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$8 Billion in Lost or Unredeemed Gift Cards Annually

December 26th, 2007 by flanews

The 2007 holiday shopping season is not over.  Over the next 7 days, shoppers will spend an estimated 60 billion dollars worth of gift cards.  As Chris Casquejo explains, redeeming gift cards right after you get them may save you a lot of headaches.

Hear it here: $8 Billion in Lost or Unredeemed Gift Cards Annually

Daniel Gay is cashing in his gift cards and adding to his wardrobe.  Each year, shoppers lose nearly 8 billion dollars because of unredeemed or lost gift cards.  Daniel isn’t wasting any time using his.

“Clothes, I’ll spend pretty fast,” Gay said.  “The movies, I kind of drag it out a little bit.  Food, we’ll spend it pretty fast, too.”

Florida and Minnesota ban outright any expiration dates or fees on gift cards.  30 other states limit those restrictions. 

When you first get a gift card, check the back of it to see if it has a toll-free number.  That way, you have somewhere to call if it’s lost or stolen.  Also, check to see if the card can be used for purchases online.

Gift cards were so popular at Tallahassee’s Buckle clothing store, they almost ran out.

“It’s kind of splitting the difference between just giving money per se and being less confident in product purchase,” said manager Bill Abeln.  “It allows them to guarantee that someone will pick someone out that they know the like.”

Shoppers like Katie Weilbrenner agree.

“I’m getting exactly what I want instead of something I just like,” she said.  “I get something I love.”

The advice from experts, use the cards quickly.  That way, you’re guaranteed not to forget about them.

The nearly $8 billion lost each year in gift cards is more than double the $3.5 billion that’s lost to credit and debit card fraud annually.

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