Consumer Reports: Be Wary of Gift Cards

What: The folks at Consumer Reports released their 2007 Public Awareness Campaign. This year they tackle gift cards, which nets approximately $100 billion a year for the retail industry.

What the experts say: From Consumer Reports: Gift cards are expected to be a major component of holiday giving with estimates putting sales at more than $100 billion in 2008.  And according to Consumer Reports’ survey, 62 percent of consumers are planning to buy gift cards this season.  Consumer Reports’ survey also found that when the time came for consumers to redeem their gift card, the majority of consumers also spent their own money, with 60 percent spending more than the value of the card.

What I say:  To be perfectly honest, I would rather receive a gift card than some gift I will never use/wear and as a gift giver, I want to make sure my hard earn money isn’t wasted.

Here’s some gift card tips:

  • Give them a card to a store they love. If your teen like to shop at Forever21, don’t get her a gift card to Ann Taylor
  • Put enough cash on the card for them to be able to make a purchase. A $25 gift card Barneys won’t go very far
  • Take the person shopping to remind them to use the card
  • Look for gift cards with no expiration date and no crazy restrictions
  • Give cards that can be replaced if lost (make sure you keep the receipt)

Read other TBF articles on gift cards here and here