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Martin Lewis Warns Against Buying Gift Vouchers This Christmas

Martin Lewis Warns Against Buying Gift Vouchers This Christmas

It might be a failsafe option for those awkward friends and family we just don't know what to get, but money saving expert Martin Lewis has warned against buying gift vouchers this Christmas.

With news that shops such as Topshop and Debenhams - once stalwarts on the high street - are set to close, the TV presenter has urged shoppers not to spend out on vouchers as gifts. And Lewis also had a message for eager shoppers who have already bought gift vouchers in advance, telling consumers they should use them quickly.

In The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, which aired last night, Lewis warned that some shops are valuing their gift cards at half the cost of purchase.

It was announced this week that high street brand Topshop will go into administration, putting thousands of jobs at risk (Credit: PA)
It was announced this week that high street brand Topshop will go into administration, putting thousands of jobs at risk (Credit: PA)
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Arcadia announced that gift cards for its brands - including Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins - could only be used in full if shoppers spent double the value, meaning that shoppers with a £20 voucher would have to spend £40 to be able to use them. However, Debenhams is currently giving customers the full amount.

Lewis advised: "Gift vouchers are not safe. If a company goes into administration, they're worth nothing."

Martin Lewis warned consumers against buying gift vouchers for shops at risk of going into administration (Credit: Shutterstock)
Martin Lewis warned consumers against buying gift vouchers for shops at risk of going into administration (Credit: Shutterstock)

He told one concerned viewer on the show: "I would use your voucher quickly if I were you, I'd get it used, if you don't want to spend it on something of that value, don't throw bad money away after good."

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Lewis added that it was also best to spend vouchers in store, as online deliveries could also be affected by a company going into administration. Shoppers, he said, might not get their delivery as expected if something happened with the administration.

Debenhams is set to be liquidated after a bid to rescue the chain's 124 stores across the country fell through (Credit: PA)
Debenhams is set to be liquidated after a bid to rescue the chain's 124 stores across the country fell through (Credit: PA)
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"As long as it's safe for you to go into store," he said, "I'd go and use my voucher as quickly as possible."

And for those of us who always opt to buy gift vouchers for our loved ones, he advised: "If you're thinking of giving gift vouchers for Christmas let this be a warning to you - don't do it.

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"Be careful with gift vouchers this Christmas with so many retailers in trouble. Go and give them money to spend in there instead."

Arcadia collapsed into administration on Monday and shoppers have been unable to use gift cards online since, though a spokesperson for the company said that customers would be able to use them online again from early next week.

Arcadia's most well-known brand Topshop has faced massive losses in recent years and has been hit hard by the pandemic.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: Shopping, Fashion, topshop

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Aneira Davies

Aneira Davies is a freelance lifestyle journalist with a particular interest in interiors and craft. She has written for the Evening Standard, Prima, House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping.