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Liffey Valley Shopping Centre is among the places impacted. Alamy Stock Photo
Gift Cards

Liffey Valley and Mahon Point among major shopping centres currently unable to accept gift cards

The CCPC said the ‘vouchers managed by PayrNet are not standard gift vouchers covered by consumer protection laws’.

LAST UPDATE | 27 Jun 2023

SEVERAL MAJOR SHOPPING centres are unable to accept their gift cards after the firm that manages the funds has had its licence revoked.

Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Mahon Point in Cork, White Water Shopping Centre in Kildare, and the Square in Tallaght are among the shopping centres impacted.

Lithuanian firm UAB PayrNet manages the funds of the gift cards used in these shopping centres.

However, it has had its licence revoked by Lithuanian authorities after it was hit with bankruptcy proceedings under anti-money laundering legislation.

An investigation found that UAB PayrNet owes more money than it possesses, making it insolvent, and the Bank of Lithuania now intends to initiate bankruptcy proceedings.

As a result, shopping centres impacted by this are currently unable to sell or accept gift cards.

In a statement to The Journal, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre said the issue is “due to circumstances beyond our control”.

A spokesperson added that “the full implications and the timeline for a resolution are still unclear”.

Liffey Valley added that it is “working closely with the gift card provider and exploring every possible avenue to rectify the situation as swiftly as possible” and that it will “provide further updates as more information becomes available”.

The Liffey Valley spokesperson also noted that the issue “is affecting other shopping centres and service providers across Ireland and Europe that also use the services of UAB PayrNet”.

In a statement on its website, Mahon Point said they “understand that this may be concerning and inconvenient”.

Mahon Point also noted that “the full implications and the timeline for a resolution are not completely clear” and that it is “exploring every possible avenue to rectify the situation”.

The Square in Tallaght and White Water Shopping Centre also confirmed that “customers will be unable to purchase new cards or use existing cards at this time” and that it is “working hard to resolve this issue”.

In a statement to The Journal, a spokesperson from the Consumer Competition and Consumer Protection Commission warned that “vouchers managed by PayrNet are not standard gift vouchers covered by consumer protection laws”.

“They are electronic money gift cards, which are regulated under the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011,” added the CCPC spokesperson. 

They further explained: “PayrNet is based in Lithuania, where they were authorised as an e-money institution by the Bank of Lithuania and passported their services into Ireland.

“A firm that passports its services into Ireland is prudentially regulated by the regulator or supervisor in its home country.

“Most firms passporting services into Ireland are also regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules.”

The CCPC said it understands that the Central Bank “is aware of the revocation PayrNet UAB’s licence and is engaging with the Bank of Lithuania on the impact of the licence revocation and any potential impact on Irish consumers”.

As a result, the CCPC said there is “no action that consumers can currently take”.

However, the CCPC told The Journal that it will update its advice to consumers as further information becomes available. 

‘Reputational damage’ 

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins has called on impacted shopping centres to find a way to honour the gift cards issued by PayrNet. 

“I am calling on the retailers and shopping centres impacted to immediately find a way to honour existing gift cards,” said Higgins. 

“I have seen the various announcements that some shopping centres have made, and while I fully sympathise that this is a difficult situation for them and their staff, consumers need to be reassured that their gift cards will be honoured.

“If not, I would fear that it could cause a lot of reputational damage to impacted retailers,” added Higgins.

The Fine Gael TD also called on the CCPC to “intervene and work with impacted retailers and shopping centres to find a way to honour all existing cards”.

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