An estimated £97.7million was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown, new research has revealed.
A quarter of people had a shopping voucher, worth £45.70 on average, that expired during the period when many shops and businesses were forced to close their doors, according to new data from Which?.
Around half of those with an expiring voucher said it was automatically extended by the retailer, while 15 per cent said they had to request an extension.
However, 36 per cent – an estimated 3.1million – did not receive an extension on their shopping vouchers worth £30 on average, automatically losing all the money they had left.
Gift card carnage: An estimated £97.7m was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown
This equates to an estimated £97.7million across the whole of Britain.
Those from an older demographic were more likely to lose money, with 46 per cent of those aged over 55 claiming they did not receive an extension for their shopping vouchers.
Meanwhile, 42 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 did not receive an extension either, however this figure dropped to just 20 per cent of those aged 18 to 35.
The gift card industry is worth £6billion every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association.
Many retailers introduced new Covid-19 terms and conditions during lockdown and offered to extend vouchers.
While some proactively contacted customers, others were not so helpful.
One person told Which? they had emailed a retailer regarding vouchers that were due to expire during lockdown, and received a swift response extending it.
However, another said they were left ‘disappointed’ when they contacted the company who told them ‘hard luck, basically’.
The industry is worth £6bn every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association
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