HMV announced on Tuesday that it is appointing Deloitte as administrators and are keeping all 11 Northern Ireland stores open while they seek a buyer.
However, consumers who have HMV gift vouchers or cards will not be able to redeem them but should hold onto the gift voucher or card in case a buyer for the company is found.
Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, said: “Today’s announcement that HMV is in administration has left many of its’ customers with gift vouchers or cards and HMV goods wondering what their rights are now.
“HMV has announced their policy is not to accept gift vouchers or cards or issue any more. It’s at the discretion of the Administrator to allow consumers to redeem any form of gift card or voucher. If a new buyer is found, the new owner may honour the gift vouchers or cards so consumers should hold onto their vouchers or cards.
“If you have HMV goods that you want to exchange or return, you are not legally entitled to a refund or exchange unless the item is faulty. If the item is faulty, your rights under the Sale of Goods Act will apply and HMV must replace the faulty item or provide a refund.
“Given the current economic climate, the Consumer Council would encourage consumers who have gift vouchers or cards and credit notes for any retailer to use them as soon as possible. Consumers should also think about how they pay for goods or services in order to protect them against a retailer going out of business.
“Paying by cash or cheque is risky if you have to wait for goods to arrive. If the company goes out of business, you could end up with nothing.”
For goods under £100, if possible, use a Visa card, you can use the ‘Chargeback’ process to claim money back for faulty goods and non-delivery if the business has gone out of business. If you are paying for an item over £100 think about using a credit card as you have added protection called ‘equal or joint liability’.
You should always pay off the amount in full when you get your credit card bill.
For more information and advice contact Consumerline 0300 123 6262 or download a free copy of the Consumer Council’s ‘Safer Ways to Pay’ leaflet.