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Voucher shelf-life?

By Skidd Marx - 4 January 2009 99

Last Christmas I received two “Premium” Dendy movie tickets which are apparently worth $35 a pop. Due to a combination of laziness and personal disdain for just about every movie which came out in 2008, I held off going, wanting to save these tickets for a truly worthy flick.

So I was a trifle annoyed when I finally went to use them only to be told that they had expired a few days earlier and were therefore about as useful as nipples on a grown man.

When I politely queried the validity of these expiry dates I was told by the pimple-faced Dendy nerd that they are in place because “tickets increase in price over time” and that “12 months is ample time to see a movie”. This may be so but I can’t help but feel a little ripped off that my mum forked over $70 in return for absolutely sweet F.A. In my opinion it is tantamount to theft.

Anyway, I was just wondering what people think about the convenient use of expiry dates by businesses. I’m assuming they’re legal but it seems to me that they are just another profit-swelling trick that vendors have in their arsenal.

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99 Responses to
Voucher shelf-life?
Clown Killer 6:21 pm 04 Jan 09

By my understanding, if you write someone a cheque it’s only valid for twelve months too. I think if you cant get off your butt in a year then fair enough. That said, I would have thought that any business working in what is supposed to be a tighter economic climate might be trying just that little but harder not to disenfranchise potential customers.

Aurelius 6:16 pm 04 Jan 09

Like BerraBoy says, it’s a scam.
I used to work for a company that gave out Sanity vouchers as rewards for meritorious conduct. But they were hardly ever redeemed. Who wins? Sanity.
To argue the ‘you can’t pay last year’s prices’ is to forget the fact the vendor (Dendy in this case) already has the money.

Nosey 5:47 pm 04 Jan 09

I’m with swaggie.

At the extreme you can’t expect to pay todays prices for something and then choose how long till you want it or want to use it.

ie: a car, a boat, gold, mmmmmmm….beer.

The principle is the same.

The old saying, use it or lose it.

Skidd Marx 5:42 pm 04 Jan 09

Swaggie said :

12 months to get off your arse and go see a Movie seems reasonable enough, sell the tix if you don’t feel any movies being shown are worthy of your patronage.

You’re missing the point Swaggie. I should be able to take as long as I want to see a movie since I’ve paid for it. I can’t see how its any skin off their collective nose (had Rob Schneider been a little more active in ’08 then it may be a different story).

How is it fair that they get $70 in their pocket in exchange for… nothing? My gripe isn’t with Dendy per se but the notion of an expiry date on gift certificates in general. From now on I’m not gonna buy them on principle. Not only that, but next time I’m out Civic way on my way home from the Blue Elephant I’m stopping by to take a dump at Dendy and just quietly, there’s next to no chance it’ll be inside the bowl. I don’t hold grudges though.

Ori 5:40 pm 04 Jan 09

That’s very sad, missing the “use by” date by a few days. There are still many places that have vouchers with no (apparent) expiry date though, so vouchers are not always bad. (I’ve had several Borders vouchers for 2-3 years partly due to the high value, also music and clothing store vouchers, one I used 5 years after receiving it.) I think it’s best not to dwell on it too much and just take it as a lesson learnt. (Or, take your mum to a movie at Hoyts or Greater Union!?)

And random, the accounting argument is not technically true.

Swaggie 5:25 pm 04 Jan 09

12 months to get off your arse and go see a Movie seems reasonable enough, sell the tix if you don’t feel any movies being shown are worthy of your patronage.

random 5:06 pm 04 Jan 09

The argument I heard is that it’s to simplify accounting etc. — if there’s no expiry date, the voucher has to be kept on the books forever as a liability. (Not sure how true that is, but it seems reasonable.)

Roadrage77 5:00 pm 04 Jan 09

I’m assuming you’ve already considered forgery as an option? Failing that I would explore physical intimidation of a Dendy employee. Nothing greivous, just a few firm slaps to the face and/or a kick to the groin can do wonders.

Granny 5:00 pm 04 Jan 09

My mum gave me a voucher for my birthday – $60 for pampering at some beauty place, which is also a lot to her as she is now retired.

Can I just say that for a disorganised person a voucher is not a gift, it’s a cruel and horrible punishment fraught with disaster and devastated relationships.

I once couldn’t face a friend for four years after I lost a voucher she gifted to me for my fortieth birthday.

Now I will have to listen to the disappointment of my mother – or lie and spend $60 myself on something I can’t really afford and don’t really want. However all attempts to dissemble will be futile. I will be helpless in the iron grip of her questing probes for truth. Then comes the lecture ….

*groan*

This is the mechanism by which I suffer:

1. I get vouchers.
2. I put them somewhere safe.
3. They are then lost forever where they expire quietly and decay whilst wreaking maximum havoc with my most intimate relationships.

Do not ever give me a voucher for any thing any time any way, anyone! Take me out instead for that pampering or that movie. Surprise me! Spare me ….

deezagood 4:49 pm 04 Jan 09

Ask to see the manager; the ‘pimply faced Dendy nerd’ is just following the party line, but you could always try to negotiate a win/win with the manager. Perhaps explain your plight, acknowledge the fault is yours and offer to pay an additional $20.00 to use your tickets? Some managers may agree to a negotiated outcome or, in the face of your polite and reasonable request, may even let you use the out-of-date vouchers (and maybe they won’t, but you can only try).

BerraBoy68 4:47 pm 04 Jan 09

As I think I’ve said before vouchers, gift certificates etc. are gold in the retail industry as many just equate to 100% profit for the retailer when people such as Skidd for various reasons fail to use the voucher on time.

My wife used to run a bookshop and loved selling gift certificates. They were hardly ever redeemed. That said Skidd, I’d have asked to see the Manager. If there were only a few days out of date I’d have pushed the issue with him/her. In fact, if this had happened 6 weeks ago I could have helped you. My next door neighbor’s brother’s significant other (its not as convoluted as it sounds) was the Manager at Dendy until then.

Skidd Marx 4:47 pm 04 Jan 09

Sorry I should clarify that I received the tickets for Xmas ’07 with a 12 month validity period. I just feel guilty for having wasted my mums chrissy present as $70 is a lot of money to her. Now I’m gonna have to lie and say that I loved every minute of Baz’s “epic”.

p1 4:43 pm 04 Jan 09

Legality I guess would rest on the expiry date being in the terms and conditions, and that they were available. I have always thought that they are something of a rip-off. And the “costs increase” argument sounds good at first glance, but then you remember that they have had the benefit of possessing your money for the last year without paying you any interest.

blub 4:41 pm 04 Jan 09

Shelf life this year was one month – I know a few people who only have the next couple of weeks to use the tickets – and they were just bought last month as xmas gifts.

Can we then assume that this mean Dendy’s likely to increase their ticket prices soon?

Jono 4:28 pm 04 Jan 09

Voucher expiry dates are a tried-and-true source of profit that companies have been using for decades – because most people end up not using their vouchers before it’s too late, the company makes almost 100% profit from the voucher. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s not exactly a new phenomenon.

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