BBB warns consumers about potential gift card issues

Posted at 10:16 AM, Dec 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-11 20:32:07-05

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about a popular holiday present, gift cards.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 80 percent of shoppers will buy at least one gift card this year and total spending will reach over $28 billion.

“Unfortunately during this time of the year, the BBB receives more complaints about gift card redemption issues, fees, and terms,” said Su Hawk, president and CEO for the BBB of Denver/Boulder in a press release. “We also receive complaints about companies that go out of business before the gift can be redeemed, so it’s important for consumer to be more aware.”

The BBB says use caution with online auction of third-party sites and examine gift cards closely when purchasing them. Consider giving the recipient the original receipt to verify the card's purchase.

If you receive a gift card, review the card's term and condition and treat the card like cash. It's best to use the card quickly so you are sure to get its full value. Some terms charge a fee if the card is not used within a year. Also some business or industries might be unstable and if the company goes out of business, the gift card becomes worthless.