New regulations for gift vouchers to come into effect ahead of Christmas

New regulations for gift vouchers to come into effect ahead of Christmas

New laws are due to come into effect on Monday on gift cards and vouchers.

It will give all vouchers a five-year expiry time while also meaning people won't have to spend the entirity of the balance in one transaction.

Where a gift voucher cannot be used more than once and the consumer does not redeem the full amount of the voucher in an initial purchase, the business will now be required to reimburse any remaining balance of more than one euro by way of cash, electronic transfer or another voucher.

Customers will no longer be prevented from using more than one gift voucher in a transaction.

During a public consultation on gift vouchers, it was brought to attention that some airlines cancelled gift vouchers if the name on it did not match the person's name on their passport.

Some airlines also charged people to change the name on a voucher.

From Monday there will be a ban on any term in a gift voucher contract that requires the name of the recipient to be provided by the purchaser and that allows the gift voucher provider to cancel the voucher where that name differs from the name on the recipient’s passport or other form of personal identification or to charge a fee for changing the recipient’s name.

It has been estimated that €70 million a year is wasted on gift cards that are forgotten about.

Previously there was no regulation on the market.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said that she was pleased to be making the announcement at the beginning of the Christmas period when many people buy and receive gift vouchers.

“Consumers should not find themselves unable to use gift vouchers given to them by family members or friends because of unreasonably short expiry periods imposed by gift voucher issuers," said Minister Humphreys.

"Many gift vouchers until now have had expiry periods of just one or two years and in some cases it has been as little as six months.

"As of Monday anyone who receives a gift voucher will have the certainty that it will be valid for at least five years."

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