Muir calls for introduction of gift card regulations in Northern Ireland

Alliance Finance spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has called for legislation on gift cards to be introduced in Northern Ireland to protect consumers, after it emerged Topshop, part of the Arcadia group, has introduced new rules restricting the use of vouchers for shoppers, having gone into administration.

The Arcadia group of shops, which includes Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burtons, went into administration on Monday. Since then, shoppers have been unable to use their gift cards, with the company now confirming they can only be used for 50 per cent of the value of a purchase.

“For many people money is exceptionally tight during this festive period. It is not fair to ask those who hold gift cards for the Arcadia companies to spend double the value of their vouchers in order to redeem their gift cards,” said North Down MLA Mr Muir.

“This episode highlights the wider need for reform in Northern Ireland. When people buy gift cards for friends and family, they shouldn’t have to worry about whether they will be able to use them. We need legislation, such as was introduced last year in the Republic of Ireland, setting minimum expiry dates for gift cards and ban terms requiring them to be used in a single transaction.

“We also need to look at how gift cards holders are treated in the administration process, and how clear communication can be provided to consumers on their rights as gift card holders when a company falls into administration.”