Consumer watchdog Which? has issued a warning to people who are looking to buy gift cards for Christmas.

It surveyed 2000 people to discover what issues people were facing with gift cards over the last year. 

It was revealed that around two million people have unused gift cards that they were given in the last year. 

Around seven percent of these had gift cards from retailers which have now gone bust due to the pandemic since March 2020. 

Which? is now warning people to think twice about what they purchase their loved ones for Christmas to avoid wasting money. 

Which? Consumer Rights Expert Adam French said: 

“Which? is advising consumers to think twice before buying gift cards this festive season.

“While gift cards might seem like an easy gift for hard-to-please family or friends this Christmas, our research shows you could be left high and dry if the company goes bust.

“If you receive a gift card for Christmas, make sure to carefully check the small print to find the expiry date and make sure you won’t face any unexpected charges if you don’t spend your voucher quickly.”

The findings showed that one in five people who had vouchers for bust retailers was for Arcadia Group, which was the group behind Topshop and Miss Selfridge. 

Among others, Topshop and Miss Selfridge only allowed customers to pay for 50 percent of their order total using a gift card, meaning that customers had to fork out the rest from their own pocket. 

Shockingly, just over half of people who received a gift card in the past year had an expiry date clearly stated on the card.

A quarter said the expiry date was not clear on their cards, which meant people were left with expired gift cards.

Consumers told Which? one of the most common reasons for not spending a gift card were not getting around to using it and not finding anything they wanted to spend it on.

This year Which? are urging customers to choose wisely this Christmas, and if they do buy or receive a gift card, to check the expiry date and small print for terms and conditions.