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Experience Voucher Expired: Can I Get a Refund?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 Oct 2016 |
 
Voucher Activity Experience Refund

Q.

My wife purchased a voucher for a day out from a well known company offering such experiences. We attempted to use the voucher and have been refused. We have contacted the company to get the voucher renewed and they have said 'no'. We asked for a refund they said 'no' as the voucher has expired, so we have lost our money.

When booking online you only get 7 months - if you phone you get a year. At no point when booking online is this made clear and when the ticket arrives, the expiry date is in very small print and on the back of the card - but the how to book form is actually glued over it! We left the two attached up until we came to make our booking. We mistakenly thought we had a year having bought one before via phone. What are our rights? Is it right that we should have paid and received no goods in return?

(R.A, 21 July 2009)

A.

The company is likely to insist that the 7 month period is made clear during the online booking process, and regrettably I must admit it seems unlikely that you are going to get your money back. Nevertheless, given what you have said about the expiry date I would suggest the following:

Complain

Write a letter of complaint detailing what has happened and specify that:

  • a) it was not made clear online that the expiry date was seven months away rather than a year,
  • b) that you are already a customer of this company having previously bought an experience by telephone
  • c) that this is not a situation in which you are merely trying to extend your voucher’s validity because of inertia on your part
  • d) that you feel that you have been prejudiced as a result of the fact that the how to book form was glued over the expiry date, and that you left the two attached (which is hardly abnormal) until such time as you wanted to book.

Your Reasoning

I would also include the following: you feel, as a previously satisfied customer of their company that you have a legitimate expectation to be able to enjoy the voucher, and that it is unfair of the company to have supplied documentation in such a way as to make it confusing and unclear as to how/ when the voucher needed to be used. You can also say that you have acted in good faith at all times, and that there is a significant imbalance in your rights as consumer, and their rights as the business. While you understand that they need to fulfil their commercial needs, they must also take into account your rights and interests – and in this case you have been subjected to treatment which you consider unfair.

Round off your letter specifying exactly what you want –i.e. an extension so that you can still enjoy the benefit of the voucher – and add that you expect to hear from them forthwith. Make it clear that your letter is a ‘complaint’ rather than mere ‘correspondence’ as this could mean you get a quicker response.

The Law

In answer to your original question, the company is within its rights to put a time limit on your ability to use the voucher. This means that you could easily have a situation in which you have paid money for a service that has subsequently expired (think lottery tickets, department store gift vouchers, credit notes.)

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A voucher was purchased from Virgin Experience Days for a flight in a Tiger Moth, this was to be with Blue Eye Aviation, this company has gone into liquidation, Virgin have offered a voucher to the value of £435-00,(the amount originally paid). Can we get a cash refund opposed to a voucher?
Al - 28-Oct-16 @ 12:01 PM
@emma. Why not give them a few dates which you can make and say that unless you can fly then, you'd like a refund. Whilst some circumstances have been beyond their control, they have made mistakes and put you to inconvenience.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 1-Jul-15 @ 12:40 PM
hi please could you help? I was brought an experience voucher for helicopter ride over London costing £149 as this is seasonal it runs from march till sep but is only avalible weekends. I went to book my experience and was told that the experience had been discontinued however I can exchange my voucher but for the value of £129 (so my voucher had lost £20 value some how) I didn't argue this as I just wanted to get something booked, I decided I would just exchange my voucher for the same as I had before but it was leaving from different location, I then had to post my voucher back to them with a letter explaining the situation and pay postage, then wait for my new voucher to arrive. When my new voucher arrived but there was no dates available to book and my voucher was going to expire so I had to then get it extended, although they would only extend for so many months meaning it was only valid till march but the experience does not run through the winter months giving me one month to actually use it. eventually I got my experience booked in march but they cancelled it the day before, my voucher then expired so I had to call to get it extended again, they was happy to do this as they were the ones that cancelled it, I rebooked again and then got a voicemail left telling me it was cancelled again however on the day of the experience some one called me to tell me I was supposed to be on the flight. I rang then to sort this and the apologised for the mix up and said it was fine to use my voucher still although now they say they have no dates for weekends which is what my voucher is valid for. After all the messing around I have had I do not even want to do this experience now it seems more hassle then what it is worth I have asked for a refund but they have refused but I believe after all the trouble I have had it is the least they could do, I am not sure what to do from here as I have spoken over then phone and email with them as they are still refusing any advise would be great thanks
emma - 28-Jun-15 @ 12:13 PM
@Macca. In general you cannot get a refund on vouchers like this - you should look at the terms and conditions. There is no automatic right to a refund simply because you don't want it (despite many retailers offering this).
ConsumerRightsExpert - 11-May-15 @ 2:43 PM
On retirement August 2014, I received a gift voucher for 3 lessons & a gift voucher for 6 lessons with the golf pro at my local golf club (vouchers expiry Dec. 2015).I was a complete novice, without any golf equipment of my own.I borrowed a club to practise with, and received 3 lessons from the pro.In April 2015, I returned the borrowed club, and as I had decided not to pursue golf as a hobby, spending more money on lots of gear - I asked for a refund of the unused 6 lesson voucher (cost to my wife £115 on credit card). Golf Pro not happy, saying I'm "unfair to expect refund", but has today offered a £50 refund "as a goodwill gesture only" - he has investigated consumer law and I'm not entitled to anything.Should I accept and be grateful?Thanks Macca (5/5/15)
Macca - 5-May-15 @ 1:35 PM
Please can you give me some advice, these daily deal companies that arrive in my mail box each day I have used for quite some time. In March, I purchased a deal for an ottoman which the company took from my bank on the 18th March for the sum of £33.99 including P & P, to date June despite up to 10 emails to them, I have received no goods, and they have refused a refund or even a credit note.They maintain after paying the cash I should then have contacted the merchant with a code which to my knowledge I never received as I have used these sites a lot I am aware that some require you to use a code, surely they took my money, they should send the goods, refund or at least a credit? I would be grateful for your advice please Thanks Nat
Nat - 16-Jun-13 @ 3:23 PM
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