Fuseworks Media

Consumer NZ reveals 2023’s best and worst vouchers

Consumer estimates New Zealanders collectively lose over $10 million on unspent gift cards every year,¹ and urges last-minute shoppers to research before gifting vouchers this season.

Gemma Rasmussen, head of research and advocacy at Consumer explains that unfair gift card expiry dates mean not all gift cards are created equally.

“Based on the complaints we’ve received over the years, gift cards seem to act more like a gift to retailers than to ourselves or others,” said Rasmussen.

According to Consumer, retailers get a sweet deal from gift vouchers; they get payment in advance and the prospect of further sales when the card is used. Retailers also have the chance to keep any remaining money once the card expires.

“One in four gift card holders end up stuck with a card they can’t use because either the card has expired or the retailer’s gone bust. And more than half of gift card holders unable to redeem their voucher still had more than $20 unspent.”

As well as offering paltry expiry periods, some gift cards are hard to use, too.

“Half of gift card users experience problems using their card – from checking their balance to only being able to use their card at limited stores and, crucially, finding something to buy.”

“We don’t think it’s fair that retailers can pocket your money without providing something in return. We have been calling for gift cards to be valid for a minimum of 5 years, which aligns with what shoppers in the US are entitled to.

“Unless the retailer offers a fair redemption period, we recommend gifting cash. Not only is it nostalgic, there are no strings attached.”

Consumer encourages shoppers who decide to purchase gift vouchers this year to buy from the retailers on its “nice” list. These stores have extended their redemption periods to 5 years or dropped their expiries altogether.

Gift Cards: The Nice List

These retailers have either dropped expiry dates entirely, or extended redemption periods to 5 years.

Gift cards with no expiry date

  • Apple Store
  • Baby Factory
  • Barkers
  • Bunnings
  • Countdown
  • EB Games
  • Farro Fresh
  • Foot Locker
  • Glassons
  • Hallensteins
  • JB Hi-Fi
  • Kathmandu
  • Macpac
  • Noel Leeming

Gift cards with a 5-year expiry period

  • Babycity
  • Hannahs
  • Hunting and Fishing
  • Number One Shoes
  • Shoe Clinic

Gift Cards: The Naughty List

These retailers still offer paltry 12-month expiry dates – Consumer doesn’t recommend buying gift cards from these retailers.

Gift cards with 12-month expiry dates

  • Bendon Lingerie (e-gift cards last 3 years)
  • Booksellers
  • Event Cinemas
  • Freedom Furniture
  • Hoyts Cinemas
  • Just Jeans
  • Mobil Oil
  • Restaurant Association
  • Smiggle
  • Smiths City
  • Stirling Sports
  • Ticketmaster
  • Westfield Shopping Centres

 

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