Gift cards can make great gifts for friends and family. Gift cards allow the recipient to go to favorite restaurants or stores and purchase an item or items at no charge to them.
Arkansas’s Fair Gift Card Act, along with federal regulations, provides protections for recipients of gift cards. These protections state that the expiration date must be clearly disclosed on the card and must be at least five years from the date the card was purchased. Fees must also be clearly disclosed on the card or its packaging, and inactivity fees can be charged only after a card has not been used for two years.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released today’s consumer alert to help Arkansans who are considering purchasing gift cards this Christmas season to give to friends and loved ones.
“The holiday season is upon us, and we are all searching for the perfect gifts for family members and friends,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “One option is to purchase a gift card that allows the recipient to pick out their own gift or go out to eat. If you decide to give a gift card, make sure the recipient is aware of the protections.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers considering adding gift cards to their shopping list:
- Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites, as the cards may be counterfeit or may have been obtained fraudulently.
- Read the fine print. Is there a fee to buy the card? Consider buying elsewhere if the terms and conditions do not seem reasonable.
- Keep the original receipt so the recipient can verify the card’s purchase if it is lost, stolen or does not work. Be sure to provide the recipient with the terms and conditions and the ID number.
- Consider the financial condition of the retailer or restaurant. Cards purchased from companies that later file for bankruptcy or go out of business may lose their worth.
- Encourage the recipient to use the card as soon as possible to avoid misplacing or forgetting about it.
- Contact the card issuer if the card is lost or stolen or problems arise with the gift card.
- Some retailers may replace lost or stolen cards for a fee if the user as the ID number on the card. If the company does not resolve the issue, contact the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division to file a consumer complaint.
For more information about gift cards and other consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.