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Gift cards w/ expiration dates - shady practice?


Not About Food 47

Gift cards w/ expiration dates - shady practice?

lynnlato | Feb 26, 2009 08:56 AM

I had breakfast today with a friend. He treated because he had a gift card that he'd had for a while. He had used it several times before but still had a $50 balance left on it. The server took the check presenter w/ the gift card and returned a few moments later to advise us that the gift card had expired last month(one year expiration). My friend advised that he wasn't are of an expiration date. The server pointed out some very fine print wherein their was an expiration date.

The server advised that he would consult the owner to see if he would honor it and fortunately they agreed to because of "the economic times" but he made it clear that they "were under no obligation" to do so.

I find it shady that restos, and other retail stores, would place an expiration date in fine print on their gift cards. It's as if they are hoping you don't read the fine print and don't cash in on the gift card and therefore they get "free money". I worked for a local resto and they decided to make the switch from gift certificates to gift cards and we explored all options w/ the card manufacturer. They went over wording that can and/or should be included on the card and one of the things we discussed was an expiration date. They offered statistics on how many purchased gift cards are actually used and also which ones w/ expiration dates are allowed to expire and how much that benefits your bottom line. Again, I find it shady. I understand that no expiration date can complicate bottom lines but, really... Incidentally, the resto I was with opted NOT to print the cards with an expiration date.

Here is a link to a website that lists state gift card laws. Interestingly, many states prohibit expiration dates w/i 2-7 years.

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