In the current tough economic climate, many high street brands have collapsed, with Habitat, Moben, Focus DIY, Jane Norman and tour operator Holidays 4 U going into administration this year alone! You should therefore check the financial stability of the retailer, before splashing out on gift cards or vouchers, to minimise the risk of losing money.
If you buy a gift card or voucher and that company goes bust, the recipient may never be able to use it, while it’s unlikely that you will get your money back. Even when a firm is taken over, terms and conditions can be changed, to make gift cards and vouchers more difficult to use.
For example, the women’s fashion chain, Jane Norman, went into administration in July and its gift card conditions were subsequently changed, so that consumers could only spend them on full price items & the total spend had to be twice the value of the gift voucher. According to Trading Standards, retailers are within their rights to do this as the terms and conditions of gift cards can be revised when a company goes into administration under insolvency law.
Shoppers planning to buy gift cards this winter should first do basic internet research on the company to check whether or not it’s solvent. Tell tale signs include profit warnings issued by firms and where there are huge numbers of complaints about non-delivery.
While cash may be a bit boring, it’s safer (at least for now!) and probably preferred by the recipient anyway.
Filed under: Shopping News