“The Christmas gift voucher buying season is in full swing, yet people buying gift vouchers for friends and family have very few protections against being ripped-off with unreasonable charges and expiry rules.”

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has accused the government of repeatedly letting down consumers by failing to push through legislation to remove excessive charges and restrictions on gift vouchers in time for Christmas.

Deputy Murphy said:

“The Christmas gift voucher buying season is in full swing, yet people buying gift vouchers for friends and family have very few protections against being ripped-off with unreasonable charges and expiry rules.

“The government has been promising since 2015 to increase protections for consumers. But there’s still no sign of the promised legislation to stop companies from charging maintenance fees on gift cards or selling vouchers with expiry limits of less than five years.

“It’s inexcusable that another Christmas season will come and go before consumers get the protections they deserve. The Social Democrats are keen to see action in this area – that’s why we brought forward our Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Bill a year ago.

“The Bill would have ensured gift vouchers are valid for at least five years, would ban charges for issuing gift vouchers and would ban the practice of applying charges to unused or inactive balances. It would also ban any charging for the repayment of credit balances on gift vouchers.”

ENDS

3rd December 2018