What You Should Know About Gift Cards

What You Should Know About Gift Cards

Data Breach Class Action or Mass Tort Investigation

Unsplash | Published: March 13, 2024

Claim Form Deadline: Ongoing

Estimated Payout: Varies

How To Purchase Gift Cards Safely

Giving gift cards as presents during holiday seasons and special occasions can be a convenient option. However, both the giver and receiver must carefully review the details and terms provided by the merchant or bank issuing the card, as there could be additional rules applicable.

Gift Card Purchase Protection under Federal Law

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (Credit CARD Act) Act grants various safeguards to customers who purchase particular kinds of gift cards such as store and restaurant (or merchant) gift cards, which can solely be utilized at the establishments where they were bought. Similarly, bank gift cards bearing logos of payment card networks (for example, Visa, MasterCard) are also subject to Credit CARD Act protections and can be used anywhere those brands are accepted.

As per the legislation, a gift card cannot lapse earlier than five years following its activation date. Moreover, restrictions apply regarding fees; specifically, the card issuer cannot impose a dormancy or inactivity fee on a gift card until after one year of inactivity, given that clear notification of such a policy appears on the card. Additionally, individual states have enacted further protective measures concerning gift cards in certain scenarios.

Common ElectronicGift Card Scams

Perpetrators frequently exploit gift cards for illicit activities due to their similarity to cash—misused funds are challenging to track down. Contrary to credit cards, recourse is generally unavailable for consumers facing unauthorized or stolen gift card usage, making reversals of transactions or obtaining refunds exceptionally difficult.

Common scams include criminals disguised as attorneys for relatives, asserting legal issues requiring immediate financial aid via gift cards. Suspicious indicators consist of unsolicited communication through calls or emails along with demands for specific gift card denominations. Once victims procure the requested gift cards, scammers coax them into disclosing code numbers and PINs, enabling swift redemption.

Keep the following guidelines in mind to prevent falling prey to gift card cons:

• Neither businesses nor government agencies will demand gift card payments, hence unconfirmed requests should raise suspicion.
• Refrain from conducting transactions over the phone or via wire transfers, except in verifiable instances.
• Exercise caution while selling personal belongings, as buyers might attempt deception by offering checks exceeding agreed prices and insisting on gift card differentials. Upon discovering falsified checks, vendors face considerable losses.

Report any experienced gift card scams to local authorities alongside notifying the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Immediately inform the merchant or card issuer too, as they might return remaining balances or a fraction thereof despite potential processing charges. Be prepared to furnish proof of purchase, receipts, and card numbers when reaching out to customer support.

Precautions During eGift Card Purchases

Consider using these strategies when procuring gift cards:

• Avoid acquiring gift cards from obscure websites since risks exist involving counterfeits or theft. Stick to trusted sources instead.
• Thoroughly inspect the physical gift card prior to purchase, ensuring none of the backend codes have been tampered with or exposed.
• Carefully review the gift card's fine print, familiarize yourself with stipulations, scrutinize expiry dates, detect concealed fees, and understand usage parameters.

If feasible, register the gift card to secure coverage against loss or theft.

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