Monday 16 September 2019

Vouchers set to become the gifts that keep on giving five years after delivery

Business Minister Heather Humphreys is taking action. Picture: Fennells
Business Minister Heather Humphreys is taking action. Picture: Fennells
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Gift vouchers will have to have a minimum expiry date of at least five years under proposed laws approved by the Cabinet.

However, the draft laws do not address the practice by some retailers of imposing fees on inactive or dormant vouchers.

The Government has promised legislation for years.

Draft laws approved by the Cabinet will ban any requirement for gift vouchers to be spent in a single transaction, according to Business Minister Heather Humphreys.

The cancellation of gift vouchers, or the imposition of charges, where the recipient's name is registered incorrectly, will also be outlawed if the legislation is passed. Policy adviser for the Consumers' Association Dermott Jewell said he was disappointed the legislation will not stop some retailers and gift card issuers imposing fees on inactive or dormant vouchers.

And the proposed changes will not deal with fees being imposed when lost or stolen vouchers are being replaced.

Mr Jewell said organisations like his have been calling for regulations to be imposed on the gift card and voucher sector for 20 years.

He called on retailers and firms that issue vouchers to voluntarily drop expiry fees as a goodwill gesture.

Ms Humphreys said the Government's legal advice is that the issue requires further examination before it can be addressed. But she hoped the Government will introduce an amendment on the fees issue.

There is no legal minimum expiry date on gift vouchers.

Three years ago the Government published a draft Consumer Rights Bill for public consultation which contained a number of provisions for the regulation of gift vouchers.

Irish Independent

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