Consumers call for gift card protection

Chris PolechonskiSenior Research Executive Digital, Media and Technology
April 22, 2013, 10:45 AM GMT+0

The majority of British consumers want store cards regulated to protect them against retailer collapse.

Following the collapse of several high street chains, new YouGov research reveals that 86% of Britons believe that all gift cards should be regulated to protect consumers against failing retailers.

The survey – undertaken for multi-retailer gift card provider One4all – shows that when asked to consider the recent collapse of high street retailers and the concerns about gift cards losing value, two-fifths (40%) of people would not feel confident spending money on the cards at the moment. This follows consumers facing problems using gift cards after stores such as Jessops and HMV went into administration.

However, given the same scenario, over two-thirds (69%) of people say they would feel more confident purchasing gift cards that can be used across a variety of retailers, rather than one that can be used in a single store. Confidence rises to over three-quarters (78%) if people know their money is safe should a chain go into receivership.

No knowledge of regulation

Although legislation to protect funds held on gift cards in the UK currently exists, compliance is not mandatory for all gift card types. Nine in ten (91%) Britons do not know that regulated gift cards are available and 86% think all gift cards should be protected in the face of a retailer entering administration.

Half (50%) of people think that any strengthening of regulations should be led by both the government and the retail industry. This is compared to less than a quarter (24%) who think it should be led by the retail industry alone and only 12% who think it should be led by the government alone.

Commenting on the findings, Group CEO of One4all Michael Dawson said: “This is a strong message to the industry that the public believe greater consumer protection is needed in order to maintain confidence in the gift card market. Regulated products bring clear benefits to consumers, giving them the reassurance that they won’t be left out of pocket in the event of a retailer collapsing.”

One4all provides multi-store gift cards that can be spent in over 17,000 outlets across the UK.

See for the full survey results