Your feet are sore and your bags feel weighed down with bricks, however you can’t go home because you’ve only ticked off half the Christmas shopping list. Suddenly, the gift card section morphs from a “no go zone” into a “one size fits all” solution.
It appears there’s no stopping the booming popularity of amazon gift code. They’re convenient, there’s a huge range of brands (Netflix, Bonds and Domino’s Pizza, to name a few), and you can even personalise them.
But you must be careful, because you may ultimately be throwing free money in the retailer. A new survey exclusively shared with us by NSW Fair Trading showed 89 per cent of 300 respondents possessed a problem redeeming a present card.
The greatest problem they encountered was that this card had expired. Some tried to speak with store staff and managers, others lodged a complaint. Overall, 69 % said the retailer still refused to accept the card.
Let’s discuss the funds. The gift card industry is worth as much as $2.5 billion every year. Two-thirds of the survey respondents couldn’t redeem their cards. Also, a 2014 Choice survey found 35 percent of respondents had used not one of the price of a minimum of one gift card in the earlier 3 years.
The figures are rough, the science isn’t perfect, but we can easily guess a tremendous amount of money is being wasted annually.
I will count myself lucky. When I was cleaning I stumbled upon a $50 gift card for a book store that expired three years ago. As an alternative to throwing it from the bin, I needed a chat with one of employees (I avoided mentioning my job) and then he kindly permit me to redeem the complete amount. I went home with three new books.
This may not be an anti-gift card piece. I would like to encourage one to think twice and give some pointers which means your Christmas present will be used rather than forgotten. Here are the problems:
Shops go bust: When we saw earlier this year Dic-k Smith collapsed and 1000s of gift card holders, including one woman who possessed $3600 worth, were left with virtually nothing. Bear in mind Macquarie has predicted more retail collapses, and cites Fast Future Brands (Valley Girl and TEMT) and Pepkor (Harris Scarfe and Best & Less) to be unprofitable.
Gift cards for several brands can easily be bought at places such as supermarkets along with the post office.
Gift certificates for a lot of brands are plentiful at places including supermarkets along with the post office. Photo: Danielle Smith
Fees: Thankfully the vast majority of gift cards inside the Australian market have zero fees because they’re “closed loop”. Though Westfield’s gift card demands a $2.95 “service charge”. I believe the worst deals are the “open loop” Visa and Mastercard-branded gift certificates, which can be used wherever they’re accepted but feature a range of fees.
Consider the Australia Post Visa Prepaid gift card for instance. You will need to fork out $6 to buy the card, $4 to talk with someone concerning your balance or transaction history, and $4 to obtain support on the telephone. I would mention you should check your balance via text for 25 cents or online free of charge.
Expiry dates: Most cards are valid for 1 year or 24 months. Reconsider cards with three or six month expiry, like the one for Ella Bache beauty salons. Should be noted, some retailers do offer a grace period. Consumer group Choice is calling for that minimum expiry period to be 5 years.
Advance loan fees: It’s probable that if you are using your credit card to buy a great gift card, it will likely be treated like a money advance. So check with your provider. Advisable to use cash or use it on a debit card instead.
Below are great tips:
Offer flexibility: Unless you know they’d love a Sportsgirl or Smiggle gift card, it’s far better to pick a retailer that provides a multitude of products. You might invest in a card for the shopping centre or even for a group of stores, say for example a Coles Group & Myer Gift Card. Mary Steffel, a psychologist at Northeastern University in the usa, said the greater specific a gift card is, the less likely it is going to be redeemed. “If you’re unclear what your recipient wants, allow them to have the gift of flexibility,” she told the latest York Times.
Subtly ask: Encourage the recipient to work with the credit card sooner, as opposed to later. Consumer advocate Christopher Zinn suggests asking your beloved a couple of months across the track regarding what they finished up buying with all the card.
Ensure that is stays visible: Ensure that the card is at their wallet. In the event the issue and expiry dates aren’t written about the card, get a permanent marker and write the information 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.