Social Democrat Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore welcomes the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Bill 2017 that party co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has introduced into the Dáil, which would see the end of gift voucher rip-offs.

Whitmore said “This Bill would ensure that gift vouchers are valid for at least five years, would ban charges for issuing gift vouchers and would ban the practice of applying charges to unused or inactive balances. It would also ban any charging for the repayment of credit balances on gift vouchers. Essentially, they would make gift vouchers fairer for the consumers that buy them.”

Social Democrats co-leader, Catherine Murphy TD, said: 

“Retailers are free to put any expiry period on gift vouchers with many opting for just 12 months. This amounts to an unfair ‘use it or lose it policy’ and is just not acceptable. These are not gifts or money-off from the retailer – they are actually money, paid for by customers. Our Bill would mean all gift vouchers have an expiry period of at least 5 years.”

“One of the worst anti-consumer practices we found while preparing this Bill is the practice of charging “administration fees” after a certain period. Quite a number of high profile shopping centres and gift card providers operate in this fashion. This results in the credit on the card being run down until the value of the card drops to zero. Such terms and conditions would be banned under this Bill. At up to €3 per month on some gift cards, these are exorbitant charges that rip-off consumers.”

Cllr. Whitmore backs this Bill and the purpose behind it. This Bill will introduce greater protections for consumers across the country and will bring benefits for consumers in Wicklow. Such a Bill would help people in Wicklow avoid sneaky rip-off vouchers during the upcoming Christmas period. Many people will receive or give vouchers as a Christmas present in the coming month, so it is important that consumers are not taken advantage of during this busy period.