SHOPPERS LOSING MILLIONS IN GIFT CARD CASH
SNP Consumers Affairs spokesperson and local North Ayrshire & Arran MP Patricia Gibson has called on the UK government to act to protect shoppers from being short-changed by millions of pounds in lost gift card cash.
Those purchasing gift cards, or receiving them as presents, are currently losing out to the tune of millions of pounds as vouchers expire before they are used – with shops profiting from “money for nothing.”
Mrs Gibson has urged the UK Government to introduce greater protections for consumers by banning use-by-dates altogether, or at the very least introducing a minimum five-year expiry period, fairer terms and conditions and rules to ensure that any funds not used by the expiry date go to charity rather than profit.
The UK Gift Card and Voucher Association estimates the UK gift card market to be worth around £6,000 a year, with around £300million going unspent.
Commenting, Patricia Gibson MP said:
“Nobody wants to see the hard-earned cash they spend on presents for friends and family members thrown down the drain but consumers in the UK are currently being short-changed to the tune of millions of pounds every year in lost gift card money.
“Retailers are profiting by taking away people’s Christmas and birthday presents when gift cards pass these wholly arbitrary expiry dates.
“The minimum period, and policies, for gift cards can vary dramatically from shop to shop - some have very short or hidden expiry periods. Many people wind up losing their money because the cards expire or a firm closes and the retailers then take the funds for themselves.
“With families now facing rising prices, stagnant wages and squeezed living standards under the Tories. As the Scottish Parliament has no powers in this area, it is important that the UK Government introduces protections. This means either a full ban on gift card expiry dates or, at the very least, a minimum expiry period of five years or more, and rules to ensure that any leftover funds go to charity rather than profit.”