One of the main first world problems that we all face is buying someone a gift for their birthday, Christmas or their wedding. We spend some time thinking about what to buy and we always end up buying a gift voucher, especially as the internet has made it a lot easier to find and buy them. Gift vouchers, in theory, make great presents until you realise that they have to be used by a certain date and that fees which you have no control over will be charged for inactive balances on gift vouchers.

With this in mind Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation has said that consumers and businesses have until close of business on Friday to respond to a public consultation on gift voucher fees and has urged anyone with an interest in the issue to make their voice heard.

Minister Humphreys said:

“In June, I announced Government approval of new legislation, which proposes a minimum lifespan of five years for gift vouchers.

“As well as this, the Bill proposes that the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation will have the power to set fees for inactive balances on gift vouchers, together with fees for the issue and replacement of gift vouchers.

“For this reason, I’m looking for views to help me decide on what fees if any, should apply.

“Understandably, consumers feel they should be able to use their gift voucher at full face value, however, the businesses charging these fees say that they couldn’t meet their costs without them.

“I would urge anyone with a view to make their voice heard by Friday at close of business.”

All information pertaining to the public consultation is available on the website of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Responses should be sent by email to [email protected] or by post to Competition and Consumer Policy Section, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Earlsfort Centre, Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2.

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