Un-used and expired Sodexo Gift Vouchers have no value?
We had got this Sodexho Gift Vouchers in 2006 from one of the Vendor as an Incentive. We thought we had used it all. But recently - while clearing cupboard - my wife found unused Gift coupons worth Rs.2,600/-. They had expiry date of 31-12-2006.
When I approached Sodexo they said nothing can be done about them as everything has been accounted for so far and accounts are closed.
When I read the RBI directions- it says following:
Issuance and Operation of Pre-paid Payment Instruments in India (Reserve Bank) Directions, 2009
April 27, 2009
9.1 All pre-paid payment instruments issued in the country shall have a minimum validity period of six months from the date of activation/issuance to the holder.
9.2 In the case of non-reloadable pre-paid payment instruments, the transfer of outstanding amount at the expiry of the payment instrument to a new similar payment instrument of the same issuer, purchased by the holder may be permitted.
9.3 The outstanding balance against any payment instrument shall not be forfeited unless the holder is cautioned at least 15 days in advance as regards the expiry of the validity of the payment instrument.
12. Customer Protection Issue
12.1 All pre-paid payment instrument issuers shall disclose all important terms and conditions in clear and simple language (preferably in English, Hindi and the local language) comprehensible to the holders while issuing the instruments. These disclosures shall include:
i) All charges and fees associated with the use of the instrument.
ii) The expiry period and the terms and conditions pertaining to expiration of the instrument.
iii) The customer service telephone numbers and website URL.
12.2 An effective mechanism for redressal of customer complaints shall be put in place by the entity issuing pre-paid payment instruments.
So, I asked them if Sodexo had given 15 days notice to me (as holder) as per direction 9.3 and also inquired about "effective mechanism for redressal of consumer complaint". They had no answer. They noted my contact number and promised to revert. This happened about 4 days back. Before that, I had written an email to the address they have put on the web site in first week of Feb 2010. But, so far, there is no reply to my email.
I feel that such companies - who are authorised to issue pre-paid Payment Instruments i.e., Gift Vouchers must be making a lot of money due to such expired and lost Gift vouchers. But RBI guidelines is not detailed enough to stop such operations. What to do?
Update (21 April 2010): After some telephonic follow-up Sodexo agreed to issue revalidated Gift Vouchers. I've sent the original Gift Vouchers to their Mumbai Office. I should get it in 21 days.