When you buy a gift voucher, you should find out how it can be used and what restrictions to its use there are. You do not have to accept a gift voucher as compensation for a defect.
Gift voucher as a form of compensation
The company’s right to issue a gift voucher as compensation depends on whether the case concerns rectifying a defect or a non-defective product:
- If the product has a defect for which the company is liable, the consumer does not have to accept a gift voucher as compensation. The vendor must primarily rectify the defect by repairing the product or replacing it with a corresponding one. If this is not possible, the consumer can ask for a price reduction or cancellation of the sale.
- If the product does not have a defect and the company has not given the customer the right to return it, giving the customer a gift voucher for a returned product is good customer service. In other words, the vendor has no obligation to take the product back and cancel the sale just because the consumer changed their mind.The only situations in which a purchase can be cancelled and returned for no specific reason are distance and door-to-door sales.
A gift voucher must be used in accordance with its conditions
You should check for any restrictions to or other conditions for using a gift voucher:
period of validity the stores in which the voucher can be used, and the types of products it can be used for
- if the voucher can be used for discounted products
- if the full value of the gift voucher must be used at once, or if it can be split between several transactions
- if any unused amount on the voucher can be given to the consumer in cash.
If you give a gift voucher as a present, make sure that the recipient also knows the conditions for its use.
If the company has not provided clear information about any restrictions to using a gift voucher, the consumer has the right to assume that there are no special restrictions.
It is also common practice to allow consumers to order products or book services during the gift voucher’s period of validity, as it is difficult for a consumer to know what the supplier’s reservation status is and how early a booking should be made.
If your gift voucher is about to expire and you have not been able to use it, you can negotiate on extending its period of validity. However, the vendor that issued the voucher has no obligation to extend its validity if using the voucher has been delayed for reasons which you can influence. On the other hand, if the availability of the products or services specified in the gift voucher has been limited, asking for an extension may be justified.
A bankrupt company has the right to not accept gift vouchers
When a company has been declared bankrupt, it no longer has the right to control its assets, as they belong to the bankruptcy estate. The company’s assets are managed by a bankruptcy trustee appointed by a court of law. Under the law, a bankruptcy estate has the right not to accept gift vouchers that were purchased before the bankruptcy proceedings began. However, a person who has a gift voucher should send the trustee a written notification of their receivable in order for it to be taken into account in the distribution of the bankruptcy estate’s assets.