Prepaid Gift Cards Informative - One More Thing About Those Gift Cards

Review by Huck on 2008-12-13
By now you are aware to watch out for [sometimes] hidden charges against the gift cards you buy like [1] A deduction if not used within 30 days [2] extra deductions if a person buy an item with a gift card and is then charged extra for a return of the item [usually $5 - $10 deducted from the card automatically].

There is a more important aspect to watch out for:
Do NOT buy a gift card from a cashier's stand [you know; that wire stands at the checkout line that holds various gift cards] that DISPLAY A SERIAL NUMBER IN THE CLEAR and are not covered by a black or silver strip.

If the serial number is visible, an employee [usually a cashier] will copy down the number and after someone purchases the card, they may manually enter a deduction for $5 or $10, put the money in their pocket. [The higher the amount loaded onto the card, the more likely it is that they will pocket even more.
Comments:2 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-12-14
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-12-13:
Interesting. I have never purchased a card from one of these numerous stands and now I won't. I just bought a Visa Gift Card from my credit union. I noticed that after 7 months there is a $2.95 charge and it expires after 2 years. Although I am sure it will be spent well before even 3 months, I am going to let the recipient know so they don't mistakenly tuck it away. Thanks for the info.
Posted by S. on 2008-12-14:
The expiration dates and any charges if not used in a certain length of time vary from state to state. (We have another letter today somewhere on M3C where I posted MI's new legislation on these cards.) I've purchased gift cards from both my bank and the stands, as well as phone cards, and I have *never* seen one where the number is exposed. They all have a covering of some sort that have to be removed after purchase and prior to use. Haven't heard anything about a return that may be made after using the gift card to make the purchase. I'll have to check with some of the people to whom I've given these cards to see if they ran into anything like that.

Diane, MI's new law says the cards no longer have an expiration date nor can they charge for non-use during a certain period of time. The law was enacted in July of 2008.

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