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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Is it legal for shops to issue vouchers (free or purchased)

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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.

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 4 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.

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 4 years ago.

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

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.

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