Consumer Column

Attorney General Jeff Landry Outlines Helpful Tips for Gift Cards

CONSUMER ALERT: AG Jeff Landry Outlines Helpful Tips for Gift Cards

BATON ROUGE, LA – Finding the perfect Christmas present can be time-consuming. So it is not surprising that many consumers turn to gift cards for convenience. Gift cards can be bought at drugstores, online retailers, and nearly everywhere in between.

Attorney General Jeff Landry is reminding consumers that there are pros and cons to gift cards, and he is offering tips to both those who buy them and those who use them.

AG Jeff Landry’s tips for buying gift cards:

• Always buy from known and trusted sources. Avoid online auction sites. Cards sold there could be counterfeit or have been obtained fraudulently.
• Read the fine print before buying cards. Check for added fees and see if there are shipping and handling costs when purchasing gift cards by phone or online.
• Give the recipient the original receipt in case the card is later lost or stolen.
• Before buying retail gift cards, consider the financial condition of the retailer or restaurant. A card from a company that files for bankruptcy or goes out of business may be worth less than anticipated. And if the business closes a store near the recipient, it may be hard to find another location where the card can be used.

AG Jeff Landry’s tips for using gift cards:

• Note any terms and conditions, and check for an expiration date or usage fee.
• Ask gift giver for the card’s terms and conditions, the original purchase receipt, and the card’s ID number. Keep this information in a safe place.
• If the card is lost or stolen, report this immediately to the issuer.
• Should the card expire before use, make a request for it to be replaced. The issuer may agree to exchange it or reverse deducted fees.

For more holiday tips, call Attorney General Landry’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.

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Coming soon, the attorney's general office seeks to provide a mechanism by which to take online payments for collections.