Are your gift vouchers still valid?

TRADING standards officers in East Renfrewshire have issued advice following the news that HMV has gone into administration.

The East Ren council team are responding to queries from residents with gift cards left over from Christmas, following the demise of camera store Jessops and the announcement that the music chain has gone into administration.

Both HMV and Jessops administrators have stated that they will not honour gift vouchers, and the council’s senior trading standards officer, Jennifer Hampton, explained: “Unforunately, retailers are within their rights to do this as the terms and conditions of gift cards can be revised when a company goes into administration under insolvency law”.

But despite the doom and gloom of post-Christmas administration, there may be a small glimmer of hope — depending on how your vouchers were paid for.

Jennifer continued: “If you have a gift card or voucher worth £100 or more, it’s worth finding out if the person who purchased it for you paid with a credit card, as there’s a chance the purchase may be protected under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if the firm goes bust.

“Under this protection, a credit card company is jointly liable if something goes wrong so it may reimburse the purchaser the cost. But please note, it is only the person who bought the vouchers and not the recipient who can make the claim”.

The Office of Fair Trading has issued a warning that while gift cards and vouchers are normally covered by section 75, it is unclear whether the law will apply to companies in administration, because each administration is different.

But there is another scheme – known as Chargeback – which buyers may be able to fall back on if they paid by debit Visa, Amex or Mastercard.

For further advice on redeeming vouchers, contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.

It is estimated that the collapse of HMV could affect over 4,000 jobs, which includes employees at the company’s Silverburn store in Pollok.