Gransnet forums


Gift vouchers expiry dates

(19 Posts)
Indinana Wed 26-Jul-17 11:08:03

AIBU to feel a bit miffed that gift vouchers have an expiry date? I've just come across a Dining Out voucher that was given to us last Christmas - completely forgot about it! Luckily it was valid for 12 months, so we can still use it But if it hadn't come to light until after the expiry date, why should we have had to lose it? The company has had the money and would not have supplied anything in return - just free money in the till for them! If the giver had given us a couple of banknotes instead and said "treat yourselves to a meal on me", they wouldn't have a time limit on their use!
Maybe someone can give me a good reason for this practice, but I'm darned if I can think of one - and I can't help wondering how much money is made by these businesses from people who mislay or forget to use vouchers shock

glammanana Wed 26-Jul-17 11:17:49

I can't think of a reason either only the change of ownership of a business but aprt from that I really dont know, but I'm glad I read your post as I have just remembered GVs for M&S which I have had for a while so off to find them.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 26-Jul-17 11:37:28

I'm with you. I missed out on using Tesco vouchers because in the tiny print that I couldn't even read without a microscope it said they were only valid for a certain period. It's so irritating. I get it if it's a small business (sort of) but for big corporates - not at all

Marydoll Wed 26-Jul-17 11:51:00

We were given vouchers for a local Italian restaurant, as were my daughter and her partner. We kept putting off going, due to family illnesses. When I eventually went to book, the £100 worth of vouchers were out of date. I phoned and the manager said he not to worry, he would honour them. We had a lovely meal and will now be going back again.
I was thinking there must be many people who don't use vouchers, so in the case of restaurants they make some money out of it.

JackyB Wed 26-Jul-17 11:51:00

I think it's perfectly reasonable that they have a use-by date. In my experience these are usually 2-3 years, so if you haven't used them by then, it's your own fault.

OK - if it's only matter of weeks or months, that is a bit mean, if it was given to you for a present, but not if it was a freebie from the supermarket.

It would also be nice if people wrote or phoned the giver when they redeem the voucher, to tell them what they spent it on and thank them again. I usually try and remember to do this, and was very pleased when my DiL's both told me that they had redeemed some quite expensive ones I had given them. (They were for a lingerie store - I told them to get themselves a good bra when they had finished breast-feeding, and they did)

Indinana Wed 26-Jul-17 14:35:11

Oh I completely agree with you JackyB about an expiry date being reasonably if it's a supermarket freebie. Entirely different from what I'm talking about. My friend/relative spends £50 on a £50 voucher and it lasts for only 12 months (in my experience they are usually 12 months, not 2-3 years - don't think I've ever had one with that long a validity). Sorry, but I think that is completely wrong. The business has £50 free money if the voucher is mislaid or forgotten.
And talking of length of validity - I bought a voucher for my nephew recently for an adventure experience. His birthday was in May and the voucher was valid only until the end of this year - that's just 7 months shock

Indinana Wed 26-Jul-17 14:35:35

*being reasonable, not reasonably. I must preview, I must preview, I must preview...

Teacheranne Wed 26-Jul-17 15:01:14

I recently forgot to use some Tesco club card vouchers and the shop would not accept them even though it was only a few days after the expiry date - they are valid for 2 years and I tend to save them so that I have enough to buy my RAC annual membership.

I phoned the Club card help desk and was delighted that they offered to recredit them to my account as they could see my previous pattern of saving them but always using them within the dates.. I was very pleased with this service, OK it was only about £30 but I still hated the thought of losing the money!

It is often worth phoning head office!

glammygranny Wed 26-Jul-17 15:02:02

The time limit is perhaps there so a business only has to keep tabs on its vouchers issued for 1 year. If you think about it the old £5 is no longer legal tender so even cash and indeed cheques have a use by date. I think its 6 months for a cheque and if you don't lodge it within this time the bank won't accept it. I;m always more concerned about the business going bust so that the voucher is worthless in this way. I prefer to either give cash or an actual gift. My husband sells gift vouchers as part of his business and it creates so many headaches. He often gets people telling him the voucher has been lost. He then has to say there is nothing he can do as the voucher is in effect just like cash. If the missing voucher were to turn up with someone else he can't exactly accuse the someone else of using a voucher belonging to someone else. He now suggests that people pay in advance via paypal and tell the person "I've paid for you to have a treatment with X, Please call him to make an appointment". My husband doesn't impose a time limit.

