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Jessops, HMV, Blockbuster: what to do if you have unused gift cards and vouchers

Simon Ward
by Lovemoney Staff Simon Ward on 22 January 2013  |  Comments 7 comments

If you have a gift card or voucher for one or more of these shops, here's what you need to know.

Jessops, HMV, Blockbuster: what to do if you have unused gift cards and vouchers

Camera store Jessops has closed its shops, while entertainment retailer HMV is in administration. It’s terrible news for employees, creditors and suppliers, but it may not be all bad news for customers with unused gift cards and vouchers.

HMV has continued trading and now administrator Deloitte has announced that stores will start accepting gift cards and vouchers again from Tuesday (21st January). The advice is to spend them now, in case the decision is reversed again.

If you have a Jessops gift card or vouchers

While Jessops has ceased trading, you may be able to get your money back on any used gift cards or vouchers. It all depends on how they were paid for.

Credit card transactions

If the gift card or voucher was bought by you or for you using a credit card, under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act you can claim your money back. However, the minimum amount you can claim for is £100, which probably rules out a lot of people.

These people can instead attempt to claim from the company that issued their card under the chargeback rule. You have 120 days from the date when you’re aware there’s a problem, which would be 9th January, the day when Jessops went into administration.

If your claim is rejected, you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Debit card transactions

If the gift card was bought by you or for you using a debit card, you could also pursue a claim under the chargeback rule. You need to contact the bank or building society that issued your card. You have 120 days from the date when you’re aware there’s a problem, which would be 9th January, the day when Jessops went into administration.

If your claim is rejected, you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Cash or cheque transactions

Unfortunately, cash and cheque purchases don’t cover the same levels of protection as those made by card. You can write to the administrators but you’ll be added to a list of creditors and may not get any of your money back. If you have a Jessops gift card or voucher, there's information on how to submit a claim on the Jessops website.

If an HMV gift card was bought at Asda, Boots or Tesco

Asda started selling HMV gift cards in November and has announced that it will switch the value of any HMV gift cards purchased at Asda onto an Asda gift card. However, you must be able to provide proof of purchase, which is either a receipt or a bank statement. You have until 30th January to make the switch.

Boots and Tesco will also credit the balance of an HMV gift card bought in its stores or online onto their gift cards. You'll need to provide proof of purchase, such as a receipt.

What about Blockbuster?

DVD and game rental company Blockbuster has also entered administration (also appointing Deloitte). However, gift cards and trade-in credits are still being accepted for now. But you may want to spend them sooner rather than later.

This article has been updated

More on consumer rights

Your rights when a company goes bust

Why extended warranties can be an expensive mistake

Small claims court: get the money you are owed

How to get a ticket refund from cancelled events

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Comments (7)

  • Singe57
    Love rating 9
    Singe57 said

    I think is is a lesson learnt for people that when Christmas comes do not buy any "vouchers" whatsoever. Britain has become unstable and is going down fast.

    Report on 17 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Tanni
    Love rating 92
    Tanni said

    The voucher holder has exchanged money ( which in itself is a voucher ) to obtain a piece of paper which can be exchanged for goods when the voucher holder redeems the voucher. As such the issuer is in debt to the voucher holder. As a creditor the voucher holder would be governed by common law/civil/commercial and contractual law. The voucher holder should enforce his authority as a creditor and pick up items to the value of the voucher and leave the voucher at the cashier. If the cashier doesn't approve then the creditor can ask them to enforce his breech via court. No judge in his right mind would find against the voucher holder.

    Secondly, I believe sterling is heading the same way...remember the great war? When people hauled money in wheelbarrows to buy a loaf of bread?...I do recall that and I reckon it can happen here.

    Checkout max Kieser does Westminister. You will see and understand how incredibly useless our fiscal planners are. God bless.

    Report on 17 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • CuNNaXXa
    Love rating 410
    CuNNaXXa said

    Just goes to demonstrate why gift cards and tokens are a thoughtless present. Why give someone a £10 gift card to spend at one specific retailer when you could give a £10 gift money which can be spent at hundreds of thousands of retailers, or exchanged for Dollars, Yen or any other currency of your choosing.

    I would imagine that there are plenty of recipients of these gift cards who are feeling cheated. Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving (we give, and the retailer takes), and thousands of people will realise that their gift is a worthless bit of card or plastic.

    Gift cards are a con anyway, simply because it ties you in with one retailer chain, whereas cash can be spent anywhere, allowing you to compare, or even barter, for a better price from a competitor.

    Stick to cash, or even better, find out what they really want.

