Anger At HMV Gift Vouchers

Police have been called to at least one incident after millions of pounds of vouchers for the chain are invalid since the company went bust this week. Meanwhile, the story of how HMV ignited the Beatles' career has been retold.

Ultimate Guitar

British music shoppers are angry that HMV will not honor gift voucher cards as payment.

HMV announced that it had gone into administration in the UK on Monday, after struggling to compete with online alternatives such as Amazon and iTunes.

Gift vouchers are a common Christmas present. Now millions of pounds worth of vouchers for the collapsed retailer are worthless.

In one incident, police were called to a store in Oxford, England, after a dispute between two customers and a member of staff, according to NME.

On Twitter, one person wrote: "I've been mugged! My family mainly deal in HMV vouchers for Xmas. They've taken our cash but not given us anything in return!"

Another wrote:

@nme We have £50 worth of HMV vouchers that we got as wedding gifts from a few skint friends. It was a nice idea & now I feel sorry for them

Nicole. (@MissEngland28) January 16, 2013

Meanwhile, more tributes to the store and its legacy have been pouring in.

"Absolutely awful news about HMV. Terrible for the staff and the UK record industry as a whole. Worrying times," said Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai.

"HMV bankrupt. We may as well just give up on any medium that involves hard copy and get on with it," said rapper Professor Green.

The Huffington Post has written about how its London store famously played a part in landing a record deal for The Beatles, when their manager Brian Epstein was unlucky in meetings with label executives, and fed up with carrying a tape reel around with him.

A friend recommended transferring the music to discs so it would be easier to carry to meetings, so he took it to an engineer at HMV in Oxford Street. The engineer was so impressed that he called a friend, George Martin, who went on to sign and produce the band. The rest is history.

