As Mother’s Day approaches, you’re probably wondering what to get the mom who may have everything. More than likely, gift cards have crossed your mind as the perfect solution.
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, recommends these tips to ensure the card you choose is, truly, the perfect present — for both of you:
Buying Gift Cards
- Buy from sources you know and trust. Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites, because the cards may be counterfeit or may have been obtained fraudulently.
- Read the fine print before you buy. Is there a fee to buy the card? If you buy a card by phone or online, are there shipping and handling fees? If you don't like the terms and conditions, buy elsewhere.
- Inspect the card before you buy it. Verify that none of the protective stickers have been removed. Make sure that the codes on the back of the card haven't been scratched off to reveal a PIN number. Report any damaged cards to the store selling the cards.
Using Gift Cards
- Read the card and any terms and conditions. Check for an expiration date or fees. If it appears that the value of your card has expired, or that fees have been deducted, contact the company that issued the card. They may still honor the card or reverse the fees.
- Use your card as soon as you can. It's not unusual to misplace gift cards or forget you have them; using them early will help you get the full value.
- Treat your card like cash. If your card is lost or stolen, report it to the issuer immediately. Some issuers will not replace cards that are lost or stolen, but other issuers will, for a fee.
And enjoy a great Mother’s Day with the special moms in your life!