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6 Reasons not to give Vouchers this Christmas

Though vouchers are really handy Christmas presents, there are a few good reasons not to give vouchers this Christmas.

So, why you should think six times before buying a gift voucher as a Christmas present:

  • It is always be a nicer touch to put a bit of thought into a present for someone rather than the somewhat lazy voucher option.
  • Some generic voucher schemes might not be redeemable in as many stores as you expect, or as many stores as the recipient might actually want. There’s nothing worse than getting a voucher for somewhere you’ve no interest in buying something.
  • Certain vouchers that you might think are a good idea (such as Ryanair for example) are reputed to be very difficult to actually cash in – and in some cases have cost more to use than the value of the gift itself.
  • Some vouchers have an expiry date which makes them useless once passed. While it’s not your fault as the “giver”, it could mean that the receiver is under pressure to use the vouchers before they expire. They might end up using them on something they don’t really want that much.
  • Sometimes, if you buy a voucher from a proper shop outlet, it might not be usable in a concession version of the same shop. This was illustrated through the experience of a reader of Pricewatch in the Irish Times. This issue, however, could have been seen in the terms & conditions, if they’d been read beforehand.
  • And finally, and most importantly, In the current economic climate, if you buy vouchers from a business that closes down in the new year, the vouchers will most likely be worthless depending on how badly strapped for cash the shop is when it shuts.

5 comments On 6 Reasons not to give Vouchers this Christmas

  • Hi I just had to respond to this as I don’t agree, I think that in the current state of the economic situation vouchers are ideal. They are so practical especially the post office ones, the One4all that you can pretty much spend anywhere! sure if someone even wants to go grocery shopping they can do that with them or they can put them towards a holiday even

    I have always got these for my family and will definitely get them this year. Also if you’re worried about shops closing down it doesnt matter as you will be covered with the post office vouchers as there are so many shops

    and if you cant spend them you must be a very bad shopper! i just keep them in my wallet and i think the longest time they’ve lasted is a month!

  • @Sarah – Many thanks for your comments and obviously if you find the one4all vouchers useful then fair enough.

    From my own research, there’s plenty examples of problems with these vouchers as much as any others, such as expiry dates (only valid for 1 year), and the fact that if you don’t spend all the voucher amount in a store – you can get vouchers in return for that store only, and not general one4all vouchers – thereby tying you into just one store.

    A quick Google search shows just as many problems with these vouchers as any others.

    Why not just provide cash? How about a cheque in a gift envelope? In these straightened times, maybe someone might want to save the cash rather than spend it?

  • Pat Kenny had some guy on from CAI today about gift vouchers who obviously had never worked in the commercial world. He Wanted vouchers to last for 5 years. Wanted shops to refund in cash balances where holder did not want to spend all the voucher in that shop. I’d like to see him try being a self employed shop owner.

    Like Sarah says chose the place you get the vouchers from carefully so it suits the person who gets the voucher. I was given lots of vouchers for Marks and Spencer recently and I will have no problem spending them as I can get clothes for any member of my family including shoes but also food and other things.

    If I ran a business i wouldn’t give vouchers for more than a year because you simply dont know if you will be in existence years ahead.

    I often give vouchers usually for books or DVDs and have never had a problem.

    If people dont ask questions when buying, or look at the conditions when they receive them, thats their problem, not the shops.

  • Pingback: » You still shouldn’t buy vouchers for Christmas - ValueIreland.com : Irelands Only Truly Independent Consumer Watchdog ()

  • Pingback: » I’m sorry, but I told you so - don’t buy gift vouchers - ValueIreland.com : Irelands Only Truly Independent Consumer Watchdog ()

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