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The do’s and don’ts of gift cards

Who doesn’t love a gift card? They’re an excellent method of offering a friend or family member the pleasure of choosing exactly what present they’d like to receive, and cutting down on unnecessary gifts. It’s not a surprise that over 80% of presenters purchased them at Christmas last year*. However, with so many stores on the high street closing over the past few years, and with the nation in recession, with the possibility of further closures Are they still an option that is safe?

Gail Cohen, director general of Gail Cohen, director general of the Gift Card and Voucher Association (GCVA) states: ‘This year, we’ve seen that consumers are using gift cards, this time to control the cost of their purchases and avoid unwanted gifts amid the current crisis in cost of living. Gift cards allow people to adhere to a budget and prevent price inflation for physical gifts, which is an important factor for the 44% of people who are planning to cut their spending during the holiday season.’ What gift card has the highest rate? Find out here.

The GCVA study shows that 80percent of UK adults would be delighted to receive a gift card for this Christmas, and 23% of consumers plan to buy more gifts this Christmas in order to reduce expenses.

When it comes to gifts cards, our advice for customers is to use them as quickly as they can. They’re not gifts for the drawer at the bottom and could be the perfect gift to pamper yourself during the new year according to Gail.

However, one of the biggest issues when purchasing a gift card is that they are usually useless if the company fails before you’ve had the chance to utilize it. Therefore, the best advice is to use it as quickly as you can. Helen Dewdney, founder of the consumer rights organization The Complaining Cow says: Many have a time period for these. Therefore, make sure you spend it! This is especially important when there are numerous retailers entering liquidation. If a store goes under this, it’s very likely that you won’t be able to utilize the gift card. The administrator will make the decision. However, it is better spending it.’

Dean Dunham consumer lawyer says”Shop with confidence this Christmas Pay with credit card… If you purchase gift cards, buy one that can be used at multiple stores.’

We’ve created a comprehensive guide for buying and using gift cards to ensure that your purchase is secure and the recipient is able to use the gift without hassle.

DO: make payments using a credit card.

If you’re purchasing an item that has an amount greater than $100, you should use the credit card. If the company you purchase from fails to pay off the card issuer will be jointly responsible for the purchase you made under Section 75 under the Consumer Credit Act, which means you’ll stand a better chances of receiving your cash back.

If you purchased an item from an online retailer, but later went bankrupt using your debit card You can call your bank to make an appeal in the space of 120 days.

Don’t forget to conduct your homework

A friend who frequents the same coffee place close to work, or the aunt who visits a local garden center every week might be interested in a gift card from the business. However, before purchasing a gift card make sure you do a quick internet search and be on the lookout for reports to ensure there aren’t any signs that the company is struggling.

DO: Purchase gift cards that you can use on the internet.

To simplify the life of the person receiving it, choose the gift card that can be used in stores as well as online. The majority of gift cards offer this feature nowadays, however it’s important to read for the conditions and terms -You don’t want to purchase a gift card for a friend only to discover you have to travel 20 miles to get it.

Don’t limit your spending to one shop

Why should you give someone a single alternative when you can gift them a variety of options? A gift card that can be used in many stores means that even if companies go into administration and your loved ones suffer, they will still receive an item they cherish. It’s also a great present if you don’t know someone very well.

One4all vouchers are redeemable on the internet or at thousands of shops, restaurants, charity shops and even pet stores. They also have themed gift cards like the top games and beauty and spa favorites and teens’ favourites which can be purchased at stores that appeal to these demographics.

National Book Tokens are valid at bookshops throughout the UK and include Waterstones. You can also send an electronic gift card if you’re a last-minute buyer! This is the same for National Garden Gift Vouchers, that are available from garden centers all over the nation and are can be sent via e-vouchers.

Do Think outside the box

Cash is a good option. If you’re purchasing for a teenager or child Ask their parents whether they have an ISA Junior. Anyone can contribute to an ISA and all you require is the account information. And, they’ll be grateful to you later for investing into their future!

Tip: It’s easy for gifts that whizz straight into an account to get forgotten about on the big day, give the recipient/parent/guardian an eye-catching card with the details of your gift in.

Don’t ignore expiration dates

The length of the validity of a gift card will vary dramatically. Make sure you know if it’s due by an exact date, or three months or and more, when you buy. It’s best to inform your gift recipient the amount of time they have to shop. Ireland has introduced a five-year minimum expiry time for all vouchers purchased after December 2, 2019. However, If you’re located living in the UK you’ll need be aware of the time your gift recipient is allowed to shop in order to avoid the gift ending up in the trash.

When the gift voucher says it’s for an experience, make sure to check whether you need to make reservations prior to the expiry date or enjoy the experience. Also, check if you are able to extend the validity of the voucher in case you require (this could result in a small cost). Make use of Resolver to reach out to the retailer. Although they’re not obliged to extend the validity of a gift card or voucher however, they might do it to show their appreciation.

Some gift cards come with no expiration dates: the Apple Store, Disney and Starbucks are just a few of the stores that provide this option.

Do: give an experience

For some , memories are more valuable than any material object, so why not present them with an unforgettable experience. Be sure to verify that the closest opportunity to redeem the voucher isn’t too far from where they reside.

Virgin Experience Days offer a variety of events including the afternoon tea served at Fortnum & Mason to online experiences like Photoshop or cooking classes. The person who receives the voucher can make it active online and then book an appointment time and date that suits their needs. The majority of vouchers are valid for one year and must be used within the timeframe.

Buyagift also offers experience vouchers like a two-night hotel getaway or a thrilling driving experience in a car. There are days out available all throughout all over the UK and the person who receives them can typically pick the destination themselves. There are vouchers that fit every budget, from $10 cash off, to vouchers for complete package of experiences for up to $250. They can be delivered by post or directly sent to an email address.

Theatre Tokens are accepted in over 270 theatres across the country, including those in the West end. They are not expiring.

Tips: If you’ve asked for a physical voucher or gift card that will be delivered via the mail, keep in mind the postal strike dates and take them into. Keep track of the Royal Mail updates.

What happens if the retailer fails?

Anyone who has an account with that retailer will be considered to be a credit , and must submit a claim in writing to the administrator. You’ll be put in a queue alongside other creditor. However, you will be placed at the bottom of creditor lists, meaning it’s highly unlikely that you’ll receive your refund as per Resolver the consumer complaints site.

It is worth checking whether you have time to use your card, as often the administrator make sure that gift cards and vouchers are honored. In the same way, if the store is bought by a different company, it might be able to honor current present holders of gift cards.