Gift Cards Are A Great Christmas Gift, But Some Come With Restrictions - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/22/05- Tyler

Gift Cards Are A Great Christmas Gift, But Some Come With Restrictions

If you're expecting to receive a gift card in your stocking this year, you may want to use it quickly. Some have expiration dates or lose value with time. Gift card expiration dates have become such a problem, lawmakers have asked the Federal Trade Commission to review the rules that govern their sale. Today, we decided to find out for you, which popular stores and restaurants have those expiring cards.

In our research today, we found the majority of retailers let you use your gift card without limitations, but there are some exceptions. The Simon Gift Card has an expiration date on the front of it. There is also a service fee of $2.50 per month that's deducted from your balance 13 months after its purchase. Pete Fisher bought his son and daughter in-law a gift card from Target today.

"I have no idea what they want," said Fisher. "This is going to fit right and be just what they need." In this case, Target gift cards do not expire, neither do Wal-mart gift cards or those you get at Best Buy. We also found Dillards, Foleys and Sears gift cards do not have expiration dates or service fees, but other retail stores are different. After two years of non-use the Bass Pro Shop gift card expires.

Restaurants are also busy this time of year selling gift cards, but again you have to be careful. Johnny Carinos Italian Restaurant has a service fee of $2.00 per month after 12 months. Other restaurants like Applebees, Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden do not put an expiration date or service charge on their gift cards. So, what can you do? The Better Business Bureau has this advice.

"Find out if there are any loose ends that are tied up in this card and know what they are," said Kay Robinson, Better Business Bureau. Also, pass that information on to the person you give it to.

Molly Reuter, reporting.

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