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Gift Cards

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Before you buy a gift card, during the holiday season or for any other occasion, there are some things you should be aware of.   Different gift cards have different terms and conditions.  Whether you are a gift card purchaser or a recipient, here are some questions you may want to ask the seller of the card:

  • What is the redemption policy?  Can the gift card or certificate be redeemed for cash, a combination of merchandise and cash, or merchandise only?
  • Is there a local store where it can be redeemed?
  • Can it be redeemed on the Internet, or is it only redeemable on the Internet?
  • Will a new certificate be issued for any balance remaining after the original certificate is redeemed?
  • Can the recipient add value to or “reload” the gift card?
  • Are there any service or inactivity fees?
  • Will the card be honored if it is lost or stolen?

There is a Georgia law designed to protect consumers who buy or receive gift certificates, store gift cards or general use gift cards.  The Gift Card Integrity Act of 2005* requires the providers/issuers of all such gift cards or certificates sold in Georgia to:

  • Include the terms of the card in the accompanying packaging, make these available upon request, and honor the card in exchange for merchandise or services in accordance with those terms;
  • Conspicuously print the expiration date, if any, on the card; and
  • Conspicuously print the amount of any dormancy or nonuse fees on the card or a sticker affixed to it.

Failure to comply with the law’s provisions is considered an unfair or deceptive practice and should be reported to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs.  For more information, go to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection's website

*NOTE:  Due to preemption issues, the Gift Card Integrity Act of 2005 may not be applicable to Visa/MasterCard gift cards issued by national banks, federal thrifts, or banks chartered in a State other than Georgia.

Additional Resources:

OCC Bulletin on Gift Card Disclosures