialist reported a total sales rise of 14.3 per cent to £317.4 million in its last quarter as gross profit jumped 22.7 per cent to £128.6 million.
Gift vouchers have been a source of controversy in recent months after administrators for failed entertainment retailer HMV were forced to accept them after claiming that such vouchers were invalid after the retailer’s collapse and this latest refusal will put pressure on the Government to do more to protect consumers’ rights.
Michael Dawson,Group CEO of multi-store gift card company One4all Group, believes that more must be done to make consumers aware of their rights.
“Consumers are understandably concerned about the lack of protection provided for the gift cards they buy,” Dawson said.
“Regulated products bring clear benefits to consumers, giving them the reassurance that they won’t be left out of pocket in the event of a retailer collapsing.
“We want to encourage the industry to move to a higher standard.”
Nonetheless, a statement from Ernst & Young said: “Republic is unable to honour gift cards purchased before February 13th 2013.
“It is also not possible to refund customers for unredeemed balances on gift cards as these payments were made to Republic (Retail) Limited prior to it entering an insolvency process.”