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1 in 6 Brits has lost money on gift cards and vouchers

09 June 2013
  • More than two fifths of all UK adults say they have unspent retail gift cards
  • Gocompare.com warns consumers to check their voucher expiry dates
  • Average value of unspent gift cards and vouchers is £65

New research from comparison site Gocompare.com reveals that 16% of Brits have lost the value of gift cards and ‘experience' gift vouchers because they have expired.

An estimated £4.7bn of gift cards and vouchers were sold last year, an increase of 3% on 2011.*  While some cards and vouchers are open ended, many have to be redeemed within a set time frame, sometimes as short as six to 12 months.

Out of date cards and vouchers are rendered valueless - so in many cases, the retailer ends up being the only beneficiary of the present. As a result, Gocompare.com is warning consumers to check the expiry dates on any vouchers they may still be holding from Christmas or earlier last year before they become valueless.

The research found that more than two fifths (44%) of Brits are currently holding onto gift cards from high street and online retailers, while at least 5% have ‘experience' gift vouchers, which can be for anything from spa treatments to balloon flights to driving lessons.  Gift card and voucher holders estimate their cash value to be an average of £65, while 24% say they have unspent vouchers worth £80 or more.

Commenting on the research Claire Peate, customer insight manager from Gocompare.com, said: "Gift cards and experience vouchers are popular personal and business gifts and most will have a time limit on when they can be used.  It is important to remember that the valid period often starts from the date the gift card or voucher was bought, not when it was given.

"To make sure that you don't get caught out by expiry dates, don't just tuck cards or vouchers away in your wallet or drawer for a future shopping trip - and then forget about it.  Check the purchase date of the voucher against the expiry date and make a note of it.  If your card or voucher doesn't carry this information you can contact the issuing company and they will be able to provide this information from the code printed on the gift card or voucher. Also if you are buying a gift card or voucher as a present, make sure the receiver knows the value and the use-by date - this will help to ensure that the recipient is more likely to benefit from your gift, rather than the retailer!"


Notes to editors

On the 19 to 20 March 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,011 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panelists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

*UK Gift Card and Voucher Association estimate for 2012.