Always Know How to Deal with the Gift Card Problems by Keeping These Cards in Your Wallet

Always Know How to Deal with the Gift Card Problems by Keeping These Cards in Your WalletYou probably have a slew of gift cards from the holidays, but chances are many will go unredeemed, lost, or somehow unused. To make sure you know your rights in the event of a problem, just print out this foldable card and keep it in your wallet, too.

You can download a printable PDF card here and cut out the card for your wallet, but read on for the tips you'll find on the cards. We were able to create this card thanks to the help of Joshua H. Camson, Esq., who graciously provided the information.

Before we get started, know that these rules only apply to retail and merchant cards. Retail gift cards are the ones you buy at a specific store or restaurant and can only be used at that one location (or locations, in the event of a chain store/restaurant or mall gift card). Merchant cards are branded, prepaid debit cards that can be used anywhere that type of card (e.g. Visa, Mastercard, American Express) is accepted. Now that you know, here are your rights:

  • Cards cannot have expiration dates of less than five years from The date the card was initially issued or the date on which funds were last loaded on a reloadable card (whichever date is later). If a card does expire in less than five years, the remaining value can be transferred to a new card at no cost or fee.
  • No dormancy, inactivity, or service fees can be charged unless there has been one year of inactivity on the gift card; and the consumer is given clear and conspicuous disclosure about the fees. No more than one fee is charged per month
  • The card must have a clear and conspicuous notice of either a website or telephone number to obtain a replacement for an expired, lost, or stolen card.
  • A fee cannot be charged to replace an expired gift card, but a merchant can charge a fee to replace a lost or stolen card

These rules do not apply to:

  • Reloadable prepaid cards that are not marketed or labeled as a gift card or gift certificate.
  • Prepaid cards received through a loyalty, award, or promotional program.
  • Any gift certificate or card issued in paper form only.
  • Cards or certificates useable solely for telephone services.
  • Any card redeemable solely for admission to events or venues or for goods/services in conjunction with admission to an event or venue (e.g., present this certificate for a free hot dog at the next Steelers game at Heinz Field).

Those are your rights. Just download and print the card to have them in your pocket whenever you need them!

Know Your Rights Printable Card: Gift Cards (PDF)

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