HMV's gift to angry customers

High-street music chain HMV has gone into administration. Photo: Press Assocation

The decision not to honour gift vouchers made last Tuesday caused uproar: police were called to one HMV in Oxford store when customers refused to leave; an irate grandfather in Ireland helped himself to three computer games when store staff refused his vouchers; an MP (who is also a practising barrister) likened it all to theft.

And with mounting pressure this morning Deloitte, the insolvency administrators now running HMV, said they will honour the vouchers. An industry insider told us he estimates there are around six million unredeemed.

So good news for those customers - but beyond that it is also a positive indication for HMV staff because it indicates that administrators are optimistic about getting a sale that will allow the chain to continue. The main thinking behind honouring vouchers is to keep customer goodwill, and you would do that only for a brand that has a future.

On the negative side - there is still not legal protection for gift voucher holders when a firm goes into administration. It remains at the discretion of administrators - so those left with vouchers from Jessops, JJB Sports, Peacocks ( and heaven knows who else in the future) can still be left with vouchers not worth the paper they are printed on. Pressure for wider reform will continue.

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