The law regarding gift vouchers changed from 2nd December 2019, thanks to the new Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 Act.
This act introduces welcome changes in relation to expiry dates and outstanding balances.
The Act came into force from 2nd December 2019 and relates to gift vouchers only.
The voucher must have been purchased after 2nd December 2019 and there are certain types of products which are not covered:
- One4All vouchers and other ‘electronic money’ products
- Groupon vouchers and other vouchers which are for a specific product or service from a specific trader on a specific date or timeframe not exceeding 3 months
- Vouchers offered as part of a customer loyalty scheme
- Vouchers supplied by way of a refund for goods or service returned to the trader
The new protections include
- The gift voucher must have an expiry date no earlier than 5 years
- It cannot be insisted that the entire gift voucher be used in one transaction
- A transfer of a voucher to a third party sees all of the rights accruing to the original purchaser transferring to the third party
- No limit on the number of vouchers in a single transaction is permitted
Any terms and conditions which a trader seeks to impose, and which attempts to trump the rights afforded by the act are of no effect. Moreover, traders can face criminal prosecutions, summarily and on indictment, for breaches of the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 Act.