Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway Eugene Murphy has called on the government to regulate the use and sale of gift vouchers.

Deputy Murphy commented “We must protect the consumer, many of whom have been left short changed by expiring gift vouchers. Estimates suggest that between 1% and 2% of gift vouchers redeemable in many outlets go unredeemed. I am culpable of that myself. Some 8% to 10% of gift vouchers that are redeemable in a single retailer or service provider may not be redeemed. However, consumers receiving the gift vouchers are often left unaware of the terms and conditions that apply.

“In my own constituency I know of people who have had gift vouchers which have ran out. In an awful lot of cases, even though they do not have to do it now, shop owners will put an expiry date on a voucher. In most circumstances, local shops or stores are reasonable and, if the consumer is a few months outside the expiry date, they are more than willing to accommodate them.

“Business has concerns about this legislation and we must listen to their concerns. The Bill establishes a definition for gift vouchers and proposes that there can be no expiry date on gift vouchers which is not less than a five-year period and all gift vouchers would remain valid for five years. This five-year expiry date has been deployed in other jurisdictions to good effect.

“I look forward to continuing the scrutiny of the Bill to ensure fairness for the consumer and clarity for business owners,” concluded Deputy Murphy.