Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Its Christmas, so its time for carols, holly, mince pies and vouchers

As Christmas approaches the annual present hunt begins. For many of us the prospect of traipsing around shops through the scrum of bargain hunters trying to find the perfect present for loved ones is a version of hell. That is why the gift voucher is a source of salvation.

However as consumer groups and advocates point out every year, vouchers can come with hidden strings attached which can leave a sour taste in the mouth of the recipient. The most common problem is the expiry date, some of the vouchers expire within 6 to 12 months. Under existing laws, the retailer has the power to decide the expiry date and in theory could make it one week! The other problem of course is that with so many businesses failing, will the shop or retailer be around when the recipient wants to spend the voucher in a few months?

So while they can solve lots of dilemmas, I would encourage people check the details of the voucher before they buy it, especially the expiry date.

There may be some vouchers which you will never redeem...I get dizzy on a ladder so no skydive vouchers for me....please!

Interesting to see that Senator Brendan Ryan of the Labour Party is bringing forward legislation to change the law which would mean all vouchers would have a lifespan of 5 years. It won't pass, but at least it might encourage the Government to do something in time for next year....maybe not, but we live in hope!