Don’t Waste Your Money: Holiday gift card caution

Don't Waste Your Money

A word of caution for everyone who received a gift card during the holidays. Consumer Reporter John Materese says to leave them out so you can see them, and so you don’t waste your money.

Did you get any gift cards during the holidays? If so, it’s more important than every during the pandemic that you use them as soon as possible.

Eileen Pike loves to support local shops and small businesses. So last Christmas, she bought her aunt $75 in gift cards to a movie theater. A cinema that shut down for good during the pandemic.

“So there was no way to get my money back for my aunt to get the gift we had bought her last Christmas,” Pike explains.

That’s a concern with more and more stores and restaurants on the verge of shutdown this pandemic winter.

The savings site RetailMeNot.com is warming shoppers this year to be careful buying gift cards to struggling retailers.

Just look around: SteinMart is now closing almost all of its stores. New York and Company running its final closing sale. And Pier One is now gone for good.

But from the “doesn’t that stink” file, the main reason is almost one-third of holiday gift cards are never redeemed. Yahoo Finance says reasons include the store being too far away, inactivity fees have ruined their value, the recipient loses the card, or they forget they even had the card.

So with many shops and restaurants on the bubble this winter, ‘use them or lose them’ is more important now than ever with those holiday gift cards.

If a business goes under, try calling similar businesses nearby: they may honor them to get a new customer in their store.

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