HMV's joint administrators, have announced that stores will start accepting HMV gift vouchers again tomorrow. The decision to stop accepting them was greeted with dismay, and the decision to make them valid again has been met with great surprise.
So why has it changed its mind, and what are your options?
U-turnThe administrators have announced that vouchers can be redeemed again in store from tomorrow morning. Nick Edwards, Joint Administrator, commented: "Since our appointment as Joint Administrators on Tuesday afternoon, we have been urgently assessing the Companies' financial position. I am pleased to confirm that, having concluded this assessment, we are able to honour gift cards."
Additionally, he confirmed that proceeds raised by HMV through the sale of charity releases (including the Hillsborough Justice Collective single) will be paid in full as soon as possible.
So why the change?Edwards highlighted that: "The ability of Administrators to honour gift vouchers will depend on the specific circumstances of each case."
The vouchers and cards were suspended while the experts assessed whether the business could afford to redeem them, and now it understands the financial position, it is accepting them again.
There was clearly a great deal of pressure on the business to accept the cards. If it is hoping to sell the shops as a going concern, it cannot afford to erode the goodwill it has built up over decades by leaving people out of pocket.
Edwards says: "We recognise that [it has] caused concern for individuals and organisations affected and are pleased to have reached a positive outcome."
Relief?This will come as a great relief to those who have hung onto the cards and vouchers hoping for a reprieve. Many took to Twitter to share their joy. @FaulknerGeorge Tweeted: "Wooo HMV are accepting vouchers again tomorrow #miracle" Meanwhile @sarahn_93 said: "HMV are going to accept gift cards of tomorrow! Good times! #phew #hellohouseboxset".
However, if you don't want to buy something just in case it proves faulty and you don't want to get into a row with a business with an uncertain future, you may have another option. If the voucher was bought from Asda, Bots or Tesco, and you still have the receipt, the stores are offering to swap the gift cards for ones of equal value for their own stores. Asda is only running this scheme until 30 January, so you will have to act swiftly.
There are also a number of other businesses who have offered to accept the vouchers as a goodwill gesture, including film festival and training organisers Raindance. Some restaurants and bars are also offering a discount in return for vouchers - so it will depend on how much you have left on your card as to whether it's a better deal than spending them in store.
Of course there will be those people who binned the cards in a fit of pique. Twitter has seen its share of those. @tomsimmons91 said: "HMV gift cards valid from tomorrow, shame I snapped mine in half in disgust."
Sadly for these people there's nothing they can do than reflect on the trials and tribulations of being a consumer in a world where the high street seems to be crumbling before our very eyes.