Forgotten Gift Cards

Consumer Reports
How To Get the Most from Your Gift Cards_6721334734477738702
(NBC News)  Gift cards are popular every holiday season but too often, they are forgotten. Consumers should be using those cards now especially if the stores in question are in financial trouble.

Gift cards are popular every holiday season.

They make an easy gift to buy and a fun one to spend. But too often, they are forgotten.

“The longer you hold onto a card the more likely you are to just forget you have it.”

Shelley Hunter calls herself “The Gift Card Girlfriend” and is a spokesperson for She says not only do cards get lost and forgotten about, but sometimes they lose their value.

“We have pretty good consumer laws that makes sure stores don’t expire their gift cards or charge fees against them. But if a store goes out of business, the game changes a little bit.”

In other words, when a business goes under, their gift cards are often worthless. That’s the case now with millions of dollars worth of gift cards from Radio Shack.

The same happened with stores like Cache, Borders and Sharper Image. In fact Hunter says, when companies start restructuring or cutting back, it’s a sign something could be up.

“If you have gift card to a store that’s going out of business, you know it’s having some sort of financial trouble, the urgency is even greater.”

“Scam artists have also been going after gift cards. That’s why you want to take some precautions when you buy them.”

“Inspect the packaging; make sure it doesn’t look tampered with. If you buy a gift card from the rack, buy from the middle of the rack or the back, instead of the front where maybe the thieves are less likely to have been tampered with those.”

Even with all that, Shelley Hunter says she’s still a big fan of gift cards but she says don’t let them gather dust.

“If you have a gift card from the holidays and you haven’t used it, you should be using it right now.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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