Say the word “gift card” around Consumerist HQ and hackles will raise at an alarming rate. Which is why we’re greeting the news of a new gift card offered by Facebook with what one might call, “extreme wariness and trepidation.” Building on the social network’s recent launch of Facebook Gifts, these cards will be able to hold balances for multiple retailers and are reusable.
Facebook announced the new service today on its blog, touting the card’s ability to hold balances for Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora and Target. Which means the possibility of gift card shenanigans with not just one retailer, but four!
Here’s how it will work: After picking a pal to send a gift to, you will select the retailer you want to use to gift your pal from Gift Cards & Digital, choose a dollar amount and pay for it. Your friend will get a notification right away and receive a physical gift card in the mail a few days later.
Any other gift card balances you receive will be added to your existing card, so at least you won’t have a pile of plastic sitting in a drawer just waiting to be forgotten. A feature we’ll admit some begrudging interest in is the ability to view the balances for each retailer on your phone or desktop Facebook apps, so at least there (maybe) won’t be any nasty surprises when you try to use it.
There are still a lot of specifics that are unclear as of now — for example, will the gift card automatically deduct a fee after not being used for a long period of time? And will disputes be handled by Facebook or the retailers directly?
We’ve reached out to Facebook with those questions and will keep you in the loop.