Tis the Season to ... be careful! What you need to know about gift cards.
With the holidays here, along with the pressure to find the best presents for everyone, gift cards prove a convenient way to ensure that a tough-to-buy-for person gets exactly what they want. This year, more than ever, gift cards are seen as a win-win for the consumer and small businesses, especially those that have seen a downturn in sales due to the pandemic
Only Purchase From Reputable Sellers
It’s always best to purchase directly from the source. Big brands like Apple and Amazon have a vested interest in making sure their cards are valid and easily redeemable, so they offer recourse if you lose your card or misplace the claim code. Both Apple and Amazon provide detailed information about how to protect yourself from common scams.
Be wary of Gift Card Exchanges
Gift card exchanges are online markets where anyone can sell unwanted gift cards and/or purchase pre-owned cards at discounted prices. Some transaction-based sites set up transactions between sellers and buyers and take no responsibility for fraudulent cards. Other sites such as Cardpool offer purchase guarantees.
Some companies such as Pennsylvania’s Erie Insurance company have added gift card and gift certificate reimbursement coverage to their Home Insurance policies, in response to the recent changes affecting businesses across the US. This feature reimburses customers for remaining balances on eligible gift cards that can no longer be used at independently owned and operated local businesses due to business closures.
And as always, if in doubt of the validity of an online gift card, don’t click! It’s always a good idea to check directly with the company. Happy and safe shopping!