THE NATIONAL CONSUMER Agency (NCA) has said that staff at HMV’s 16 stores in Ireland have been told that they cannot honour gift vouchers that have already been purchased at the music retailer.
The NCA said that the decision – which follows the decision by the retailer to go into administration in the UK – is “very disappointing” given that consumers bought vouchers over the Christmas period on the expectation they could be redeemed.
Politicians have come out calling for HMV to honour vouchers but at the moment it appears unlikely that this will happen.
A lot of vouchers would have been bought as Christmas gifts and this compounds the difficulties and impact of this decision for Irish consumers who bought and received these vouchers,” the NCA said in a statement issued this afternoon.
There is no legal impediment to the administrators, Deloitte, taking the decision to instruct HMV to not honour gift vouchers but the NCA said that it will push for the decision to be reversed or to at least give more clarity to customers in Ireland over the situation.
Politicians including Labour’s Gerald Nash and Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone criticised the decision.
Nash said: “HMV clearly has trading difficulties, but I believe they and the appointed administrators should appreciate their customer’s loyalty over the past number of decades and accept all vouchers, if even for a limited period.”
The agency also advises consumers who purchased a voucher using their Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card to contact their issuer to see if they can get their money back through these card companies’ chargeback processes on the basis that the service paid for was not rendered.
“The outcome of the Administration process is not yet known. Customers who paid for vouchers in cash or who are unsuccessful on securing a chargeback should hold on to their vouchers to see how the situation unfolds,” the NCA added.