Unused shopping vouchers ‘worth up to £100 million’ were left unspent during lockdown

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Unused shopping vouchers worth up to £100 million were lost during lockdown – as the UK’s shops closed their doors, a survey has suggested.

In fact, a quarter of UK adults say they’re out of pocket after their coupons lapsed during the pandemic.

Vouchers left unspent were worth £45.70 on average, according to consumer group Which?

The vouchers, which expired when many shops and businesses were forced to close, were not all wasted, though.

While 25% of people had a shopping voucher that expired during the period, nearly half (49%) of those with an expiring voucher said it was automatically extended by the retailer.

One in seven (15%) said they had to request an extension.

Unfortunately, just over a third (36%) – which could equate to an estimated 3.1 million people – did not receive an extension on their shopping vouchers worth £31.70 on average, automatically losing the money they had left.

This equates to around £98 million lost across the whole of the UK.

Those aged 55 and over were hit hard, making up almost half (46%) of those who had not had an extension on their vouchers.

Many retailers die introduce new Covid-19 terms and conditions during lockdown, including offering to extend vouchers, according to Which?

Some retailers proactively reached out to customers, but others were reportedly not so helpful.

One person told Which? that a company had told them “hard luck, basically”.

Which? has now issued advice to anyone who had a voucher that expired during lockdown.

they say if you find yourself in this position you should contact the company to try and get an extension.

And in future, they have advised anyone considering buying shopping vouchers to be wary, as coronavirus has had a severe financial impact on many retailers.

The possibility of further lockdown restrictions could also make it difficult to spend vouchers in the future.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “Our research suggests consumers may have lost tens of millions of pounds on expired vouchers during lockdown.

“Many retailers have extended shopping vouchers that expired during lockdown, so if you have a voucher you were unable to use it is worth contacting the company.

“Anyone considering buying a voucher should be aware of the risks, as some well-known retailers have collapsed in recent months and further coronavirus restrictions could make it difficult to spend vouchers and gift cards.”

Some 2,000 people were surveyed across the UK in August.



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