    In the past, I have been given Woolworths vouchers that never got spent, and M&S vouchers that expired before I got a chance to spend them. The problem with a voucher is that you have to visit the store in question to spend the vouchers, which a lot of us find difficult.

    I would love to know, historically, how many vouchers are sold each year, and how many are redeemed each year. I would bet that sales outstrip redemption year on year, as people just cannot be bothered to exchange their vouchers for good. This could be down to pure laziness, or the logistical position of the store (some places are not easy to access, or require a detour), or simply down to the fact that they haven't got anything in that you wish to purchased.

    Selling gift cards is a win win situation, because they have our money long before we actually make a purchase, so it is quite evident that prices may increase, due to inflation, between them collecting the money and them selling the goods. If we don't cash those vouchers in, they still collect the money, with the added bonus that their stock level doesn't diminish. Essentially, they can double their money on items as if they sold them twice.

    A last thought for you Ladies and Gentlemen to ponder. No business goes bust without warning signs. You suddenly don't go from being successful to being a failure. HMV and Blockbuster would have known, for many months, that they were in trouble (maybe even years). The simple fact is that HMV would actively sell gift cards knowing that it would be going in to administration. The more cash they can trawl in, the less their responsibility to their major creditors.

    Remember that ALL businesses are run as a profit, and they will do everything possible to make money, including selling gift cards when they know they are going to fold. This really should be considered fraud, if they knowingly take your money with no intention of honouring their side of the contract.

    Maybe in our inclement financial climate, gift cards should be outlawed. They are NOT legal tender, and should not replace it.

    Report on 17 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • sludgeguts
    Love rating 56
    sludgeguts said

    "No business goes bust without warning signs. You suddenly don't go from being successful to being a failure. HMV and Blockbuster would have known, for many months, that they were in trouble (maybe even years). The simple fact is that HMV would actively sell gift cards knowing that it would be going in to administration."

    Isn't it illegal for a company to do this?

    I thought trading laws prevented a company taking money when it knows it is going into liquidation - as in the case of people buying vouchers or mail order?

    What's to stop someone offering expensive goods at knock down prices with a 28 day delivery & then declaring yourself bankrupt at day 27 & stuffing all that cash under the floorboards?

    Report on 18 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    I am so sick of stupid comments regarding the economy based on the failure of high street retailers who have been slow to change with technology and tendency to online sales for many product sectors. The underlying UK economy is extremely strong and there is a scrabble at many levels to try and bring manufacturing back to the UK or Europe. There have been some incredible changes in the products which we regard as 'essential' to our lives and those retailers who have ceased trading were simply not important enough to us, whatever their history. Green Shield stamps in the back of the drawer, anyone?

    Report on 18 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • CuNNaXXa
    Love rating 410
    CuNNaXXa said

    @ sludgeguts...

    Some years back, we paid £2000 to a double glazing company to build us a conservatory. They took our deposit then went bust a few weeks later.

    Radford and Son were the brought in to liquidate the business.

    Prior to the bankruptcy, the machinery used to make the windows was sold cheaply to a competitor, and in return the directors of the double glazing company were offered jobs with the competitor.

    When the company was bankrupted, there was nothing left after the bank took their share.

    I met up with the salesman who sold us the conservatory a month later, and he admitted to me that they knew they were winding up, which was why they were encouraged to sell windows and doors at cheap prices to secure deposits so that their obligation to the bank was fulfilled.

    Whether this is legal or not, a company could argue that they endeavoured to stay afloat by trying to sell as much as possible prior to going bankrupt. Also, many businesses borrow from banks to survive, so if the bank calls in its debts, that can end a business prematurely.

    Oh, the fraud squad were involved with the above case, but they could prove no criminal activity.

    Report on 18 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Tanni
    Love rating 92
    Tanni said

    @sludgeguts. Agree. That's why banks and financial advisors are encouraging businesses to be set up as limited liability organisations. Scrounge what you can while you can and then go bust blaming trading conditions.

    If all businesses were run as sole trader or unlimited liability, I can assure you that most businesses would be run without a view to going bust and hiding behind the LTD banner. Owners/shareholders would ensure the viability of the business is judged/monitored on a regular basis.

    Some may not agree with me and to them I say fine, however do you recall the LTD banks that went begging to the tax payer? The govt acted as our agent and bailed them out to my frustration. LTD is a flawed system where high risk trading is involved. Greed requires safeguards also known as LTD. Just take a look at what happened to Iceland after the banks failed...yes the people rewrote the constitution and sacked the government and it's finanacial safeguards ie FSA and other useless monitors. It must be noted that Iceland is well on its way to a recovery. This is not reported in any news media as it will make our politicians and planners look rather silly and daft.

    Report on 19 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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