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Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton shoppers furious as gift cards stop working

Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins customers have been left unable to spend gift cards after parent company Arcadia Group went into administration – even though retailers had originally said vouchers would work as normal. Arcadia Group has told us there's a temporary technical issue with its gift card processing system and says it hopes to make them spendable again in-store and online as soon as possible – but they will now only be redeemable against 50% of your total purchase.

Update 1 February 2021: Online fashion retailer Asos has snapped up Arcadia's Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, and HIIT brands and stock for £330 million - but its high street stores aren't included in the deal and will close for good. Here's what it means for shoppers

Update 3 December 2020: Arcadia says gift cards are now being accepted in stores (against 50% of your total purchase), and that they should be accepted online early next week.

Arcadia Group – the parent company of Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topshop and several other high street chains – collapsed on Monday, although it is continuing to trade for now. See our Topshop, Burton etc help for full details on shoppers' rights.

The group initially told us gift cards would continue to be accepted as normal, but we've seen many reports from shoppers who've been unable to spend them. After we flagged customers' complaints, Arcadia Group told us the problem is down to a technical glitch which it hopes to resolve in the next day – but it says that gift cards will then only be valid against 50% of your total spend (so if you've got a £10 gift card, you can still get the full face value but only if your total purchase is £20+).

If you do have gift cards, spend them ASAP. We've long said we're not fans of gift cards because you've no guaranteed protection if a company goes into administration – administrators can decide to stop accepting gift cards, meaning they can become worthless.

'My gift card isn't working – I've tried numerous times'

We've heard from lots of Arcadia Group customers about this since the group went into administration. For example, John emailed on Wednesday morning: "Tried all yesterday afternoon to go online and use two £60 Topshop gift cards. Unable to make online contact."

And Hannah emailed: "I have a £50 Arcadìa gift voucher which I purchased for my daughter for Christmas. Due to what has happened we have tried to order online on all the Arcadia sites, but each one will not accept the gift card for means of payment."

Here are a couple of tweets we've also seen:

Why does Arcadia Group say gift cards aren't working?

After Arcadia Group went into administration on Monday, it initially said that gift cards would be honoured and work as normal. However, that's since changed.

On Tuesday evening, it told us the reason gift cards could not be spent online was due to site upgrades. On Wednesday morning, it then gave us further detail – it says it's working to resolve a temporary technical issue as a matter of urgency, and while this happens gift card purchases, both in-store and online, have been temporarily switched off. It says gift cards will be spendable again as soon as possible, hopefully by Thursday – but when that happens you'll only be able to use a gift card to pay for 50% of your total purchase.

Retailers have been giving customers similar info, though with slightly varying detail. Here's one we've seen:

I've a gift card – what should I do?

If you've an Arcadia Group gift card, then you should try to spend it as soon as possible. You'll need to wait until gift cards are spendable again though – hopefully from Thursday, though there are no guarantees.

If you can and it's safe to do so, it's best to spend in-store if possible, because if you buy online and the delivery didn't arrive for any reason, you'd lose cash as well as the voucher.

It's important to understand that administrators can decide to stop accepting gift cards when a firm goes into administration, meaning they could become worthless at any point. In this case, a gift card would be counted as part of the debts owed by a company, so you'd be one of the firm's creditors – and as unsecured creditors are at the back of the queue when it comes to payouts, it's very unlikely you'd get your cash back in full. See our Administration Help guide for full info on your rights when this happens.

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