Check The Fine Print On Gift Cards - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/01/03 - Longview

Check The Fine Print On Gift Cards

It requires no gift wrapping and it can't be returned to the store. It's a gift card and millions of Americans will be giving and getting one this Christmas. But there are things you should know before you put those gift cards on your shopping list.

Pick a card, get it scanned, and it's that easy. "Convenience makes the difference," says one customer buying a gift card.

Gift cards are becoming a 'hot' item. "Usually for teenagers who are hard to buy for. You're not sure of their sizes or the things they like and they always like money," says Trevelyn Phillips.

But not all cards are created alike. Some stores charge service fees on cards when they're not used before a specified time. And it's not a popular trend. "It wouldn't be a gift if they ended up paying for it and I often find gift cards I haven't finished using in the bottom of my purse," says Trevelyn.

We took a look at seven stores in the Longview-Tyler area. Almost all had a different policy. Target does not charge any fees but hurry, the card expires in one year. Blockbuster, Walmart and Toys R Us all charge a $2 fee per month after 24 months of not using the card. Books-A-Million also charges but their's is a one time fee of $1.50 after 18 months. But Hastings and Best Buy charge no fees and their cards never expire. "We would like to be very customer friendly. Because there's no expiration date why should we charge you if you don't want to use it right away," says Mary Andersen, manager of Best Buy in Longview.

Each store has a different policy on gift card charges. Check with the store for more information.

Amy Tatum reporting.

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