NEW GIFT VOUCHER LEGISLATION – WHAT BUSINESSES NEED TO KNOW

From 2nd December 2019, new legislation (the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019) has come into effect concerning gift vouchers. Here are some of the main changes that your business needs to be aware of,

  • You must provide a record of the expiry date to your customers in writing, eg. on paper or email
  • You cannot restrict your to spending the full voucher in one transaction, nor can you limit the number of vouchers that are used in one transaction
  • The new legislation applies to gift vouchers you sell to any person, which includes other businesses, in addition to consumers.

New Changes Explained

There should be no expiry date on gift vouchers, or when an expiry date applies the duration must be at least five years.
A gift voucher issued with an expiry date of less than five years will
be deemed to have a five-year expiry date.
The business must inform the customer of any expiry date that
applies to a gift voucher on a durable medium (on paper or email).
They must:

  1. Specify the expiry date of the gift voucher and the date the
    contract was entered into and the period within which the
    voucher is redeemable (e.g. validity period/five years) or
  2. Specify that no expiry date applies to the gift voucher
    A customer does not have to spend the full amount of the gift
    voucher in a single transaction. If a customer only uses part of the gift voucher and there is a balance of more than €1 left, the business can refund the customer the difference in one of the following ways:
  • Cash
  • Electronic transfer (credit/debit card)
  • Gift voucher – the expiry date will be the same as the original gift voucher

A business cannot limit the number of gift vouchers a customer can
use in a single transaction.

Not all gift vouchers fall under the scope of the new regulations

The following are some of the exclusions:

  • Vouchers from a specified trader(s) that are redeemable at a discounted price for specific goods and services for either
    • A specified date, or
    • A specified period of no more than three months
  • Vouchers that are given as a refund for goods returned to a trader
  • Vouchers that are deemed electronic money, within the meaning of the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 183 of 2011).

Further information for businesses is available at www.ccpc.ie.