Published on Thursday20thDecember2018

Minister Humphreys secures Cabinet approval for legislation to put a 5-year minimum expiry date on gift vouchers

  • 20181220 H Humphreys Gift Cards
  • Minimum expiry date of five years for gift vouchers.
  • Ban on requirement for gift vouchers to be spent in one transaction.
  • Ban on cancellation of gift vouchers – or the imposition of charges – where the recipient’s name is registered incorrectly

Business, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Heather Humphreys today announced that she has secured Cabinet approval to publish the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Bill 2018. The Bill provides for a five-year minimum expiry date for gift vouchers.
Minister Humphreys said:

Every year consumers lose out because their gift vouchers go out of date.
Part of the problem is the great variation on expiry dates which can range from as little as 6 months to 12 months to 24 months. This often leads to confusion amongst consumers.
By having a set 5-year expiry date on all gift vouchers, we will provide certainty to everyone involved.
This has been a real bugbear for people for many years and, of course, it’s particularly relevant now in the run up to Christmas when many of us will buy gift vouchers for family and friends.
There is cross-party support on this issue and I look forward to getting this Bill enacted in early 2019 so that consumers will have greater protection.

The Bill also includes two important additional provisions that were brought to the Minister’s attention by consumers during the recent public consultation on gift vouchers. The first relates to cases where traders require a gift voucher to be spent in full in a single transaction. The second relates to cases where traders require the name of the intended recipient of a gift voucher to be provided, and either cancel the voucher if that name is not correct, or apply a charge for the correction of the name.

Minister Humphreys commented:

It’s wrong that consumers should have to spend a voucher in full in one transaction. Similarly, it isn’t fair that businesses can penalise consumers simply because of a wrong letter in a name.
I’m glad that these two issues were brought to my attention during the public consultation so that we can now address them as part of this Bill.