New gift voucher legislation – what you need to know

New CCPC regulations have been implemented with a view to protecting consumers' rights surrounding gift vouchers

New regulations surrounding the sale and purchase of gift vouchers have come into effect, with retailers strongly encouraged to review their own policies so as not to be caught short.

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3 December 2019 | 0

Businesses across Ireland are required to review the terms and conditions of the gift vouchers they sell, in order to ensure that they comply with newly implemented legislation, the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has published guidance to help businesses understand the new legislation and assess how the new rules may impact on their current gift vouchers policy.

Some of the main changes that businesses need to be aware of include:

  • A gift voucher cannot have an expiry date less than five years from the date it was purchased.
  • You must provide a record of the expiry date to your customers in writing, for example on paper or by email. If there is no expiry date then it should be stated.
  • You cannot limit the amount of vouchers used in a single transaction.
  • You cannot refuse to accept gift vouchers that are not in the user’s name.
  • Traders cannot charge a fee for changing or amending the name on a gift voucher.

Gift vouchers that were sold before the new legislation came into effect on 2 December 2019 are not required to comply with the new requirements. However, effective immediately, any new gift vouchers issued must be provided under the conditions detailed in the new legislation. This includes vouchers that were printed or created before the date in question, and sold after it; if a business has vouchers pre-printed, they can give the customer written confirmation of whether there is an expiry period and if so, the date that applies.

Speaking about the commencement of the legislation, chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Isolde Goggin, said the legislation gives consumers valuable additional protections. “In the run up to Christmas it will be of considerable benefit to anyone who buys or receives a gift voucher,” Goggin said. “Businesses, whether they are a restaurant, hotel, service provider or retailer, now need to take action and check that they are compliant with the law.”

The information for businesses is available at ccpc.ie.

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