New laws came in to force this month that give consumers more protection when buying or spending gift vouchers in Ireland.
So consumers can feel a bit safer when buying gift vouchers for Christmas presents this year.
A Summary of the new Rules on Gift Vouchers
- Gift vouchers must be valid for at least 5 years –
- Traders cannot specify that a gift voucher has to be spent in one transaction.
- Traders cannot charge a fee to change the name on a gift voucher, (if you have to register a name on the voucher).
- If the balance remaining on a gift voucher is more than €1 after you buy something with it, a trader must reimburse the balance to you. They can give you cash, make an electronic transfer or give you another gift voucher.
(These new rules apply to gift vouchers or gift cards bought after 2nd December 2019)
The new rules do not apply to electronic money gift cards. These are gift cards such as One4all gift cards, that can be used in a number of different shops.
The following vouchers are also exempt from these rules:
- Vouchers that you can only use to buy specified goods and services at a discounted price, from a specified trader on a specified date, or for a specified period of 3 months or less. For example, vouchers from deals websites.
- Vouchers issued as part of a customer loyalty or promotion scheme.
- Vouchers issued as a refund for goods you returned to a trader.
There will still be an issue if a retailer goes out of business – then the gift vouchers will nearly always be worthless. If you buy a gift voucher with a debit or credit card – then you could try and claim a refund off your card provider if the retailer goes bust. See more on how to claim chargeback on debit and credit cards here.