In the holiday season we sometimes fall for the easy way of gift-giving, and give a gift card instead of taking the time to buy something for someone we love. If you’re interested in giving a gift card, be very careful about who you choose and make sure you know all the conditions of the card BEFORE you buy it and give it away.
I was given a Wachovia gift card worth $25 in August of this year, and in this holiday season decided to use it for a purchase since the expiration date on the card is 05/2011. It was declined at two different locations, so I called the number on the back of the card to find out what was going on.
It turns out that the entire balance of $25 was “eaten up by monthly service fees”, as the friendly rep, Patrick, put it. There is no recourse – so the generous gift giver actually gave his gift to Wachovia, which I’m sure he didn’t intend!
Be sure to read the fine print, and maybe give cash or write a check if you intend for your gift to actually go to the person you want to receive it – or the bank/store could just “eat it up” instead.