Arkansas’s Fair Gift Card Act, along with federal regulations, provides several protections for Arkansas consumers.
- 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 has not been used for two years.
- The expiration date of a card must be clearly disclosed on the card. Fees must be clearly disclosed on the card or its packaging.
Buying and using gift cards:
- Buy from sources you trust. Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites as the cards may be counterfeit or may have been obtained fraudulently. 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.
- Read the fine print to include expiration date, fees, terms and conditions. Use the card as soon as you can to avoid misplacing or forgetting about it.
- Keep the original receipt so the recipient can verify the card’s purchase if it is lost or stolen. If it appears that the value of your card has expired or that fees have been deducted, contact the card issuer. It may honor the card or reverse the fees.
Problems with your gift card:
- Contact the card issuer about problems with your gift card or if your card is lost or stolen. Some will not replace lost or stolen cards, but others will for a fee. Expect to show proof of purchase and the ID number on the card.
- If the problem is not resolved at that level, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission for cards issued by retailers.
- If the problem is not resolved with the FTC, you may file a complaint with the Comptroller of the Currency’s Customer Assistance Group for cards issued by national banks at (800) 613-6743 or email@example.com.
Gift Card Scam
Beware of mail items that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards, especially offering deals too good to be true. Some fraudulent offers may pose as holiday promotions or contests or offer a free gift card. The letters often look as if the company is sending a generous gift to their loyal customers. In order to activate the card, you must call a provided phone number. The person on the other end of the phone call may begin asking personal questions about your finances. Never provide your personal information to an unknown party or untrustworthy website.
Tips to prevent gift card fraud:
- Never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or the internet.
- Do not respond to unsolicited mail offering free gift cards.
- See the Attorney General’s 2016 consumer alert.
- Read the Federal Trade Commission’s gift card scam tips.
To report suspected gift card scams:
- You may file a complaint, providing all relevant information, at IC3.gov.
If you have fallen victim to a gift card scam and given out your personal account information, contact your financial institution immediately to protect your accounts, block your cards, fill out a fraud affidavit and take other protective measures to protect your identity.