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Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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What is the legal position reference gift vouchers - 1.

Customer Question

What is the legal position reference gift vouchers -

1. February - client contacted us before 2 weeks before voucher validity ended, said she had lost/voucher we could not trace the voucher without the reference number and paper copy had to be presented this was explained - as we have to check validity

2. heard nothing for 2 months, says has found voucher given number now traceable but out of date - at time of original call we had no way of tracing or checking validity - voucher now out of date.

3. Says has checked with a solicitor and I am back tracking on agreement and taking me to court!

What is my position?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Kasare replied 2 years ago.
Good morning, thank you for your question, I will assist you with this.

What are the terms and conditions for your gift vouchers - period of validity?

How much was the voucher for?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The terms and conditions are


1. Valid for six month,

2. Must be able to produce voucher as proof of purchase.


3. Vouchers are non refundable.


4. we are not liable if vouchers are lost, destroyed and used by another person.


This voucher was purchased September 2013 and expired March 2014.

Contact from client was two weeks prior to date expiring but at this time she told us the voucher had been destroyed and she could not locate it or give us the number.

She then contacted us some two months later with voucher numbers which we traced them but the vouchers were out of date.

at no point did I promise a refund I requested the voucher number to see if I could trace.

The spa closed in January 2014 and we took the decision to refund all valid in date vouchers. Our accountant has insisted we follow rules reference refunds as these are not normally offered for vouchers, however as we were no longer open for business we could not perform the treatments so felt this was fair and reasonable. However, I understand voucher may carry a nil value.


In September 2013 when the purchase was made we had no way of predicting seeing the circumstances that led to the spa closure.


Had the client furnished proof of purchase, i.e. number and voucher in February at the time of her original enquiry, before expiry date was complete I would have been able tot make the refund. The second approach two months later meant the voucher was no longer valid so i assumed there is no liability on my part.


If I do not adopt this approach i.e. validity and proof or purchase, I could be liable for on going refunds and out of date vouchers from years ago.


Is there anything else you need to know?

Lesley Turner.

Expert:  Kasare replied 2 years ago.
Hi Lesley

Just confirm the value of the voucher for me please.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry £100

Expert:  Kasare replied 2 years ago.
Hi Lesley

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

Gift vouchers and gift cards are sold subject to stated the retailers terms and conditions. If there is a time period in which the gift voucher must be used it should state this both on the voucher and at the point of sale.

Retailers are under no legal obligation to extend the expiry limit - but often may do out of goodwill (especially if they are still in business).

However, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 does provide some protection to consumers re vouchers to prevent an imbalance in the relationship between the retailer and the consumer.

It may be argued that an expiry date creates an imbalance in the relationship and causes significant detriment to the consumer, and therefore be unreasonable under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Act. Therefore any contract with a consumer could be undermined if the expiry rules were not explicitly stated at point of sale.

If this was not done, then there would be a slight risk that this client could take some action - usually it would be a complaint to Trading Standards etc first.

As the business is no longer trading and therefore it would be difficult for the consumer to do this. But it would also create difficulties for the consumer to commence legal proceedings against the business (especially if a limited company).

However, even if the customer was to issue proceedings against you, the maximum she would be able to recover - as this is a small claim and would be done online - if she were successful would be the issue fee (£25) and the voucher value (£100)- legal fees are not recoverable.

Therefore, I would suggest you advise her the terms and conditions were clearly explained at the time of purchase and the business has since closed, therefore no refund will be paid. If she wishes to take the matter further then that is a decision for her.

I hope this helps. If you have any further questions, please let me know.

Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience: Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
Kasare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The company Serenity Rose Limited is still trading but the spa is closed. We had two different streams of work will this matter? The other stream of work is consultancy.


Note - I know we always informed people verbally about vouchers and expiry dates as this went into our system.


This lady had use of the voucher from September until March.She and made no attempt to call us until two weeks prior to expiry. What I can't understand is how she was aware of expiry date if she did not have voucher which she claims she lost or it was damaged.


The Spa closed in January so I think she may have heard this news and then she thought about the voucher she had been given. She contacted me via a website link in February. I left an email link on the website open so people with vouchers could contact me. Had she had been able to provide proof of purchase in February I could have refunded at that time. However, my accountant has insisted we follow out Terms and Conditions regarding refunds and when she did give me details to track the voucher unfortunately it was no longer valid.


I am not wanting to go to court and hope sense prevails. In her email to me she is very vicious making claims I took money in September knowing we were going to close, this is not true. I could not have foreseen the circumstances that led to this closure and having invested many thousands of pounds am very aggrieved by the situation.


Lesley Turner



Expert:  Kasare replied 2 years ago.

I can understand that this client and the associated issues are the last thing that you need following the closure of your business, but that does not necessarily mean you should give in.

However threatening this woman may be in her email to you, if you are satisfied that the terms and conditions were clearing presented and explained then I would simply advise her of the same and that unfortunately given a) that she lost the voucher and b) then found it following its expiry and c) that the Spa is no longer trading there is nothing you can do in the circumstances.

IF she does take things further and issues a claim against you for the £100 - then at that point in time you can make a decision to either pay the claim (if you do not wish to defend it and go to a small claims court) or defend it.

But I would recommend you stand your ground. If she continues to send correspondence, simply respond advising that she has been informed of the company's decision and if she wishes to proceed against the company to do so, but that you will not engage in further correspondence regarding this.

(Please search online for Money Claims online and read the information about online money claims and the process, if you wish to be prepared for possible proceedings)

If there is anything else I can assist you with, please ask.

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