The Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 imposes a minimum expiry date of five years for vouchers and bans contract terms which require them to be spent in a single transaction.
The new law will also ban contract terms that limit the number of vouchers that can be used in a transaction and prohibit the cancellation of gift vouchers or the imposition of charges by airlines if the name of a gift voucher recipient differs from the name on a passport.
In passing the laws in December 2019, Ireland has become the first European country to enact legislation protecting consumers in this area.
The Bill also includes provisions that ban a number of unfair terms in gift voucher contracts.
The first of these provisions outlaws any term in a gift voucher contract that requires the full value of a voucher to be spent in one transaction. Where a gift voucher cannot be used more than once and the consumer does not redeem the full amount of the voucher in an initial purchase, the business will be required to reimburse any remaining balance of more than one euro by way of cash, electronic transfer or voucher. A second provision bans contract terms that prevent consumers from using more than one gift voucher in a transaction.