DEBENHAMS is to stop accepting gift cards from next week in a blow for shoppers.
The failed department store chain will stop allowing the use of vouchers both in store and online from midnight on Sunday, December 20.
The news is also bad for bargain hunters who’d hoped to nab a deal from Debenhams as part of its closing down sale.
Until now, the 242-year-old retailer had continued to allow gift cards after falling into administration for the second time in April this year.
But when a business falls into administration, the company who is handling the process can decide to stop allowing gift cards at any time.
For example, shoppers at Arcadia Group stores – which include Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton – can only use gift vouchers to cover 50% of their purchase after the retail chain went into administration.
Gift cards – your rights explained
HERE’S where you stand if you’ve purchased a gift card and a company goes into administration or is liquidated.
When a company goes into administration, the people appointed to manage the process can decide whether to allow the use of gift cards or not.
It means you'll need to keep an eye on the administration process to see what your rights are.
The administrators are allowed to stop accepting gift cards at any point.
If the administrators later decide that you can't use your vouchers, you should register a claim with the administrations for the value of the vouchers.
This also applies if the company can't be saved through administration and is later liquidated.
However, you may not get this money back if other creditors are owed money too. You may also only get a portion of the money back.
If the voucher or amount put on a gift card was for more than £100, then it may be possible to claim the money back if it was purchased with a credit card.
This is because the card company is jointly liable under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
If the voucher was a gift, then you'd need to ask the person who bought it for you to claim the money back.
Debenhams now looks set to be liquidated after JD Sports pulled out of a potential deal, meaning all its 124 stores are expected to disappear from the high street.
JD Sports was the last remaining bidder for the struggling retailer.
The Sun understands that there won't be a single date for when shops will shut – instead, it'll depend on when stock runs out at each branch.
It comes as Debenhams this week rebranded its 70% “fire sale” as a closing down sale, offering up to 80% off goods as it shifts stock before shutting stores.
There are discounts on everything from women's and men's clothing, to toys and homeware.
Christmas gifts are also included as part of the final clearance.
You can see everything that's included in the sale on the Debenhams website now – but keep in mind you now only have until Sunday to use a voucher to pay for a purchase.
The department store chain announced the gift card news in an update to customers.
Debenhams confirmed customers can use up to two payment methods, including gift cards and Beauty Club rewards, until December 22.
We've asked if shoppers will be able to use Beauty Club rewards as a form of payment beyond this date and we'll update this story when we know more.
It said: “We will only be accepting gift Debenhams gift cards and e-gift cards in store and online until midnight Sunday 20 December 2020.
“Please note you can make a payment using a maximum of two different payment methods per transaction, which includes gift cards and beauty club rewards.
“To complete your order, you must be able to cover the full amount with your chosen two payment methods.”
The collapse of Debenhams comes after sales in the six months to October plunged to £323million versus billions in its heyday.
Debenhams has already cut 6,500 jobs since May, but it still has around 12,000 employees.
Coronavirus restrictions and the closure of non-essential shops have caused scores of high-name brands to struggle this year.
Peacocks and Jaeger, which are owned by Edinburgh Woolen Mill Group, fell into administration last month, putting 21,000 jobs at risk.
Laura Ashley went bust in March, just before the lockdown was brought in, while fashion giants Oasis and Warehouse fell into administration in April.
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