Gift cards are often the perfect option when selecting birthday or holiday gifts for loved ones. Arkansas’s Fair Gift Card Act, along with federal regulations, provides several protections for Arkansas consumers.
Gift card protections:
- 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.
When buying a gift card:
- 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.
- Read the fine print. Is there a fee to buy the card? If you do not like the terms and conditions, buy elsewhere.
- Keep the original receipt so the recipient can verify the card’s purchase if it is lost or stolen.
- 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.
When using a gift card:
- Read the card’s terms and conditions. Check for an expiration date or fees.
- 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.
- Ask the person giving you the card for the card’s terms and conditions, the original purchase receipt or the card’s ID number. Keep this information in a safe place.
- Use your card as soon as you can to avoid misplacing or forgetting about it.
- If your card is lost or stolen, report it to the issuer immediately. 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.
Problems with your gift card:
- Contact the card issuer about problems with your gift 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 at that level, 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 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.