Furious customers were turned away from Comet stores throughout Britain over the weekend after discovering that administrators for the beleaguered electrical retailer had suspended all its gift vouchers.
Deloitte is seeking a buyer for the 236-chain firm, which employs 6,600 people, to prevent it becoming the biggest high-street casualty since Woolworths closed in 2008.
Although the shops remain open, gift vouchers are not being honoured. Maria Horton, 32, said yesterday she was unable to spend a £500 gift card donated by a charity to buy an iPad for her son, who has cerebral palsy.
"I said to the staff, 'You already have the money, can't you accept it?' and they said, 'We can't do anything for you'," Mrs Horton told the BBC. "I'm not the only one who has lost out."
A notice on Comet's website read: "The administrators are reviewing this position urgently."