The Checkout

Bank Gift Cards Come Wrapped With Limits

Visa likes to say that "finding the perfect gift just got easier" with its gift card.

But recipients of those cards -- or similar ones issued by MasterCard or American Express -- are discovering that using them presents unexpected difficulties. Read More

For more tips on buying gift cards, check out the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Alert.
I'll be live at 1 p.m. today to chat about this, problem packaging, identity theft insurance and other consumer topics.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  February 17, 2006; 7:26 AM ET Consumer News
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The credit card companies continue to exploit working people during a period when wages our outpaced by the cost of living and hyper inflation in the healthcare industry. Banks and credit card companies need to heavily regulated for the consumer's protection. In particular, the bankruptcy reform legislation that passed last year must be reversed. It's also incredible that the credit card companies wasted no time soliciting individuals who were able to declare bankruptcy before the new law passed. The American people need to wake up and realize that the credit card companies are offering the monetary equivalent of crack cocaine.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 17, 2006 12:22 PM

Please keep your comments on topic. Thank you.

Posted by: | February 18, 2006 2:34 PM

I have had some less than positive experiences with gift cards in the past, but this year I have two positives to report:

I received 2 Starbucks cards for Christmas; after I used up most of the value on each, I was able to use both on my final purchase and make up the remaining difference in cash. Their sales staff, as always, was unfailingly helpful in helping me do this.

I also received an REI card. On my last purchase (online), I was able to use the small amount remaining on the card, and make up the rest with a credit card. Their website made this entirely transparent and simple.

So maybe all is not lost; as with most things in our economy, those companies that deliver poor service will eventually be killed by their own greed and stupidity.

Posted by: joe | February 21, 2006 4:02 PM

Your site is really very interesting.

Posted by: Ivailo | August 23, 2006 2:42 PM

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