Advanced search think it's pretty outrageous that gift cards expire?

(65 Posts)
MackerelOfFact Mon 24-Oct-16 09:07:05

And to be surprised that people waste their money on them?

I received a £50 Ticketmaster for a significant birthday about 15 months ago. I decided I would put it towards either a production of my favourite ballet, or Wimbledon tickets. I was unsuccessful getting either last year, so logged on yesterday to try again for this year's Nutcracker tickets, only to find that my voucher had disappeared from my account. I Googled and eventually found, tucked under many sub-menus, the 'terms and conditions' that the vouchers expire one year after purchase and cannot be reinstated or extended. Not one year after activation, not one year after last use, but one year after purchase - bearing in mind that the person using the vouchers will not be the same person who bought them, this seems even more stupid.

Obviously it's partly my own fault for not checking first and using them within the 12 months, but I am pretty livid that a relative has effectively donated £50 to a company with a turnover of about £7 billion in aid of my birthday. I am so embarrassed. I obviously can't tell them so I will probably end up buying tickets out of my own pocket and pretending I used the voucher.

I appreciate that companies might need to know for accounting purposes when they can expect to supply the services due, but quite frankly if they can't afford to supply gift vouchers then they are not obliged to do so. Nobody is forcing them to sell them.

I received National Theatre Tokens for the same birthday and according to their website they never expire.

Fully expecting to be told I am being unreasonable, but just wanted to warn anyone thinking of buying gift vouchers this Xmas to a) check how long they last, b) let the recipient know, and c) consider giving cash instead.

Squiff85 Mon 24-Oct-16 09:08:56

I feel for you, but its common sense really.

itsbetterthanabox Mon 24-Oct-16 09:10:21

No Yanbu it is very unfair.
I think if they do need to do it then they should stamp it with the expiry date so at least you know when it is!

Donatellalymanmoss Mon 24-Oct-16 09:10:31

It's quite normal for these cards to expire. You should have checked.

MargotLovedTom Mon 24-Oct-16 09:11:33


MargotLovedTom Mon 24-Oct-16 09:12:12

Aargh sorry, meant you are NOT being unreasonable!

littlemissM92 Mon 24-Oct-16 09:13:18

No because what if a company went bankrupt or a shop closed ?! But the expiry should be larger and clearer not in small print. But I imagine they do that on purpose so people don't check and miss out and they pocket the money and sell no product

Magpie18 Mon 24-Oct-16 09:13:27

Totally agree with you OP, don't understand why they should have a use by date as they are a cash alternative?

Just going to check several I know I have in the back of my purse.......

plimsolls Mon 24-Oct-16 09:13:48

This would happen to me, OP. It's exactly the kind of thing I wouldn't realise expired plus I'd be "saving" it for a special trip or something and before I knew it, months would have flown by.

A big "this expires in one year" printed on the card would be good!

As an aside, a ticket master gift card is a great present!

LottieDoubtie Mon 24-Oct-16 09:14:53

I don't object to them expiring in principle - i get that companies need to budget etc...

But 12 months from date of purchase is not long enough imo so yanbu there, I think they should give you 2-3 years.

Excited101 Mon 24-Oct-16 09:15:23

I think it's really bad. It's the fact that it's done purely to screw people over and lose their money, it screams of it.


MackerelOfFact Mon 24-Oct-16 09:15:43

I know I should have checked, obviously. I accept the £50 has gone into Ticketmaster's coffers on this occasion, that's my fault, and I'm still grateful for the gift.

But in general don't see any real reason why companies need to impose arbitrarily short expiries. Nobody is forcing them to sell gift vouchers. If their accounts can't deal with receiving the money before supplying the goods, they maybe shouldn't sell them full stop?!

captaincunt Mon 24-Oct-16 09:17:16

YANBU it's just another way for huge business to make money.

I have theatre vouchers that are 22 years old and still accepted without question (!). This seems to go too far the other way somehow but I always book theatre online or on the phone rather than in person. Anyway I am grateful for it.

Jinglebells99 Mon 24-Oct-16 09:18:04

That's bad. Really short time frame. I won't be buying gift vouchers from them😡 can you tweet about it too?

myfavouritecolourispurple Mon 24-Oct-16 09:18:55

I think it's wrong - if they were paper vouchers they would not generally expire.

