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Home » Gift Cards – What To Know

Gift Cards – What To Know

Who doesn’t love a gift card? They’re a great way of giving a friend or family the fun of choosing exactly what present they’d like and cutting down on unnecessary gifts. So it’s no surprise that more than 80% of gift-givers purchased them at Christmas last year*. However, with so many stores on the high street closing over the last few years and the country now being stricken by recession with the prospect of further closures, are they still secure?

Gail Cohen, director general of the Gift Card and Voucher Association (GCVA) states that: “This year we can see that people are once again turning to gift cards, this time in order to control their the cost of their purchases and avoid unwanted gifts during the current cost-of-living crisis. Gift cards allow people to stick to a strict budget and also avoid the risk of price inflation for physical gifts, which is a major consideration for the 44% of consumers planning to reduce their spending this holiday season.’

The GCVA research has shown that the majority of UK adults would be happy to be gifted a gift card at Christmas. Furthermore, 23% of those who shop intend to purchase additional presents this holiday season to lower costs.

‘When it comes to using card-based gift vouchers, our advice for people to spend them as soon as possible. They’re not a gift for the bottom drawer , and can be a fantastic way to indulge yourself in the new year according to Gail.

But, one of the main issues of a gift card is that it usually becomes useless if the company fails before you’ve even had a chance to utilize it. It is recommended to make use of it as soon as you can. Helen Dewdney, founder of the consumer rights company The Complaining Cow says: There are many that have a short period on them. Also, you must spend it! This is particularly important with so many retailers going into liquidation. If a business goes into liquidation, it is very unlikely you will have the ability to use your gift card. The store’s administrators will decide. However, it is better just getting it spent.’

Dean Dunham consumer lawyer says”Shop with confidence this Christmas and pay with credit cards… if you buy a gift card, you should purchase one that is able to be used by multiple retailers.’

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to buying and using gifts cards to ensure that the purchase is secured and your recipient is able to utilize their gift without any issues.

DO: make payment using credit card

If you’re purchasing gift cards with an amount greater than $100, pay on credit card. If the store you purchased the gift card from fails to pay off and your credit card company goes under, you’ll be jointly responsible for your purchase as per Section 75 under the Consumer Credit Act, which implies you’ll have a higher likelihood of getting your cash back.

If you bought a gift card from the retailer later going into bankruptcy using your debit account You can call your bank to make an appeal up to 120 calendar days.

Do not forget to do your research

A friend who frequents the same coffee shop close to work, or the aunt who frequents a local garden centre on a regular basis might want a gift card from the company. Before purchasing a voucher take a moment to conduct a quick internet search and be on the lookout for headlines to make sure there aren’t any signs that the company is in difficulty.

DO: Buy gift cards that are able to be used online

To simplify life for the recipient, consider a gift card that can be used both in a store and online. The majority of gift cards offer this feature today, but it’s still crucial to review for the conditions and terms- you don’t want to buy your friend a voucher only to find you have to travel 20 miles in order to use it.

DON’T: limit your spender to one store

Why give someone one alternative when you can gift them many? A gift card that is able to be used at several stores, which means even if companies go into administration or cease to exist, your loved one will still have the gift they’ve always wanted. This is also a good present for those who don’t know the person well.

One4all vouchers are redeemable online or in thousands of stores , restaurants, charities and even pet shops. They also offer special gift cards that are themed, like the top games, beauty & spa favourites and teen favourites that can be used at stores that are appealing to these demographics.

National Book Tokens are valid at all bookshops in the UK which includes Waterstones. You can also send an e-gift card if you’re looking for a last-minute gift! It’s the same with National Garden Gift Vouchers, which are taken at garden centres throughout the country and are can be sent via e-vouchers. What gift card has the highest rate? Click here to find out!

DO: Explore the possibilities

Giving cash as a gift is a secure option. If you’re purchasing for a teenager or a child Ask their parents whether they have an ISA Junior. Anyone can contribute to an ISA and all you require is your account’s details. And, they’ll be grateful to you later for investing into their future!

Tip: It’s easy for gifts that whizz straight into an account to get forgotten about on the big day, give the recipient/parent/guardian an eye-catching card with the details of your gift in.

Don’t ignore expiry dates

The time frame for the gift card lasts can differ dramatically. Check whether it’s by the specified date or months, a year, or more when you purchase. It’s important to let your customer know the amount of time they have to shop. Ireland has introduced a five-year minimum expiry time on all vouchers sold following the 2nd of December, 2019. if you’re in the UK you’ll need determine how long your gift recipient is allowed to shop in order to avoid your gift going to the garbage.

When the gift voucher says it’s intended for an event, be sure to determine whether you just have to make reservations prior to the expiry date or go on the trip. Also, check if you can extend the duration of the voucher if you need to (this might result in a modest fee). Utilize Resolver to contact the retailer. Although they’re under no obligation to extend a gift card or a voucher the option is available as a gesture of goodwill.

Some gift cards come with no expiration date. Apple Store, Disney and Starbucks are a few of the retailers that offer this kind of freedom.

Do: give an experience

For some people, memories are better than a tangible item, so why not give them the gift of the most memorable day of their lives. Be sure to verify that the nearest opportunity for them to cash in their voucher isn’t miles away from where they reside.

Virgin Experience Days offer a variety of events starting with the afternoon tea served at Fortnum & Mason to online experiences such as Photoshop or cooking classes. The person receiving the voucher can use it to redeem it online and select a date and time they prefer. Most vouchers will be valid for one year and must be used within the specified time.

Buyagift also offers vouchers for experiences like a two-night hotel getaway or a thrilling driving experience in a car. There are days out available all across all over the UK and the recipient is able to usually choose the location themselves. There are gift vouchers to fit every budget, from $10 cash off, to vouchers for complete packages of gift experiences that exceed $250. Gifts can be sent in the post or sent directly to an email inbox.

Theatre Tokens are accepted in more than 270 theaters nationwide, including those in the West end. They do not have an expiry date.

Tips: If you’ve requested a physical voucher or gift card through the post, bear in mind the postal strike dates and take them into. Follow the Royal Mail updates.

What happens if a retailer is unable to continue?

Anyone who holds a gift card for that retailer will be treated as a credit and will need to file a claim in writing to the administrator. You’ll be put on a list others creditors. But you’ll be placed at the bottom of creditor lists. it’s very unlikely you’ll get your money back as per Resolver Consumer complaints site.

It is worth checking whether there is still the time to redeem your card since sometimes, the administrators assure that gift cards/gift vouchers are honored. Similarly, if the retailer is being purchased by a third party the company, it could honor current present holders of gift cards.