I think the problem is less that these gift cards are not being honoured and more that the management knew full well that they were entering administration and still sold them anyway. This is less a matter of the company's obligations while they are under administration and more a matter of fraud committed by the management.
I suspect this will yet be brought before a court under criminal law.
Yep, it's a matter of intent.
If they accepted money with the intention of honoring the obligations that came with it, but ended up not being able to, it's an honest error.
If they accepted money knowing full well that they couldn't deliver in return, that's a con.
Gift cards make some (emotional) consumer sense. They at least let you give someone something along the lines of what they want, and it feels somewhat more personal than just handing someone a wad of cash. It says "I know something
about you," instead of "I know nothing about you" or "I didn't want to put effort into this."
You can always give them the money and write in the card 'To buy yourself the latest comics' or 'to help pay for that new laptop you need' or whatnot.
Beyond that they financially only benefit the store. Available funds can shrink, the customer is forced to either overspend, or underspend to get what they want, and the store wins in both instances. There are no discounts or rewards for using giftcards. It's horrifically unattractive financially for the consumer, and very attractive for the store.
You can be mitigate this by figuring out how the amount matches with price points at the store modulo-wise.
If I got someone a GOG gift card for instance (if it existed), a 30$ gift card would make a lot of sense, but a 35$ gift card wouldn't.
Some arithmetics are involved.
It does help when taxes are included in a rounded price (unfortunately, they rarely are).
I was in Gamestop this evening and they are offering a 10% discount on all new games to people with a HMV voucher, as they cannot scan the voucher to see what it's worth, its obviously a gimmick, but if you have a 30€ voucher at least you will get about €5.50 off a new game, its better than a smack in the gob I guess.
It shows some solidarity.
It's a cool thing to do.