- Read the fine print – know the terms and conditions before you buy your card.
- Don’t throw away the card after buying merchandise, just in case you need to return an item.
- Keep track of the receipt or the card’s identification number, just in case you need to replace it (though not all retailers replace cards).
- Try to use a card soon after receiving it, and check for expiration dates or when fees might be imposed.
- Once you have used 90% of the card’s value, you may choose to take the remaining value in cash, or continue with the gift card.
- Gift cards not clearly marked with an expiration date, and issuance date, shall come with those dates clearly printed on the sales receipt, or available on line.
- If the gift card expiration dates are not provided, the gift certificate shall be good forever.
- Know your particular state laws. For example, in Massachusetts, gift cards must remain valid for at least seven years and are not subject to any fees. Plus, dormancy fees (fees charged for not using your gift card in a timely manner) are not allowed in Massachusetts. (However, Massachusetts specific rules may not apply to national companies so be careful. Make sure you know what you are buying and from whom you are buying it.)
Also, at the end of the holidays, if you have gotten gift cards to stores that you don’t want, plasticjungle.com is a great site where you can buy and sell unwanted gift cards.
What do you do with your gift cards?