Which? advises people to think twice before buying gift cards

Which? has warned customers to think twice about purchasing gift cards this Christmas after new research found that nearly one in 10 received a gift card for a retailer which had gone bust since the start of the pandemic.

The survey, carried out by the consumer group, involved 2,000 UK consumers and found that an estimated two million customers have unused gift cards that they were given last year as gifts.

Around seven per cent of consumers surveyed had received a fit card from a retailer that had since gone into administration since March 2020, when the pandemic arrived in the UK.

Around 38 per cent of those consumers were unable to spend the full balance of their voucher and had an average of £25 left unspent on the card.

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One in five of those with gift cards for retailers that had since gone bust had a voucher for an Arcadia Group retailer.

“While gift cards might seem like an easy gift for hard-to-please family or friends this Christmas, our research shows you could be left high and dry if the company goes bust,” Which”? consumer rights expert Adam French said.

“If you receive a gift card for Christmas, make sure to carefully check the small print to find the expiry date and make sure you won’t face any unexpected charges if you don’t spend your voucher quickly.”

The most common reason for a consumer not spending the gift card balance was because they “didn’t get round to it,” with 42 per cent of respondents saying so.

Not finding anything they wanted to spend it on made up 28 per cent of the reason why balances were left unspent.

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