LIMERICK Senator Maria Byrne wants the European Union to legislate for the removal of maintenance fees and deductions from gift vouchers.
Senator Byrne, who is Fine Gael Seanad Finance spokesperson, said that many people have received vouchers as presents and employers have started giving them to staff as a token of appreciation.
“People need to be aware that after a period of inactivity, some companies that issue vouchers deduct monthly maintenance fees from the funds available,” she explained.
“In 2019, the Government passed legislation that provides consumers with greater protection on gift vouchers and ensures that vouchers must either have no expiry date or be valid for at least five years from the date the voucher was issued.
“Unfortunately, the legislation does not extend to electronic vouchers which is regulated under the European Electronic Money Regulations 2011. The Irish Government cannot bring forward legislation which would be stricter than the EU legislation.
“I have raised this matter in the Seanad and I am informed that officials in the Department of Finance will consider the issue of reducing fees as part of future discussions on the Electronic Money Directive, which harmonises EU law in this area.
“We must continue to engage on the Electronic Money Directive and push for the removal of gift voucher maintenance fees at EU level.
“In the meantime, those purchasing vouchers should research the different vouchers available and be aware of additional charges that may result as a period of inactivity”, Senator Byrne concluded.