Update - 11.57am: Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy has expressed disappointment at the delay in enacting legislation on the expiry dates of gift vouchers.
In June, Minister for Enterprise Heather Humphreys secured the backing of Cabinet for plans to introduce a minimum five-year expiry date on gift vouchers. As part of her Bill, she sought to tackle the issue of gift voucher fees. The process was opened for public consultation in August and more than 100 submissions were received including intense lobbying from the largest gift voucher company in the State.
As a result, changes proposed by Ms Humphreys will not come into effect ahead of the busy Christmas period when vouchers worth tens of millions of euro will be bought and sold.
Ms Murphy, who has long advocated for such legislation, told RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that it was very disappointing that the legislation would not be in place before Christmas.
She said: “It would have been the right thing to do at this time of year when people buy vouchers.”
She said there was goodwill across the Dáil for the proposed legislation and had been for a number of years since Richard Bruton had proposed changes in 2015, but had been told at the time to wait until there were EU changes in relation to online and distance sales.
It was outrageous that “somebody’s hard earned cash” would have no value after 12 months. “The consumer needs protection.”
It is important that the Bill gets into the Dáil so it can be enacted and the consumer can be protected, she said.
New rules to protect gift card holders will not be brought in in time for Christmas.
Plans to put a minimum five-year expiry date on gift vouchers were agreed by Cabinet in June.
A public consultation was opened three months ago on whether maintenance fees should also be axed.
The Irish Times reports that more than 100 submissions were received including from One4All, who objected to the proposals.
The Business Minister Heather Humphreys is now seeking legal advice and so no changes will be made before the festive season.
- Digital Desk