Consumers are better off being careful with gift cards

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

It is perhaps not a bad idea to find out more about gift cards before purchasing them. Both the givers as well as receivers of the gift cards should try to know as much as possible about the gift cards. Banks and retailers often charge hidden fees on the gift cards for various reasons including inactivity fees. Gift cards could also expire, in which case they lose their value. Consumers, however, get protection from gift cards, thanks to federal and state laws. However, according to the consumers union it is still a good idea to be careful about the gift cards.

The first thing to realise is that if you do get a gift card from someone, use it as soon as possible. Givers should consider, if giving cash or a check isn`t a better idea than giving a gift card, which might come with lot of problems in some scenarios. The fees on the gift cards could really erode some of the value. If the retailer files for bankruptcy which might not be a surprise given the economic condition, the gift card is worthless, if the receiver doesn`t file the claim on time. The new Federal laws have changed certain things about gift cards. The good news is that gift cards cannot expire, now, for at least 5 years. Issuers of gift cards cannot charge any inactivity fees either for the first 12 months from the purchase of the gift cards, which is even better for the receivers.

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