The feet are sore plus your bags feel weighed down with bricks, however you can’t go home because you’ve only ticked off half the Christmas list. Suddenly, the gift card section morphs from your “no go zone” into a “one size fits all” solution.
It appears there’s no stopping the booming popularity of free visa gift card codes. They’re convenient, there’s a large range of brands (Netflix, Bonds and Domino’s Pizza, for example), and you will even personalise them.
But you should be careful, because you may ultimately be throwing free money at the retailer. A whole new survey exclusively shared with us by NSW Fair Trading showed 89 % of 300 respondents experienced a problem redeeming a present card.
The most significant problem they encountered was how the card had expired. Some tried to speak to store staff and managers, others lodged a complaint. Overall, 69 per cent said the retailer still refused to accept the card.
Let’s speak about the cash. The gift card industry is worth approximately $2.5 billion every year. Two-thirds of the survey respondents couldn’t redeem their cards. Also, a 2014 Choice survey found 35 % of respondents had used not one of the importance of one or more gift card in the earlier 36 months.
The figures are rough, the science isn’t perfect, but we can easily guess an enormous amount of cash has been wasted every year.
I can count myself lucky. After I was spring cleaning I came across a $50 gift card for the book store that expired 3 years ago. Instead of throwing it within the bin, I had a chat using one of employees (I avoided mentioning my job) and that he kindly let me redeem the full amount. I went home with three new books.
This may not be an anti-gift card piece. I would like to encourage you to think hard and give some suggestions so your Christmas present is going to be used and not forgotten. Here are some of the problems:
Shops go bust: Since we saw earlier this current year Dic-k Smith collapsed and a huge number of gift card holders, including one woman who possessed $3600 worth, were left with virtually nothing. Keep in mind Macquarie has predicted more retail collapses, and cites Fast Future Brands (Valley Girl and TEMT) and Pepkor (Harris Scarfe and greatest & Less) as being unprofitable.
Gift cards for a lot of brands are plentiful at places for example supermarkets and the post office.
Gift certificates for many brands are readily available at places for example supermarkets and the post office. Photo: Danielle Smith
Fees: Thankfully the vast majority of gift certificates inside the Australian market have no fees because they’re “closed loop”. Though Westfield’s gift card takes a $2.95 “service charge”. I do believe the worst deals will be the “open loop” Visa and Mastercard-branded gift cards, which is often used wherever they’re accepted but come with a multitude of fees.
Use the Australia Post Visa Prepaid gift card for instance. You must fork out $6 to purchase the card, $4 to talk with someone regarding your balance or transaction history, and $4 to have support on the telephone. I would mention you can check your balance via text for 25 cents or online at no cost.
Expiry dates: Most cards are valid for twelve months or 24 months. Reconsider cards with three or six month expiry, like the one for Ella Bache beauty salons. Should be noted, some retailers offer a grace period. Consumer group Option is calling for the minimum expiry period being five-years.
Money advance fees: It’s likely that when you use your bank card to buy a present card, it will likely be treated being a cash advance. Check with the provider. Wise to use cash or input it over a debit card instead.
Here are some tips:
Offer flexibility: Unless you know they’d love a Sportsgirl or Smiggle gift card, it’s safer to select a retailer that gives numerous types of products. You might also invest in a card for any shopping centre or even for a team of stores, for instance a Coles Group & Myer Gift Card. Mary Steffel, a psychologist at Northeastern University in the united states, said the better specific a great gift card is, the less likely it will be redeemed. “If you’re unsure what your recipient wants, allow them to have the gift of flexibility,” she told the New York Times.
Subtly ask: Encourage the recipient to utilize the credit card sooner, instead of later. Consumer advocate Christopher Zinn suggests asking your partner several months down the track regarding what they ended up being buying together with the card.
Make it visible: Be sure the card is in their wallet. In the event the issue and expiry dates aren’t written around the card, have a permanent marker and write the details entirely on it. You can even want and also hardwearing . receipts and jot down details including the card number.
If something goes wrong, lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading. Happy shopping.