Your feet are sore as well as your bags feel weighed down with bricks, but you can’t go home because you’ve only ticked off half the Christmas list. Suddenly, the gift card section morphs from a “no go zone” to your “one size fits all” solution.
It appears to be there’s no stopping the booming interest in free visa gift card. They’re convenient, there’s a huge range of brands (Netflix, Bonds and Domino’s Pizza, among others), and you could even personalise them.
But you should be careful, because you may ultimately be throwing free money in the retailer. A brand new survey exclusively distributed to us by NSW Fair Trading showed 89 per cent of 300 respondents possessed a problem redeeming a great gift card.
The largest problem they encountered was how the card had expired. Some tried to speak to store staff and managers, others lodged a complaint. Overall, 69 % said the retailer still refused to take the card.
Let’s focus on the amount of money. The gift card market is worth around $2.5 billion each and every year. Two-thirds from the survey respondents couldn’t redeem their cards. Also, a 2014 Choice survey found 35 % of respondents had used none of the worth of a minimum of one gift card in the previous three years.
The figures are rough, the science isn’t perfect, but we are able to guess an enormous amount of cash is being wasted each year.
I can count myself lucky. Once I was spring cleaning I discovered a $50 gift card to get a book store that expired 3 years ago. Rather than throwing it inside the bin, I had a chat with one of the workers (I avoided mentioning my job) and the man kindly i want to redeem the full amount. I went home with three new books.
This is simply not an anti-gift card piece. I would like to encourage you to think hard and provide some suggestions so your Christmas present is going to be used instead of forgotten. Here are some of the problems:
Shops go bust: Since we saw earlier this year Dic-k Smith collapsed and a large number of gift card holders, including one woman who possessed $3600 worth, were left with virtually nothing. Take into account Macquarie has predicted more retail collapses, and cites Fast Future Brands (Valley Girl and TEMT) and Pepkor (Harris Scarfe and greatest & Less) to be unprofitable.
Gift cards for most brands are plentiful at places like supermarkets and the post office.
Gift certificates for several brands are readily available at places such as supermarkets along with the post office. Photo: Danielle Smith
Fees: Thankfully nearly all gift certificates from the Australian market do not have fees because they’re “closed loop”. Though Westfield’s gift card requires a $2.95 “service charge”. I feel the worst deals would be the “open loop” Visa and Mastercard-branded gift certificates, which can be used wherever they’re accepted but have an array of fees.
Go ahead and take Australia Post Visa Prepaid gift card as an example. You need to fork out $6 to buy the credit card, $4 to talk to someone about your balance or transaction history, and $4 to get support on the phone. I should mention you can examine 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, for example the one for Ella Bache beauty salons. Should be noted, some retailers do offer a grace period. Consumer group Choice is calling for the minimum expiry period to be five-years.
Cash advance fees: It’s possible that if you use your credit card to purchase a great gift card, it will be treated being a cash advance. So check along with your provider. Better to use cash or use it on a debit card instead.
Below are great tips:
Offer flexibility: Until you know they’d love a Sportsgirl or Smiggle gift card, it’s safer to decide on a retailer which offers numerous products. You might purchase a card for a shopping centre or a group of stores, such as a Coles Group & Myer Gift Card. Mary Steffel, a psychologist at Northeastern University in america, said the greater specific a present card is, the unlikely it is usually to be redeemed. “If you’re uncertain what your recipient wants, let them have the gift of flexibility,” she told the latest York Times.
Subtly ask: Encourage the recipient to make use of the credit card sooner, as an alternative to later. Consumer advocate Christopher Zinn suggests asking your beloved a few months across the track about what they finished up buying with all the card.
Keep it visible: Ensure that the card is in their wallet. If the issue and expiry dates aren’t written around the card, have a permanent marker and write the info directly on it. You may also want to keep your receipts and jot down details like the card number.
If something fails, lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading. Happy shopping.