BBB offers tips for gift card buyers

Bbb offers tips for gift card buyers
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to check the fine print and charges on gift cards for security.

Gift card security

The holidays are fast approaching and many people still need to buy gifts. Gift cards can be a convenient gifting solution, but there can be complications.

According to Michelle L. Corey, BBB Executive Director of St. Louis, “Gift cards can be the perfect solution for a difficult person or loved one living in another city, but purchasing a card with too many fees or conditions can reduce the value of the card. You might be better off giving cash or a check instead of plastic.”

The National Retail Federation reported that nearly 60% of those surveyed in a 2019 poll said they would request a gift card this time of year. The Credit Card Liability, Liability, and Disclosure Act protects consumers who receive gift cards, however, fees can still erode the value of the card.

The BBB receives hundreds of complaints about gift card purchases each year, and some consumers have reported problems with websites that sell gift cards online. Recipients can receive gift cards directly from some online retailers. This can save an unnecessary trip during times of social distancing.

The Bureau encourages people to purchase gift cards from secure websites when shopping online. Secure Sites will use “https://” in the website addresses of the pages where shoppers enter payment information.

If a business displays the BBB Accredited Business seal, click on it to confirm that it is authentic. A valid seal will be associated with the company Business Profile BBB.

More tips

  • Use caution when purchasing gift cards from online auctions as it is virtually impossible to tell if the cards are still valid, to determine if they have been tampered with, or to see if they have expired.
  • When buying gift cards in a store, check the packaging and any security seals to make sure they are intact and unbroken.
  • Check the fine print to see if there are fees associated with the card.
  • Check the terms and conditions on the gift card.
  • Review the retailer’s financial condition. If you think the store might be running erratically, you might want to switch to buying a card.

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Dais Johnston

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