Know Your Rights: Gift Vouchers

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Citizens Information Kerry which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Many people give and receive gift vouchers at Christmas. There are many benefits to gift vouchers but there are also some risks.

You may lose the voucher, it may expire before you can use it or you may not be able to spend the balance on a gift voucher.

It is important that you know the conditions and rules that apply before you buy a gift voucher.

What are the current rules that apply to Gift Vouchers?

Since 2 December 2019, the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 sets out new rules for gift vouchers. These include the following:

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• Gift vouchers must have no expiry date or be valid for at least 5 years from the date the gift voucher is issued. You must be given details of the expiry date in a durable format (for example, on paper or by email) at the time you buy the gift voucher.
• Traders cannot specify that a gift voucher is spent in one transaction.
• Traders cannot charge a fee to change the name on a gift voucher, (if you have to register a name on the voucher).
• If the balance remaining on a gift voucher is more than €1 after you buy something with it, a trader must reimburse the balance to you. They can give you cash, make an electronic transfer or give you another gift voucher.

Do these rules apply to gift vouchers purchased before 2nd December 2019?

The legislation does not apply to gift vouchers bought before 2 December 2019. Some traders may be flexible. If your voucher has expired, you should contact the trader to see if they will extend it.

However, if you bought the gift voucher before 2 December 2019, they have no legal obligation to do this and some may charge a fee.

What are my rights if I lose a voucher?

Gift vouchers are like cash, so if you lose them, the company does not have to replace them. If a voucher was made out to you specifically and is not transferable to anyone else, you may be able to get a replacement.

This depends on the gift voucher’s terms and conditions and the company’s policy. If you lose a gift card, you may be able to get a replacement card but you need to check with the retailer. You could be charged a fee for the replacement card.

What happens if the shop goes out of business?

If a trader goes out of business before you use the voucher, you may have difficulty getting your money back.

Usually the trader will owe money to several people so your claim is just one of many.

There are rules for the priority to be given to the various debts owed in the case of the business going into liquidation or receivership. Generally, you will be low in the order of priority.

You will need to make a claim in writing to the appointed administrator or liquidator (if applicable) providing proof of your voucher. However, it is unlikely that your voucher will be honoured. If a new owner takes over, they do not have to honour your voucher.

For this reason, you should buy gift vouchers using a credit or debit card, as you may be able to use chargeback through your bank or credit card provider

• During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

Tralee on Tel: Call 0818 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0818 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit to request a phone call from an information officer

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