Some Gift Cards Sorta Friendlier, Thanks To FTC

Gift cards have fewer hidden fees and expiration dates this holiday season, thanks to FTC action, reports the Washington Post. A survey by the Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection found that about 80% of the 22 retail examined had no fees or expiration dates, could be replaced if lost or stolen and had scratch-off PINS for security.

The same cannot be said, however, of the gift cards issued by banks, like those VISA-backed gift cards…

All 20 of these studied had purchase fees, maintenance fees and expiration dates. So if you buy a gift card, get it directly from the retailer instead of the bank or a mall operator, or just give cold hard cash, which never expires or incurs fees…

Gift Cards Coming With Fewer Strings [Washington Post via U.S. PIRG Consumer Blog]
(Photo: *davierae*)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. teh says:

    Remember to also look at state laws. California law states that gift cards can’t have an expiration date. Starting soon (Jan. 1?) you should also be able to get cash back on cards with a balance of less than $10.

  2. gingerCE says:

    @teh: Yeah, starting in 2008 in California you can get cash back on a gift card under 10 but only store gift cards like Target etc . . . You can’t do this with Visa/Amex gift cards.

  3. Trauma_Hound says:

    Washington State law also states gift cards can’t have an expiration date.

  4. Lordstrom says:

    “or just give cold hard cash, which never expires or incurs fees…”

    Except inflation. I recommend gold, oil, or TIPS.