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HMV's refusal to honour gift cards is "almost theft", claims consumer watchdog

Administrator Deloitte warns that "conditions are currently very tough" for physical retail

Numerous shoppers were left with worthless HMV giftcards following the announcement of the firm's descent into administration last night. Dean Dunham, founder of consumer rights website youandyourrights.co.uk, has likened the practice to theft, and called on the troubled retailer to allow redemptions or offer refunds.

Honouring gift vouchers after going in to administration is hardly standard practice - recently hit rival companies Comet and Jessops also dumped their giftcard schemes on entering administration (though in Comet's case, administrators later relented). HMV's decision has provoked widespread rancour nonetheless.

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"We've got to see some changes in this area," Dunham insisted. "It's almost theft. A gift voucher should be as good as a banker's draft."

Speaking to the Independent, HMV's chief executive Trevor Moore declined to shed any light on the fates of outstanding vouchers. There have been "very high levels of redemptions after Christmas", he said. Did you manage to get shot of yours before Tuesday? If not, the following article from MoneySavingExpert may be of use.

With up to 4123 jobs at risk across 223 stores, and a debt of over £176 million, it remains to be seen whether or not HMV will survive administration in any form.

"HMV is an iconic retailer and continues to be a very popular brand, but as we have seen with many high street retailers, the market is changing rapidly and conditions are currently very tough," Deloitte's joint administrator and restructuring services partner Nick Edwards observed in a statement (thanks, MCV).

"Following our appointment, we are working closely with management and staff to stabilise the business in order to continue trading whilst actively seeking a purchaser for the business and assets," he continued. "We appreciate the cooperation and support from the staff, customers, suppliers and landlords at what is clearly a difficult time."

Do you think HMV will bounce back?

By Alex Hawksworth-Brookes

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