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I’m sorry, but I told you so – don’t buy gift vouchers

I wrote a couple of posts before Christmas advising you not to buy gift vouchers as Christmas presents.

Unfortunately, one of the 5 reasons I gave for not buying vouchers has come to pass for any unfortunate Christmas present recipients who received gift vouchers from family and friends who bought gift vouchers from the Zavvi stores throughout the country.

According to this article in the Irish Independent last week, Zavvi is refusing to redeem gift vouchers issued before November 27th last. Those with vouchers bought since then must apply directly to the joint administrators.

This is because Zavvi went into liquidation before Christmas after poor trading results – primarily because of the problems experienced by Woolworths. Basically now, these unfortunate people must join the retailers’ list of unsecured creditors and hope the administrators refund them.

According to the article above:

The NCA said people who had purchased a voucher by credit card might be in a better position to get their money back if the card issuer offered a charge-back facility.

But remember, this must be done by the person who bought the voucher, rather than the person who received it. The purchase contract is between Zavvi and the voucher buyer, not the person who received the voucher as a gift.

Addition: Yesterdays Pricewatch from Conor Pope highlighted a further issue with gift vouchers. This time, a reader had purchased a voucher for a shop in Dublin (TopShop) that couldn’t be used in an outlet of the same shop in Cork. The reason was that, apparently, while the Dublin shop was a proper outlet, the Cork version was merely a TopShop concession.

This was actually written into the terms & conditions of the voucher, so unless the shop concerned does the reader a favour, the voucher will only be usable in Dublin and other non-concession outlets.

This wasn’t one of my reasons for advising you not to buy vouchers – it wasn’t even an issue I’d foreseen, but its now another reason to avoid vouchers – and not just for Christmas, but any time.

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