Tizliz Wed 26-Jul-17 16:23:25

bit of an old article but points out the dangers if the company goes out of business

callgirl1 Wed 26-Jul-17 17:07:19

Argos gift vouchers are only valid for 3 months. On the other hand, when my husband died last year, we were going through his things and found a voucher for a locally owned department store, no idea how long he`d had it for, my daughter and I took it along there, we were told that their vouchers are valid for 50 years!

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 26-Jul-17 17:28:27

Ohhhhh! Now that is the spirit. I have a John Lewis voucher and a Selfridges voucher from forever ago - but nowhere on them does it say there is an expiry date and so I was told that they would honour them. It's the ones with the so-small-you-need-a-magnifying-glass print hidden away that get my goat

PamelaJ1 Wed 26-Jul-17 18:03:01

I used to issue vouchers for either a specified treatment or for a monetary amount.
We used to put on a validity date of 6 months but also added the instruction- if you need to extend this date please give us a call.
When I sold the business part of the deal was that I would reimburse the new owner for outstanding vouchers for a year after the sale. We always honoured out of date vouchers but had the sell by date to make people aware that they should use them. All our prices went up on an annual basis so if someone turned up with a specified treatment voucher that was five years old we took a hit.
Our voucher holders could also opt to use part of their voucher and save some for later. I was been given a voucher to use in our local restaurant and when we used £40 were told. We don't give change. I wasn't expecting change just to be able to use the rest later. Not good practice IMO

harrigran Wed 26-Jul-17 20:05:59

DH was given a voucher for a Michelin starred restaurant as a birthday gift, his birthday is just before Christmas so it didn't get used. We decided to eat out in March but discovered that the voucher expired at the end of February. We reckon the voucher was bought at the end of November and only had a lifespan of 3 months.
We never ate at the restaurant as we thought it was shoddy practice.

Indinana Wed 26-Jul-17 21:47:56

All our prices went up on an annual basis so if someone turned up with a specified treatment voucher that was five years old we took a hit.
Now that is totally understandable. Because what you are talking about is a priced treatment which may have cost £25, but by the time it's redeemed the price has gone up to £30. With a general gift voucher, however, £25 can be spent on goods worth £25 at the time of voucher exchange - those goods may have only been worth £22 at the time of voucher purchase. So the person taking the hit there is the customer, not the business. And that is why I simply don't understand the need for an expiry date.
Yes, I take on board the risk that the business may go under, but I'm quite sure the expiry date isn't there to protect the consumer from that risk!

horleyflyer Wed 26-Jul-17 22:49:29

The One4all gift cards that you get from the Post office start deducting money from your balance once they have been held for so long.
I used to think these multi store cards were a good idea until I realised.

Indinana Wed 26-Jul-17 23:13:22

Seriously horleyflyer? That is outrageous! I honestly don't understand how these practices can be legal.

mumofmadboys Wed 26-Jul-17 23:16:35

I found an out of date book token. I wrote to head office and they replaced it. Also did same with Tesco vouchers and they credited them to my Clubcard account. Always worth asking!

Indinana Wed 26-Jul-17 23:23:18

Yes, you are right. Here is an excerpt from the One4All T&C:

5.7 Your card does not expire. You will see a ‘Valid Thru’ date on the front of your card. This will be used as the expiry date when shopping online. If you have funds remaining on the card at this valid thru date, you should contact us and we will reissue a new card to you. Please note that while your card does not expire a monthly inactive balance charge will be applied if any funds remain on your card 18 months after its date of purchase. See section 6 below.

Inactive Balance Charge
6.2 A monthly inactive balance charge of £0.90 (or the credit balance on the Card, if lower) will be charged after the Card has been in issue for 18 months. This charge will start to be applied from the following month and will continue until such time as the balance on the card is zero and this Agreement is terminated.

So in other words, if you use none, or some of the credit on the card and then mislay it until it's been in issue for 18 months, they will steadily take your money from you by monthly debits. Imagine if a bank did that to what they decided was an inactive balance!!!

How can this be a legitimate practice?