Which? warns shoppers to ‘think twice’ about gift cards this Christmas

Consumers have been warned to “think twice” before buying gift cards this Christmas thanks to a survey from Which?
Which? warned that administrators may refuse gift cards at any point in a bid to save a troubled retailer.
// Which? surveyed 2,000 consumers & found that 7% had received a gift card for a retailer that had gone bust since March 2020
// Almost two-fifths of these consumers were unable to redeem the full balance of their voucher,

Consumers have been warned to “think twice” before buying gift cards this Christmas after almost one in 10 received a voucher over the last year for a retailer that has gone bust.

After surveying 2,000 consumers in October, Which? found that 7 per cent had received a gift card for a retailer that had gone bust since March 2020.

Almost two-fifths of these consumers were unable to redeem the full balance of their voucher, with an average of £25 left unspent while one in five of those with vouchers for bust retailers had a gift card for an Arcadia Group retailer.


READ MORE: Are gift cards still needed in 2021?


Some of these retailers, including Topshop and Miss Selfridge, only allowed customers to pay for 50 per cent of their order total using gift card credit after they fell into administration after Christmas last year, with shoppers left to fund the other half with their own money.

Which? warned that administrators may refuse gift cards at any point in a bid to save a troubled retailer.

The organisation also found that some retailers are better than others at stating when their gift cards expire.

More than half of those who received a gift card in the past year had an expiry date clearly stated while a quarter said the expiry date was not clear on their cards.

The most common reasons respondents gave for not spending a gift card were not getting around to using it and not finding anything they wanted to spend it on.

Which? consumer rights spokesman Adam French said: “Which? is advising consumers to think twice before buying gift cards this festive season.

“While gift cards might seem like an easy gift for hard-to-please family or friends this Christmas, our research shows you could be left high and dry if the company goes bust.

“If you receive a gift card for Christmas, make sure to carefully check the small print to find the expiry date and make sure you won’t face any unexpected charges if you don’t spend your voucher quickly.”

The Gift Card and Voucher Association said: “Given the economic turmoil of the past year-and-a-half, it’s understandable that consumers may be wary. However, gift cards remain the ideal choice for an ever-growing number of shoppers, with the gift card market being worth approximately £7 billion as of the most recent industry valuation.

“Looking ahead, particularly at a time when supply shortages continue to be prevalent, gift cards and vouchers are also often the most convenient and safe option for shoppers looking to avoid disappointment this Christmas, while significantly cutting down on festive waste and unwanted gifts.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Why do gift cards have an expiry date? The store is in the enviable position of having been paid for goods which have not yet been supplied, and with a statistical possibility that a number of cards will never be used. Surely the monies remain the property of the card recipient and should not be seized by the retailer after some arbitrary period?

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