Which? warns people to think twice before buying gift cards
Which? has advised people to think twice before buying gift cards this Christmas after new research from the consumer organisation found that nearly one in 10 had received a gift card for a retailer which had gone bust since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following a survey of 2,000 people, the organisation estimates that two million consumers have unused gift cards that they were given in the last year.
While 7% of those surveyed had received a gift card for a retailer that had gone into administration since March 2020, 38% of those consumers were unable to spend the full balance of their voucher and had an average of £25 left unspent.
One in five of those with vouchers for retailers that had gone bust had a gift card for an Arcadia Group retailer.
Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “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 most common reasons respondents gave for not spending a gift card were not getting around to using it (42%) and not finding anything they wanted to spend it on (28%).
Which? has also highlighted how some cards, such as One4all which can be used with multiple retailers, charge an inactivity fee. After 18 months of owning the card, a monthly charge of 90p is deducted from funds remaining until the card balance reaches zero.
Less than one in 10 respondents who said they had received and spent a gift card said they had to pay to register the card or were charged a transaction fee.
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