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On holidays, as well as birthdays and other occasions, we often buy or receive gift cards. To protect our interests, don’t forget to check the various features of these cards, e. g., the card replaced after loss or theft, etc. Bankrate.com has posted a 2010 survey results of 54 cards of the largest retailers, restaurant chains, and card issuers. Compared in a chart are nine features: No expiration date; no dormancy or maintenance fees; card and/or funds replaced after loss or theft; and so on. Being informed now, you may better plan your trips to redeem your gift cards.
If you never stop at the store that you have received a gift card for, there may be a way out by using such websites that let you exchange cards or trade them in for cash. Consumer Reports published a report comparing four of such websites in terms of how much they’d pay for cards from eight major retailers in 2011. The report provides the conclusions that “Some cards are worth more than others” and “Look at several sites. No one always had the best deals.” You may search online for more gift card exchange sites than those mentioned in the above report.
Last, but not least, consumers can be thankful for the gift card rules passed in 2010 that provide more consumer protections than before. Here is another helpful article by Kiplinger’s on the gift card rules. In addition, California law is even more protective than the federal law. Posted on this California law page also are FAQs and “Tips for purchasers of gift certificates or gift cards.” For a “report card” on the California gift card law, please see the ScriptSmart page which, in addition, contains helpful links to the specific topics of the gift card law.
The image above is from13th Street Studio at http://13thstreetstudio.typepad.com/13th_steet_studio/2007/12/gift-card-sock.html