A CHANGE in the law that would help consumers like those left with worthless HMV vouchers has been ruled out.
The Government has confirmed that store customers rank extremely low on the list of who gets money when a company goes bust.
According to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation there are no plans to change the law to allow creditors to access a firm's assets if it is declared insolvent.
The decision follows yesterday's shock announcement by beleaguered music store HMV that gift cards and vouchers would not be accepted in stores.
The retailer, which has gone into administration, is refusing to honour gift tokens sold in the run-up to Christmas.
"Holders of gift vouchers are unsecured creditors, and rank after other creditors such as the Revenue and employees," the department said.
"The view of the department is that this priority accorded to taxpayers and employees is correct, and as such there are no plans currently to alter the ranking."
However, shoppers who purchase vouchers using credit cards for companies that later go out of business may be able to recover the amount spent through their bank.
Consumer groups have advised people who paid with Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards to contact their card issuer to see if they can get a refund through the Visa or Mastercard chargeback process, on the basis that the service paid for was not honoured.
Those who paid in cash have been advised to hold on to the vouchers with the chance that a claim can be made against the administrator in the future.
The music, film and games store chain entered administration late on Monday. The future of its 300 Irish employees was no clearer today.
Out-of-pocket customers have expressed their outrage at the move, meaning many of their Christmas presents are now worthless. Hordes of shoppers flocked to stores in Dublin in a desperate attempt to cash in the vouchers bought as gifts.
"I went in with vouchers for €100 to buy a boxset but they wouldn't accept them," Miriam Nolan told the Herald outside the store yesterday.
The National Consumer Agency said it was "disappointed" at HMV's refusal to honour the gift tokens.
"This decision is very disappointing in light of the fact that the company continued selling vouchers right through the busy Christmas period and consumers bought them in the expectation they could be redeemed," it said.