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ElfBot 11-09-2010 11:10 PM

New Rules for Gift Cards 2010
Recent legislation passed protecting the rights of Christmas gift card buyers and receivers goes into affect for any gift cards purchased after August 2010. Read about the new rules here.

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Bradmac 11-10-2010 11:16 AM


2. If a gift card lies dormant no fees can be charged for maintenance or storage for at least a year.
3. If a gift card lies dormant for MORE than a year, significant fees can be charged for maintaining a balance. Buyer - and receiver -- beware.
#2 - It's about time!

#3 - I still don't understand what is so expensive to the card provider about maintaining a balance. I could see it if they were mailing you statements each month about the balance, but the info is simply stored in a computer. They have collected money for a card which has not been used. Surely they are investing that money, or at least earning interest.

Maybe I'm just not business-savvy enough. :?

Jeff Westover 11-10-2010 12:00 PM

Let's say you get a gift card worth $50, spend $29.82 of it and then put it in your wallent where it is promptly forgotten. The next Christmas season while out shopping you discover it again and you ask, "I wonder how much is on that card?"

So, you call the 800-number and in seconds you find out. They tell you the card is worth about $4. Somehow, that doesn't sound right to you so you call the 800-number again and go through the process of talking to a real person....

The 800-number, the computer system that supports it, the people who work in the department to support gift cards, etc is all overhead that is, by law, allowable justification for charging fees associated with gift cards.

A lot of people think that companies like gift cards, and they DO. But, there is a degree of accounting hassle for them. They cannot count a gift card sale as a sale until it is actually redeemed. So, by law, if they sell $4 million in gift cards in a year but only $3 million is redeemed, that $1 million difference is considered an asset, which is taxed differently than sales dollars. All of that has to be accounted for and balanced.

I read somewhere recently that last year alone Home Depot had something like $42 million in unredeemed gift card dollars on their books.

Bradmac 11-10-2010 01:06 PM

I was right. I'm just not business-savvy enough. cheesy

Jeff Westover 11-10-2010 01:10 PM


Originally Posted by Bradmac (Post 301078)
I was right. I'm just not business-savvy enough. cheesy

No, you are. From a consumer stand point, it doesn't make any sense to give a gift card of $50 if it isn't worth $50.

A smart company would NEVER attach a fee to a gift card. And there are some smart companies out there. Read the fine print on the back of the gift cards.

Some companies use a vendor to manage their gift card services. That is a legitimate cost. But it is POOR customer service.

The one debate about gift cards I see never going away is the one about whether or not it is a gift of meaning: does it show thought and concern? Some feel it is an easy out and shows now imagination in gift giving.

Let's see a marketing department get around that.

GingerMel 11-10-2010 05:15 PM

I guess I'm somewhat divided on whether a gift card has meaning to it.

I mean, if it's from some generic restaurant that someone doesn't even know if I like then it's not exactly as meaningful as if they purchased one from favorite store. Having said that, I appreciate any gift that is given to me.

Some people aren't lucky enough to receive if a gift of any kind is given to me I feel very blessed.

HollyJells 11-10-2010 05:36 PM

It is giftcard mania at my in-laws. At Christmastime just last year we received 12 cards. All had 20 or below on them and a few of them were fromt he same store so we combined them and got things we needed for the house. It is a nice gesture for sure, especially when certain people KNOW you like a certain store but aren't sure just exactly what you want or need. There were a few we didn't really like and we forwarded those to a local charity in the person who gave it to us and our names of course. Have had people tell me it is tacky, my response is always the same, if it isnt going to get used why nto give it to people who can use it.

whitney37354 11-12-2010 09:52 AM

As long as the gift card is given knowing that the recipient likes what that store is selling, I think gift cards are great! You get what you want and you don't have to pay the full price for it!

DH's friends & family knows he loves Carrabba's restaurant. He gets multiple cards for Christmas, birthday, just because. We have three $25 cards right now! The restaurant is an hour from home so we don't go often. It's nice to be able to eat out and either pay nothing out of pocket (tips can come off the gift card too) or just a little out of pocket for a great meal.

I tell MIL every year that I'd like a gift certificate to the grocery store I shop at. She isn't that practical in her gift giving though! I'd like to have my groceries already paid for!

I buy Subway gift cards for my brother as stocking stuffers or birthday gifts because SIL thinks Subway is expensive and won't eat there. I give my grandmother Wal-Mart gift cards because she buys her groceries there and she has no extra money. She is practical like me, so I think she appreciates it.

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