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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70193
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Is it legal for shops to issue vouchers (free or purchased)

Customer Question

Is it legal for shops to issue vouchers (free or purchased) with an expiry date? I have been told that there might be a change in the law.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have a client (company) who issues vouchers which can be used to pay for a hotel bill. The vouchers can be purchased in £50 or £100 denominations and have an expiry date of 2 years from date of purchase. The client has recently been told that it is now illegal to issue vouchers with an expiry date. is this correct.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Did they say on what basis its illegal?

There has been no change that I know of. There is always the challenge under UCTA.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. they didn't say on what basis. Can you expend on what you mean by UCTA please.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
The Unfair Terms and Contracts Act.

That is not a new piece of legislation though so nothing has changed that I can see.

However, its possible to argue that any term is 'unfair' and so should be voided under UCTA. I must admit that I do think that expiry dates that have no purpose at all except to cause loss to a customer may well fall foul of UCTA.

Its not been challenged at the higher courts yet by anybody but I suspect that is because whenver people do make threats to sue the company just reopen the expiry date to avoid litigation.

Its different if a company has a legitimate reason for an expiry date - for instance a company that sells experience vouchers who are in a position where the experience is only available for a certain period of time. Then an expiry date would be a legitimate requirement.

If its just to create a pointless deadline though then there could be a challenge on that basis.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo
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Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/