FRIDAY, JUNE 8: Father’s Day is fast approaching and if you are thinking about getting your dad a gift card this year here is a little advice.
Buy from a store that dad likes and will actually patronize. You may have a few places in mind where you’d much rather see dad shop, but don’t waste your money.
If he doesn’t already shop there, your run the risk of that gift card never actually getting used.
Once you have decided on a store that you think dad will like, take a few minutes to look around. If you can’t find at least five items that he would like this may not be the right store for him.
Consider getting a gift card that offers an experience - a restaurant, sporting activity, movie theatre or his barber.
Before you purchase a gift card, read the fine print very carefully. If you don’t like the terms and conditions, buy it elsewhere.
Pay attention to expiration dates and any additional fees.
This information may appear on the card itself, on the accompanying sleeve or envelope, or on the issuer’s website. If you don’t see it, ask for it.
Make sure that whatever the salesperson tells you is in writing.
Treat gift cards and gift certificates like cash. If it is lost or stolen, report it to the issuer immediately. Some issuers will not replace the cards, while others will replace them for a fee, or you may be out the entire amount.
Keep the original receipt or give it to the recipient to verify the card’s purchase in the event it is lost or stolen.
If your card expires before you’ve had a chance to use it or exhaust its value, contact the issuer. Some businesses will extend the date, although they may charge a fee to do that.
Dads, if you receive a gift card or gift certificate for Father’s Day, spend it as soon as possible, and don’t put it in a safe place and save it – more than likely by the time you find it again it is out of date and the gift giver is out of pocket.
We at Consumer Affairs get numerous calls about expired and or lost gift cards. Some consumers assume incorrectly that if they have one that has expired or if they lose it the company must still honour it.
Stores set their own policies and they can decide how and when you can use a gift card.
Ultimately it is the responsibility of the consumer to know the terms and conditions before purchasing one.
Honey Adams is the education officer for the office of Consumer Affairs.