Did you recieve any gift cars over the holiday season? You may want to use them as soon as possible. Not just so that you don’t forget them, but so you can make sure they really have money on them.

Amy Mehrle loves to dote on her children, baking cupcakes and giving them gift cards whenever they come home to visit.

But, Mehrle said she bought a gift card she bought her son for a rideshare service that had already been drained by someone else.

“It said no money! Zero balance,” Mehrle said.

No one could help her because she had no proof that she had purchased it.

So, how can you protect yourself from disappointment with those holiday gift cards you received in December? Consumer reports say never tuck them away in a kitchen drawer: that is the best way to forget you ever had it.

Some other do’s and dont’s from Consumer Reports:

  • Do inspect gift cards for package tampering
  • Do try to buy gift cards from the counter, and not the racks from the middle of the store.
  • Do use it as soon as possible, so you have a chance to dispute a drained gift card.
  • Also, don’t throw away the receipt.

Finally, don’t take no for an answer. Ask the giver if they still have the receipt, then go to the store’s customer service counter.

So use that gift card as soon as possible, and contact the selling store if there is any problem, so you don’t waste your money.