84 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The point is HMV were selling vouchers knowing full well they were going into administration after Christmas. They were even selling them the day before they went into administration. Sorry, but that's nothing less than theft. People (probably mainly older relatives) brought them in good faith. It's no different to being sold fake tickets for a gig, or any other event.
    So the people on the shop floor knew that HMV were going into administration? I very much doubt anybody other than the top of the HMV food chain knew it was going to happen until it was on the news.
    Um, that's not what I said. I don't think for a second this has anything to do with the workers on the shop floor, but HMV as a company.
    Mr. Mashburn
    The workers might not have known, but the corporate executives knew, and didnt tell any of the store managers to tell the workers not to sell them. That's just a cheap trick on consumers.
    That has nothing to do with the point that was being made genius. HMV execs didn't tell anybody that this was going to happen; if anything HMV should have made it so that no gift vouchers could be sold company-wide. They just wanted to make a few extra bucks so they could get the extra addition to their beach homes.
    But this same thing happened after other companies have gone into administration. People should know by now that gift vouchers are a risky present, since they have no real value. I received a HMV voucher for xmas, and even if I hadn't used the majority of it I wouldn't be angry. If people won't learn from the past and realise that gift vouchers aren't a good idea in these times then they deserve to lose money. As other people have said here, the employees may lose their jobs, but the public will still bitch and moan about their lost 20 etc..
    I get the point that other companies haven't done it, but it would be kinda ridiculous to not buy gift vouchers/cards under paranoia that the company could go bankrupt the next day. I mean the odds aren't really that high.
    True true. If gift vouchers WERE still allowed to be sold after it was known that the company was definitely going into admin, that is a bit different and I can understand the problems. But otherwise, people should realise that it is a risk and if you lose money with gift cards you should just suck it up and deal with it. There are bigger problems in the world.
    I 100% agree with what you said. The question is, is it against the law to sell gift vouchers knowing full well the business is about to go into administration?
    It really is a shame that money spent on vouchers is going to waste. But what I cannot forgive, are people going into stores and abusing staff members, who are probably about to lose their jobs. Some people really need to learn humility even in the face of trying circumstances like these.
    This man has it right. I have a friend who works at an HMV and lemme tell you, this is a trying time for her right now because she definitely needs to find a new job, the last thing she needs is some douchebag abusing her on her last few days on the job.
    A man in Dublin who bought a HMV voucher for his granson for Christmas simply walked in and took some games when they refused to accept the voucher. He already paid for them, and security knew, they followed him a bit, but pretty much just let them go. Now all Irish HMV stores are closed, I guess they were worried that we'd all just start walking in and taking goods that we already payed for!
    It sucks but it isn't HMV's fault. A lot of people are probably about to lose their jobs, 50 vouchers aren't the end of the world.
    I'm really happy that HMV Canada is still going but it won't be for long unfortunately. Crazy to witness the complete death of the CD in my lifetime. I remember being in grade 2 or 3 trying to bum any money i could to pick up the new Sum 41 album haha good times. Even though I still buy CDs to be honest I never really take them out to play them, I rip them on my computer at lossless or high bit-rate and just play everything through my computer or iphone.
    You, me and about 95% of everyone else here do that. I'm not saying that I'm glad HMV is closing, my heart goes out to everyone that is losing or has lost their job, but this was going to happen sooner or later. Digital downloads are not the enemy, people!
    Welcome to the 21st century, where media formats last less than a human lifetime! It's just a fact of life audiophiles today are just gonna have to get used to.
    This is why you don't gift people vouchers, just give them the money and then they can spend it wherever they want.
    So glad I always shop at local record stores, feel bad for the victims here.
    "HMV bankrupt. We may as well just give up on any medium that involves hard copy and get on with it," ehm... how about no? There is a reason why the cover of an album is referred to as 'artwork'. It's art! It can sometimes be the main influencing factor in deciding whether or not to buy an album. It can also help to convey the mood of an album. When you take that artwork, compress it to a tiny square and place it in the corner of a screen, you diminish part of what makes part of an album so special. Download your music if you want, but don't suggest that everybody sould.
    Technically, the death of the album format doesn't mean the death of album art. And no, it doesn't mean the album art is gonna be some eyesore in your iTunes playlist, either. Plenty of artists get recognition for digital works, and I'm sure they'll include high-resolution album art when you buy music files. If the future of music precludes the hard copy format, I'm still not too worried.
    You could put a nice larger image file in with the album folder. A lot of bands tend to do that as well as embedding the album art.
    I suppose you could trade them in at Tesco's and say they're Horse Meat Vouchers... Nah, in all seriousness, I do feel sympathy for those that are losing their jobs. Hopefully it doesn't close down after administration and someone buys it out and maybe helps HMV embrace the internet a little bit more. They could probably do with taking on second hand products like GAME, but I understand that doesn't always work. Which ever way it goes, I hope it works out for the best!
    link no1
    They do take in second hand games at my local HMV. The prices they sell them for are ridiculous (it's even worse when there is a CEX and GAME literally next door) so I can't imagine it would help much if they did this with DvD's and CD's aswell.
    Maybe people are waiting for new releases? This is pretty much theft. They paid for these gift vouchers and they aren't getting anything out of it.
    I don't get the idea of gift vouchers. It's basically here's some money, but you can only spend it one place.
    Pretty much exactly what I was going to say. I would always prefer money over a gift card.
    Or one of those pre-paid credit cards from companies like Visa and American Express.
    The difference between money and a gift card is that with a gift card the person is saying : Hey I know you a little bit and I know your interests in life and what stores you shop at here you go have fun
    Also something like "I know you like music but didn't know what to get you. Here, buy something you like."
    I would give them an ultimatum either honor the vouchers or go to jail. regardless of bankruptcy I see this as them stealing millions of dollars.
    It's not stealing; this is how gift vouchers work. They retain no monetary value after being bought and when a company goes into admin. they have no obligation to honour vouchers.
    This should be clarified. HMV canada is still going strong and is expanding. I have no idea what those blokes did wrong in the UK.
