Know your rights A: Gift vouchers
I usually get a gift voucher at Christmas. What are the new gift voucher rules that came in recently?
Gift vouchers are any voucher, coupon or other document (including an electronic document) that can be used instead of money to pay (or pay in part) for goods and services.
Since 2 December 2019, the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 sets out the following new rules for gift vouchers:
- Gift vouchers must have no expiry date or be valid for at least 5 years.
- Traders cannot specify that a gift voucher is spent in one transaction.
- Traders cannot charge a fee to change the name on a gift voucher, (if you have to register a name on the voucher).
- If the balance remaining on a gift voucher is more than €1 after you buy something with it, a trader must reimburse the balance to you. They can give you cash, make an electronic transfer or give you another gift voucher.
These new rules do not apply to:
- Vouchers that you can only use to buy specified goods and services at a discounted price, from a specified trader on a specified date, or for a specified period of 3 months or less. For example, vouchers from deal websites such as Groupon or Pigsback.
- Vouchers issued as part of a customer loyalty or promotion scheme.
- Vouchers issued as a refund for goods you returned to a trader.
- Vouchers and gift cards sold before 2 December 2019. The expiry period and the terms and conditions that applied at the time of purchase apply to these vouchers.
The new rules do not apply to electronic money gift cards (for example, One4all gift cards) which are already covered under the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.