The US firm that ran the M&S gift card website for several months yesterday promised to hand back unspent cash to disgruntled customers who feared they had wasted their money.
The beauty and personal care retailer said it would reimburse anyone who bought a card from its website, which was closed down following errors by administrators.
Customers – including many children – were left with worthless cards after administrators failed to find buyers for the site . Some resorted to sending letters pleading for refunds; one wrote: “I am only 16 years old and I saved up my birthday and Christmas money.” Another wrote: “I work at Tesco twice a week, bag packing … Please help me get my hard-earned cash back.”
Gift card firms have been forced to refund customers in recent years because of a string of IT blunders. Last year, administrators for the failed greeting cards group Clintons were forced to hand back £9m to customers after a “systems failure” stopped cards being activated. In 2011, Gift Off had to repay £450,000 after its website went down just before Christmas.
In December 2010, when M&S gift card holders became concerned that the firm might go bust and leave them out of pocket, it initially said they should contact their bank or credit card company if they wanted their money back.
But this week an administrator PWC gave assurances that people would get refunds – and urged anyone who believed they were affected to get in touch. It added: “We are aware of an issue with the Marks & Spencer gift card website. We are investigating this with our client.”
A spokesman for M&S said: “We would like to reassure customers who bought M&S gift cards from the website that they will be valid and any issues should be referred to PWC.”
It is believed that about £5m worth of cards were sold on the site before it closed in December, but it is not yet clear how much money was put on them.
The spokesman added that M&S’s main website was now working normally. It had been affected by a problem with its server over the weekend .
Customers have long complained about being misled by big retailers’ websites offering cut-price gifts only to find they have little chance of claiming the money back if the retailer goes bust.
Nowadays, everyone is racing against time. No one has the luxury of spending hours in a store as people usually do when they go shopping for grocery or other household items. Now, not only are groceries and other necessities being placed online but also stores like Marks & Spencer have begun creating an online presence as well to cater to those who need groceries and household items at the last minute. The convenience factor must be taken advantage of because it can never go away.
A Marks & Spencer gift card is a special type of e-voucher that’s bought by customers from any M&S retail outlet across the country. It can then be redeemed on their website or in any M&S store.
This gift card is essentially a pre-paid debit card. It can be spent on anything from clothing to food and household items in any M&S outlet or online, which means that there’s no restriction – customers can buy anything they need at M&S.
The gift cards are available for specific denominations on the website of Marks & Spencer. Some may even get lucky enough to receive these gift cards as presents from their relatives or friends during special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Even if not, they aren’t completely useless because these gift cards can also be bought on Amazon with an added discount! A customer just has to visit Amazon UK , select the amount of money that he/she wants to spend and is ready to purchase the gift card. Amazon will then send an email with a link through which the customer can redeem the gift card and place an order for groceries or any other items.
It is also possible to add money onto these gift cards purchased from Amazon in Marks & Spencer outlets . That way, customers can keep buying anything they need at M&S whenever they wish.
M&S gift card explained further
Customers must be 18 years old or above to use this gift card. It cannot be used by minors under 18 years of age. Likewise, it cannot be used by a person who’s not a resident of Great Britain or Northern Ireland either – customers have to buy their gift cards from a site registered in one of those two countries.
Customers have to buy the gift cards from Marks & Spencer stores or their website, as mentioned above. They cannot be bought from anywhere else – so no money orders for this one!
Once customers have bought these gift cards, they can use them online at M&S by going to marksandspencer.com . Also, they need not worry about losing their card because it can always be accessed via a special website that has been created just for that purpose.
Customers can use their gift cards to buy anything they want, be it food , clothing , etc. Also, full redemption of the gift card is necessary before December 31st 2014 otherwise its value will expire and cease to exist.
There’s no restriction on the number of items that a customer can buy with his/her Marks & Spencer gift card. However, there is a £20 minimum spending limit, if this criterion isn’t met then purchases won’t go through and the transaction will automatically cancel .
The minimum amount required to purchase one M&S gift card outside Amazon UK is £5 whereas on Amazon it’s only £3 (not more than that though!).
You can also check the 10 Popular Gift Cards In USA and Canada