On the plus side, if a National Book Token expires they will send you a new one if you apply.

But YANBU - I don't care about "accounting procedures" - they've had the money and that's that. If the organisation goes bust there's not much you can do as you'll be a long way down the list of creditors, but otherwise it's unreasonable not to honour them.

MatildaTheCat Mon 24-Oct-16 09:19:35

One year is ridiculous. The expiry date should be printed in big fat letters and, IMO be for at least 2 years. It's also happened to me.

MackerelOfFact Mon 24-Oct-16 09:20:01

Also, I applied the gift card balance to my account within a few days of my birthday so I could go through checkout quickly if I managed to get the tickets I wanted. I didn't actually have the physical card anymore, so even if it had been printed on there, it wouldn't have made much difference. blush There was no email or anything warning me of the expiry.

ovenchips Mon 24-Oct-16 09:20:14

YANBU OP. Think it's v unfair. Cash doesn't have an expiry date so why should these?

Even just increasing it to 2 years would be hugely better. Or an option of cashing it in if you can't use it within timeframe.

I feel your pain at not being able to use voucher and now probably having to buy tickets out of own money. angry

Costacoffeeplease Mon 24-Oct-16 09:20:18

By the same 'token' no-one forces anyone to buy them - your friend/relation could just have given you cash then you could have spent it where and when you wanted

APlaceOnTheCouch Mon 24-Oct-16 09:21:32

YANBU. The money doesn't disappear from their bank account so the voucher shouldn't disappear either.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Mon 24-Oct-16 09:23:59

A lot of stores will re issue them if they have expired.

Soupandasandwich Mon 24-Oct-16 09:25:38

I agree with you. I hate receiving gift cards for this reason. The old paper vouchers (mostly) had no expiry date so I could save them up for something I really wanted. Now, when Iget gift cards I end up spending them on stuff just for the sake of it, because I can't wait and see if I am going to get more from the same retailer. When gift cards first came out we didn't realise they had an expiry date and we ended up losing around £20 or so to W H Smith - that was a lot of money back then. For this reason I never give gift cards, I always give cash with a little 'certificate ' to say what I hope it will be spent on, although I know sometimes recipients may use it differently. I would still rather that than waste my money on a Gift Card that expires before it gets used.

BarbaraofSeville Mon 24-Oct-16 09:25:58

Gift vouchers are a crap present, sorry. Why does turning actual money that can be spent anywhere and will never expire into a gift card of the same value that can expire or be rendered worthless if the supplier goes bust and can only be spent in one shop make it more of a gift?

It doesn't even sound like you regularly buy from Ticketmaster, or else you would have used it quicker than you did, or tried to. If they have an expiry date, it should be 2 or 3 years minimum, not one year, which may only be a few months if it was bought by someone who shops ahead.

I got a WH Smith gift card once. My god, that is the most useless present imaginable. Everything is so expensive compared with supermarkets, Amazon etc. I wanted to buy OS maps, but they were twice as expensive as Go Outdoors or the online supplier I normally buy from.

steppedonlego Mon 24-Oct-16 09:26:01

This is exactly why I don't buy people gift vouchers. It's exchanging perfectly good money that can be spent anywhere into money with an expiry date that can only be spent in one shop.

hazelnutlatte Mon 24-Oct-16 09:30:18

I've been caught out by this too OP. My MIL bought me a voucher for Pandora for my birthday, and I didn't get round to using it until just before my next birthday. Unfortunately they are only valid for a year after purchase and my MIL had bought it a couple of weeks in advance of my birthday, so it had expired by about a week! The shop told me to contact customer services to see if they would extend it but they wouldn't budge.
I know it was my own fault as it was printed in the small print on the back of the card, but I do think a year after purchase is too short a time - I had assumed it would be 2 years.
Most retailers give 2 years. We got some debenhams and house of Fraser vouchers for our wedding which we didn't get round to using (we were planning to use them to buy Denby crockery but then a Denby outlet opened near to us so we bought from there instead). Both debenhams and house of Fraser had 2 year expiry dates and they extended them by another year when we phones customer services, so not all retailers are so mean.

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