It is no secret that retailers have loved the fact that gift cards created huge windfalls of unreported profit. Here’s the deal, a retailer sells a gift card for $20. Suzie sends it to her aunt in Sheboygan who goes to the store and buys $18.90 in product, forgets to redeem the balance, loses the card or it expires. Believe it or not, retailers at some point realized that this phenomenon caused billions of dollars to accumulate in unused or unexpired gift cards. In addition to this unethical practice, retailers have charged fees to use gift cards! Unbelievable.
So when I heard the government of the U.S. was going to do something about it, I thought, this is just great! The government has finally decided to step in to protect people from being fleeced by retailers. Instead of putting them in handcuffs and arresting these rat bastards for deceptive and fraudulent business practices, they are working on new laws to protect consumers from outrageous fees from gift cards. The new laws would limit the fees and expiration dates of retail gift cards. The main changes focus on retailers no longer being able to charge fees for owners who are using their used gift cards in the previous year and will eliminate expiration of the cards.
I think it goes with out saying, the fees on these cards are very aggressive.
What is interesting about this is California has already passed these laws. While I’m not for excessive government regulation, I do understand capitalism, I’m for transparency in business. Retailers have been unfairly profiting from gift cards for some time. The gift card scam has been less than transparent for many years. Let’s hope for the sake of consumers in this country that gift card practices can actually be controlled.
I for one am tired of being fleeced, aren’t you? Tell me Your consumer fraud story and let’s get it out in the world for everyone to know.