Will Your Holiday Gift Disappear In A Year? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/04/07-Tyler

Will Your Holiday Gift Disappear In A Year?

"It's easy. You give someone a card to Wal-Mart and they can go get anything they want," says shopper Ashley Condor.

They're everywhere and this holiday season, more gift cards will be sold than ever.  The amount skyrocketing over the past few years from around $17 billion in 2003 to nearly $25 billion last year.

"It's a whole lot easier, [because] sending through the mail you don't have to worry about gift cards being stolen," says fellow shopper Matthew Powell.

There's another question we have to ask: "Do you know if they expire?"

Twenty-seven percent of people who got a gift card last year didn't use it. That made companies like Best Buy and Limited Brands very happy, reporting tens of millions in unspent cards.

But how long do you really have to redeem that card?

Unlike many pre-paid debit cards you can use anywhere but come loaded with fees and conditions, we found the vast majority of in-store gift cards -- like Best Buy, Target, Dillard's, and even Starbuck's now have no expiration date and no fees. Keep it as long as you want.

But then there's another question: Is a gift card really that thoughtful?

"It's not very personal.  You give them to someone you don't know very well," says Condor.

One store card we found that does have an expiration date is Macy's/Bloomingdale's.  Those gift cards expire after two years from the last date when funds were added.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting. morganpalmer@kltv.com

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