MEADOWHALL has finally bowed to pressure and scrapped a fee which reduced the value of its gift cards – but replaced it with a scheme that could cost you far more.
A controversial £2-a-month charge on cards more than a year old has been ditched.
Yesterday an ‘enhanced’ product was launched, but it expires after just one year – taking ALL the money on it.
Gift cards can be preloaded with up to £500, but under the new system every penny would be lost the day it was a year old.
The move has been blasted by customers and experts alike.
Nicola Carter, aged 38, of Park Hill, said: “It looks as if they are helping people by scrapping the fee, but I’m not fooled. They’ll be making far more from cards that expire with money still on them. A year isn’t very long at all.”
Simon Lambert, personal finance editor of thisismoney.com, said: “It seems like a way of making extra profit while generating ill feeling.
“There’s no practical reason why cards should expire – the interest earned would pay for the scheme. It seems very unfair.”
Action Desk campaigned for Meadowhall to ditch the £2-a-month charge after readers complained.
In the worst case, Yewlands College in Parson Cross spent £400 on low value cards in March 2009, and they were all worthless when they were handed out late last year. Meadowhall refunded the money. Big chains including M&S, Next, Debenhams, Waterstones and TK Maxx sell gift cards which expire after two years of not being used, but do not have maintenance fees. John Lewis vouchers never expire.
A MEADOWHALL spokeswoman said: “Following an annual review which considers customers’ feedback, Meadowhall has launched an enhanced gift card programme. After 12 months any unspent funds on the card can no longer be redeemed.