7 tips on how to safely buy and use gift cards this holiday season

Local News

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — ‘Tis the season of giving, but if you are giving gift cards, here are some tips to ensure successful gifting.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection has provided consumers with tips for buying gift cards and gift certificates, ensuring safety, this holiday season.

Here are some tips to remember when buying and using gift cards during the 2020 holiday season.

  • Check packaging; ensure security seals are intact
  • Use caution with third parties
  • Review fine print
  • Be aware of scammers attempting to get gift cards
  • Be prepared if a business is struggling or considering bankruptcy
  • File a claim for gift card amounts if a business is going through bankruptcy
  • Check unclaimed funds site for unused gift cards

Additionally, according to the Division, New Yorkers who buy and use gift cards are protected under the NYS General Business Law §396-i. The law states that gift cards must have a minimum expiration date of five years from the date of purchase. Additionally, the law requires businesses to post the “Terms and Conditions” that apply to their gift cards.

“Gift cards offer convenience to so many gift-givers during the holidays,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “Gift cards are also a great way for consumers to show support for their local businesses. If gift cards are on your holiday shopping list, be sure to know your rights when it comes to buying and spending them.”

The Division of Consumer Protection also urged those having difficulties with an existing gift card or certificate to file a complaint with the Division.

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