Following Jessops, the DVD and music chain HMV has now gone into administration. Sadly there will no doubt be more well known retailers to hit the buffers this year and our sympathies are with those facing uncertainty over their jobs. An outrage though is that HMV have said it will not be accepting gift vouchers.
This seems beyond belief and a move that will no doubt impact on many adults and children alike who have received HMV vouchers for Christmas.
What are your options if you have HMV gift vouchers, either that you’ve bought or have received as a gift?
Firstly, it’s worth noting that if the company is saved in some form there is a chance that the new owners will honour the vouchers.
Secondly, there is a small glimmer of hope that the stance by the administrators not to accept vouchers may change in the coming days. This happened when electrical retailer Comet went into administration in 2012. After initially announcing it would not accept any vouchers it did relent and allow a period of time where vouchers were accepted.
However, assuming there is no change, as is the most likely case, here’s a look at your options with regards to any HMV vouchers you hold.
1. If you bought HMV vouchers
- You can make a claim in writing to the administrators, Deloitte, with proof of your vouchers. There’s no guarantee you’ll get all of your money back and according to Which? it could take up to 12 months to process the claim. The administrators may not even accept such claims. Basically you are now a creditor of the company, behind many others, and considering the company has huge debts to pay off the chances of you getting money back is very small indeed. You may find it easier using the Which? template letter to claim a refund for vouchers.
- You can put a chargeback request to your bank if you bought the vouchers on your card and it hasn’t been more than 120 days since you did so. This is on the basis that the vouchers are no longer what you paid for i.e. you can no longer exchange them for goods to a defined value, they are worthless. You need to be aware though that again the administrators may not accept these claims.
- You can claim against your credit card company if you spent more than £100 on the transaction. Note that the value of the transaction needs to be over £100 but this may not all be vouchers, for example it could be just £30 vouchers along with £70 of other items such as DVDs or computer games. To help you can use the Which? template letter to claim a refund from your credit card company.
2. If you have received HMV vouchers as a gift
In this scenario your options are limited. That said, whilst you can’t make a claim, the person who bought the vouchers for you could put in a chargeback request to their bank, as covered above or make a claim, if appropriate, to their credit card company.
Diane Ray, MoneyHighStreet.com comments: “Clearly whether you bought or received your gift vouchers you’re not in a very strong position to get your money back. Surely it’s time for the rules to be changed to provide better protection for consumers buying retailer gift vouchers.
“A gift voucher needs to have the same value as holding a bankers draft in that you should be able to redeem it or get your money back. Bottom line, you need to know that you will not lose your money should the retailer go bust.
“Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which? said ‘It is outrageous that consumers, once again, are left out of pocket when a retailer refuses to honour gift vouchers. We want the rules on gift vouchers and insolvency to be reviewed to ensure consumers are adequately protected in cases like this.’
“I absolutely echo Richard and the sooner changes can be made the better.”