As Christmas approaches, Attorney General Jeff Landry wants to remind you that there are pros and cons to buying and using gift cards.
General Landry said, “It can be stressful and time consuming to find the perfect Christmas gift for everyone on your list, which is why so many choose to simplify giving through gift cards. So my office and I are providing tips to help consumers purchase valid gift cards and avoid being scammed by a Grinch seeking to take advantage of the holiday season.”
Landry offers the following tips for those buying gift cards:
- Purchase from known and trusted sources. Avoid online auction sites, as cards sold there could be counterfeit or obtained fraudulently.
- Read the fine print. Check for added fees and see if there are shipping and handling costs when purchasing gift cards by phone or online.
- Gift the receipt as well. Give the recipient the original receipt in case the card is later lost or stolen.
- Consider the financial condition of the retailer or restaurant. A card from a company that files for bankruptcy or goes out of business may be worth less than anticipated. If the business closes a store near the recipient, it may be hard for them to find another location where the card can be used.
And General Landry offers the following tips for those using gift cards:
- Note the terms and conditions, especially the expiration date and usage fee.
- Keep card’s terms and conditions in a safe place. Also ask giver for the original purchase receipt and the card’s ID number.
- Report lost or stolen cards to the issuer immediately.
- Request expired cards be replaced. The issuer may agree to exchange it or reverse deducted fees.
For more consumer tips, visit www.AGJeffLandry.com or call General Landry’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.