    It's pretty sad to see so many presents going to waste, but they've had over three weeks to use them so it's their own fault in a way
    If they KNEW about the pending closure then yes, it is their faults. I'm guessing most didn't until it was too late.
    True true if people were not so lazy this would not be happening
    Some people have this thing called a "life", some of them even work six to seven days a week doing overtime just to make ends meet, not everyone is lazy, some people just don't have time, not even for themselves.
    Well said. I personally work midnights and don't always feel like running out to stores when I get home
    @ DoubleBassCrash- Dude it's called people MAKE time for it MAKE TIME I say it again
    Lizzyhale, You've obviously never had a job in your life, and are still in high school. Correct?
    @Helloween4Ever Alright 1. I'm out of highschool. 2. This is how someone could make time: so I get that people work 6-7 days a week or go to class full time yes those people are busy but your telling me that they don't sit down and watch a sitrcom at night??? So instead of watching TV that person could just go online and use the gift card THAT FUCKING SIMPLE man. Also I do ahve a job
    I got a 20 HMV voucher for Xmas and on the back of the card, it says that you can't spend it online - you can only spend it in store.
    Not everyone has the internet, moron.
    1. We live in the 21st century MOST PEOPLE have internet the ones that doubt are just dumbasses. Also there is this thing called a libray maybe you brits have heard of it
    Yes, us Brits have heard of a library. You obviously haven't, judging by your spelling. Also, by your logic, anyone without private access to the internet is unintelligent??
    So what if someone was saving their vouchers for specific releases this year?? Their fault ofc, they should have timed machined to spend those vouchers.
    Good point, I didn't really consider that, but surely they would've been off around Christmas time?
    All those people you buy your presents from aren't doing it for fun you know. My partner works in retail, she gets her two weeks off in February.
    As a full time student who goes to class 5 days a week and works a shitty job to pay bills the other 2 days a week, I officially proclaim you an ass.
    @ DoubleBassCrash Three weeks. If you don't have one day off in three weeks, you should really consider dropping one of your three jobs.
    What if he only has one job? I've been known to take extra shifts just to make ends meet and I only have the one job.
    I said it before and I will say it again PEOPLE HAVE TO MAKE TIME FOR IT! If its truley important to them
    You say that as if it's ****ing easy, it isn't. Especially in cases where people may need to travel long distace (like I do) to even get near a HMV store. Stop your bullshit about "making time", it's just not that easy.
    Why do you need to use them right away? I usually hold onto stuff like that, even if I do have the time, until I actually feel like I have something I could give it good use for.
    Are you an idiot? Do you have a job? A family? Any sort of commitments in your life? You don't just "make time."
    @xCaMRockx and @Izzy-Sweet. YOu guys are telling me that people dont have at least 1 half hour of personal time a day???? Thats accounting for all commitment I mean people read and watch TV and play cards in the world still right???? or do we all just work 90 hours a week and then go right to bed or what? What Im saying is instead of the TV show you watch you could go to their website and shop for shit
    Either you're trolling, or you're some dumb kid who has no idea how the world works. Either way, I'm not entertaining this pointless conversation any longer.
    @xCamRockx And you sir are just some bitchy old guy because life didnt turn out the way you wanted it too. You envy my youth
    You know, I actually once worked a job that required several hours of being on and waiting for buses just to get to and from, and I didn't even have time when the day was done for a good night's sleep. I'd get a meager 3 hours a day. And it was a night shift job, so my weekends would be spent up all night. Can't really shop at HMV when everything in your city closes by 9 PM.
    Do you really think it's that easy to take time off? My job wasn't letting people take off the whole week of Thanksgiving, Christmas, And New Years. My girlfriend's birthday was the day before Thanksgiving and I tried so hard to switch with someone but my boss wouldn't let me. I missed out on a Halestorm show because it was two days before New Years Eve. I don't even work a full time job and I know that after my shift is done on whatever days I happen to work, I'm exhausted. So think about people who work full time or work more than one job. Do you really think they can get time off easily or have the energy to do anything when their work day is done? Some people also have other things to do when they get home. My mother gets up a 6 in the morning to get ready for work, doesn't get home until around 7:30 sometimes, and then has to do laundry, dishes, and whatever else wasn't done yet. She doesn't stop until about 10 at night, sometimes later. Then she goes to sleep. And repeat. That is how a lot of people in the world spend their time, some even have it worse. Anyway, the whole point of this long post is simple: Not everybody has time or can make time. They were maybe waiting for their next day off to use the gift cards and now they can't. HMV executives should have never allowed the sales of those gift cards knowing they were going under. That is very sneaky and I would definitely call that stealing.
    I don't understand the point of not letting people take their stock instead of probly destroying it all instead? I bet Tim Larkin is to blame!
    What was that about winning the war on piracy? Fuck off money hungry bastards and leave the music industry to musicians!
    Just to set something straight- HMV THEMSELVES DID NOT TAKE THE DECISION TO HALT ACCEPTING GIFT VOUCHERS. That's down to Deloitte, the administrator currently handling HMV. They are the ones who made the decision. Sometimes, an administrator will decide to continue allowing their use, like in the case of Blockbuster UK right now. The administrators of Game halted gift cards for about three days last year. Getting angry at shop staff looking at losing their jobs is despicable getting angry at HMV as a corporation is misplaced. Have an issue? Ring your local Deloitte office.
    I find that a little naive. Companies don't just go into administration out of the blue without prior warning. HMV were still selling those gift vouchers right up until the day before they went into administration, knowing that the decision whether or not to accept them would, ultimately, be out of their hands. Of course I agree that any aggression towards shop staff is both extremely stupid and deplorable.
    What the ****? How does that even make sense? They have still received money for goods.... How is using a card any different to paying cash? They aren't losing any more money. Robbing ****s.
    Let me set the record straight, if HMV goes under completely, you have to contact the administrators and they refund the gift cards. How do I know? I worked for Gamestation during their administration period and that's what we were told by them.
    The problem is that gift card holders are at the very bottom of HMV's list of creditors in terms of priority, the banks will get paid first, probably won't be anything left for gift card holders.
    Should be illegal. Gift cards are de facto cash, so the store should be required to honor them,before any and all other debts, as they were bought specifically to exchange.for.product.