In Thursday night's THV Working for You, we're revealing information about the new rules that went into effect earlier this year to better protect you.
Janet Robb, President of the Better Business Bureau sits down with THV's Liz Massey to talk about it.
These new FTC rules apply to gift cards:
Money on a gift card cannot expire for at least five years from the date the card was purchased, or from the last date any additional money was loaded onto the card. If the expiration date listed on the card is earlier than these dates, the money can be transferred to a replacement card at no cost.
Inactivity fees can be charged only after a card hasn't been used for at least one year, and then only once per month. But fees may be charged to buy the card or to replace a lost or stolen card.
The card must clearly disclose its expiration date, and the card or packaging must clearly disclose any fees. However, no matter what a card says, consumers still are protected by the new rules.
Tips for buying gift cards:
Buy from known and trusted sources. Avoid online auction sites, because the cards sold there may be counterfeit or may have been obtained fraudulently.
Read the fine print before buying. Is there a fee to buy the card? Are there shipping and handling fees for cards bought by phone or online? Will any fees be deducted from the card after it is purchased?
Inspect the card before buying it. Verify that no protective stickers have been removed, and that the codes on the back of the card haven't been scratched off to reveal a PIN number. Report any damaged cards to the store selling the cards.
Give the recipient the original receipt in case the card is later lost or stolen.
Beware: A card from a company that files for bankruptcy or goes out of business may be worthless later. Also If the business closes a store near the recipient, it may be hard to find another location where the card can be used.
Tips for using gift cards:
Note any terms and conditions, and check for an expiration date or fees.
Use gift cards as soon as possible, because it's not unusual to lose or forget about them.
Treat a card like cash, and if it is lost or stolen, report this immediately to the issuer. Some issuers will not replace cards that are lost or stolen, while other issuers will, for a fee.