According to the National Retail Federation gift cards are this season’s hottest gift. They can be purchased from almost anywhere — retailers, grocery stores, drug stores, etc. — making them an easy and convenient gift giving solution. But Better Business Bureau is warning that some gift cards could carry high fees making them far from a good deal. Before you buy a gift card, BBB advises you to do the following:
- Research before you buy. Buy from a known and trusted source. Research businesses at bbb.org to see a company’s BBB Business Review. Avoid online auction sites, because the cards sold there could be counterfeit or obtained fraudulently.
- Read the fine print. Fully understand how the card works, if there are any fees associated with buying or using the card and if any fees will be deducted from the card after it is purchased. Specific fees to look for are activation fees or fees charged to check your balance, call customer service or get a replacement card.
- Inspect the card. Verify that protective stickers have not been removed and the PIN Number on the back of the card is not exposed. Report any damaged cards to the store selling the cards.
- Provide receipt with gift card. Give the recipient of the gift card the original receipt in case the card is lost, stolen or there is a discrepancy with the balance.