Wednesday 11 December 2019

Consumers urged to hold off on gift vouchers ahead of new law


Gift vouchers are a popular choice at Christmas
Gift vouchers are a popular choice at Christmas
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Consumers have been advised to hold off on buying gift vouchers and gift cards until new protections are in place.

The new legislation is expected in the next few days.

President Michael D Higgins has signed the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Bill 2018 into law.

The new law will mean vouchers and gift cards will not expire for at least five years.

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But Business, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Heather Humphreys has yet to sign the commencement order for the act, which is currently being drafted.

"The enactment date has not yet been finalised. Minister Humphreys intends to make an announcement on this in the coming days," a spokesperson for the minister said.

Dermott Jewell, of the Consumers' Association, said it would make sense for consumers to hold off buying vouchers until the minister commenced the order.

The new law will also mean gift voucher owners will not be required to spend the full value of the voucher in a single transaction.

However, the largest issuer of gift vouchers and cards, the Gift Voucher Shop, which issues the One4all cards, took issue with the advice of the Consumers' Association that shoppers should wait until the new legislation is passed.

The company said that One4all cards already carried no expiry date, and they were usable across multiple outlets.

Irish Independent

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